Few Muslims, I imagine, would have wished for Saudi Arabia to “modernise” and reach the condition that it is in today in terms of changing its identity and culture. The land of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah is on its way to becoming a secular state, in which art festivals are held with all their debauchery and shame, and actresses and singers appear in revealing clothing. It is as if it has gone back in history to the pre-Islamic era of ignorance; as if no Divine Message was revealed in this land, and no Divinely-guided Messenger was sent from among its people. Having been guided from darkness to light, Arabia is being taken back into darkness.
It is truly sad to see what is happening today in the country of the seal of the prophets, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, under the pretext of “entertainment”. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has established what is being called the “entertainment authority” and entrusted its presidency to Turki Al-Sheikh. The prince has given official approval to corruption, immorality and sin in the land, with no care for the spiritual status of Saudi Arabia in the hearts of the world’s two billion Muslims who dream of going to perform the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages there.
It is a painful irony that Bin Salman and Al-Sheikh are descended from the founders of the first Saudi state in the mid-nineteenth century, Prince Muhammad Bin Saud and Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab, the founder of the Wahhabi movement which Saudi Arabia has sought to spread all over the world. The Wahhabi sheikhs considered those who did not embrace their school of thought to be non-believers, and established the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which continued as a powerful authority in the country until Bin Salman became crown prince. He has weakened the committee and basically replaced it with the “entertainment authority” to satisfy and convince the West that he is a “civilised” man. He is replacing the culture of his country with what passes for culture in the West in the hope that he will inherit his father’s throne. The prince wants to get closer to the Western power brokers so that they give him the keys to the kingdom, but he forgets that real power is in the hands of the Almighty.
Choosing Turki Al-Sheikh to head the so-called entertainment authority was not a random decision; he was chosen carefully and cunningly. Bin Salman chose him precisely because he is the direct descendant of Bin Abdul Wahhab, who pledged allegiance to Muhammad Bin Saud, while the latter pledged to spread Wahhabism. The two men cooperated in religious reform, which resulted in stability for the kingdom and the establishment of the first Saudi state that ended in 1818 due to the Ottoman campaigns that were launched in the Arabian Peninsula. However, less than five years later, Prince Turki Bin Abdullah managed to regain the territory and establish the second Saudi state, with Riyadh as its capital, which continued to follow the same approach as its predecessor and was based on the same pillars until it collapsed in 1891.
Then King Abdulaziz Bin Abdul Rahman Bin Saud wrote a new page in Saudi history when he recaptured Riyadh in 1902. This was a defining moment because it unified most of the regions of the Arabian Peninsula through King Abdulaziz’s leadership skills and his nurturing of its natural resources in later years when he established the third Saudi state. This became known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. It did not differ from the earlier Saudi states in terms of commitment to the Wahhabi approach to the Sunnah of the Prophet and spreading the message of Islam. Its constitution is the Noble Qur’an, its law is taken from the Book and the Sunnah, and its flag carries the declaration of faith — “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is His Messenger” — and two swords as a symbol of the strength of Islam.
This is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which was formed after jihad and battles in which thousands of innocent people were killed. Today, Mohammad Bin Salman, one of the grandsons of its founder King Abdulaziz, is destroying it. He claims that he wants to establish the fourth Saudi state and change the flag that bears the name of God and His Messenger. He wants to change the features of the state, from one governed by Sharia law to a secular state allowing what is prohibited by Islam and spreads immorality and disobedience. He is taking it back to jahiliyyah.
Disclaimer: Bin Salman is taking Saudi Arabia back to the days of ignorance - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view