SHAFAQNA – Saudi Arabia’s propaganda machine has hit over-drive … Mecca the world has been warned was almost hit by a treacherous missile, and Islam’s holiest of sites were almost disappeared.
Wait a minute … I’m confused here! Who is doing the disappearing? I thought Riyadh was in charge of Islam’s grand cleansing campaign. You know all those pesky buildings and monuments Islam’s most venerable personalities rose with their two hands … Who needs those? Who needs museums, shrines, cemeteries and other reminders of what once was, and what stood at the birth of Islam?
Such trivialities are distractions from the true interpretation of Islam: Wahhabism. True believers should not bow, kneel or otherwise revere … except of course if veneration is spent in the worship of al-Saud monarchy.
Reciting Duas (supplications) at al-Baqee cemetery where members of the family of the Prophet Muhammad are buried is an act of apostasy under Wahhabism. But humiliating oneself before the majesty of al-Saud monarch is a duty none should EVER challenge, question, or otherwise dare to omit.
So here is a question: since the kingdom clearly could not care less about Islam’s religious heritage, why the sudden cahoots over a would-be-did-not-happen-invented-missile-attack the Houthis did not launch against Mecca? Why the sudden grand-standing?
When a crane fell during Hajj crushing to death dozens of pilgrims, Saudi Arabia commanded the world to hail the efforts its authorities exercised in keeping Mecca open to millions of Muslims.
When Saudi Arabia’s moral police was accused of sectarianism as its men beat and humiliated Shia Muslims on account their faith is a heresy under Wahhabism, the kingdom cried lèse majesté, arguing fabrication and ill-intended political manoeuvring,
When Saudi Arabia clergy called for the demolition of Mecca’s religious heritage, the world was told Mecca authorities had to make space for new fancy shopping malls
Notice a pattern here? No?
What manipulation? What the fact that Saudi Arabia happens to be blatantly and openly hypocritical as far as Islam’ sanctity is concerned? Islam is not the only casualty of Wahhabism mind you … a once vibrant region, the Middle East has seen its religious heritage eroded, disappeared and altogether cleansed by the hands of a self-righteous clergy.
Najran Christian kingdom … gone!
Medina’s Jewish traditions … obliterated
Khadija’s residence [wife of the Prophet Muhammad] … turned into a public toilet
Masjid al-Nabi (the Mosque of the Prophet Muhammad] … the very mosque the prophet personally built … about to be demolished so that pilgrims would stop their endless visits and prayers rituals. The nerve of people … praying in a mosque!
The Washington based Institute for Gulf Affairs estimates that 95% of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades. The one-time desert region now has a skyline, not lit by stars, but by gaudy luxury hotels and flashy shopping malls hosting the likes of McDonalds, Starbucks, Baskin Robbins, and several Paris Hilton boutiques.
Pilgrims who have scrimped and saved for a once in a lifetime spiritual journey to the heartland of Islamic history and want, for example, to visit the site of the home of Muhammad’s first wife Khadijah will now find a block of 1,400 public toilets in the place where her home once stood. In place of the mosque of Abu Bakr – the first Caliph of Islam – they will now find a cash point. Cemeteries dating back over 1,000 years have been razed. Mountains have been crushed just to make way for car parks.
In 2003, an ancient Ottoman fortress that once guarded Mecca from attack and which dated back over 200 years was demolished only to be replaced with a giant 601 metre Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower – the third tallest building in the world.
Dr Irfan Al-Alawi, the Executive Director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, a centre dedicated to the preservation of historical sites in Saudi, told Shafaqna in an exclusive interview “We do not deny that expansion is needed but there are ways they could expand while still preserving the historic sites. Soon enough we will be left with only sand … who will remember what once was when all is left of our history is sand?”
It’s not just in Mecca, either. In 2013 the split in Mount Uhud, north of Medina, where the Prophet Muhammad is said to have been carried after being wounded in the famous Battle of Uhud was filled with concrete. A fence went up at the base of the mountain, warning would-be visitors that it was just a mountain, like any other. Six small mosques in Medina where Muhammad is believed to have prayed have been locked. The seventh, belonging to Abu Bakr, a companion of the prophet has been razed to make way for an ATM.
Over 98% of the Kingdom’s historical and religious sites have been destroyed since 1985.
So NO when Saudi Arabia’ satellite countries rise in outrage over the phantasmagorical threat Yemen poses to the holy city of Mecca WE do buy it.
Saying something does not make it so!
Islam is not a commodity which can be waved around for political gain.
Islam does not belong to any one nation. Islam is not an argument, or a theory to be imposed onto others. Islam is Justice, Truth and Liberation. Islam is the Word enacted in Faith. Islam is what animated our prophets’ arms, and lived on our Imams lips. Islam is the banner Imam Hussain rose in the plain of Karbala and the courage Lady Zainab dressed herself in as she stood at Yazid’s Court.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna