This is an article written by my friend Yasmin Amin. She is from Cairo, Egypt, a mother of two sons who has resumed studies and is pursuing M.A. in Islamic Studies. She blogs infrequently at Bannos.
When Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab first started his movement, one of the main ideas he espoused was to purify Islam once again and bring it back to the way it was practiced during the time of the Prophet. He was very adamant about vehemently cleaning up Islam and removing what he perceived as bad innovations (bid’a) which resemble t he Jahiliya times. One of his first actions was to level the the grave of Zayd ibn al-Khattab, a companion of the Prophet and brother of the second Caliph, on the grounds that Islamic teachings forbid grave worship.
Many recent Saudi fatwas by various Wahhabi sheikhs have echoed the same belief and have gone down the same route calling for the destruction of shrines, even outside of the borders of the Kingdom. Maybe there are none left there to destroy? A fatwa called for the destruction of the Shia shrines in Iraq on the grounds that “they are symbols of shirk and worship of idols“. Amongst the “scholars” who have issued such fatwas are: Sheikh Abdel- Rahman al-Barak, Sheikh Mamdooh al-Harbi, Dr Nasser al-Omar, Sheikh bin Jibreen, Dr Safar al-Hawali, Shaikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdullah Ibn Baz and Hamed al-Ali.
Another article mentions that Saudi religious “scholars” have been issuing fatwas calling for the destruction of the great Shi’ite shrines in Najaf and Karbala in Iraq, some of which have already been bombed like Samarra’s Askariya shrine, also known as the Golden Mosque, which holds the tombs of two revered 9th-century Shia imams Imam Ali al-Hadi and Imam Hassan al-Askari, father of the “hidden imam,” al-Mahdi.
According to BBC Monitoring Middle East on Jul 23, 2007, other shrines have also been listed and urged to be destroyed “in order to save the Muslims from falling into polytheism“. Mentioned were the shrines of Sayyida Zaynab, in Syria, and the shrines of Al-Sayyida Zaynab and that of Al-Sayyid al-Badawi in Egypt. Continue reading