“The Prophet would be anonymous”

….“Everything around the Prophet’s mosque
has already been destroyed….. It is surrounded by bulldozers…..Once
they’ve removed everything they can move towards the mosque….. The imam is
likely to say there is a need to expand the mosque and do it that way,
while the world’s eyes are on Iraq and Syria….. The Prophet Mohamed’s
grave is venerated by the mainstream Sunni, who would never do it. It is
just as important for the Shia too, who venerate the Prophet’s
daughter, Fatima…..

This may create a major crisis on top of everything else that is going on in the middle-east.
….

The controversial proposals are part of a consultation document by a
leading Saudi academic which has been circulated among the supervisors
of al-Masjid al-Nabawi mosque in Medina, where the remains of the
Prophet are housed under the Green Dome, visited by millions of pilgrims
and venerated as Islam’s second-holiest site. The formal custodian of
the mosque is Saudi Arabia’s ageing monarch King Abdullah.


The
plans, brought to light by another Saudi academic who has exposed and
criticised the destruction of holy places and artefacts in Mecca – the
holiest site in the Muslim world – call for the destruction of chambers
around the Prophet’s grave which are particularly venerated by Shia
Muslims.



The
61-page document also calls for the removal of Mohamed’s remains to the
nearby al-Baqi cemetery, where they would be interred anonymously. There
is no suggestion that any decision has been taken to act upon the
plans. The Saudi government has in the past insisted that it treats any
changes to Islam’s holiest sites with “the utmost seriousness”.

But
such is the importance of the mosque to both Sunni and Shia Muslims
that Dr Irfan al-Alawi warned that any attempt to carry out the work
could spark unrest. It also runs the risk of inflaming sectarian
tensions between the two branches of Islam, already running perilously
high due to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Hardline Saudi
clerics have long preached that the country’s strict Wahhabi
interpretation of Islam – an offshoot of the Sunni tradition – prohibits
the worship of any object or “saint”, a practice considered “shirq” or
idolatrous.

Dr Alawi, director of the Islamic Heritage Research
Foundation, told The Independent: “People visit the chambers, which are
the rooms where the Prophet’s family lived, and turn towards the burial
chamber to pray.

“Now they want to prevent pilgrims from attending
and venerating the tomb because they believe this is shirq, or
idolatry. But the only way they can stop people visiting the Prophet is
to get him out and into the cemetery.”

For centuries Muslim
pilgrims have made their way to Mecca in order to visit the Kaaba – a
black granite cubed building said to be built by Abraham, around which
al-Masjid al-Haram, or the Grand Mosque, is built, and towards which
every Muslim faces when they pray.

This pilgrimage, or hajj, is a religious duty that has to be carried out at least once in a lifetime.
Many go on to make their way to the nearby city of Medina to pay their respects at the Prophet’s tomb.

Al-Nabawi
mosque around the tomb has been expanded by generations of Arabian
rulers, particularly the Ottomans. It includes hand-painted calligraphy
documenting details of the Prophet’s life and his family. Dr Alawi said
the plans also call for these to be destroyed as well as the Green Dome
which covers the Prophet’s tomb.

The Prophet is venerated by both
branches of Islam, Sunni and Shia. The strict Wahhabi sect is a branch
of the Sunni faith, however, and removing the Prophet could further
inflame tensions between the two groups .

The current  crisis in
Iraq has been blamed on the Shia former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s
sectarianism, which alienated the Sunni, leading to the uprising. Isis,
also known as Islamic State, which holds swathes of Iraq and Syria, and
which murdered the American journalist James Foley, is a Sunni
organisation.

Mainstream Sunni Muslims would be just as aghast at any desecration of the tomb as the Shia, Dr Alawi said. The
Independent has previously revealed how the multibillion-pound
expansion of the Grand Mosque has, according to the Washington-based
Gulf Institute, led to the destruction of up to 95 per cent of Mecca’s
millennium-old buildings. They have been replaced with luxury  hotels,
apartments and  shopping malls.

King Abdullah has appointed the
prominent Wahhabi cleric and imam of the Grand Mosque, Abdul Rahman
al-Sudais, to oversee the expansion project – necessary to cope with the
huge number of pilgrims who now visit each year.

Dr Alawi says
the consultation document for the al-Nabawi mosque in Medina, by the
leading Saudi academic Dr Ali bin Abdulaziz al-Shabal of Imam Muhammad
ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, has been circulated to the
Committee of the Presidency of the Two Mosques.

Several pages of
the consultation document have just been published in the presidency’s
journal. They call for the destruction of the rooms surrounding the tomb
– used by the Prophet’s wives and daughters, and venerated by the Shia
because of their association with his youngest daughter, Fatima.

The
document also calls for the Green Dome, which covers the tomb and these
living quarters, to be removed, and the ultimate removal of the
Prophet’s body to a nearby cemetery.

The al-Baqi cemetery already
contains the bodies of many of the Prophet’s family, including his
father who was removed there in the 1970s, Dr Alawi said. In 1924 all
the grave markers were removed, so pilgrims would not know who was
buried there, and so be unable to pray to them.

“The Prophet would
be anonymous,” Dr  Alawi added. “Everything around the Prophet’s mosque
has already been destroyed. It is surrounded by bulldozers. Once
they’ve removed everything they can move towards the mosque. The imam is
likely to say there is a need to expand the mosque and do it that way,
while the world’s eyes are on Iraq and Syria. The Prophet Mohamed’s
grave is venerated by the mainstream Sunni, who would never do it. It is
just as important for the Shia too, who venerate the Prophet’s
daughter, Fatima.

“I’m sure there will be shock across the Muslim world at these revelations. It will cause outrage.”

The
Independent was unable to contact the Saudi Arabian embassy, but it
said in a statement last year: “The development of the Holy Mosque of
Makkah al-Mukarramah [Mecca] is an extremely important subject and one
which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as custodian of the
two holy mosques, takes with the utmost seriousness. This role is at the
heart of the principles upon which Saudi Arabia is founded.”

….

Link: independent.co.uk/saudis-risk-new-muslim-division-with-proposal-to-move-mohameds-tomb

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regards

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