Save the endangered Haramayn Heritage!

Update 2: Veterans of the heritage presevation struggle have informed me that although our petition is well intentioned, petitions only serve to provoke the authorites to further eradication of these sites. I am therefore closing the petition.

I do however encourage all Brothers and Sisters to continue creating awareness. Our lack of awareness is part of the problem.

Update: Brother Ibrahim Musa will be hosting me on Channel Islam International to discuss this topic. Tuesday 30 Oct 2012, 21:15 Central African time.

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A poet described his reason for kissing al-Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone at the Ka’bah) as an attempt to kiss “the kiss” of Allah’s Beloved Rasūl صلى الله عليه و سلم who had placed his lips on it.

Of course, such poetic fancy has neither juristic basis nor real application. The Stone had split asunder centuries ago. Some people lose their rewards by violently shoving others aside to reach the Stone, all to merely kiss the casing which encloses the remains of the Stone.

That aside, as lovers of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم we can surely understand the emotions of the poet. The love a Muslim feels for Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم cannot be understood by non-Muslims. Such is his miracle, that centuries after his uttering a Hadith, interacting with some object or passing by some place, that Hadith, object or place can reduce his follower to tears; affect his tiniest actions such as the way he eats; or can be the cause of changing his entire life. (On the other hand, I still feel disgust at the phoney relics I saw at the Shaahi Masjid in Lahore. People who sell their religion for a few bucks… urgh!!!)

Abdullah bin Umar رضي الله عنه paused during his journey because that was the place where Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم stopped to relieve himself. A jurist of the level of Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه certainly understood far better than us, that the essence and priority of the Sunnah lies in the beliefs, deeds and character of  Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم  not the place where he performed an action. Yet those who were in the blessed company of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم demonstrated their love to those places associated with Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم even if it was just the place of his toilet!

Allah, the Knower of the unseen, knew full well that there would be major logistic difficulties in fulfilling the Hajj after 14 centuries. In His infinite mercy He could have granted the Ummah license to perform the same rituals of  Hajj in their own homelands, or at least in their own continents. Allah however insists not only on commemorating the deeds of His friend Ibrahim alayhis salaam in the Hajj,  but the place of the deeds of Allah’s Khaleel is also beloved unto Allah.

Your deeds are your rulers

The Haramayn (Makkah and al-Madinah) have seen many rulers over the centuries, including Rawaafid (Shi’ah). Yet at no point in history has the Ummah demonstrated such apathy to the heritage of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم as we do at present. The Ummah is more capable of proudly rattling off Manchester scores and which actor is fornicating with which actress, than being able to mention the wives and children of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم . Hence in line with the Hadith, “Your deeds are your rulers,” Allah has placed such rulers over the Haramayn since 1923, who have systematically demolished all physical traces of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم.

For example, the house of our Mother, Khadijah رضي الله عنها , is now a toilet! Let me spell it out. The house Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم went to immediately after receiving his first revelation is now a place of urine. The house he would go to after being abused by the idolators and there receive the comfort of our Mother, is now a place of excreta. The house all his children were born in, except one, is now a place of filth, sewage and stench. It is to be hoped that this saddens a Muslim more than if Barcelona lost a match.

Makkah or New York?

The rulers of the Haramayn may have in  mind that they have millions of pilgrims to serve, and they require the space occupied by these heritage sites. Such may be their good intentions but consider the following:

  • Millions of Catholics visit Rome. They are catered for without demolishing the Roman heritage sites, which are pagan, not Catholic.
  • 95% of centuries old heritage sites in Makkah have been demolished in the past two decades alone. Why cannot the authorities consult with Ulama, architects, engineers, archeologists etc as to the best way to create utility without destroying the last few sites  related to Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم ?
  • We have to be pragmatic. Change is a reality and a necessity. However, what is not necessary is to turn Makkah into another NewYork. Are there no Muslim architects who can help new developments blend into an Islamic Makkah instead of New York? As the Saudi architect Sami Angawi said about the Haramayn, ” Both are historically almost finished. You do not find anything except skyscrapers.”

Masjid al-Ghamaamah

We have recently performed our Eid Salaah. Are we aware that the new expansions in the Haramayn are putting the last sites associated with  Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم at risk, including Masjid al-Ghamaamah where Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم performed his Eid Salaah. once these last vestiges are removed, what trace of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم will remain in  the Haramayn. It is long overdue that the Ummah awakes to its responsibility and save what’s left of the Haramayn heritage. If the ongoing New Yorkification of the Haramayn continues, future generations already imbued with Western culture, will find it impossible to identify with an Islamic past.

