Researcher of Political Science & Classical Islam. Initiated by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband.
*(We ask Allah to send peace and salutations upon the Pride of Creation (sallallahu alaihi wa aalhi wa sallam) every time his blessed name is used in this article)
The Centre for Ishmaelite Research and Policy was founded by Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin, and is a non-partisan, social justice, progressive think tank whose mission is to increase awareness of Ishmaelite heritage and engage in public advocacy for the preservation of Ishmaelite heritage and engage in advocacy against the cultural and social-exclusion of Arab-Ishmaelites in Western societies. CIRP focus’ on engaging in, and supporting research to foster public awareness of Ishmaelite contribution to civilization and shall engage in advocacy against the cultural genocide of pre and post-Prophetic era Abrahamic-Ishmaelite heritage, heritage sites, history and culture. CIRP will strive to create awareness that real Arabs (with Ishmaelite ancestry) are in fact also Semitic peoples, and as such, the demonization of them in Western popular culture and the intentional desecration and destruction of their heritage and heritage sites in their holy cities, is in fact Anti-Semitic. The Centre shall provide collaborative solutions between existing real Arab and non-Arab groups by bringing people together beyond politics to promote progressive research, policy alternatives, and hope.
Ishmaelites are the descendants of Ishmael, the elder son of Abraham. According to the Bible, Abraham‘s first wife was named Sarah and his second wife Hagar. However Sarah was old and barren, and could not conceive. According to Genesis 16:3 Sarah (then Sarai) gave her maid Hagar in marriage to Abraham, in order that Abraham might have an heir. Genesis 16: 3 states, “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid….and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife”. Hagar conceived Ishmael from Abraham, and the Ishmaelites descend from him. Genesis 17:20 states, “But as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”
Descendents of Abraham
According to Genesis, Ishmael was a son of Abraham and continued to be regarded as his son, even after his (Abraham) death. The Bible states, “And Abraham took Ishmael his son…” Genesis 17:23 and, “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full [of years]; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Mchpelah” Genesis 25:8-9.
In the Quran
According to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, the number of foreign pilgrims to the Ishmaelite shrine of the Kaaba in Mecca and Prophet Muhammad‘s tomb in Medina exceeded 15 million between 1996 and 2009 alone, thereby making the Kaaba and Muhammad‘s tomb arguably the most visited holy sites in human history .
According to Islamic tradition, the Ishmaelites are the ancestors of the Arabs, and Muhammad the Prophet’s tribe the Quraysh. The Quran states, Abraham and Ishmael together built the Kaaba in Mecca, and prayed for God to bless their descendents, the Ishmaelites. Islamic doctrines state God accepted this prayer and blessed the Ishmaelites with the Mawlid (birth) of Muhammad. The Holy Quran states in 2:127-129: “And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House, (Abraham prayed): Our Lord! Accept from us (this duty). Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower. Our Lord! And make us submissive unto Thee and of our seed a nation submissive unto Thee, and show us our ways of worship, and relent toward us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Relenting, the Merciful. Our Lord! And raise up in their midst a messenger from among them who shall recite unto them Thy revelations, and shall instruct them in the Scripture and in wisdom and shall make them grow. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Mighty, Wise”.
