Speaking during his advanced jurisprudence class at Qom’s Grand Mosque, Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi referred to the crane crash that killed 107 people and 238 injured pilgrims, including 25 Iranians, in the Grand Mosque of Makkah, where the Holy Ka’bah is located.
Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi offered his condolences for the victims and for prayed for souls of the martyrs of this incident.
The revered source of emulation said that this incident demonstrates that the Saudis do not have the ability to run the Two Holy Mosques.
He criticized the Saudi officials’ imprudence, saying: “What common sense allows a crane at the top of the Grand Mosque during these days when millions of people have arrived for the Hajj pilgrimage?!”
According to Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Mansouri, the official spokesman of the Presidency of the Grand Mosque and Madinah’s Prophet’s Mosque, the fatal incident took place “due to strong sandstorm, winds and torrential rains.”
He emphasized that buildings which are located near cranes pose a danger. Addressing Saudi authorities, he said: “In this place where millions of people have come, you did not place just one crane there, but placed many cranes in the Grand Mosque and without placing any safety signs there, you put people’s lives in danger.”
Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi stressed that the Saudi authorities should have taken the cranes down for at least a month while the pilgrims are in Makkah and then reinstall them after the conclusion of Hajj.
“What reason and what management is this? The Grand Mosque is a place of safety and these pilgrims should not have been martyred or injured as a result of the negligence of Saudi officials,” he said.
His Eminence referred to the excuses brought forward by the Saudi authorities in this regard, saying that they said the storm came abruptly but they should have known of the possibility of a storm and planned for it and adapted a solution for it and added: “All those who are involved in construction know of the possibility of risk and give a written warning. This reason is due to ignorance.”
The professor in the Islamic Seminary of Qom criticized the construction of tall towers and skyscrapers around the Grand Mosque which “overshadow the grandeur and glory of this holy place” and expressed regret, saying: “Wherever there is a religious, secular or ancient landmark local governments do not allow surrounding buildings to be made taller than the it due to its importance.
Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi said that unfortunately, around the Grand Mosque buildings and towers have been built which are tens of times higher than the Grand Mosque and towers and skyscrapers affect the glory and grandeur of this holy place.
“What wisdom is this that [they] have? It is a mistake that the [Saudis] take these Two Holy Mosques as their own personal property and act in whatever way they want,” he said.
The renowned scholar said that the Saudi authorities must consult with the elites and Islamic scholars of other regions and added that these towers should be destroyed in order to restore the glory the Grand Mosque, adding: “They must not build even a floor above the height of the Grand Mosque!”
In conclusion, Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi said: “The Saudis do not have an answer for our questions. It is necessary for Muslim scholars to think about this issue and to advise and protest that the Saudi methods are not correct and that they should not act in this manner in regard to the Grand Mosque. We are hopeful that God Almighty will give sufficient awareness so we can fully protect the honour of Islam.”