Saudi Wahabis: Destroying The Holy Sites in Mecca and Medina
In 1818, the Wahhabis were defeated and they withdrew from the holy places. The Prophet’s Mosque, the Baqi’ and the monuments at Uhud were rebuilt during the reigns of the Ottoman sultans ‘Abd al-Majid I, ‘Abd al-Hamid II and Mahmud II. From 1848 to i860, the buildings were renovated and the Ottomans built the domes and mosques in splendid aesthetic style. They also rebuilt the Baqi’ with a large dome over the graves of the Prophet’s daughter Fatima al-Zahra, Imam Zainul ‘Abidin (‘Ali bin al-Hussain), Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Baqir and Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq.
In the Ottoman part of the Prophet’s Mosque, at the center of the three sections raised a bit from the ground level are three circles. The first, toward the west, corresponds to the grave of the Prophet. The next two toward the east correspond to the graves of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. Above the circles are invocations including ” Ya Allah” and “Ya Muhammad.” The latter was removed and replaced it with ” Ya Majid” by adding the dot under the ‘ha of Muhammad to make itjim and two dots under the second mint of Muhammad to make it ya. There are qasidas written by rulers of the Muslim world, such as Sultan ‘Abd alHamid. Many verses of the famous Burda of al-Busayri had also been painted over. On the Qibla side, the brass partition that is divided into three sections between two columns, the authorities have also tried to cover the famous two verses inscribed in the east from the story of al-’Utbi as mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir. “O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth, and from whose fragrance the depth and height have become sweet! May I be the ransom for a grave in which you dwell, where purity, bounty and munificence.”
The Wahhabi religious authorities are, unfortunately, on a fast track. In 1998, the grave of Amina bint Wahb, the Prophet’s mother, was bulldozed in Abwa and gasoline was poured on it. Even though thousands of petitions throughout the Muslim world were sent to Saudi Arabia, nothing stopped this action. One of my late teachers, Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki, a Meccan who was a great historian on the holy sites and inherited his knowledge from his father and forefathers who were all teachers of the holy Haram, showed me pictures of the grave of Sayyida Amina marked with a pile of stones after the destruction. The House of Khadija was excavated during the Haram extensions, then hurriedly covered over so as to obliterate any trace of it. This was the house where the Prophet received some of his first revelations and it is also where his children Umm Kulthum, Ruqqaya, Zaynab, Fatima, and Qasim were born. Dar al-Arqam, the first school in Islam where the Prophet taught has also been demolished. It was in the area of Shi’b ‘Ali near the Bab ‘Ali door opposite the king’s palace. It is now part of the extension of the Haram.