Sayings of Muhammad the Prophet
The following sayings of Muhammad the Prophet about the Ishmaelites are from the article, “The Sacrifical Son Abraham“,
“In his masterpiece “Anwaar i-Muhammadiyya” [Urdu edition, p.22-29]” Yusuf ibn Isma’il Nabhabani narrated the following hadith from Wathila ibn al-Aska, “The Messenger of God said, “Allah chose Kanana from the sons of Ishmael, and Quraysh from Kanana, and from Quraysh the sons of Hashim, and finally chose me from the sons of Hashim”. In his book, “Virtues of Arabic”, Shaykh ul-Hadith Mawlana Zakariyya Kandhlawi cites the following virtue of the Ishmaelites: Mulla Ali Qari has quoted the following Hadith of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his family: “To have love for the Quraysh is to profess true faith, whilst having hatred for them is disbelief. Accordingly, whoever has love for the Arabs (Ishmaelites) has expressed love for me, and whoever has hatred for the Arabs (Ishmaelites) has in reality shown his hatred for me” (Iqtidaus Siratil Mustaqeem, p.156)”
Important figures in pre-Islamic history who descend from the Ishmaelites include Jethro, father in-law of Moses, who although referred to as a Madianite, was also an Ishmaelite because the term “Ishamelite” was synomous with the term “Midianites” (see, Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper’s Bible Dictionary, San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985). Another well known Ishmaelite is Zipporah, the wife of Moses and Jether the Ishmaelite (1 Chronicles 2:13-17) who was married to Abigail, the sister of King David.
Prominent Ishmaelites who came later, and became some of the most influential figures in human history include Muhammad, and his immediate successors Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali ibn Abi Talib, his sons Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, whose shrine in Karbala, Iraq hosts 14 million pilgrims on the day of Arbaeen.
Prominent Sufi Ishmaelites and political leaders include Zayd ibn Ali, Jafar al-Sadiq, Abdul-Qadir Gilani , Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari , Ibn Arabi, Ibrahim ibn Adham , Ahmad al-Buni, Ahmad al-Badawi, Rumi, Moinuddin Chishti , Fariduddin Ganjshakar , Lal Shahbaz Qalander , and Ali Hujwiri. It is also worth noting that HRH the Nizam of Hyderabad Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII who was portrayed on the cover of TIME magazine in 1937 as the richest man in the world and named by Forbes magazine as the wealthiest South Asian in history, and ranked the as fifth on the Forbes ‘All Time Wealthiest’ was also of Ishmaelite lineage.
Pre-Islamic Era Ishmaelite Empires
Amongst the most prominent pre-Islamic Ishmaelite empires of history include the Nabataeans who built Petra , the Kedarites and the Lihyan Kingdom. The Nabataean kingdom, also named Nabatea (many times spelled Nabatean), was a political state of the Nabataeans which existed during Classical antiquity and was annexed by the Roman Empire in AD 106. According to Ottoman traditions, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib was able to read the Nabatean inscriptions found on the case of the sword of David, which is said to be housed in the Topkapi Palace. Additionally, in Twelver Shi’ism, the tenth Shi’ite Imam; Imam Muhammad al-Taqi, the father of Imam Hasan al-Askari, is described as being endowed with the knowledge of the languages of the Nabateans.
Post-Prophetic Era Ishmaelite Empires
Post-Prophetic Era Ishmaelite empires include the Rashidun, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, the Fatimid Caliphate , the Caliphate of Córdoba, and the Safavid dynasty.
The primary historic evidence linking the Ishmaelites to the Arabs, and specifically to the tribe of Muhammad, the Quraysh, is the Kaaba in Mecca.
Prophet Muhammad’s Ishmaelite Genealogy
Cultural Genocide of Ishmaelite Heritage in Hejaz
Cultural genocide refers to the deliberate destruction of the cultural heritage of a people or nation for political, military, religious, ideological, ethnical, or racial reasons. Some of the most significant post-prophetic era Ishmaelite heritage sites, which were perserved throughout Islamic history, have been vandalized, desecrated and destroyed for religious and ideological reasons, in the heart of Islam, Arabia.
Cultural genocide: Relevance to international law
As early as 1933, Raphael Lemkin proposed a cultural component to genocide, which he called “vandalism“.
However, the drafters of the 1948 Genocide Convention dropped that concept from their consideration. The legal definition of genocide is left unspecific about the exact nature in which genocide is done only that it is destruction with intent to destroy a racial, religious, ethnic or national group as such.
