The Honorable Special Rapporteur
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
Mr. Ahmed Shaheed
Subject: RESTORATION OF THE CEMETERY OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S (PBUH) DAUGHTER HAZRAT FATIMA ZAHRA (PEACE BE UPON HER)
In accordance with the announcement of Guardian of Supreme Shia Scholars’ Council and Spiritual leader of Shiites; Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi, from 23rd of Jamad-ul-Awal to 3rd of Jamad-us-Sani (5th & 6th month of Islamic Calendar) is observed as a commemoration of the martyrdom anniversary of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (Daughter of Prophet Muhammad). In this connection Mukhtar Organization (MO) Pakistan, a youth wing of Tehreek e Nafaz e Fiqh e Jafariya, organizes different mourning assemblies and peaceful protest against the demolishment of the holy Shrine of Hazrat Fatima Zahra, which is located in the historical graveyard of Medina; known as Janat-al-Baqee. In this connection, through this naive letter we would like to divert your attention towards this serious issue, which is now becoming the voice of the entire Muslim Nation throughout the world.
These cemeteries are also well known places of great historic and religious significance to the Muslims around the world. It is special place they hold close to their hearts as a part of their identity and something that they cherish greatly.
It is important to note that before 1924, magnificent shrines were present on the graves of the holy figures/personalities buried therein, which indicated their majesty and greatness, while at the same time those shrines were also a mark of respect and reverence. People used to visit these shrines to pay their homage, respects and tributes to the pious personalities buried in Jannat-al-Baqee and Jannat-al-Muallah, for their everlasting teachings for the development of a peaceful society enriched with the culture of respect, tolerance, justice, and equality.
In 1924 and 1925, the then government of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia razed down most ancient cemeteries of Jannat-al-Muallah (Makkah) and Jannat-al-Baqee (Medina), where the pious personalities of Islam (Progeny of Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and heroes of the humanity are buried.
The personalities buried in the two graveyards of Jannat-al-Baqee and Jannat-al-Muallah, include sacred family members of the holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), his beloved daughter Hazrat Fatima Zahra (A.S), Umhat-ul-Momineen (The mothers of believers) i.e. the wives of the holy Prophet, the pious companions of the holy Prophet, and the saintly personalities of the religion.
By disgracing and destroying the places, worthy of respect and reverence, Saudi rulers caused severe pain and grief to the whole humanity. Saudi Arabia not only bulldozed the holy shrines and graves of sacred personalities for fulfillment of their specific ideologies based upon extremist and irrational concepts but also imposed restrictions on the pilgrims, to even visit these demolished cemeteries.
The demolished holy shrines were not only an asset to Muslims but also a common heritage of the whole humankind.
The same act of destruction of holy Islamic signs is an ongoing exercise in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These tragic and unjustifiable acts are a clear confiscation and usurpation of the fundamental human rights, while at the same time; it is also an open challenge for the protectors of the fundamental rights.
As per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, as a result of the experience and events of WWII, it was agreed by all the nations that all humans globally, have certain rights and due regard must be granted to them regardless of their nationality, race, caste or creed.
Two important Articles of the Declaration are as follows:
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”.
As per the above statements both the cemeteries of Jannat-al-Baqi and Jannat-al-Mualla in Saudi Arabia falls in the jurisdiction of OHCHR & Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. Therefore, these Organizations must use their influence to restore these sites to their former glory in order to help millions of the Muslims around the world, hurt by the heinous act of demolition and destruction of these sites by the Saudi authorities.
Mukhtar Organization is well aware of the excellent work United Nations has done so far, with regard to ensure the right to freedom of religion or belief.
Moreover, UN & UNESCO has been lauded by the Muslim World, when they reconstructed the destructed Al-Askari Shrine — the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, where the holy graves of Imam Ali al-Hadi (A.S) and Imam Hasan al-Askari (A.S), the 10th and 11th Shia Imams.
Cemeteries, like places of worship, are an essential part of how people exercise and manifest their right to freedom of religion or belief. Their significance goes beyond their physical presence. It is pertinent to mention that issue at hand does not concern any single or particular nation/nationality, country, and moreover, cannot be segregated or ascribed to a particular race or religion but concerns the whole humanity. The peaceful protest has been lodged and raised against this grave act for the last ninety-six years, all across the world.
Being Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, we have full hopes from you that you will take notice of our request and will take positive actions and solid steps to play your role to reconstruct these holy shrines and tombs to restore the former glory and historical importance associated with them.
Zulqarnain Haider Jameel
Secretary General, Mukhtar Organization (MO), Pakistan.
Office No. 203, B-1129, Satellite Town, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Email: – email@example.com
Contact Number:- [+92-321-4005818; +92-51-4410180
Fax Number: [+92-51-4570699]
Website: – www.mo.org.pk