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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's top cleric said Iranians are “not Muslims”, after Iran's supreme leader launched a fresh tirade over the kingdom's handling of the Haj pilgrimage, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

“We must understand these are not Muslims, they are children of Magi and their hostility towards Muslims is an old one. Especially with the people of Sunna,” Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh told Makkah daily, referring to pre-Islamic beliefs in Iran.

The grand mufti's comments came a day after Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the Muslim world should challenge Saudi management of Islam's two holiest sites in Makkah and Medina.

The verbal sparring, ahead of the annual Haj which this year starts on Saturday, follows months of tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“Because of Saudi rulers' oppressive behaviour towards God's guests, the world of Islam must fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of Haj,” Khamenei wrote on his website.

He reserved some of his harshest words for Riyadh's response to last year's Haj stampede which killed 2,297 pilgrims, according to a toll compiled from foreign officials.

Iran said its nationals accounted for 464 of the dead.

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

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

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

Riyadh said Tehran had made “unacceptable” demands, including the right to organise demonstrations “that would cause chaos”.

Prince Mohammed reiterated those concerns.

He charged that Iran was making “efforts to politicise Haj and convert it into an occasion to violate the teachings of Islam, through shouting slogans and disturbing the security of pilgrims”.

Sheikh said such efforts would fail “because all Muslims trust what the (Saudi) government is doing” in providing services for pilgrims and with its work to improve facilities at the holy sites.

Saudi Arabia says Iranian pilgrims are still welcome if they travel from other countries.

Riyadh and Tehran are at odds over a raft of regional issues, notably the conflicts in Syria and Yemen in which they support opposing sides.

Riyadh severed diplomatic relations with Tehran in January after protesters attacked its embassy and a consulate in Iran after the execution of a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.


Comments (83) Closed



TQ Sep 06, 2016 11:50pm

Atleast the Grand Mufti should stay away from controversies, it does not reflect well on his stature.

Nasar Hayat Sep 06, 2016 11:55pm

It is very unfortunate that Muslims are calling other Muslims as Non Muslims. We do not No need outside enemy.

ZQ Sep 07, 2016 12:10am

Both countries are equally responsible for the suffering of millions of people in the middle east.

kaleem Sep 07, 2016 12:34am

Haj is very important and unity among Islamic countries is also important. Countries like Pakistan and Turkey should play their role.

Riaz Ahmad Sep 07, 2016 12:41am

For over 1000 years, Iranians have always been recognized as Muslims by each and every Islamic country, now this grand Mufti is declaring them none Muslims. Very very strange and incredible pronouncement.

Umar Kan Sep 07, 2016 12:45am

Being a suuni , I would still support Iranian point of view of proper investigation of 454 Iranian who died last year. If other Muslims countries don't care about their citizens , it does not mean Iranian government should do the same.

Rao Sep 07, 2016 12:46am

Mecca and Madina should be declared independant and governed by world body or by country on rotation...No single country should have permanent control on them.. also all Islamic countries should free visas system and distribute resources and funds...share labor ,resources, money etc etc on equal basis

Ammar Sep 07, 2016 12:55am

Seriously!!! Power play and divisions even in the holiest places.....disgraceful!

Tickleme Elmo Sep 07, 2016 01:35am

Nobody gets to decide who is real and who is not!

TZaman Sep 07, 2016 01:39am

Now that is something outrageous and below the belt. It should not become Indian serials "saas babu" fight.

OZ Sep 07, 2016 01:47am

Now, I hope Pakistani will not get caught in SA, Iranian raw. We need to balance our policies and thinking. Do not take sides. Both are important neighbors for us regardless of religious deference of opinions.

Zack Khan Sep 07, 2016 02:10am

Please don't fight, we are all brothers! We have more serious issue to handle as islamic community! One by one each Islamic state is being targeted, we common enemy to deal with! Please focus at the right direction!

Salman from Lahore Sep 07, 2016 02:19am

Both of these countries are using religion for their own political purpose. Things will turn sour soon for both of them.

ART Kp Sep 07, 2016 02:22am

Nobody was Muslim 1400 years before. Not Iranians not Saudis. Btw who is he to decide and label people as non Muslims?

Jawad Sep 07, 2016 02:22am

One fact that Medina and Macca is in Suidi Arabia. Iran should know about this fact. So, it is kindness of Suidis that they are managing the holy places with generosity and allow muslims from other countries to do Hajj and Umrah. So be thankful. Rest I do not understand.

flipflop Sep 07, 2016 02:42am

And he gets to decide who is Muslim or who is not. Double standards.

Ghani K Sep 07, 2016 03:02am

What a sad situation , Haj is being exploited in the name of politics.

Journal_Pasha Sep 07, 2016 03:11am

Shame. OIC should demand Saudi Arabia to tender a formal apology to the whole Muslim world. Sunni and Shia are brothers

Akram Sep 07, 2016 03:44am

How easy it is to get declassified in the world of Unman...and we blame foreign powers.

