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

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  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),

  4. Whatever Mufti has said,is based on reality. Shias just not only represent a sect rather they have their own religion.They just love to criticise instead of giving any challenge to Mufti of Saudi Arabia for having a Public debate over this issue.Whether they are muslim or not? I hope that Mr. Khaminnai would challenge Mufti Azam KSA to have a Public debate with him on this issue.

  5. ‘Sunnis’ are not Muslims either; only Muslims are Muslims. [هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَفِي هَذَا]-It is He who has named you Muslims in bygone times as well as in this [divine writ]-22:78.

    Only those can identify themselves as Sunni-Shia who have divided their religions grossly violating the Quranic command- La tafarraqu-3:103; La tatafarraqu fihi-42:13.

    Identity of a Muslim is one and only Muslim. He will not rebrand it, he has no right to do that. Quran inspires us to utter: Innani minal muslimeen; Umirtu an akuna minal muslimeen, etc. On the contrary, Allah Almighty prohibits us in strongest terms from any division in the Islam in many Quranic verses. If we search the word ‘Faraqun’ (fa, ra, qaf), we will find ample references how division and renaming in Islam has been treated and cursed.

  6. this is customary of so called muftis and mullas to declare some one not or none muslim on the basis of beliefs they do not agree with. this act has brought disaster to Islam. This act of mufti is not only shameful. May Allah put His mercy upon such people who are putting an axe of Takfeer on others.

  7. What else can you expect from an illiterate and arrogant man with a long beard and satanic face. The only problem is muslim world is Wahabism. First they call Ahmedis kafir, then Shia, and pretty soon, they’ll declare every Non Wahabi person Kafir. I’m a Shia and to me Ahmedi is a better muslim than a Wahabi Kafir.

    1. Spiting near the grave yard of holy sahaba and abusing caliph of Islam are non Muslim no doubt there is ..Muslim says “lailaha illallahu muhammadur rasulullah” but abuser of caliph says “lailaha illallahu muhammadur rasulullah aliul wali ullah khalifatul bilafasal” which is not right

  8. And Arabs are descendants of sun-worshipping pagans. So? Does this ignorant Sheik think his people were Muslims since the dawn of creation? What he is actually betraying is the deep and ancient hostility between Arabs and Persians, which is barely veneered over by the religion that ostensibly connects them. He is also telegraphing the profound Arab parochiality of Islam. Even though it is found among many cultures, it is essentially an expression of ancient Arab paganism dressed up in borrowed Hebrew-Christian accoutrements.

  9. What qualified a person to be a Muslim or what is the definition of a Muslim? Is it a declaration by a self appointed grand mufti or with reference to the holy Quran and the Ahdith/Sunna of the holy prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)?Because I don’t understand these so called Mufitis,who will just wake up from their sleep, declaring their Muslim brothers non-muslims!what authority does a person ,beside Almighty Allah and His noble prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), has to declare another Muslim a non- Muslim? What do these Saudi Arabia Arabs and their ilks Mullahs in Pakistan and some other Muslim countries think they are? The fact that the Saudi Arabia are the custodians of the two Muslim holiest mosques in Mecca and Medina does not make them holier or God-fearing than others. Just because the Iranians accused the Saudi Arabia for their inhuman treatment of the pilgrims, mufti Abdulaziz declared them non-muslims!God have mercy.The two countries should just sit down to resolve their differences instead of playing politics with religion and putting Islam into ridicule by their unguarded untrances.Muslims are brothers to one anothers irrespective of tribe or color, that’s what the holy Quran says and the teaching of the holy prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) but Alas!What we are seeing and witnessing among Muslim nations these days is very saddened,castigating and even killing themselves because of minor differences.

  10. These utterances prove that Daesh is one of them! Just because the two holy sites are on their land, they seem to bully the rest of the Muslim world to their way of life by giving out fatwas left, right and centre.

    These Saudis seem to be under the impression that their daft and selfish minded ‘muftis’ can interpret the Qur’an and Sunnah to suit their own bloodthirsty way and sit in Allah’s place by announcing to the rest of the world as to who is or is not a Muslim.

    Unfortunately, they have many fanatic followers among the Muslim world who accept their announcements as gospel and who in turn cause mayhem and murder in the name of God in their own countries without applying their lazy and ignorant brains to find out whether our Holy Book and the Prophet (pbuh), par excellence really practiced this or not. No wonder the rest of the world thinks of Muslims in general as illiterate people!!!

  11. What a foolish statement, the Saudi Great Mufti has given. Faith is someones a very personal matter and only he or she may be authorized to declare his/her faith himself.
    In my opinion, the very first thing which should be decided once for ever by “Muslim Ummah” is, “that who is authorized to declare any one “A Non Muslim” if the person claims himself Muslim”. This could only be decided by a penal of judges or jury consisting of at least 11 members, all well recognized scholars of world fame but from different religions except Islam. This Jury may be accepted anonymously by all sects of Muslims. Every one who wish to own the authority to declare / decide Muslim or Not Muslim may appear with his arguments to support his Right.
    Unless and otherwise there is no Muslim exists on earth at the moment because there is no sect of Muslims who has not been declared as Not Muslim by one or the other sect.

  12. Watch out Saudi Arabia those who declare one another Kafirs are a greater one than the other so says the Holy Quran !!!
    You are a greater traitor and an oppressor in your own land causing so much disorder and discourses against Islam
    You are the murderers, rapists and the incursions against women children old and poor
    Watch out there is a God about looking after us all ?!!
    You are no greater than the non Arabs
    Whites and blacks too are no mightier or higher than one another so why do you slander ?!!!?
    Be watchful of what you do !!!
    The world is witness to your murderuos regime that will soon be taken away from under your feet
    Inshallah !!!
    You are being watched very closely closer than you think you are !!!

  13. The problem with the Saudi Arabia rulers is that they have no regard for human life. This is not an act of bravery but callousness. They make obnoxious laws which have no place in Islam. The Arabs, and by extenuation, the Saudis smoke tobacco heavily, yet they penalize with death any pilgrim who brings colanut to Saudi Arabia for personal consumption during Hajj. Where in the Quran and or Hadith is cutting off human head prescribed for whatever offence allegedly committed? Was it not their forefathers who assaulted the Holy Prophet, maimed and killed scores of early Muslims? Who is a Muslim? Who possesses the authority to categorize or authenticate any one as a Muslim? It is only in the light of the Holy Quran and the Ahadith of the Prophet that a Muslim can be defined, not the vulgar utterances of so-called Mufti or Muftis who possess to sign of piety in their characters, utterances and actions. It is the same problem with the Mullahs of Pakistan and their ilks in several other Arab and Muslim-dominated countries. The Saudis and indeed, the entire Arab/Muslim world are at the cross-road, having rejected the Imam of the Age. The ealier they retrace their steps, the better for them.