An open Letter to Sheikh Abdur Rahman Sudais, Grand Imam of Masijdil Al-Haram in Makkah.
Dear Sheikh Abdur Rahman Sudais
I would like to greet you with the Islamic greeting of peace – Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullah, may the peace and blessings of Allah SWT be upon you. However, I feel very uncomfortable sending you such an honourable greeting of peace and blessings when I know my letter is not intended to bring peace and blessings for you. My intention for writing this open letter to you is to bring to your attention, my and the entire Muslim ummah’s utter dismay at your blind support for the Saudi royal family and their despotic rule of the sacred land that houses Islam’s holiest sites in the cities of Makkah and Madinah. I pray to Allah SWT that He guides you to see the errors of your way.
Dear Sheikh, do you believe the rulers of Saudi Arabia are the legitimate rulers of this sacred land? If they are, who elected them to this position and who has the right to take them to account? Can they be removed from the office if they murder innocent people or steal the wealth of the nation? And can anyone in Saudi Arabia stand for the top position in the Kingdom? Dear sheikh, in other words, do the people of Saudi Arabia have any choice in who rules them? We know the answer to this question clearly, but as the most senior Islamic cleric in the holy land and the reverence you command globally, do you know the answer? If you ask your heart, I am pretty certain you get the same answer as the rest of us, the 1.8 billion Muslims of the world, that this regime is totally illegitimate and must be removed. Why do you ignore this truth?
In your role as the grand Imam of the Grand Mosque and most sacred sanctuary of Islam, the Ka’aba, you delivered a very disturbing khutba on the Friday of the 20th of October 2018. I have heard your entire speech in Arabic and read the English translation too. I was dismayed at what was coming out of your mouth.
Sheikh Sudais, in your speech you violated the sanctity of the sacred space that you occupy. You quoted a saying of the blessed Prophet Muhammad SAW that once every century, Allah SWT sends a mujaddid, a great reformer to reclaim or reinvigorate the faith. You explained that the mujaddid is needed to address the unique challenges of each age. We are with you on this point that we desperately need a mujaddid for our 21st century challenges, but we were flabbergasted by your assertion of who that mujaddid is?
During sermon you proceeded to extol Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a divine gift to Muslims and implied that the crown prince was the mujaddid sent by Allah SWT to revive the Islamic faith in our age. I have heard of many fools make many foolish statements but this one tops them all. You went on to say, “the path of reform and modernization in this blessed land … through the care and attention from its young, ambitious, divinely inspired reformer crown prince, who continues to blaze forward guided by his vision of innovation and insightful modernism, despite all the failed pressures and threats, you made this utterly idiotic declaration, from the podium where the blessed Prophet Muhammad SAW delivered his last sermon. You dishonored the holy sanctuary by your fictional praise of this crown prince. He is not a mujaddid, he is not Allah-inspired and he certainly is not a visionary. He is a murderous wolf in sheep’s cloak.
Dear Sheikh Sudais, you cautioned that the attacks against “these blessed lands” are a provocation and offense to more than a billion Muslims. You are right about the attack and offence; but you forgot that the enemy of this land, the attacker and the provocateur is not an outsider, but your paymaster, the despotic and ruthless ruler prince Mohammed. He is a murderer, imprisoner of scholars and destroyer of people’s freedom. It is such a shame that you are prepared to sell your soul to the evil dictator and then try to pull wool over the 1.8 billion Muslims of the world about his glory. Shame on you Sheikh Sudais! Shame on you!
You used the word “mujaddid,” or “uniquely and singularly gifted” to describe Prince Mohammed. “Mujaddid” was the title given by the blessed Prophet Muhammad SAW to Sayyidina Umar Ibn al-Khattab, his companion and the second caliph of Islam. In your speech you implicitly compared the crown prince to Caliph Umar. Dear Sheikh, this is an utter disgrace. I am sure you know that this title comes with some high qualifications and qualities. It is referred to a person of great knowledge of Islam and deep personal devotion to Allah SWT, a deep comprehension of the history of Islam and the world, well-informed of the present realities and clear and refreshing vision for the future.
Mohammed Bin Salman does not possess any of these qualities and yet you had the shameless audacity to compare him to the great people of our faith? How could you do that Sheikh Sudais, especially draw an analogy if this evil man to the great perosnlity of Sayyidina Umar Ibn Al-Khattab?