Qaiser Sep 07, 2016 03:53am

What an irresponsible statement from the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia.

ali Sep 07, 2016 04:00am

Omg. He didnt say that.

ali Sep 07, 2016 04:00am

Unbelievable

Ali Sep 07, 2016 04:13am

Iranians think the same way about the Saudis. The hatred is mutual. Nothing new, frankly.

The laughing giant Sep 07, 2016 04:21am

That is atrocious

Pakiboy101 Sep 07, 2016 05:14am

What a shame Instead of analysing issues Mufti resorts raising the ante by calling Shias non-Muslims. Truly saddened by increasing non tolerance amongst the believers.

Bhai Jan Sep 07, 2016 05:53am

The conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia is more political than religious. As always leaders have different agendas than what they portray on the official version. Anyway all Muslims condem any violence connected with performance of Hajj.

Shaukat Ali Khan Sep 07, 2016 06:06am

Saudi Arabia and Iran are the main culprits of differences in the Muslim ummah.

Talib Naqvi Holland Sep 07, 2016 06:28am

No sheikh Mufti Abdulaziz this is not good, Iranian are the best muslim similar to all world including Saudi we all believe that Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is last prophet. There are some difference between Muslim, Saudi vs Yemen, Syria. Muslim of world are with Iran and with Saudi Arabia.

Habib Sep 07, 2016 06:57am

Stop mud slinging at each other. We need need unity amongst Muslim brotherhood. Ìf we fail to unite amongst ourselves, the non Muslim world will take advantage. Òur beloved Prophet taught us to respect all religion.

Ravi bancouver Sep 07, 2016 07:06am

In time of crisis in Middle East and IS keen on maligning Islam and peaceful path it represent, all Muslims must unite to fight these evil forces. This rehetoric in politics between Saudi and Iran should not be mixed with religion and sacred ritual Haj. These divisive statements shall be welcomed by IS and forces opposing Islam.

mohajir Sep 07, 2016 07:18am

Irony is this mufti have millions of followers worldwide wo will find some logic in this statement too..

Taiful Sep 07, 2016 07:33am

Saudis should hand over the management to Bangladesh who manages world's largest congregation of tablighi ijtema each year without any incident yet. Last year 400 Bangladeshi hajis lost their lives owing to Saudis mismanagement.

Faisal Naqvi Sep 07, 2016 07:43am

@Umar Kan ... I completely agree with Umar

I am Sunni Sep 07, 2016 07:48am

I disagree with mufti!

ART kp Sep 07, 2016 07:59am

I don't want to follow such irresponsible people.

Ayub Sep 07, 2016 08:01am

What will be the impact of this fatwa?

Shampee Sep 07, 2016 08:09am

Geo-strategic and regional politics should be kept aside, we must promote strong Muslim brotherhood.

PPP Sep 07, 2016 08:20am

Are any religion not taught us to live peacefully with all human being despite cast color,creed ,religion and nationality????

Shabbir Kazmi Sep 07, 2016 08:52am

The clerics of highest repute should abstain from issuing such irresponsible statements. It could heighten animosity among various sects.

Adnan Sep 07, 2016 09:00am

@Umar Kan Being Sunni I have same view regarding Iranian Government demand and I also condemn this statement of Grand Mufti of calling Iranian non Muslim.

waqas sultan Sep 07, 2016 09:03am

I am a Sunni... But Grand Mufti should realize his importance and not indulge himself in hate speech...

Amused Audience Sep 07, 2016 09:02am

Being a sunni, I denounce what this grand mufti has stated against Iranians. Please don't mix politics with religion.

Secular Pathan Sep 07, 2016 09:37am

Don't listen to these clerics, they are destroying the world and keeping us backwards.

Muhammad Baloch Sep 07, 2016 09:54am

Pakistan should stay away from these two nations, who call themselves the so called the custodian of Islam, they are arrogant leaders.

Asif Raza Sep 07, 2016 10:29am

@Umar Kan best comment

Amir Ali khan Sep 07, 2016 10:41am

Politics and religion have , with a few exceptions here and there perhaps , always played a destructive role in almost all societies . What is happening today around the world is nothing new .

Salman Sep 07, 2016 10:51am

@Rao this is a very reasonable demand

majid Sep 07, 2016 03:34pm

@Rao very viable

majid Sep 07, 2016 03:37pm

@Journal_Pasha wish all could think on the same page

Abdul Basit Sep 07, 2016 04:54pm

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are the main cause of sufferings that we see in Iraq and Syria and some other Muslim countries.

Abdul Basit Sep 07, 2016 04:57pm

Saudi Arabians and Iranians are all Muslims. Many of them are very good Muslims.

khanm Sep 07, 2016 05:38pm

scholars are suppose to unite not divide specially the religious ones ... what is wrong with us..

