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”
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.”
Aku share dulu. Ini berita semua datang dari UK dan media Eropah. Mungkin ini propaganda. So, berhati2.
Tapi memandangkan Mekah sendiri sudah jadi satu tempat yang membeza2 kan faktor kewangan sesama Islam sendiri sama ada dia mampu atau tidak, padahal Mekah adalah tempat di mana semua orang Islam sama darjat...kau buat la konklusi sendiri.
Apa salah satu tanda kiamat? Orang berebut bina bangunan tinggi. Kat mana kau boleh nampak tanda tu?
Sebelah Kaabah. Hahaha. Aku takut betul satu hari nanti, anak cucu kita takleh bezakan Kaabah dengan Las Vegas.