Saudi Grand Mufti not to deliver Hajj sermon for first time in 35 years

Published: September 10, 2016
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Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz. PHOTO: AFP

Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz. PHOTO: AFP

The Saudi government announced on Saturday that the Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al Ashiekh will not be delivering his Hajj sermon for the first time in 35 years.

According to a Saudi news report, the top cleric would not address the pilgrims at Arafat for “health reasons” on Sunday.

On September 6, the Mufti had said Iranians are “not Muslims”, following Iran’s supreme leader fresh tirade over the kingdom’s handling of the Hajj pilgrimage.

In his statement to a local newspaper, Abdulaziz al Ashiekh said that Iranians are children of Magi and their hostility towards Muslims is an old one. Especially with the people of Sunna.

Iranians are ‘not Muslims’, says top Saudi cleric

The mufti was referring to pre-Islamic beliefs in Iran and to the Sunnis who make up the main branch of Islam.

For the first time in almost three decades, Iranians will not participate in this year’s pilgrimage to Makkah after talks on logistics and security fell apart.

On September 5, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the Muslim world should challenge Saudi management of Islam’s two holiest sites in Makkah and Madina.

The verbal sparring followed months of tension between Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and its Shia regional rival Iran.

Hajj row escalates as Iran and Saudi Arabia miss new deal

Khamenei had said that the Saudis did not prosecute those at fault for the stampede, accused them of showing no remorse, adding that Riyadh had “refused to allow an international Islamic fact-finding committee”.

After reviewing security forces assigned to protect the Hajj, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef had said that the kingdom had “spared no effort to provide state-of-the-art services for the safety, comfort and security of all pilgrims”.

The article originally appeared on Arab News

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Sonya
    Sep 10, 2016 - 10:40PM

    Saudies are taking surprising decisions eversince King Abdallah has died and the defecto Prince Muhammad has taken charge. They are not able pay workers and yet continuing funding wars in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Sep 10, 2016 - 10:41PM

    The curse of the ‘Magi’ strikes…?Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 10, 2016 - 11:07PM

    His absence would make no difference. He has already spit so much venom that Muslims will not go along for next thousand years. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 11, 2016 - 12:18AM

    I see this as a wise move ………. the Muslim umma needs a unifying touch and not a divisive one. Recommend

  • Ali S
    Sep 11, 2016 - 1:21AM

    He should have been immediately sacked from post of grand mufti after he called Iranians ‘children of Magi’ and not Muslims. Saudi government should make sure that its leading clerics are not allowed to spew hatred among Muslims – with their oil profits running low, the world has less reason than ever to tolerate their tunnel-visioned, divisive and regressive Wahhabi brand of Islam. I think they’re finally waking up to this reality and trying to at least somewhat correct their course. Recommend

  • Asia
    Sep 11, 2016 - 8:02AM

    The grand Mufti only talked about “Iranian leaders” not the citizens themselves. If you follow Arabic news and you can read Arabic, you would clearly understand the phrase “Iranian leaders” that was on his statement. I find it a wise move from the Grand Mufti to address the danger that could come from such an aggressive leadership against Saudi’s political and internal matters.Recommend

  • echoboom
    Sep 12, 2016 - 4:00AM

    The cauldron is bubbling…inside Soodi Arabia will soon burst…and Muslims will again be in charge of the Harmain ShareefRecommend

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