Four more Khandaq area mosques closed for public
MADINAH — The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) has closed the remaining four mini mosques in Khandaq (trench) area of Madinah from a total of seven prayer places at the site where the Ahzab battle took place.
The decision to close the mosques was taken because of “superstitious practices by visitors.”
According to a report, among the seven prayer places in the region located close to the Prophet’s Mosque only Ahzab Mosque holds historical significance.
Saleh Abbas, director general of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), said the Haia closed the four mosques including Ahzab Mosque despite their plan to develop historical mosques in the city in coordination with other government agencies.
He hoped the Haia would review its decision and allow tourists to visit the four remaining mosques in the region where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) constructed a trench to prevent enemy forces from entering Madinah during the historic Ahzab battle.
Speaking about the history of seven mosques, Dr. Tunaideb Al-Fayedi, a historian, said Masjid Al-Fateh or Ahzab is the only historically proven prayer place in the area.
“Those seven prayer places in Khandaq (trench) were named Masajid Al-Sabaa (Seven Mosques) about 100 years ago by historian Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari.”
Al-Fayedi also urged the Haia to keep Masjid Al-Ahzab open to the public considering its historical importance. It has three names Al-Fateh, Al-Ahzab and Al-Aela.
“It was not a mosque during the time of the Prophet,” Al-Fayedi told Okaz/Saudi Gazette. “It was the command headquarters during Ahzab battle, when the Islamic force defeated enemies.
Okaz tried to contact Haia’s spokesman Sultan Al-Motairy to know the details of the closure decision, but he did not respond to the queries.
Previously, SCTA had signed an agreement with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance to take care of historical mosques and enact a law for the renovation and maintenance of such mosques across the Kingdom.
A special team has been set up for the purpose and the ministry’s branches in the 13 regions have been instructed to implement the program.
SCTA launched the program as part of its efforts to protect the country’s historical sites and antiquities, considering them as valuable heritage.
The ministry and SCTA have decided to organize workshops in various regions to educate officials about their joint program for the development and maintenance of Islamic heritage.
They coordinate with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs to implement the program. There is a plan to establish endowments for the operation and maintenance of historical mosques. A new law will be enacted on documentation, operation and integration of such mosques.