The Holy Land's Destiny: The Muslim Ummah Is Facing Internal And External Existential Threats
25 June 2016
By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi
This country is destined to be the heart of the Muslim world. Over 1.5 Muslims
turn their faces toward Makkah for prayers five times a day. They long to
visit the holy land at least once in their lifetime, and look up to us for
aspiration and religious guidance.
It has been so since Allah told Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) to build
His House, the Kaaba, in previously unknown valley of Makkah.
Since then, pilgrims have been heading from all parts of the globe toward the
holy land. Great men and women led the masses. Prophets, kings, philosophers,
scientists and scholars — rulers of the world — humbly and obediently,
answered Abraham's call.
Our destiny — and honor — has always been to welcome, serve and accommodate
the Guests of Allah and to preach His message of love, unity and tolerance.
King Abdulaziz was well aware of all that. Soon after he ruled
Makkah in 1924, he called for an Islamic conference.
Delegations from India, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Iraq and other parts of the
Muslim world answered the invitation. They agreed to give the honor of
administrating the holy land to the government of the king of Hijaz. King's
wisdom and his dedication to serve pilgrims helped in uniting Muslims and
After the fall of Arab and Muslim nations under Western colonial powers, as a
result of the disintegration of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1923, Custodian of
the Two Holy Mosques King Saud Bin Abdulaziz raised the banner of Islamic
The Muslim World League, under the aegis of then Crown Prince Faisal, was
founded in accordance with a resolution adopted during the meeting of 22
Muslim religious leaders in the General Islamic Conference, held in Makkah, in
King Faisal bin Abdulaziz continued what his father and brother had begun. He
toured around the Muslim world, calling for solidarity of the Muslims. After
Israelis burned the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, he called for an Islamic summit in
Makkah. But when King Hassan II of Morocco offered to host it in Rabat in
1969, he welcomed the change of venue. Faisal was keen to have all on board,
including unfriendly regimes like Egypt under President Gamal Abdul Nasser,
Iraq under Baathists and Shiite Iran. The first secretary general of the
Organization of Islamic Conference (recently named as the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation) was Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister of
According to its charter, ''the OIC aims to preserve Islamic social and
economic values; promote solidarity amongst member states; increase
cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scientific, and political areas;
uphold international peace and security; and advance education, particularly
in the fields of science and technology.''
King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz called for Dialogue of Civilization, an initiative
that was later taken up by the United Nation. An international center was
later established in Vienna in 2012 to facilitate such dialogues among
religions and faiths. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre of
Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) is an intergovernmental
organization whose mandate is to foster dialogue among people of different
faiths and cultures that bridges animosities, reduces fear and instills mutual
respect. He also called for dialogue among Muslim sects in an Islamic
conference held in Makkah, 2008, and proposed the establishment of Center in
Riyadh to facilitate it.
We need to do more … much more. Today, the Muslim Ummah is facing internal and
external existential threats. Daesh, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Al-Hashed Al-Shaabi,
and the rest of Iran's sectarian militias are causing chaos and destruction
all around. Cheerleaders, Israel and its supporters, could not be happier. The
incitement against the different other, the calls for holy wars against
Muslims and non-Muslims alike, is endangering our peaceful coexistence at home
and with the rest of the world.
We should lead the way. Preachers of hate and division should not be
tolerated. Laws must be put in place against hate speech. The Shoura Council
must vote on the proposed National Unity Law — no more delays and resistance!
The Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Education Ministry, the Information
Ministry, as well as the rest of us, should join hands, hearts and minds to
fight the ''fitnah'' virus, spreading among Muslims. It is a shame that
instead of focusing on building a brighter future, we dig in the past to find
reasons for more division and confrontation!
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi