Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti declares Iranians are ‘not Muslims’

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti declares Iranians are ‘not Muslims’

A top Saudi cleric has declared that Iranians are “not Muslims” after Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei slammed Saudi Arabia for poorly managing the hajj pilgrimage.

The remarks were made by Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh a day after Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Saudi authorities of killing Muslims injured during last year’s crush of crowds at the hajj pilgrimage.

On Tuesday, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh told Makkah newspaper that:

“We must understand these are not Muslims, they are children of Zorostrians”

He went on to say “Their (Shias) hostility towards Muslims is an old one, Especially the Sunnis

The majority of Iranians are Shiite Muslims, while most in Saudi Arabia are Sunni. Saudi Arabia and Iran back opposite sides of the wars in Syria and Yemen, and support opposing political groups in Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. The two countries severed diplomatic relations in January after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric and angry Iranian crowds overran Saudi diplomatic missions.

Khamenei accused Saudi Arabia’s ruling family, who are the custodians of Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, of politicising the pilgrimage, and turning themselves into “small and puny Satans who tremble for fear of jeopardising the interests of the Great Satan (the United States).”

On Monday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei said “The heartless and murderous Saudis locked up the injured with the dead in containers – instead of providing medical treatment and helping them or at least quenching their thirst. They murdered them.”

The September 2015 stampede and crush of pilgrims killed at least 2,426 people, according to an Associated Press count. Iran had the highest of death toll of any country, with 464 Iranian pilgrims killed.

Saudi authorities have not released any findings of their investigation into the hajj disaster. Preliminary statements suggested the crush was caused when at least two large crowds intersected.

Negotiations between the two countries over hajj security measures also collapsed earlier this year, prompting Iran to declare it would not be sending any of its citizens to this year’s pilgrimage, which begins this weekend.

Ehsan Rehan

Ehsan Rehan

Ehsan is a Washington D.C. based reporter who covers Human Rights & Religious Freedom issues.

Ehsan Rehan



Leave a Reply

15 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti declares Iranians are ‘not Muslims’

  1. I am learning about Islam and what it means to be Muslim. I don’t want to be ignorant to the religion or people because I don’t understand it. Actually, recently I questioned the religion I was born into as well. But I just can’t ever find answers for a religion or people who see themselves better than somebody else or this idea of exclusivist within a religion. Saudi Arabia is known to do this a lot

  2. What an surprisingly ignorant statement. One would expect more maturity from the “Grand Mufti” of Saudi Arabia .. or maybe not.

    Now to the facts. The grand mufti seems to be preaching completely opposite to the fundamental message of Islam about brotherhood of all Muslims and rejection of racism which is one of the core teachings of Islam. Indeed the Holy Prophet (SAW) himself demonstrated this when he declared Salman “The Persian” to be of People of His House. The Mufti seems to be either ignorant of this basic fact or knowingly preaching against this.

    Secondly If the Mufti is so adamant about stereotyping all “Persians” to those who reject faith then unfortunately he will have to include the giants of Sunni Jurisprudence like Imam Bukhari, Abu Hanifah and indeed Abdul Qadir Gilani who is considered one of the great Islamic Philosophers. This will indeed jeopardize the foundations of Sunni Islam. Was that what the Mufti had in Mind?

    How can the Grand Mufti be so irresponsible and ignorant.

  3. Shame on that person who represent all the Muslims before Allah on Hajj, very irresponsible. Last year he has been saying that all Muslims should be in unity and within year he shoes is heels. In my view, Mufti grand Mufti, or any other stake holders in Muslim community are supposed to speak gently, they should prove themselves as symbol of real follower of Muhammad SAWW. If in thorough study is taken, that chap is not allowed to lead any pray as because of he is disable (one eyed),