By Lather Farooq
(Prince Salman’s new Kaaba being built in Riyadh)
Saudi Arabia, the land of Islam and described as the land of Fitnah and Dajjal, is constructing a replica of Kaaba calling Mukaab-a cube=in the heart of the capital Riyadh.
In a development which shocked the entire Muslim world, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently announced his plans to build a gigantic new Kaaba in the middle of a new city center being developed in the capital Riyadh.
The new project will feature a museum, a tech and Design University, a multipurpose theatre and an immersive theatre and more than 80 entertainment venues. It will be a mammoth 400-meter-long, wide and deep structure made up of overlapping triangular forms, in an architectural style inspired by the Najd architectural style- in reference to the central Arabian ancestral homeland of the ruling Al-Saud dynasty.
Kaaba has been the most sacred building for Muslims worldwide. During the Haj and Umrah pilgrims, millions of Muslims from around the world visit Saudi Arabia and pray towards Kaaba – the building in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, and circumambulate the holy structure.
The Holy Kaaba is a cubical structure, unlike almost any other religious structure. It is fifteen meters tall and ten and a half meters on each side; its corners roughly align with the cardinal directions. The door of the Kaaba is now made of solid gold; it was added in 1982. The kiswa, a large cloth that covers the Kaaba, which used to be sent from Egypt with the hajj caravan, today is made in Saudi Arabia. Until the advent of modern transportation, all pilgrims undertook the often dangerous hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca in a large caravan across the desert, leaving from Damascus, Cairo, or other major cities in Arabia, Yemen or Iraq.
The numerous changes to the Kaaba and its associated mosque serve as good reminder of how often buildings, even sacred ones, were renovated and remodeled either due to damage or to the changing needs of the community.
Only Muslims visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina today.
Muslims are already pointing this out on social media, ironizing about Mohammad bin Salman’s “new Kaaba,” which is much more devoted to the canons of global economics than to the rigor of Wahhabi Islam.
Academic Dr Muhammad Al-Hachimi Al-Hamidi asked “Is Mohamed bin Salman building his own Kaaba in Riyadh? This is the design he has chosen for his latest project; a new ‘Kaaba’ of entertainment!!” He also mentioned prophetic narrations relating to the Najd region from which the “horn of Satan” will emerge.
Another academic Asad Abu Khalil tweeted: “It appears [the crown prince] is building his Kaaba. Will he enforce it as the new qibla for worshippers?”
Intercept reporter Murtaza Hussein observed that “building a new Kaaba exclusively devoted to capitalism is a little too on the nose.” This point was shared by Managing Director of global risk and intelligence firm, International Interest, Sami Al-Hachimi Al-Hamidi who in a video said the “symbolism is striking” in that the kingdom is essentially relocating its identity “from the Kaaba in Makkah to the Kaaba in Riyadh, from a Kaaba of Islam to a Kaaba to Vision 2030”.
The holy Kaaba in Makka has been considered as the most holy site of worship in Islam..
According to Islam, Muslims pray five times each day. After the year 624 C.E., these prayers were aimed at Mecca along with the Kaaba instead of Jerusalem .This orientation (or qibla in Arabic) is engraved throughout all mosques, and allows believers to determine the direction to pray. The Qur’an set the direction for prayer.
All Muslims are aspiring to make the hajj which is the annual pilgrimage to the Kaaba once in their lifetime as long as they’re able. A daily prayer five times and the hajj is one among the five foundations of Islam which are the most fundamental beliefs of the religion.
After arriving at Mecca the pilgrims are gathered within the courtyards of Masjid al-Haram around the Kaaba. They follow a circular route (tawaf to use Arabic) or wander around the Kaaba in which they want to kiss and rub the Black Stone (al-Hajar al-Aswad) which is located in the eastern corner of the Kaaba.
Prince Salman’s plans follows the futuristic smart city project NEOM, which will include a 170 kilometer-long mega city, The Line. The $500 billion development has also drawn controversy over its lavish cost, the impact on the environment, its feasibility and alleged human rights abuses, including forced displacement of tribes that have taken place during its construction, which is on-going.
In an article titled “Saudi Arabia’s power and global influence are wasted on one man “ British columnist Yvonne Ridley had this to state;
Bin Salman is in a position to do much good in the world: a peaceful and just solution for the people of occupied Palestine, for example; justice for ordinary people suffering at the hands of tyrants across the Middle East and North Africa; even an end to the persecution of his fellow Muslims in India and China. But he won’t. Saudi Arabia’s power and global influence is wasted on him, and he is a waste of space.
Another columnist pointed out that Saudi Arabia doesn’t fight, mostly Muslim, in the region. Saudi spends billions in buying weapons. Salman signed a 100 billion dollar weapons contract with former American President Donald Trump. Isn’t it time he thinks about 33 million flood victims in Pakistan, starving Afghans who sell their organs for food ,the Turkish and Syrian earth quake victims suffering without food and shelter in the severe winter cold and the like ?
Millins of Muslims from worldwide [ray at the Kaaba.The Kaaba, granite masonry, covered with silk curtain and calligraphy in gold and silver-wrapped thread, pre-Islamic monument, rededicated by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in 631–32 C.E., multiple renovations, Mecca, Saudi Arabia (photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim,
Disclaimer: Saudi Prince Salman building a new Kaaba
Muslims worldwide fiercely condemn the move - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view