by Tahir Mustafa (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 45, No. 4, Sha'ban, 1437)
Can Bani Saud prohibit Muslims from performing Hajj when Allah proclaims this for all the people? Should the Najdi Bedouins be allowed to get away with such crimes?
The Najdi Bedouins (aka Bani Saud) are preventing Iranian hujjaj (pilgrims) from performing this year’s Hajj that will fall in the month of September. Planted by the British in the Arabian Peninsula, these imperialist-Zionist agents have imposed such conditions as to make it virtually impossible for the Iranians to perform Hajj. Talks between representatives of Iran and Saudi officials in April failed to resolve the deadlock.
“Conditions are not prepared for conducting Hajj; we have lost the time; we made our utmost effort but the sabotage is coming from the Saudis,” Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati said on May 12. He further revealed that an Iranian delegation had held four days of talks in “Saudi” Arabia to resolve all outstanding issues but the Saudis placed conditions that were not only ludicrous but also could not be met. These included demands that Iranian pilgrims obtain Hajj visas not through the Saudi Interest Section in Tehran that is managed by the Swiss Embassy, but outside Iran. Further, Iranian pilgrims would have to travel by third-country airlines.
In order to facilitate the process, Iran offered to expedite issuance of visas to Saudi consular officials who would operate from their Interest Section at the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. Bani Saud broke off diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic following protests outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran on January 3 against the Najdi Bedouins’ execution of Shaykh Nimr al-Nimr a day earlier. Some protesters stormed the walls of the empty compounds in Tehran and Mashhad (Saudi diplomats were not present at the premises) and caused some damage to the buildings for which the government of Iran offered a formal apology. Despite this, Bani Saud broke off diplomatic relations.
Shaykh Nimr’s execution evoked worldwide condemnation both because his trial did not meet the minimum standards of justice required in Islam and the fact that his “crime” — demanding equal rights for all citizens of the Kingdom — cannot be considered a capital offence. It seems the Najdi Bedouins were merely looking for an excuse to cut off diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic. They also stopped all flights by Iran Air to the repressive kingdom.
Bani Saud’s position is problematic at many levels, especially from the Islamic point of view, since it is a gross violation of divine commands about Hajj, one of the fundamental pillars of Islam. Allah (swt) has ordained this obligation upon every Muslim with the means and the ability to perform it (3:97). In an even more specific ayah, Allah (swt) says to His beloved Messenger (pbuh), “Hence, proclaim you unto all people the [duty of] pilgrimage” (22:27).
Since the Najdi Bedouins occupied the Hijaz in 1925–1926 where Makkah and Madinah are located (one must add with considerable help from the non-Muslim British), they have obstructed the Muslims’ performance of this obligation in many different ways. Their special targets are Iranian pilgrims, hundreds of whom were killed in the stampede in Mina during last year’s Hajj. This was but the latest disaster to have befallen pilgrims in a string of disasters since the Najdi Bedouins have occupied the Arabian Peninsula.
Far from taking responsibility for the safety and security of the hujjaj because the Najdi Bedouins have illegally occupied the holy places of Islam, they tried to brush it off by claiming it was an act of God. They also tried to blame the pilgrims for the disaster accusing them of “not following orders.” What precisely were those orders was not explained. In last year’s stampede, at least 2,400, and according to another account given by the Saudi Deputy Health Minister Hamad bin Muhammad al-Duweili (September 29, 2015), as many as 4,173 pilgrims were killed. Among them were 464 Iranian pilgrims.
It is natural for Iran to be concerned about the safety of its pilgrims. This issue was also brought up with the Saudi authorities who reportedly dismissed it out of hand. It was evident from the attitude of the Najdi Bedouins that they wanted to frustrate the talks so that the Iranian pilgrims would not be able to perform Hajj. Obstructing the Muslims’ fulfillment of this obligation is a grave sin in Islam.
The Najdi Bedouins’ attitude is problematic at many levels. Barely 100 years ago, there were no visa or other requirements for Muslims to perform Hajj. Even though travel was much more arduous. Pilgrims either joined caravans to travel across vast territories reaching Makkah and Madinah, or the more affluent ones went by ship. Air travel has made the journey a lot easier but the introduction of visas to perform Hajj is a bid‘ah. The Najdi Bedouins and their henchmen should be familiar with this term. They hurl this allegation against any act by Muslims that the Najdi Bedouins and their court clergy do not approve of.
If the Saudi clergy had any integrity and understanding of Islam, they would start with the more basic issues. First, kingship is haram (forbidden) in Islam. The noble Messenger (pbuh) did not call himself king; al-Khulafah al-Rashidun (his rightly guided successors) took the title of khalifah, not king. When the Umayyads introduced kingship, Islamic scholars roundly condemned it. Second, the noble Messenger (pbuh) named that blessed land the Arabian Peninsula. The Najdi Bedouins have renamed it “Saudi” Arabia (actually, they did not even do that, as a British intelligence analyst working in the Foreign Office came up with the name).
This amounts to shirk, which is the gravest sin in Islam. The Najdi Bedouins do not own the Arabian Peninsula. Everything that is in the heavens, on earth, or beyond belongs to Allah (swt). From a purely mathematical point of view, there are merely 7,000 to 8,000 members of Bani Saud out of a total population of some 28 million people. How can 7–8,000 people claim ownership of the entire land of Arabia? Logic, however, is not one of the qualities of the Najdi Bedouins. Their chief priest, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz who was blind, used to insist that the earth is flat. His reason was that “when I walk on it, I do not slip and fall.”
The founder of the Najdi Bedouin kingdom, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Saud, was a brigand and a thief. His favorite activity was robbing caravans, especially pilgrims’ caravans. He also shed a lot of innocent blood. His Najdi hordes murdered pilgrims and worshippers in masjids (as in Taif in 1924) as well as perpetrated horrific crimes against the people of Makkah and Madinah including the rape of women. They also destroyed many historical sites of Islam. This destruction continues to this day under the guise of “development.”
Under the control of Najdi Bedouins, Hajj is under serious threat. In fact, it is practically under the control of the imperialists and Zionists. Muslims must wake up to this challenge. The affairs of Hajj must be immediately taken away from the Najdi Bedouins and assumed by a committee of muttaqi ‘ulama and experts from all over the Muslim world. After all, Hajj and the Haramayn (the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah) are the common heritage of the entire Ummah. They are not the private property of the vagabonds from Najd.
Dereliction of this responsibility will cause grievous harm to Islam and the Ummah. The manner in which the Najdi Bedouins are obstructing Iranian hujjaj from performing the obligation of Hajj should not be viewed in isolation. It is an assault on the injunctions of the Qur’an. If Muslims remain silent about this crucial issue today, they will have to answer to Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgement. And Muslims must remember, Allah (swt) is swift in reckoning.