by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 9, Muharram, 1437)
The British colonialists have inflicted immense damage on the world of Islam. Nothing, however, compares in destructiveness to the imposition of the two illegitimate entities on the holiest places of Islam: the Najdi Bedouins (aka Bani Saud or the House of Saud) in the Arabian Peninsula, especially the Hijaz, and the Zionists in Palestine.
One does not have to look far to see the scale of damage inflicted by the two viruses. If the Zionists have vandalized al-Masjid al-Aqsa and al-Haram al-Sharif in al-Quds (Jerusalem), the Najdi Bedouins have demolished historical sites in Makkah and Madinah. They have caused other damage as well: creating fitnah in the Muslim world by spreading the toxic ideas of Wahhabism and imposing them by force in the Arabian Peninsula. Spending $100 billion since 1975, they have propagated these poisonous ideas to other parts of the Muslim world as well. The result has been catastrophic: the poison of sectarianism has seeped so deep into Muslim psyche that it has resulted in mass killings and blowing up of masjids.
These crimes are compounded by the gross incompetence and callousness of Bani Saud in mismanaging the affairs of Hajj. There have been repeated disasters over the years, none more lethal than the twin tragedies that struck this year. First, a massive crane collapsed in al-Masjid al-Haram killing 115 people. This was followed by the stampede at Mina that killed thousands of others. The Najdi Bedouins refuse to provide an accurate figure of deaths beyond what they announced on September 26 — 769 killed and 934 injured. Figures compiled from data provided by other countries whose citizens have died add up to 1,633 dead and hundreds, perhaps thousands still missing and unaccounted for. Hundreds have been buried without their families’ permission or even proper identification so that their loved ones would know where their final resting place is. The Najdi Bedouins simply do not care; that is why they refuse to update their figures. They blame the pilgrims for the deaths or claim it was an “act of God” refusing to accept any responsibility.
Muslims, including many governments, allow Bani Saud to get away with such crimes because of a basic misunderstanding. The Haramayn — the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah — are the most sacred sites in Islam (the third is al-Masjid al-Aqsa). Many Muslims naively assume that the sacredness of the two holy cities somehow extends to the rulers as well. It is such flawed thinking that has prevented Muslims from addressing the problem of Bani Saud seriously.
The Haramayn are the common heritage of the Ummah. They cannot be left in the hands of people that have no regard for human life or the sacred places of Islam. Further, most members of the Najdi Bedouin clan are moral degenerates. It is an insult to Islam to have such people in control of Islam’s holiest places. Their occupation of the Haramayn is on par with the Zionist occupation of al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Both are British creations whose specific aim was to undermine Islam. A brief look at history would clarify this.
The idea of creating the Zionist entity in Palestine preceded that of Bani Saud’s “elevation” as British puppets in the Arabian Peninsula. In November 1917, then British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, responding to Lord Rothschild’s letter, said that the British government viewed with favor the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine provided it did not adversely affect the rights of the indigenous Arab population. Like most European politicians of his time Balfour was an anti-Semite. His promise to Rothschild was meant merely to transfer the “Jewish problem” from Europe to Palestine while securing their financial help in the war.
Bani Saud, from the backwaters of Najd, were latecomers to the game of British intrigue. The British were already thinking of planting a trusted “Mussalman agent” in Makkah and Madinah. The Consul General in Jeddah, James Ernest Napoleon Zohrab, had suggested in a message to the British Foreign Office in 1902 precisely such a step. The aim was to know what went on there. Sharif Husain, vali (governor) of the Ottoman Turks, administered the Hijaz at the time, but his loyalty had already been purchased by the British. The Ottoman paper, The Hijaz, had duly noted the “devilish plans” the British had for the area (Safar 25, 1333ah/1914ce).
Both Sharif Husain and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Saud, head of Bani Saud, vied for British favor. The Najdi Bedouins proved more ruthless; they were brigands and thieves while Sharif Husain led a sedentary life in Makkah and had gone soft. His forces were no match for the murderous thugs of Ibn Saud.
Since their occupation of the Haramayn in 1925–1926, Bani Saud have indulged in horrific crimes and perpetrated many sacrilegious acts. Under their control, Hajj has become a series of disasters. This year’s deaths in Mina have surpassed all previous horrors. Bani Saud are simply not capable of managing the affairs of Hajj nor are they fit to be in control of the Haramayn. Like Bani Isra’il, they must be dislodged from the holiest sites of Islam.