MADINAH, 23 January 2006 — The cave where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) took rest during the Battle of Uhud has become the subject of debate among scholars, some arguing for its destruction.
Madinah Governor Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Majed told Asharq Al-Awsat, the sister publication of Arab News, that he rejected the idea of destroying the site.
A committee was formed recently to discuss the matter after years of complaints over visitors that come to the cave to worship.
Some scholars have suggested simply fencing off the two-meter-wide entrance to the cave located about a kilometer from the ridge where archers were positioned during battles between followers of Islam and pagans. During the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet, who was wounded in the skirmish, took rest in this cave.
Pilgrims have been coming to this cave in increasing numbers, seeking blessings and taking photos.
Talal Al-Raddadi, a local resident, said that the question of what to do about the unsanctioned visits was raised more than six years ago.
“They ask for blessings from that place and commit acts that are not related to Islam. Many people asked to destroy the site. I say to those that want to destroy it that destroying the site is not an option. We should raise awareness and tell visitors that this is not a true place of worship. We should place awareness boards. I wish that they would not create problems by destroying the mountain. I think destroying it will do more harm than leaving it alone,” said Al-Raddadi.
“Turkish pilgrims do not miss visiting the site when visiting Madinah. It is the site where the Prophet lost one of his front teeth,” said Muhammad Yelmaz from Turkey. He said that they come to visit the cave and ask for forgiveness. They kiss the rocks believing that the Prophet sat on them when he was inside the cave.
Anwar Bakri, professor at Tayba University in Madinah, warns against extremist movements that want to destroy all monuments in Madinah. He said that destroying the cave would only increase anger and not solve the problem and will damage the image of Islam.
“Mistakes will happen whether intentionally or unintentionally,” said Asem Hamdan, another professor. “Destroying the site is neither a logical nor a final solution. When Muslims entered other countries and found non-Islamic monuments, they did not destroy them. We can read history to prove that. I call on the tourism authority to step in and protect the site.”
Al-Jarbu, a teacher at Madinah Islamic University, believes that destroying the site is the only solution. He said that there is no point in placing fences around the site because people will still go over the fence to the cave.
“The only solution in my mind is to destroy it because there are some locals who are benefiting from it,” Jarbu said. “Destroying it will solve the problem for good.”
The governor of Madinah said that the cave would be fenced and not destroyed. He said that the main idea is to stop the non-Islamic behavior by protecting the site.