Dear Sheikh Sudais, you prayed to Allah SWT to protect prince Mohammed against the international conspiracies being woven against him by the enemies of Islam, the malingerers and hypocrites, and concluded that it was the solemn duty of all Muslims to support and obey the king. What international conspiracies are you talking about? Who are those enemies of Islam, malingerers and hypocrites? Let me remind you that the real enemies of Islam are prince Mohammed, his cronies and the many members of Saudi royal family who have been at the forefront of the conspiracies. They have conspired to destroy Islam from all Muslim countries by firstly funding and exporting their toxic extremist and puritanical Salafist ideology and secondly by bankrolling the destruction of democracy movements from the Middle East and North African countries, especially Egypt. It was your so called visionary and Allah-inspired prince Mohammed who has continued the support of those who led the way to remove an elected president and install a dictator in Egypt. This conspiracy had nothing to do with protecting Islam, but everything to do with protecting his monarchy and noxious hegemony in the Middle East.
Dear Sheikh Sudais, you should not be praying to Allah SWT to protect this evil man or his family, you should be praying to Allah SWT to free the Ummah of the blessed Prophet Muhammad SAW from the iron grip of the real enemies of Islam. You should be praying for the people of Saudi Arabia so that they can experience freedom. You should be praying to Allah SWT to give you wisdom and the people patience and endurance to struggle to remove the despots from power and influence.
You called him the faithful crown prince, the protector and guardian of the holy sites of Islam. You reminded us of his honourable title – khadim al-Haramayn as-Sharifyan. For anyone to be given such a worthy title, the servant of the two holy sanctuaries of Islam, they must fulfill some basic human qualities and meet the spiritual yardsticks laid down by Allah SWT and His Messenger SAW. The Saudi royal family have desecrated the holy space by destruction of all historic sites, signs and symbols around the Masjidil Al-Haram in Makkah and the blessed Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. They have built ugly skyscrapers and clock towers that make ugly the aesthetic beauty of such a spiritual space. The concrete jungle that they have created has become no different to the Las Vegus style theme parks or New York, the heartland of wanton materialism. It has happened at your watch Sheikh Sudais, you have made your office, your lectern and your cloaks more fanciful to meet the glittering change and you have preached Godliness and simplicity from the same ostentatious spot. How hypocritical! These tasteless developments have become expensive showpieces for the Muslims and hinderance for us from attaining true spiritual connections and God consciousness. He is not the Khadim Al-Haramayn As-Sharifyan at all, he is the enemy of Islam’s holy sanctuary, they have become known as the destroyer of this sacred space and held responsible for the disfiguration of the two holy cities.
Dear Sheikh Sudais, you have abused your position as the Imam of the most sacred mosque of Islam. You have “used this scared pulpit to so brazenly weaponise the grand mosque in favour of the Saudi regime and no Imam of the Grand Mosque had ever anointed a Saudi ruler as the mujaddid of the age or dared to imply as such.” This blatant abuse of the pulpit is not only reckless behaviour by you but it also indicates how low you have stooped. You have become a tool for their evil work. They are using you and when your use is over, they will dispose you like they have done with many of your colleagues in the past. In the process you would have sacrificed your prospect of success of this world and the next. May Allah SWT guide you.
Dear Sheikh Sudais, we understand that your sermons are strictly scripted, vetted and pre-approved by the security services, who are under strict instructions of the Saudi royal family. We also understand that you are required to offer a simple prayer for the Saudi rulers but you went too far this time, you elevated the crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman to sacred qualities and insisted absolute obedience of the monarchs like one would obey God. This is by your own salafi teachings a clear shirik. No human being deserves our absolute obedience, it is always conditional to the fact that they are obedient to God and His Messenger SAW first and do not act or encourage us to act, and do not enact laws that contradict these sacred principles.
Dear Sheikh Sudais, let me remind you of the catalogue of evil your prince Mohammed Bin Salman has done, exactly the opposite of what God and His Messenger SAW have taught us. He has directly ordered the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, this we know but how many others have been killed before that we would never know? He has failed to return the body of the slain.