Article 7 of a 1994 draft of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples uses the phrase “cultural genocide” but does not define what it means. The complete article reads as follows:
Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress for:
(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(c) Any form of population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
(d) Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures;
(e) Any form of propaganda directed against them.
It should be noted that this declaration only appeared in a draft. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 62nd session at UN Headquarters in New York City on 13 September 2007, but only mentions “genocide”, not “cultural genocide”, although the article is otherwise unchanged.
Beside its legal currency, the term has acquired rhetorical value as a phrase that is used to protest against the destruction of cultural heritage. It is also often misused as a catchphrase to condemn any destruction the user of the phrase disapproves of, without regard for the criterion of intent to destroy an affected group as such.
Examples of the term’s usage
Cultural advocates have leveled charges of “cultural genocide” in connection with various events:
Institute of Islamic Heritage and Proofs
The Saudi government established an institute named the Institute of Islamic Heritage and Proofs, this department had the responsibility to oversee the Islamic Heritage, Relics and Proofs. (Government Resolution: M26 dated 1396AH).
Relating to this a higher board was established named Al Mujallisal Ala lil Asar (Supreme Council for Protection of Islamic Heritage). Resolution 235 (21/02/1398AH) passed by the Higher Ministry stated that the Minister of Education and President of the Hajj Ministry and Religious Affairs as well as the Information and Media Departments were all to become members of the Supreme Council for Protection of Islamic Heritage.
Section 6 protect and maintain all Islamic Heritage and Historical Proofs
Section 7 ascertain the status of various Islamic Heritage and Historic Proofs for the purpose of classification, transferable or non-transferable (Example Hajar-e-Aswad would be non-transferable but coins or letters are transferable.)
Section 11 incurring damage or modifying any Islamic Heritage or Historic Proofs is strictly forbidden
Section 12 any extension or construction needs permission from the Institute of Islamic Heritage and Proofs
Priority for Heritage Preservation
Quote from UNESCO:
“The Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr (Mada in Salih) is the first World Heritage property to be inscribed in Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as Hegra it is the largest conserved site of the civilization of the Nabataeans south of Petra in Jordan. It features well-preserved monumental tombs with decorated facades dating from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD. The site also features some 50 inscriptions of the pre-Nabataean period and some cave drawings. Al-Hijr bears a unique testimony to Nabataean civilization. With its 111 monumental tombs, 94 of which are decorated, and water wells, the site is an outstanding example of the Nabataeans architectural accomplishment and hydraulic expertise.”
Cultural genocide of Ishmaelite heritage in Saudi Arabia
Some Historic Facts to Consider
There hundreds of more examples of cultural genocide of Ishmaelite heritage sites in Arabia, motivated by religion and ideology and must be investigated.
Destruction of sites associated with early Islam
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The destruction of sites associated with early Islam is a phenomenon which has occurred mainly in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Destruction has taken place particularly in Mecca and Medina, Islam’s holiest cities. Other similar sites have been targeted for destruction across the region.
Historic and holy sites within Islam
Mainstream Islam attaches sanctity to historic and holy sites associated with early Islam. While Shia pilgrims make ziyarat to such locations to mark special events associated with the site or the person buried there, Sunni Muslims have also developed a bond with hundreds of holy places throughout the Islamic world. The holy sites in the Hejaz have especially remained places of pilgrimage and the tomb of the Islamic prophet Muhammad has always been a highly venerated site. However, Wahhabi doctrine disapproves of the holiness of cultivation of sacred sites built around mortals. Veneration of these religious and historic archeological sites are strongly condemned. They consider veneration of and worship at grave sites tantamount to idolatry. The motive behind the destruction is the Wahhabists’ fear that places of historical and religious interest could give rise to idolatry or polytheism, the worship of multiple and potentially equal gods.
In Saudi Arabia
The most serious destruction of the sites started in 1806 when the Wahhabi army occupied Medina. They systematically leveled the Baqi’, or graveyard, there which contained the remains of central figures in early Islam. Mosques across the city were also targeted and an attempt was made to demolish the Prophet’s tomb.
