My meeting with the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia while on Hajj

Two days ago, I had an opportunity to have a private forty-five minute meeting with Shaykh Abdul-Azeez bin Abdillah Aali Shaykh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, in Mina, Saudi Arabia.

Shaykh Abdul-Azeez stated that it is the “duty” of American Muslims to be engaged in their communities including voting, and that the best way to decrease misconceptions about Islam is to engage one’s neighbors.

Obviously, many Muslim leaders including myself have said this for years and the majority of mainstream American Muslims know this.  This is noteworthy to me, however, that it was coming from the chief religious authority in Saudi Arabia, who is a Salafi.

Some of the other religious scholars and leaders that I’ve also spoken with have displayed a level of flexibility that I (and many others) don’t normally associate with Saudi Arabia.  I was also surprised to see in Jeddah, where I’m at right now, that women are not being forced to wear headscarves.  Many women, including Arabs, are walking the streets uncovered. 

I’m not endorsing Muslim women being uncovered, but I’m highlighting a new flexibility that is slowly being instituted into this ultra-conservative society.

Back to my meeting with the Grand Mufti, I was also given a book written by him called “Al-Irhaab” (Terrrorism) written in Arabic.  The book discusses the roots of terrorism and refutes the idealogy of Al-Qaeda.  I also was given another book written by another author in Arabic discussing interfaith relations with a picture of Saudi King Abdullah and Pope Benedict on the front cover.

*Additional comment added at 8 AM Makkah time.

The Grand Mufti also advised American Muslims  in regards to those who make mockery and attack Prophet Muhammad and/or burn the Qur’an. Shaykh Abdul-Azeez stated that American Muslims should not react out of anger or emotions and simply tell those who insult Prophet Muhammad that they are in fact also insulting Moses and Jesus, for Moses, Jesus and Muhammad were brothers in the family of prophets and taught the same core message.  He also said that we should also voice displeasure in the best manner when any people insult or make mockery of any of the prophets of G-d (Moses, David, Jesus, etc.)

As I’ve stated before many times, American Muslims have overwhelmingly acted soberly and with civility with those who attack Prophet Muhammad and the Qur’an.  What I’ve also stated before, however, is that it makes no sense how some in the Muslim world get angry when the character of Prophet Muhammad is attacked yet voice no concern when Jesus Christ is made mockery of.

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6 thoughts on “My meeting with the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia while on Hajj

  1. Alhamdulillah, Thanks Imam Dawud for sharing this.
    @”Obviously, many Muslim leaders including myself have said this for years and the majority of mainstream American Muslims know this.” -Very true. I think many religious leaders who are not American are being forced to take a closer look at Islam in the American (and European) context, instead of condemning certain issues or better yet brushing them off in an apathetic manner.

    The LegacyNow conference is being planned for 2011 and inshAllah I’ll be contacting you soon with the details. I cant speak for the group just yet, but I would love to have your participation in this effort. We intend to address how Muslims can better engage in our communities.

    • As-Salaam-Alaikum Bro.Khalil I spoke to Bro.Saafir a few days ago and I asked him to give my number to you because I want to talk.(313)942-1717 I would like to discuss about LegacyNow coming to Detroit.

  2. Excellent! Thanks for sharing. I was given a similar audience in 2000 while on Hajj with some brothers from WAMY.

  3. AS-Salamu Alaikum and Hajj Mubarak to my dear friend Br. Dawud Walid
    May Allah accept your Hajj and bring you back safely.

    Alhamdulillah I and thousands of other American Muslims around, totally agree with your thoughts and message. May Allah guide all.

  4. Hajj Mabroor wa Sa3i Mashkoor to you, Br. Dawud! Insha’Allah your Hajj was fulfilling!

    With all due respect, I cannot help but be struck by the utter hypocrisy of Shaykh Abdul-Azeez’s message. It makes sense that the Saudi religious authorities are focusing on interfaith dialogue, because they treat Muslims of particular schools of thought like garbage. Maybe they should worry about intra-faith progress? But wait, I forget–they don’t view people from these schools of thought as Muslims, so according to their view, they’re dealing with kufaar.

    When the Saudi “royal” family ceases its haram decadent ways and when Saudi religious authorities cease their frightening and un-Islamic intolerance–when they lead by example–then we should care about what they say.

  5. ASA Haj Dawud. Haj mabrour wa sai’i mashkour akhi. MashAllah, your words gave me some optimism and some insight into these developments. I must say that with the invitation for haj a couple of years ago to the beloved President of Iran and renewed dialogue between Saudi Arabia & IROI, perhaps this can inshaAllah be a stepping-stone in fulfilling Allah’s (SWT) command of unity among Muslims. Also, another good potential for unity is the recent visit & comments of PM Erdogan who said that Turkey will defend the rights of Palestinians & Lebanese if they are attacked by the Zionist entity.

    Finally, let us all remember the brothers of Egypt in our prayers as they are being arrested (kidnapped) simply for refusing to be complacent to injustice and for standing up for their rights. Way over 1,000 Egyptians have been arrested. May Allah (SWT) protect all of the Muslims and all of the people of faith who stand with the oppressed, Ameen.

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