In the last days of the Ottoman Empire, the people of the Arabian Peninsula had gone back to their pre-Islamic tribal existence of warfare and banditry. This was the time of European intrusion into the Muslim World, a world that became the victim of a web of international intrigue the like of which the world had not as yet seen. The careers of TE Lawrence [Lawrence of Arabia], Lady Gertrude Bell, RVC Bodley, Sir Richard Burton, St. John Philby, sir Percy Cox, Christian Hurgonje, Sir Henry McMahon, and, especially, Captain William Shakespear, who in fact died in the Battle of Jarrab by the side of Abd al-Aziz bin Saud, patriarch of the Saudi monarchy, ought to have made the nature of this intrigue. It was an intrigue that was spurned to secure the defeat of the Ottomans in order to grab Palestine and create Israel on other people's and Islamic auqaf land as a permanent colony in the heart of Islam.
The British were looking for hirelings ready to do their bidding, and they found willing accomplices in Sharif Husayn ibn Ali of Mecca and Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud of Najd. They funded and supplied ibn Saud with weapons, money, intelligence and even troops to defeat the tribes of Najd. They then subdued Hail in the centre of the peninsula and the vast Rub al-Khali and handed them over to him; and after they had got what they wanted from the Sharif of Mecca--the Arab Revolt--they armed ibn Saud to drive him out of Mecca. And when the Ikhwan of Wahhabiyyah, the ones who put his family in power, turned against him on account of his dealings with the British, he turned the British guns on them, with the support of fighter aircrafts. The rest--which is all past--is now history; it is the present that we must always remember--that they were created by the British, maintained in power by the United States, and had been doing their bidding ever since.
But Abd al-Aziz knew that it was not possible for anyone to occupy and claim title to the Haram; and to be fair to him, after worldwide Muslim opposition to his declaration as King of Hijaz prior to the unification of the Hijaz to Najd to create Saudi Arabia, he had accepted that he was not qualified, but that he was forced to declare himself king because of the indifference of foreign Muslims to answer his repeated requests for advice about the management of holy places. Even as recently as 1932, ibn Saud was declaring that he would seek the advice of the Ummah about its proper administration. But the British would not allow that; and they have very good reasons. Captain William Shakespeare had told them that whoever controlled the Haramayn would control the Muslim World.
And as late as 1881, the British Consul General in Jeddah, the Armenian James Zohrab, had spelled out in very clear terms the significance of the Hijaz and Hajj to the Foreign Office; and in his despatches he had warned the British of the danger: he wrote that he was sure some pilgrims "proceed on the Hajj for political reasons. Mecca, being free of European intrusion, is safe ground on which meetings can be held, ideas exchanged... Up to the present time we have kept no watch on those who come and go... thus meetings may be convened at Mecca at which combinations hostile to us may form without our knowing anything till the shell bursts in our midst..." what Zohrab feared was in fact the most important aspect of the Hajj.
And the king was dissuaded from handing over the management of the Haramayn to the International Council of Ulama that he had in mind when he innocently made the pledge, not by the indifference of foreign Muslims but by the British who realised that they could control the Muslim World by controlling whoever controlled the Hajj and Haramayn.
The Haramayn are the collective patrimony of all the Muslims of the world and no nation state or kingdom can have legitimate controlling rights over them. The real meaning of the Haramayn is that piece of divine real estate whose certificate of occupancy is held by God in Mecca and by the Holy Prophet [SAW] in Medina on behalf of Muslims. The caliph Umar bin Khattab understood this so well that during his Caliphate he disallowed whoever was in the precinct of the Haram from locking his house during the Hajj. He said the land belonged to the guests of God and they had more right to the houses than those living in them. So who gave the Saudis the right to tamper with and desecrate of the Haramayn along with all the memorabilia of the Holy Prophet [SAW] and his companions?
