Historic mosques in Madinah to be bulldozed

Three of world’s oldest mosques to be destroyed as Saudi city’s redevelopment continues

(Image for illustrative purposes).

(Image for illustrative purposes).

Three of the world’s oldest mosques, including Prophet Mohammed (pbuh)’s tomb, are set to be destroyed as Saudi Arabia ploughs ahead with plans to expand the kingdom’s second holiest site, it has been reported.

Construction work on the Masjid an-Nabawi in Madinah, where the Prophet Mohammed is buried, is due to start next month. Under the proposed plans the site will be developed to include a mosque with a capacity for 1.6m worshippers, The Independent newspaper said.

The redevelopment is due to take place to the west of the existing mosque, which holds the tombs of Islam’s founder as well as his companions Abu Bakr and Umar.

Just outside the western walls of the current compound are mosques dedicated to Abu Bakr, Umar and Masjid Ghamama, built to mark the spot where the Prophet is thought to have given his first prayers for the Eid festival.

Authorities in the Gulf state have not announced any plans to preserve the three mosques, which have existed since the seventh century, The Independent said.

Saudi Arabia is spending billions of dollars developing Makkah in a bid to allow more pilgrims to visit the holy city. More than 10m people travel to the city throughout the year, while around 4m attended this year's hajj pilgrimage.

It will not be the first time authorities have bulldozed historic sites in Makkah and Medina to make way for new developments.

The Gulf state knocked down the Ottoman-era Ajyad Fortress and the hill it stood on to make way for the Jabal Omar complex and has also redeveloped the Prophet’s birthplace and the house of his first wife Khadijah, said the newspaper.

The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 percent of the 1,000-year old buildings in the two cities have been destroyed in the past 20 years.

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Posted by: Naradar

Yet they want to protest the demolition of an insulting mosque built by an invader in Ayodhya. Real troublesome minorities these momins.

Posted by: FeelingNumbInTheHead

@SA1 - you don't go to ''all over the world" for your Hajj, do you! Even Allah has appointed special significance to special places. Muslims don't go to the Prophet's Mosque to admire its architecture - that is the need of the Saudi rulers - but Muslims go there because that is where the Prophet (PBUH) prayed and is buried. How materialistic to think that a manmade building, regardless of its size and cost, can replace the grave of the holiest man to come.

Posted by: aamir

"Millions of pilgrims and every one of them wants to stay at walkable distance." - have you even wondered whether people have the money to stay at these ridiculously expensive hotels? NO AVERAGE PERSON has this kind of money! These hotels are for the filthy rich who have made money the wrong way

Posted by: Nas

What kind of an accusation is that Aamir - are you suggesting that above-average financially comfortable people or even the super-rich can only be in that postition due to spurious methods??? That's a bold statement to make.

Posted by: SA1

Thats your opinion....
And ofcourse you are not right person to judge if some guy is filthy or not.

I have seen lots of poor, good for nothing, who are much filther and prefer to rob/beg then work hard and earn money.

Posted by: Ali

Then average persons should not travel for Haj. Haj is required only if one can afford it. Just because others cannot afford does not mean well-off people should be deprived from having good hotels near the Haram

Posted by: SA1

I have not heard a single pilgrim every ready to stay 10 miles away from holy mosque and commuting daily.

Millions of pilgrims and every one of them wants to stay at walkable distance.

Definitely St. Peter/ Paul's Cathedral was build by destroying some old chapel.

What constructed now will be surely be historical building in the passage of time.

Posted by: The expansion is also history

Ajyad fortress was built by the ottomans, so what? the hotel complex built there provides convenient access to the holy mosque to hundreds of pilgrims. Ask the women, children and disabled persons and they will tell you how convenient it is to reach the mosque from these hotels. Doesnt this count as service? You probably dont know but I have heard the return from these hotels does not go to any individual but to the holy mosque's treasury. The hotel complexes and the mosque expansion are also part of history. Maybe they will be demolished again several hundred years later to accommodate more pilgrims. Remember the muslim population is increasing and catering to their varying needs is also an obligation. You cannot be stuck in the past just for the sake of "preserving history" at the expense of pilgrim's welfare. Be practical!!

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