Saudi Destruction of Muslim Historical Sites

Sheila Musaji

Posted Mar 28, 2006      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
Bookmark and Share

Last year we published an article about the planned Saudi destruction of the home of Prophet Muhammad, and another about the destruction of Islam’s historic sites by the Saudi’s over the past 50 years..

The current issue of Islamica magazine - the best Islamic print periodical available in English - has a series of articles on the Saudi destruction of Muslim historical sites, and the need for protection of remaining sites in Saudi and elsewhere.  Anyone who can should check with their local news stand to see if this issue is still available, or better yet, get a subscription to Islamica if you don’t already have one.

The Ottomans did an excellent job in their centuries as custodians and protected and documented historic sites, and now their meticulous care is being reversed in a short time.

History is being erased in order to accommodate ever increasing numbers of pilgrims.  Over 300 sites have been destroyed in the last 50 years. 95% of the sites in Mecca have been destroyed.  As few as 20 structures are left that date back to the time of the Prophet.  It would seem that at this rate there won’t be much for those like Congressman Tancredo who suggested Nuking Mecca to destroy.  Muslim silence over the destruction is shocking.

A Mecca conference in 2005 that criticized Israeli destruction of historic sites, and the Saudi protest of the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India would seem hypocritical. 

The site where the Prophet grew up has already been demolished, a library has now been built over the house where the Prophet was born and now there are plans to demolish that to build skyscrapers.

Five of the renowned “Seven Mosques” initially built by Prophet Muhammad’s daughter and four of his “greatest Companions”: Masjid Abu Bakr, Masjid Salman al-Farsi, Masjid Umar ibn al-Khattab, Masjid Sayyida Fatima bint Rasulillah and Masjid Ali ibn Abi Talib have been demolished.

Photographs of Masjid al Haram in 1880, unknown year, 1910, 1954, 2000, 2004.

Photograph of Jannat al Mualla at Mecca before and after demolition, inside the Jannat.

Photographs of Jannat ul Baqi before and after it was razed

Photographs of Medina in 1907, old photo year unknown.

The Saudi’s have announced an award — called “Prince Sultan ibn Salman Award for Architectural Heritage” — which will be presented in three fields — research related to architectural heritage, use of architectural heritage in new designs and heritage restoration and rehabilitation.  However, by the time anyone might win such an award what will be left to protect?

What we can do is at least protest any further destruction.  We can contact the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC or the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission and ask them to preserve Islam’s historical sites.

Saudi Destruction of Muslim Historical Sites, Sheila Musaji
The Destruction of Holy Sites in Mecca and Medina, Dr. Irfan Ahmed
Saudi’s build public toilets over The House of Sayyida Khadija
Saudi Royals Destroying Home of Muhammad, Tarek Fatah
Muslim hush over Saudi destruction of prophet (p) home shocking, By: Nabil Raza
Destruction of historic Mecca under Saudi Trusteeship, by Mirza A. Beg