The ”holy cow” and redefining the custodianship of the holy lands – by Dr. Nakvisson
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a history of oppression and inhumane treatment of its own people and guest pilgrims, indifference to the Muslims’ affairs, following the US policies and implementing Zionist plans, interference in the Muslim countries’ affairs, plundering of the people’s wealth and stealing of the Hajj revenue, lavish lifestyle of the Saudi monarchs while millions die of hunger and imposing of the ”literalist” Wahhabi ideology on everyone who visits the holy lands. All of this has led to the tipping point where the ”enlightened” Muslims, whether Sunni Muslims or Shia Muslims, are no more willing to take the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a ”holy cow”. Perhaps this is time to redefine the custodianship of Mecca and Medina.
The motivation behind this blog is video clip that has been circulating on the social media for the past few days. It is a clip of one of the episodes of George Galloway’s programme ”Comment” for Press TV. A Sunni Muslim called Galloway and expressed her frustrations about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Please watch the clip below:
The British-granted custodianship of the holy lands
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with imperialism, clanism and Arab nationalism rooted in its very name, has enjoyed the status of the ”custodian” of the holy lands since its inception when it emerged as a new country on the world map after the British instated the al-Saud clan in Hejaz. The readers are encouraged to read the history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for further information. Since the time it was carved out as a new country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been treated as a ”holy cow” by many Muslims around the world – a ”holy cow” that is immune to criticism and exercises full authority to impose its Wahhabi brand of Islam in the holy sites that belong to Muslims with different ideologies and schools of thought from all over the world.
A history of oppression and insult
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a long history of suppression of its own people as well as the guest pilgrims who may deviate even a bit from the ”literalist” Wahhabi ideology. Whether it is Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Sufi Muslims or any other school of thought belonging to the mainstream Islam, they have no place in Saudi Arabia unless they stick to the strict Wahhabi practices or conceal their faith and practices. While Mecca and Medina and other holy sites in Saudi Arabia belong to the whole Muslim world, the ruling ideology there is Wahhabism, something not recognised or appreciated by majority of mainstream Muslims. Each year after the Hajj season, we get to hear numerous stories of Saudi oppression of the guest pilgrims… that how they were harassed, arrested, tortured and disgraced.. even inside the courtyards of the Masjid al-Nabi and Masjid al-Haraam, the most sacred places in Islam. The main accusation is usually ”worshipping the graves” (it is a serious crime to get closer to the grave of the holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or the graves of his family. Moreover, one may not turn towards the grave of the holy Prophet to pay greetings in order to show respect.
The ”Hajj-revenue for Vanity” programmeThe stories of the vanity of Saudi monarchs have been being reported in the media for decades. Almost everyone with some level of awareness knows that the the ruling class in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has an unjustifiably lavish lifestyle at the expense of not only the oil wealth but also the Hajj-revenue. If the Saudi regime were the true leader of the Muslims all over the world then not only the Hajj-money but also the oil wealth would have to be spent on the poor, hungry, uneducated and underdeveloped masses of Muslims around the world. As the oil money and the Hajj-revenue feed to the lavish and full of vanity lifestyle of the Saudi princes, princesses and other members of the clan, millions die of hunger and disease. But it seems that the ”Hajj-revenue for Vanity” programme that the Saudi monarchs have so successfully been running for decades with the help of the Wahhabi clergy class has now been exposed and understood by the mainstream Muslims around the world.
Not really a ”holy cow”
There are considerable numbers of ”enlightened” Muslims who would like to see the holy places in Mecca and Medina free of the odious Wahhabi ideology, the al-Saud clan and the oppressive Saudi Wahhabi clergymen and their foreigner followers humiliating and insulting the good-hearted, well-faithed mainstream Muslims who come all the way from their distant lands after having spent a fortune to pay homage to the holy Prophet and visit the house of God. Perhaps it is time to redefine the custodianship of the holy places. But such a change can only be realised if a considerable number of Muslims all over the world stop treating the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a ”holy cow” that is immune to criticism. However, the recent trends among the general Muslim populations around the world show that the ”holy cow” image of the Saudi monarchy is no longer valid, at least to those who are aware of the Saudi reality. The above video clip is a proof of that.
An ”idealistic” approach to redefining custodianship of the holy lands
The custodianship of the holy lands in Mecca and Medina can be taken from the hands of the al-Saud clan and their Wahhabi clergy class and instead a new custodianship can be defined. But this will require a world-wide campaign from Muslims belonging to every Islamic school of thought and every country and region in the world. This in itself is a rather ”idealistic” approach and may have a lot of ”show-stoppers”. But nevertheless a new custodianship can be defined on the basis of following guidelines:
- As a starting point, the al-Saud family may stay in power and control the whole country save Mecca and Medina.
- All the affairs of the holy places in Mecca and Medina shall be governed under the control and supervision of an international governing body similar to OIC consisting of representatives of all the Muslim countries (and Islamic schools of thought) and countries like India, Russia, USA and EU that have considerable Muslim populations.
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shall have its members included in the international body to facilitate the organisation of the holy lands and may get some extra revenue for that.
- All the revenue, profit and expenditure related to the pilgrimage will be managed by the governing body.
- The governing body shall have a panel of ulema (clergymen) representing all the Islamic schools of thoughts and it will make sure that no specific ideology is imposed on any local or guest pilgrim.
- There shall be rotating president-ship of the governing body, just like the EU model, so that every country with Islam as the state religion can become its president for a specific period of time. The members of USA, EU, Russia, India etc may be accommodated in other positions like vice-president etc.
- All the congregational prayers in the holy sites shall be led by clergymen of different Islamic schools of thought on a weekly-rotating basis.
- The Saudi government will process the visa applications and collect all the revenue related to it. But the fees will be reduced to a reasonable level.
- The Saudi government will be paid for all the expenditures coming from its own budget.
The above guidelines, no matter how ”idealistic” they may sound, can give a hope to more than a billion Muslims around the world that one day the holy sites in Mecca and Medina may belong to all the Muslims and not only to a wicked monarchy relying on the support of the clergymen following the ”literalist” Wahhabi ideology. The purpose of the above guidelines is to spark a discussion and debate. One can only hope that some time in the future the holy lands of Mecca and Medina will become safe, welcoming, open and accommodating for every Saudi and non-Saudi Muslim.
Every year many Muslims are denied the right to go and visit Holy Makkah and Madinah on the grounds of visa restrictions imposed by Saudi rulers. Syed Neaz Ahmad looks at the issue and suggests a simple solution.
Since the days Prophet Abraham established the House of God inMecca it has been a free city. But only after King Abdulaziz Al-Saud captured the cities of Mecca & Medina from the Sharifs (the descendants of Prophet Mohammad) both the cities have turned into controlled areas where only “Saudi approved” persons can enter.
Mecca & Medina are cities that are very close to the heart of 1.5 billion Muslims of the world. Mecca is the direction for the fivetimes’ daily prayers. Many Muslims believe that Both Mecca & Medina should be open cities where ALL Muslims should be welcome. It’s the House of God and the control should not be in hands of the House of Saud.
An international body of Muslims drawn from over 50 counries should be put in place to run the affairs of these two Holy cities.
neazahmad is based in London, England, United Kingdom, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.