Even without the religious significance of the presence of these holy personages, the Islamic past and the Haramayn that held most of it should be preserved. Allah challenged Muslims to travel the wide world and see the evidence of the end of those who rejected faith: the structures they erected, the ruins of the civilisation they built, the artefacts that they left behind as legacy, the somersaulted cities in which they used to live and the images and concepts of the partners that they set up in competition to Allah. In the case of the greatest and most insolent of them, the Pharaoh, Allah even promised: 'This day shall we save your body, that you may be a sign to those who come after you! But verily many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs.' [Holy Quran 10:92] Allah wants us to take lessons from the life, actions, death and even body of Fir'aun but artefacts related to the Holy Prophet [SAW] and Islam must be destroyed to stop us from committing shirk!
A fatwa issued by Saudi Arabia's senior council of ulama in 1994 declared that preserving historical buildings might lead to polytheism. But the reality is that: it is not that the Saudis don't like preserving the past; in fact, they do, because they do preserve aspects of the past that they deem important and worthy of preserving: it is just the remembrance and legacy of the Holy Prophet [SAW] that they wish to destroy. Their opposition to celebrating Maulud al-Nabi is for the same reason, because they always eagerly celebrate their so-called National Day. Ask them: which of the Salaf celebrated national days?
And today, they are busy erecting museums dedicated to Arabia's pre-Islamic past. Darat al-Malik Abd al-Aziz in Riyadh is one of such dedicated to the memory and legacy of the founder of the modern Saudi kingdom and father of its current king, while the blessed house where the Holy Prophet [SAW] was born was one of the first targets of the Nejdi zealots who razed to the ground in 1924. Initially they turned it into a cattle market; and after an outcry and a campaign by some people in Mecca, it was temporarily turned into a library before it was put under lock and key. Now, in the frenzy for real estate development by construction magnets, it is slated for conversion into a parking lot. The house where the Holy Prophet [SAW] was born!
The graveyard of Amina, the Blessed, mother of the Messenger [SAW] was destroyed in 1998. And today, in place of the House of Khadijah, the Glorious, who, while she lived was the Holy Prophet [SAW]'s only wife, mother of Fatima al-Zahra, the Radiant and leader of the women of the world, is now a public toilet!
In place of the house of Sayyidna Abubakar [RA], close companion and father-in-law of the Holy Prophet [SAW], the first adult male to believe in Islam, and he who was distinguished by being "one of the two," and the first caliph to succeed the Holy Prophet [SAW] after his death, now stands in all its imperial glory the Mecca Hilton Hotel!
Dar al-Arqam, the place that served as the first school and mosque and sanctuary for the earliest Muslims during the heat and at the height of the Jahiliyyah in Mecca, a spot that Muslims should have given everything in the world to preserve and protect, has been demolished and is replaced by escalators!
The graveyard of Hamza [RA] and the other martyrs of Uhud have been demolished and the road leading to them as well as the one leading to the martyrs of Badr have been obliterated so that pilgrims should not go there to commit shirk!
Jabal al-Nur that houses the cave of Hira where the Holy Prophet [SAW] received his first revelation, and the cave in Mount Uhud where he was taken to be treated for his injuries have been fatwaed for destruction. But who is talking of caves when even the famous Seven Mosques of some of the Holy Prophet [SAW]'s companions--Abubakar, Umar, Salman, Ali, Bilal [RA] , his daughter Fatima and Masjid Qiblatayn and also al-Fath--have all been demolished. Their place has now been taken over by cash dispensing ATM machines! All so neat and modern!
And suppose all this massive Las Vegas-like spree of construction that is being done around the Haram today is not environmental and architectural destruction and constitutes what they say is custodianship of the Two Holy Places, so what?
'Do you consider the provision of drinks to pilgrims, or the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque equal to [the pious service of] those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive with might and main in the cause of Allah? They are not equal in the sight of Allah. Allah guides not those who do wrong.' Holy Qur'an 9:19.
Courtesy: All Africa