Dear Sheihk, I would have assumed as a man of religion, you would have offered Jamal Khashoggi’s funeral a prayer, even in absence of his body, in the grand mosque of Makkah. But you have failed to even recognise that he had been murdered by your crown prince. Mohammed Bin Salman has also waged a war in Yemen killing thousands of innocent women and children. He has led the way to isolate Qatar over totally frivolous pretext because Qatar refused to support his totalitarian vision of the region. He has stolen the wealth of the Ummah and paid for huge defense contract to the UK, purchased weapons of mass destruction from the USA and many others have become super rich through him, while his own people live in abject poverty and while the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad SAW die of hunger and thirst all over the world! Dear Sheikh Sudais, you still call him the God inspired visionary, a Mujaddid?
Dear Sheikh Sudais, can you please tell us how many thousands of people have languished in notorious Saudi prisons without ever committing any crime or ever getting a chance to defend themselves? How many Rohingya refugees have lived in Saudi immigration detention hell holes for years without any prospect of freedom? How many foreign workers have been unlawfully killed, banished and incarcerated in your country? You claim to be a Muslim, yet the blessed Prophet of God SAW said, he is not a Muslim who eats a full stomach while his neighbour sleeps hungry, while his neighbour is not safe from his tongue and hand, while his fellow Muslims’ life, property, intellect, family and faith are not protected. Please tell me how has your crown prince or the successive Saudi kings helped to eradicate poverty, hunger, inequality, racism and lack of freedom for Muslims or humanity on this earth? What these kings and prince Mohammed have done is spent hundreds of millions of pounds in purchasing paintings, yachts, build palatial homes in the Kingdom and purchased palaces in the West, football clubs, race courses – thus adding to their personal fortune of colossal amounts of wealth, all the while every twenty seconds a child somewhere in the world would have died of hunger and thirst. Dear Sheikh, do you still call them God inspired people?
Dear Sheikh Sudais, while you roam free and sing the glories of the Saudi crown prince, he has imprisoned hundreds of prominent Saudi imams and scholars who have shown even a modicum of resistance — including very prominent and influential jurists such as Sheikh Saleh al-Talib and Sheikh Bandar Bin Aziz Bilila, former imams of the Grand Mosque. Saudi prosecutors have sought the death penalty for Salman al-Awdah, a prominent, reformist cleric who was arrested last September. Some reports claim that another prominent cleric, Sheikh Suleiman Daweesh, who was arrested in April 2016, has died in a Saudi prison after being tortured. Mohammed Bin Salman is the new Pharaoh of the Middle East. He is not a savior of Islam or Muslims, or even Saudi Arabia. Why do you not see this?
Dear Sheikh Sudais, you really have to be a spineless, gutless and unprincipled human being to submit to this regime and their murderous policies. It’s only clerics like you who are willing to bootlick the Saudi royal family are given permission to deliver sermons and speeches freely in the Kingdom. The true scholars are locked up and their mouths have been sealed. You have played a role in their incarceration by remaining silent. You are not alone in such a treacherous path, there are worse and utterly disgraceful so-called Sheikhs like Abd al-Aziz Al Rayes, who went as far as saying in a lecture, that even if the Saudi ruler “fornicates in public on television for half an hour each day, you are still required to bring people together around the ruler, not to aggravate people against him.” I do not need to remind you sheikh, that such obnoxious statement only renders his disqualification as a genuine sheikh. May Allah SWT protect this Ummah from such scholars for dollars.
Dear Sheikh Sudias, who is Mohammed Bin Salman to demand such servitude from his countrymen and women, after all, he is a human being and he will die one day, he too will stand for accountability in front of Allah SWT on the final day? And who do you think you are to eulogise his praise, offer him “Mujaddid” title and demand peoples unconditional obedience, when you too will face the consequence of your actions? The Saudi despotic regime’s time will be over soon. Where will they hide? And Sheikh Sudais, when your paymasters fall, where will you go?
I call upon people of the world to not take the words of Sheikh Sudais in this regard seriously, he has chosen to sell his soul to the crown prince, king and the Saudi royal family. Pray for the Sheikh’s guidance and maybe he will join his colleagues in prison one day by standing up for truth and justice as taught by our blessed Prophet SAW.
I call upon the Saudi people to organise themselves and to overthrow their despotic and illegitimate regime through democratic and peaceful revolution. I call upon the people of the world to pressurise the Muslim leaders of the world to isolate Saudi Arabia and demand a total reform. I call up on my own government in the UK to stop selling arms and military support to this despotic regime. Freedom and democracy is the only way Saudi Arabia would be able to come out of dark ages and embrace the true principles of modernity and progress as promised by Islam.
With heartfelt prayers for this Umma’s freedom.
Your brother in Islam