Baaligh Sep 07, 2016 10:59pm

@Journal_Pasha " Sunni and Shia are brothers". Yes indeed but this very fact is not liked by anti-Islam forces annd vested interests and are trying various tricks to create split in the Ummah.

Tabassum Sep 07, 2016 11:23pm

There are 71 groups of sects in Islam, all saying we are Muslims. Its ok! We do not like judgmental on this issue, and also we are not judge to say, who is muslim and who is not. We have to leave this matter to God, He is the one tell the right who is who. We have to perform our Haj as peacefully as possible.

Pakistani Sep 08, 2016 01:31am

@Umar Kan agree with you saudis must address Iran concern.

D.K. PAMNANI Sep 08, 2016 09:47am

Let us have census on this.

Rukhsar Fatima Sep 08, 2016 03:44pm

very sad

KT Sep 08, 2016 04:26pm

Statements given in rage lead to communal impact. Mufti should have said a Muslim will never demand such errands. A small clearance from Mufti can ease tense situations. All Muslims in House of Almighty are one and same.

Ghous Sep 08, 2016 04:43pm

@Rao Very valid suggestion.

Saifuddin Takhtawala Sep 08, 2016 05:08pm

It is so heart breaking to see two muslim countries pitted against each other rather than to each other. Sanity and tolerance should prevail.

aftab Sep 08, 2016 05:46pm

i am sad on where we all have reached we are not united as Muslims and unfortunately our enemies have a common goal "Destroy Muslims" Iraq,Syria,Lebanon,Libya,and Yemen are examples 10 years ago they all were prospering nations. Are we blind or deaf or mad why cant we see all this before labelling each other NON MUSLIMS .Please dear brothers think , feel and UNITE.

Khurram Jadoon Sep 08, 2016 07:01pm

He got no rights to call someone non-muslim. Very sad to hear that...

Naved Sep 08, 2016 07:25pm

@Jawad My dear first understand full situation then comment.

Sidewalker Sep 08, 2016 07:42pm

Really a Pathetic affairs.

imran Sep 08, 2016 08:33pm

Sad statement. Iranians are muslims. No if's, and's or but's about it.

Lahori Kid Sep 08, 2016 08:38pm

It does not matter who you are, you do not have the right to determine who is a Muslim or whose not, we do not and cannot make that distinction, we cannot judge, we cannot act like we are better, there is only ONE to judge us on judgement day. Until than, everyone is equal, created by GOD, Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Jew. The sooner we accept that, the more peaceful the world will become.

Lahori Kid Sep 08, 2016 08:39pm

@Jesus Christ Pakistan should stay out of it.

ahaq Sep 08, 2016 08:48pm

This is un-called for. Creating more in-fighting instead trying to win each other hearts This is not the way to go forward

ahsan7979 Sep 08, 2016 09:24pm

Perhaps, Iran should stop interfering in internal affairs of Other countries

Hamid Sep 08, 2016 10:30pm

Talk about real issues Mufti. This can wait.

Zeeshan Sep 08, 2016 11:39pm

Iranian criticism of Saudi Arabia is like the pot calling the kettle black; maybe Iran should stop their murderous agenda in Syria and the Saudis should finally pay up the compensation King Salman had announced for victims and their relatives which has not been paid to a single person.

Nawaz Sharif Sep 09, 2016 12:54am

@ahsan7979 -- Perhaps Saudi should stay out of Pakistan and stop monopolizing every other Muslim country.

Farooq jawed Sep 09, 2016 01:01am

This simply proves the importance of separating religion from politics, as practiced in civilized nations.

Muzaffar Ali Sep 09, 2016 01:04am

@Salman from Lahore one side is using not two....

sami Sep 09, 2016 02:08am

@Lahori Kid -- I am with you Lahori !!!

Azeem Sep 09, 2016 03:04am

It is a generally accepted fact that anyone who believes in The Five Pillars of Islam ie 1) Shahadah 2)Salat 3)Zakah 4)Fasting and 5)Hajj is a Muslim . Both Suuni & Shia agree and perform these essentials .

Nasir Sep 09, 2016 03:09am

So now something new has started to cook

M.ASIF Sep 09, 2016 07:15am

It is so sad.

shakeel shah hussaini Sep 09, 2016 08:45am

no one has right to stop others to perform Hajj. why Saudi government and Muftee are doing this, is nothing but against sprit and teachings of islam.

Sara Sep 09, 2016 09:35am

@Lahori Kid I so agree.

SA Sep 09, 2016 01:40pm

Strongly condemn this so-called mufti's statement!

Arshad, Canada Sep 09, 2016 04:07pm

Iran and SA are harming Islam by these kinds of political statements. Please keep calm in the month of Hajj.

Ali Sep 09, 2016 07:44pm

@Baaligh ---agree with it and sad