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Disrespect of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in Azan #2?

[ by Charles Cameron -- the second holiest site in Islam disrespected by the editors of Azan? ]

I’ve taken out the surrounding matter, but here’s the section on “decorated mosques” as a sign of the time of the Dajjal or Islamic antichrist, from Maulana Asim Umar‘s Third World War and Dajjal in the second issue of Azan:



There’s no doubt that the photo that has been dropped in there is of the interior of the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina — compare, for instance here and specifically the larger image here — and the accompanying hadith are less than flattering of “decorated” mosques — suggesting they signal the time of the Dajjal:

Anas ibn Malik narrates that the Prophet of Allah said that the Hour would not arrive until the people show off to each other in (the construction and going to) of mosques. [Saheeh Ibn Khuzaima Vol. 2 Pg. 282, Saheeh Ibn Hibban Vol. 4 Pg. 493]

Abu Darda said that when you start decorating your mosques and beautifying your Mushaf (i.e. The Quran – adorning it with jewellery etc.), then upon you will be destruction. [Kashf-ul-Khifa’ Vol. 1 Pg. 95]

Abdullah ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet said that when the sins of a nation increase, then their mosques become greatly decorated. And decorated mosques will only be constructed at the time of the emergence of the Dajjal. [Al Sunnan Al-Waridah Fil Fitn: Vol. 4 Pg. 819]


What exactly do the Pakistani brothers intend to signal to their readers with this juxtaposition? As Mr Orange has reminded me, they are Deobandis, and consider devotions at the tombs of saints to be a form of shirk — but would they bring bulldozers to the Prophet’s mosque on that account, as their Wahhabi brothers in jihad did to a small shrine commemorating Abraham in Ayn al-Arous, Syria, recently?

I’d like to get a better sense of whether the juxtaposition is as unexpected in Pakistani context as it was to me, thousands of miles away, and would appreciate further clarification…


12 Responses to “Disrespect of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in Azan #2?”

  1. Charles Cameron Says:


  2. Charles Cameron Says:




  3. Charles Cameron Says:

  4. Charles Cameron Says:

    Some great comments here — and I’d like to quote a passage that Omar pointed us to, from Mark Weston, Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present, p. 136: 

    For most of 1925, Abdul Aziz also besieged the city of Medina. The Ikhwan regarded Muhammad’s tomb as just another idol to be smashed, and they fired on the city indiscriminately.

    Oy — and I’m not even Jewish.

  5. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    I tend to agree “Mr. Orange” that it’s probably intended as a “look–Enditmes!” notation.  However, lying behind that is the notion of decadence having arrived (on schedule?)


    Charles, I’m almost surprised you didn’t bring up Matthew 21:12-13 to go along with this story.  I could see the crossover, at least where form & function of a mosque, temple, etc., become skewed for personal gain.

  6. Charles Cameron Says:

    Here we go, then — Matthew 21.12-13: 

    And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

    I was thinking more of the Iconoclasts, and (nearer my home & heart) of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII…

  7. zen Says:

    When the Grand Mosque was seized in 1979, the Mahdist band had made preparations to blow it up.
    Steve Coll, in his book on the Bin Laden family, has a long digression about KSA. Urban renewal policies that would make any archaeologist cringe; the Saudi ministry is no respecter of buildings that date from the rule of the Prophet

  8. Charles Cameron Says:

    HI Zen:
    My memory is that the Mahdists had smuggled in rifles & put snipers in the minarets, but I don’t recall explosives…  As to the renovations around the Grand Mosque & destruction on “ancient” Mecca, the whole situation is very sad. 

  9. Charles Cameron Says:

    Re planning to blow up the Grand Mosque — I tweeted to ask Trofimov and/or Hegghammer, & Hegghammer responded, “No I don’t think they did.”

  10. zen Says:

    I may have misremembered. Something about French special forces in tunnels under the Mosque, I will see if I can find it on my bookshelf

  11. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Charles, the difference between connecting this to the Iconoclasts or H.VIII and connecting it to Matthew seems to be a difference between perspectives—whether a) one looks from the side of those who would defend the mosque in its current form/function or b) one looks from the side of those who would object to its current form/function.


    A defense of iconography/idolatry would take on different meanings for those on each side of the question.  There are those who might say that material extravagance, in the form of beauty, might aid visitors in turning their heads away from the mundane and toward an earthly approximation of Paradise via which real Paradise is “brought closer” to their minds for contemplation.   Beauty might help them step outside themselves, recognizing a higher beauty.  But such a defense might seem sinister to others, those who would say that those “earthly approximations” are nothing more than extravagant distractions that beguile visitors into stopping short of the divine:  the extravagance is a false image, the cloak of pseudo-divinity abetting sin for the benefit of its creators.  So, for instance, rather than aiding visitor by turning their minds toward contemplation of Allah and Paradise, the extravagance is meant to turn their minds toward the human creators of that extravagance who are showing off their wealth and power.


    The connection with the verses from Matthew might seem tenuous, since those moneychangers were not the creators of the temple, did not design it to be extravagant.  However, they also turned visitors’ eyes away from God and toward their wares, probably toward their voices as they hawked wares and services. In both cases, mortal men make use of a place of worship for personal gain. Since people would be going to the place of worship anyway, as a duty to the Almighty — or they could claim this, anyway — these moneychangers or wealthy builders would have an assurance of a personal audience to their own worldly majesty or material possessions.

  12. Charles Cameron Says:

    Yarolslav Trofimov confirmed: no plan to blow up the mosque.  Ah, the wonders of the internet: very graciously, both he and Thomas Hegghammer responded to my inquiry.  

    Just so.  Somewhere between Heraclitus, “The way up and the way down are the same” and TS Eliot, quoting him in our Quartets, is St John of the Cross, whom ELiot also leans on, giving us the sense that the way up of purgation and the way down of embodiment, incarnation, are both of value — as I recall, the difference between latria and dulia is the way the Church distinguishes between proper and improper “uses” of iconography

    Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2nd ed., edited by F.L. Cross & E.A. Livingstone, Oxford Univ. Press, 1983, p. 430, “Dulia”:

    The reverence which, according to Orthodox and RC theology, may be paid to the saints, as contrasted with hyperdulia, which may be paid only to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and latria (Gk., latreia), which is reserved for God alone.

    Latria, p. 803:

    As contrasted with dulia, that fullness of Divine worship which may be paid to God alone.

    Idolatry, idol-latria, then, would be treating any word, thought, image, belief or icon as God, ie as the end point, rather than as a doorway opening on the beatific vision.

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