Call to Action

Ultimately nothing can change except through the command of Allah. Yet if we act, Allah’s mercy might be drawn and He will change matters.

  • More serious than buildings is our blatant ignorance and apathy in regards the biography of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم. Let us study the Seerah with the importance it deserves.
  • Please sign this petition which will be sent to the Ministry of Culture.
  • Kindly forward this article to other Muslims.
  • Discuss the situation and create awareness amongst the Ummah. Utilise whatever platform you have at your disposal.
  • Please leave your comment below. There are surely ideas you can present and your words as an Ummati will be appreciated as well.

May Allah grant us success in our endevours to link ourselves to Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم.

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18 responses

  1. What is particularly baffling is the silence on the part of Ummah at the destruction of our shared heritage. While we loudly (and correctly) condemn insults against Islam, where is the condemnation from our Ulemaa, and otherwise deeni-inclined sections of our community? Its absolutely disgraceful how the Ummah has stood by in silence.

    1. It is not baffling my brother. I know I offend by stating this, but the reality is that people look at their own vested interests – whether financial or political. Many who are in a position to raise public awareness know that there will be no earthly reward in regards finance or public acclaim.

  2. As Salaamu Alaikum.
    Absolutely horrific. May Allah removed them and bring forth leaders that have respect for these holy places at heart. Before your interview tonight, you might want to read the following article: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/medina-saudis-take-a-bulldozer-to-islams-history-8228795.html
    Shukran

    1. و عليكم السلام
      Jazakallah khayran. The link is but another example that this issue if covered at all, is mentioned in the Western media. Our Muslim publications remain silent.

  3. My Arab friends say only a change in the Saudi government will change this ongoing sacrilege. Meanwhile, even Obama bows to the King.

    1. Obama bows to the king? Could you please clarify?

      1. When Obama met the Saudi King a few weeks ago, he gave a half-bow of respect, which was used in the USA for a lot of anti-Obama propaganda in the following days. You could have seen the video on YouTube. My point was, as long as the Pentagon pledges its protection to Riyadh, nothing will change in Makkah. And behind that protection, in addition to the oil, may well be Zionist interests. I know one prominent Islamic scholar who will not perform Hajj now for this reason.

      2. Jazakallah khayran for the link. Whatever their motivations, the fact remains that we are being more alerted to this issue by the western media, not Muslims. The following paragraph is most embarassing:
        But what sticks in the craw is the hypocrisy of Muslims who throw a fit if Israeli archaeologists carry out non-intrusive work underneath the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, “Islam’s third holiest place”, as we’re constantly reminded. Such anger would be more convincing if the first and second holy sites weren’t being ploughed up by a police state. Likewise, are cartoons of Mohammed really more offensive than reducing the remains of his life to rubble?

      3. Dr. Sulaiman Dufford

        Agreed. Those humble pilgrims dare not raise a voice in outrage. But there are even Saudis who are doing so, not only outsiders.

  4. Shukran. I was also extremely embarassed by those hurtful yet true comments. May Allah Ta’ala give us the courage to take up the struggle to keep our Islamic heritage and history. We have focused all our attention on Al Quds (which is needed), but in the interim have lost our focus on Haramain. History is an important source of learning as my Ustad always mentions:” A nation that forgets its history, will keep making the same mistakes”

  5. Dr. Sulaiman Dufford | Reply

    The best recent history of the Haramain is Sheikh Imran Hosein’s book, “…and the Rise of the Saudi Nation State.”

    1. I am uneasy with the Shaykh interpreting literal Hadith as symbols, but if I do not respect a difference of opinion and acknowledge the benefit people gain from him, I am no different from the authoritarian forces controlling the Ummah but do not respect the Ummah.

  6. […] idols are heritage but Masaajid are Shirk? In the light on our discussion on the endangered Haramayn Heritage this is really […]

  7. […] have recently discussed attempts to eradicate some of the last sites of the Haramayn heritage. I now quote from a BBC report regarding the same authorities attitude to these […]

    1. wa alaykumus salaam

      I’d take it with a pinch of salt. There’s been several earlier reports of his “confrmed” death. Really a resilient guy.

    2. السلام عليكم
      I think this clarifies the matter:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20525956

      He was on TV

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