by Yusuf Dhia-Allah (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 51, No. 1, Rajab, 1443)
Muslims worldwide have a deep attachment to Makkah and al-Madinah, collectively called the Haramayn. The two cities house the holiest mosques of Islam. While Makkah which houses the Ka‘aba in al-Masjid al-Haram was designated sacred territory by Allah (swt), Madinah was declared a Haram (sanctified space) by the noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh).
Their sanctified status means no altercation, lewd conduct or other forms of anti-social behaviour are permitted within their boundaries. These are sacred spaces where Muslims turn for spiritual, moral and political guidance. The Valley of Makkah contains in its apron the sacred House of Allah while Madinah is the last resting place of the noble Messenger (pbuh). Every inch of space in Makkah and al-Madinah represents Islamic and Prophetic history.
It is necessary to highlight their sanctified status because Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) has embarked on a policy to impose vulgarity and nudity in the kingdom. Not that the kingdom’s past policies were much better. Under a fraudulent claim to being Islamic, the Bani Saud clan tried to present themselves as ‘guardians of the Two Holy Mosques’. Most Muslims found such claims completely false but until now, vulgarity was not indulged in so openly.
With MbS launching concerts and art festivals and allowing free mixing of men and women with the resultant debauchery, the situation has drastically changed. Whatever MbS’ motives—and there are many—the Muslim world’s concern is with the sanctity of the Haramayn. In the hands of such corrupters and debauchers, their sacredness is being assaulted and undermined.
This is deliberate. MbS wants to ingratiate himself to his western masters by presenting himself as a “reformer” and “modernizer”. This is part of his effort to be allowed to become king once his aged and ailing father dies.
As part of his ‘modernizing’ campaign, MbS has established what is referred to as the “entertainment authority”. In another ironic twist—and perhaps as a parting kick to any lingering religiosity—he has appointed Turki Al-Sheikh as its head. To understand the irony, we must bear in mind that Al-Sheikh is the descendant of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, founder of the Wahhabi sect that dominated the kingdom until MbS came on the scene. While most Muslims do not subscribe to the obscurantist views of this sect, there was until recently some restrictions on open display of vulgarity. Free mixing of the sexes was forbidden and concerts were out of the question.
Even if most Muslims would welcome the banishing of Wahhabism that has caused so much conflict and grief in the Muslim world, vulgarity is not a substitute. MbS is trying to compete with Dubai and other dens of vice but his policies are damaging Islam’s holy places. After all, massive concerts are going on in Jeddah right now with ear-piercing noise and scantily-clad women dancing to the beat, almost in hearing distance of al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. Such vulgar acts are an affront to the sensibilities of all sincere Muslims. They cannot be allowed to continue.
MbS has also been forced by his western masters to drastically revise school textbooks. This is the case in a number of other Arab countries as well. Islamic teachings are being removed and replaced with secular values. Such concepts as honesty, sincerity, piety and adherence to Islamic values of purity are being purged as are references to Jihad. Would any western country allow the removal of Christian fundamentalist content from their school textbooks? Why are Islamic values under assault?
How about that other sacred cow, the Zionist state of Israel? Its school textbooks are not only full of falsehoods about the history of Palestine but they contain extremely racist and derogatory content about Muslims and Arabs. It is such indoctrination of Israeli children from a very young age that breeds contempt for Palestinians. Not surprisingly, most people in Israel hold extremely racist views. The entire state structure is built on racism. The July 2019 Nation state law openly declares that Israel is a state only for the Jewish people.
Why should Muslims abandon their values that are based on the teachings of the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah to appease western rulers? Further, why should the sacred land of the Arabian Peninsula be turned into a land of vice and vulgarity? Even in the worst days of Jahiliyyah before Islam, such vulgarity was not witnessed as is being imposed by MbS.
It is time for Muslims worldwide to wake up and wrest control of the Haramayn from these corrupters, otherwise there is real risk that one day they might wake up and find that MbS has opened a casino just outside the Haram in Makkah (may Allah forbid this). The Bani Saud were planted in the holy places by the British to serve their interests. That is exactly what they have done all these years. The only difference is a change of masters from Britain to the US. The Bani Saud remain slaves of foreign powers. In that sense, Makkah and al-Madinah are as occupied as al-Quds (Jerusalem) is by the Zionists.