Saudi monarch’s efforts to develop Khana Kaaba, Masjid-e-Nabvi are a rich tribute to leadership, clear rebuttal of Western propaganda

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Salahuddin Haider

Visiting almost after five years the Holiest of the Holy Places of our noble religion Islam, Khana Kaaba and Masjid-e-Nabvi, or the Harmain Sharifain, as they prefer to call it Arabic, was indeed refreshing and soul-stirring. Saudi Kings, who takes legitimate pride in naming themselves as servants of the centuries-old Muslim places of worship and seeking forgiveness of sins from God Almighty, have done a yeomen service during the time they were at the helm. This mission continues uninterrupted even today, and although the two biggest mosques of the Ummah has expanded enormously over the last four decades, it still falls short of requirements as rush for pilgrimage continues unabated.
Being there in a party of three (myself, wife and daughter) last week, was a golden opportunity to revisit a place and bow in humility before our Creator and present salam-o-darood at the Rozae Rashool (SAW) to be witness to what has really been done by the Saudi government. The Haram Sharif, revered by Muslims from Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) to Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has grown in size to provide as much comfort to millions of devotees visiting it during Hajj, and throughout the year for Umrah.
The Western media did try to see it through coloured glasses, highlighting that old heritage sites has been demolished causing concern to historians, archaeologists, interested in preserving the old sites in their original form. But their fear that billions of pounds has been spent on ‘destruction of sensitive sites’ is nothing but a crude attempt to spread disbelief and drive the believers away from their faith.
This is nothing but sheer propaganda, and obvious prejudice against Muslim faith. We as faithful of Islam have been taught by our Prophet, the last of God’s messengers to be respectful and humane to all other religions and humanity at large. In discharge of that command, we too joined the celebrations of Prince Charles to Diana, who later became princes, and admitted adultery before crashing to death in a car accident along with her Egyptian boyfriend. Has the West itself not modernized with the passage of time? Are the fast-track American highways linking different cities and States, not a modern means of transportation? Haven’t England, Germany or France, not taken to modernization. Hasn’t the platform of Eifel Tower in Paris, changed to from ordinary cemented ones to white marble tiles.
‘The authorities in Saudi Arabia have begun dismantling some of the oldest sections of Islam’s most important mosque as part of a highly controversial multi-billion pound expansion’ moaned the daily Independent, of England. But the UK press conveniently overlooks the fact, or perhaps does not want to understand the demands of the time. British newspaper published pictures of demolishing of old sites, little realizing that history hates to be static, and moves to keep pace with the changing time.
True, even the birthplace of Holy Prophet (PBUH) in front of Khana Kaaba, hasa been closed to public, but security and safety the crowd converging from all over the world, can not be overlooked. Successive Saudi Kings, or Khadimeene Harmmain Sharifain have onerous responsibilities on their shoulders as custodians of the two grand mosques. Gone are the days, when I took in 1970 as a young lad had the privilege of performing Umran alongwith two of our veteran newspaper owners, late Mir Khalilur Rehman, and late Mohammad Ahmad Zuberi, as part of the Pakistan delegation to the first ever Foreign Ministers Conference, a second tier of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, formed in 1969 in Morocco after the desecration of the Prophet’s mue mubarika (hair) from one of the places of sanctity.
Jeddah was a small, in fact a shantytown then, and Makkah or Medinah drew crowd only during Hajj times.
The small, narrow road from Jeddah to Makkah, or the turbo aircraft flight to Medinah remains fresh in our minds, but the Saudis have kept pace with the times, and today both Khana Kaaba, where pilgrims take seven rounds as spiritual commandment to seek pardon for their sins, and the Masjid-e-Nabvi, are a marvel of modern architecture. Why grudge it then?
Time has changed drastically then, underwent a revolution in fact, Naturally, the size of the