The Hajj represents the culmination of the Muslim's spiritual life. Muslim allies of Saudi Arabia piled pressure on UN chief Ban Ki-moon over the blacklisting of a Saudi-led coalition for killing children in Yemen, with Riyadh threatening to cut Palestinian aid and funds to other UN programs, according to diplomatic sources. The unsubtantiated fatwa attributed to the Grand Mufti claims that such sacrifice is the ultimate way of showing subordantion.
Send to a friend
All we're doing is going back to what we were: Royal shake-up in Saudi Arabia Bin Salman's reference to was doubtless a nod to a tumultuous year for Saudi Arabia that included Shiite militants overthrowing the secular Shah of Iran and Sunni fundamentalists seizing the Masjid al-Haram, or Grand Mosque, in Mecca.
That same year, the country's Shiite minority staged a deadly revolt in Al-Hasa province. The Saudi monarchy responded by shoring up ties with the Wahhabi religious establishment and restoring many of its hardline stances.
For instance, it shut down the few movie theaters in the kingdom. Saudi police release woman in miniskirt video Wahhabism is a form of Islam that bans the mixing of sexes in public and puts myriad restrictions on women -- among them, the requirement that they need permission from a male guardian to work or travel.
Saudi Arabia's religious police were given great leeway to enforce the restrictions. The tentacles of Wahhabism reached deeply into Saudi life, influencing its courts, politics and foreign policy, as elder kings with tight relations to the religious establishment ruled for the next few decades. The king promoted bin Salman to crown prince, making him heir apparent, in June. The two curbed the authority of religious police, taking away their power to arrest citizens.
They allowed the first music concerts in decades, cracked down on religious incitement and granted women a growing list of rights -- most notably the right to drive, which will take effect next year. It reflects our values of forgiveness, righteousness and moderation. Righteousness is on our side. Saudi activist hails end of ban on women driving Saturday, 11 April KSA Saudi grand mufti says clerics should steer away from murky politics Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh warned religious clerics to stay away from politics as it is murky and Grandson of Saudi grand mufti killed in vehicle accident: Beyond the pageantry of the UN general assembly Walid Jawad.
UN illusion and stars of the international clinic Ghassan Charbel. Nuclear power fits with Saudi energy diversification plans Dr. The leftist enemy Mashari Althaydi. Send to a friend Close. The unsubtantiated fatwa attributed to the Grand Mufti claims that such sacrifice is the ultimate way of showing subordantion. An elaborate guild of specialists assists the Hajjis. Guides mutawwifs who speak the pilgrim's language make the necessary arrangements in Mecca and instruct the pilgrim in the proper performance of rituals; assistants wakils provide subsidiary services.
Separate groups of specialists take care of pilgrims in Medina and Jiddah. Water drawers zamzamis provide water drawn from the sacred well. Since the late s, the Saudis have been particularly energetic in catering to the needs of pilgrims. The improvement initiative resulted partly from Iranian charges that the Saudi government was incompetent to guard the holy sites after a clash between demonstrating Iranian pilgrims and Saudi police left people dead.
A further disaster occurred in , when 1, pilgrims suffocated or were crushed to death in one of the new air-conditioned pedestrian tunnels built to shield pilgrims from the heat. The incident resulted from the panic that erupted in the overcrowded and inadequately ventilated tunnel, and further fueled Iranian claims that the Saudis did not deserve to be in sole charge of the holy places.
In , however, , Iranian pilgrims, close to the usual level, participated in the Hajj. The religious establishment in Saudi Arabia, led by the Al ash-Sheikh , which influences almost every aspect of social life, is deeply involved in politics. It has long been fractured into at least two distinct groups, with the senior ulema closely tied to the political agenda of the House of Saud.
A younger generation of ulema, who are less firmly established and more radical in tone, have openly criticized the senior ulema and the government in the past. Fractures between the government and this younger generation deepened in May , when Riyadh fired or suspended thousands of them.
The move did little to endear the government to an already frustrated and religiously radical cadre of clerics. The Islamic Legitimacy of the modern Saudi state has been questioned by many groups and individuals including Al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia's grand mufti , Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh , has defended the religious establishment's legitimacy in a public forum, while responding to mounting criticism of the religious leadership's close political alliance with the ruling House of Saud.
Both the criticism and the public response to it indicate a deepening level of dissent, not only within the kingdom's religious establishment, but also among the public. It is significant that the question was asked and answered in a public forum, and then reprinted in the media -- including the Arabic and English language newspapers.
Similar questions of legitimacy will arise in coming months, with the kingdom's religious, political and perhaps military leaderships becoming the focal points for increasingly intense criticism. That Al Al-Sheikh answered the question about government influence over fatwas so openly is a clear indicator that the public has growing concerns about the legitimacy of religious leaders.
Also, that the statements were reprinted in the press signals that the Saudi government -- which wields enormous influence over the local press -- is moving to respond to the charges of undue influence and corruption and illegitimacy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Islam by country Islam in Africa. Islam in the Americas. History of Saudi Arabia. Shia Islam in Saudi Arabia.
Ahmadiyya in Saudi Arabia. Mecca , Medina , and Hajj. Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. The New York Review of Books. This is, after all, the birthplace of Muhammad and of the Arabic language, the locus of Muslim holy cities, the root of tribal Arab trees, and also, historically, a last redoubt against foreign incursions into Arab and Muslim lands.
The kingdom is in many ways a unique experiment. It is the only modern Muslim state to have been created by jihad, the only one to claim the Koran as its constitution, and [the only Arab-]Muslim countries to have escaped European imperialism. The Trail of Political Islam. The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. The region had been part of the Ottoman Empire for four centuries and consequently its religious culture was pluralistic, with the four Sunni legal schools, various Sufi orders and a tiny Shia community around Medina.
Hijazis naturally regarded the reintroduction of Saudi rule with much apprehension, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Saudi Arabia is a glaring example of religious apartheid.
Wahhabi doctrines have governed much of the legal and cultural life of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia since its founding in , even though followers of Wahhabism may be a minority within the country.
Daily life in the medieval Islamic world. Beliefs and Observances 5th ed. The history of Saudi Arabia. The Future of Islam in the Middle East.
Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 7 June Fundamentalism in the Arab World. A History of the Arab Peoples. A Brief History of Saudi Arabia. New York Review of Books. A History of Saudi Arabia. Human Resources Development in Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia in the oil era: This incident [Mecca Grand Mosque takeover which lasted] for nearly two weeks, severely damaging the mosque Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism Since Retrieved April 6, Saudi Arabia Enters the 21st Century.
Saudi Arabia A Country Study. United States Congressional Research Service. The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June The official clergy are said to be dependent upon the al-Saud for their existence.
They regularly issue fatwas Encyclopedia of world constitutions, Volume 2. The Foreign Policies of Arab States: The Challenge of Globalization. Decreed 1 March Embassy of Saudi Arabia.