A model of the Kaaba placed near the Hussaini shrine in the Iraqi city of Karbala sparked widespread controversy and questions about its implications.
And video clips spread to a gathering of people circling around the model, which angered many through social networking sites
Some criticized what they considered “an exaggeration in dealing with similar figures and figures.”
“An old habit” or “politicization of rituals”?
The controversy escalated after the spread of a video of a man calling to perform Hajj and Umrah rituals in Iraq instead of visiting Saudi Arabia and heading to Makkah.
Activists and bloggers from other Arab countries were involved in a discussion about the model of the Kaaba and the scenes accompanying it.
Among the commentators were those who saw in those scenes “an attempt to politicize rituals and include Iraqi religious sites in the game of regional axes to separate them from their Arab surroundings.”
Some of them refused to emulate the Kaaba and the rituals of Hajj for religious reasons.
Some of the tweeters described what happened in Karbala as “a provocative transgression and a flagrant violation of the teachings and sanctities of Islam,” especially since the videos documented some who “are blessed with the mock-up as if it has become an alternative to the Kaaba in Makkah.”
On the contrary, other bloggers were surprised by what they described as the “amplification” campaign and some analyzes of the sights coming from Karbala.
Some of them quoted scenes of models of the Kaaba that were previously installed in other Arab and Islamic countries.
Meanwhile, Iraqi activists said that the sculpture was constructed to celebrate the birth of Ali bin Abi Talib and does not contain any offenses or political connotations.
What is the truth of the matter?
The Hussaini shrine (the official body responsible for the shrines) denied responsibility for erecting the monument.
In a statement carried by Iraqi news sites, she indicated that the model “belongs to some of the Hussaini processions that were installed in the framework of one of the representative scenes to mark the occasion of the birth of Imam Ali.”
Two days after his condition, the threshold intervened to remove the model, after the authorities announced the imposition of a curfew due to the high number of cases of Coronavirus throughout the country.
But the clarification of the Hussaini threshold and the removal of the body, did not end the controversy.
Some were not convinced of the Al-Utaba al-Hasina’s statements, and asked about its delay in discerning the presence of the object.
It seems that this prompted some Shiite sheikhs and religious authorities to express their opinion on the matter, which was not without political and religious interactions.
The Shiite cleric, Muhammad Mahdi al-Khalisi, demanded “a unified position on the Sunni and Shiite references to confront what he described as” the slander of religion. “
While the Shiite cleric Hassan al-Mousawi believes that what happened is politically motivated.
Activists from Karbala refuse to link the incident to political motives or religious references in Iran.
Journalists in the city told the BBC: “What happened is just an ancient heritage that visitors to the shrine have been reviving for many years.”
Adherents of the Shiite sect used to perform rituals and organize processions when commemorating important religious or historical events, such as commemorating the imams or commemorating the Ashura event.
The organizers of these religious processions are keen to organize historical representations in the squares that are usually crowded with spectators. These performances or rituals are known as “similes”.
Ancient models of the Kaaba
In November 2019, a model of the Kaaba built by the municipality of Tunis on the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet sparked a great debate in the country, between welcome and another critic who denounced the scene for various reasons.
This is not the first time that a model of the Kaaba has been built in Tunisia, as the Ministry of Religious Affairs has resorted on several occasions to this method to train pilgrims in the rituals of Hajj before heading into what has become known as the “white pilgrimage”.
And in July 2020, a video spread showing a model resembling the Kaaba in a Cairo neighborhood, around which a number of citizens circled in conjunction with the advent of the Eid al-Adha prayer.
The tweeters at the time denounced the behavior, and considered it the beginning of the spread of heresies, while others liked the idea.
Some pointed out that the citizens of that region are keen to revive this popular custom every Eid, so they head to hang a model of the Kaaba in one of the city squares.
The matter was repeated in Alexandria Governorate.
Ruling embodiment of sanctities
The making of models of the Kaaba, whether for the purpose of education or the revival of religious events and the like, is one of the issues that has satisfied people in recent years.
The scholars differed regarding the ruling on making it or hanging it on the wall.
Some of them forbade it, and some of them permitted it as long as the aim was to remind people of the Kaaba and not to replace the ritual of Hajj.
While others inferred opinions of religious sources and sheikhs about the permissibility of building similar structures in the Kaaba.
However, another group of those interested in religious affairs believes that the door to ijtihad is open, and calls for respect for the rituals of others, and not to be drawn behind stereotypes and insult campaigns.
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