In 1818 Muhammad Ali Basha attacked Hijaz and the Ottomans captured the Medina. They subsequently carried out restoration of the sacred sites and the monuments were rebuilt between 1848 and 1860. The project amounted to nearly £700,000.
After Mecca and Medina fell under Wahhabi control in 1803, fundamentalists destroyed the marking of the tomb of Muhammad and various other sites. Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II ordered Muhammad Ali to drive out the Wahhabis in 1811. The practice of destruction was strongly criticized by Sunni Muslims around the world.
On April 21, 1925, aghast at tomb cults focused on saints and Imams, the monuments at the Medina Baqi’ were demolished once again by the Ikhwan, loyal to King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, along with the tombs of Muhammed’s family members in Mecca. As the some of the demolished mausoleums in Medina included those of early Shia leaders, Shia Muslims mourn this destruction annually on the Day of Sorrow. The Prophet’s mosque in Medina was bombarded and assurances given by Ibn Saud that it would be restored were never fulfilled. Promises that Hijaz would be transferred to an Islamic multinational government were likewise unfulfilled. 1926 saw Muslim protests across the world decrying the Saudi actions.
A 1994 fatwa proclaimed by Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Baz, then the kingdom’s highest religious authority stated that “It is not permitted to glorify buildings and historical sites…Such action would lead to polytheism.” Between 500-600 mausoleums and other early Islamic revered structures have been destroyed to prevent them becoming objects of adoration for worshippers. It is estimated that 95% of millennium-old buildings, historic mosques, mausoleums and other artifacts, have been demolished in the past two decades.
On 10 September 2004, after the demolition of the famous Seven Mosques of Fatimah,‘Ali,Salman al Farisi, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, al Qiblatayn and al Fath, Muhammad al Dubaisi writing in al Madinah highlighted that the “destruction of these mosques has deprived Medina of one pillar of its immortal history”. In response, Salafi writer Saleh al Fawzan justified the destruction of the historic mosques.
Some followers of Shia branch of Islam have protested, viewing the Saudi actions as a desecration of holy sites. Some Saudi voices too, especially from the Hejaz, have begun to question the wisdom of the eradication of the country’s historic heritage.
Sites under threat
The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina is where Mohammed, Abu Bakr and the Islamic Caliph Umar ibn Al Khattab are buried. A pamphlet published in 2007 by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, endorsed by Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, stated that “the green dome shall be demolished and the three graves flattened in the Prophet’s Mosque.” This sentiment was echoed in a speech by the late Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent Wahhabi clerics: “We hope one day we’ll be able to destroy the green dome of the Prophet Mohammed”.
Destroyed sites include:
Hala Sultan Tekke, tomb of Umm Haram, foster-mother of Mohammed, and one of the most sacred Islamic sites in the world, was set ablaze by arsonists on August 1999, causing minor damage mainly to the shrine’s tapestry.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem has been destroyed a number of times by earthquakes. The first recorded destruction took place in 713 AD when the eastern section of the mosque was ruined. Other earthquakes followed in 713, 746 and 774. The last earthquake, which destroyed most of al-Aqsa, occurred in 1033. Two years later, the Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir built another mosque on the site which has stood till the present-day.
Cultural genocide refers to the deliberate destruction of the cultural heritage of a people or nation for political, military, religious, ideological, ethnical, or racial reasons.
The shrines of three of Pakistan’s most popular Sufi Saints of Ishmaelite origin, Sayyid ‘Ali ibn Uthman al-Hujwiri, ‘Abd Allah Shah Ghazi, and Farid ud-Din Ma’sud have been targeted and attacked recently by Wahabi extremists. The Centre for Ishmaelite Research and Policy joins the people of Pakistan in condemning these acts of cultural genocide and calls on the government of Pakistan to do more to protect sites of Ishmaelite heritage in Pakistan.
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