If Makkah is a safe town, how can the death of the hajjis (pilgrims) in the crane accident next to the Kaaba be explained?

The Details of the Question

- Some unbelievers use despicable expressions such as “since the Kaaba is protected why did Allah not protect it or did Zeus defeat Allah?” They add that those people went there to worship and they ask why Allah you did not protect them.
- I want you to explain in detail and specifically the “crane accident in the Kaaba” and what the unbelievers say about Allah and His religion.
- Why do you think Allah did not protect the people who came to worship Him and in Makkah, which is mentioned as protected in the Quran?
“In it are Signs Manifest; (for example), the Station of Abraham; whoever enters it attains security. (Aal-i Imran 97),
Do they not then see that We have made a sanctuary secure, and that men are being snatched away from all around them?....” (al-Ankabut, 67)
- Is the assurance of protection in question according to the verses above?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The phrase “al-baladul-amin=safe/secure town” is used for Makkah in the verses above, in the chapter of at-Tin and in other verses of the Quran. However, it does not mean the following:

People will not be hurt in Makkah, they will not die there, they will not be harmed there, there will be no theft, people will not be killed, etc. This way of thinking stems from not understanding Islam and the Quran:

a) If nobody dies in Makkah, where will the people living there die? If Allah does not kill those who serve Him, those who pray, those who fast, those who give alms, and those who go to hajj, how will they die? Since there is no “everlasting” being other than Allah, what can be the reason for the exclusion of hajjis, who, like everyone else, must die when their determined time comes?

Every human being’s time of death is determined; it has been ordained by Allah where, when and how they will die. The state of the hajjis in question is no exception. It was destined for them to die based on divine predestination on that day, at that hour, in Makkah, and the decree of qadar became manifest. It means that this incident did not happen despite Allah - God forbid. On the contrary, it occurred based on His knowledge and His permission. If some people have some faults, they will definitely be held responsible. However, it is Allah who created the death caused by humans.

Using the deaths in the Battle of Uhud as an excuse, hypocrites (munafiqs) attacking Islam said, “If only those friends of ours had stayed with us - had not gone to war. They would be alive now.” Allah answered them as follows:

“(My messenger!) Say: Even if you had remained in your homes, those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the place of their death.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/154).

The fact that “everyone will die where they are supposed to die” is emphasized in the verse above.

b) As for the meaning of the expression “safe town (balad al-amin)” used for Makkah, scholars have different opinions regarding the issue:

1) The reason why Makkah is called a “safe town” is that Allah protected it from the Abraha army in the Incident of the Elephant. The phrase Bayt al-Atiq is used for the Kaaba. Atiq means to be free. This name was given to the revered Kaaba because it was saved from the attacks of cruel despots. A hadith like that was also reported from the Prophet. He said: “In other words, Almighty Allah named the Kaaba “al-Atik” because He protected it from the evil of despots. A tyrant was never able to prevail over it.” (see Tirmidhi, Tafsir, Hajj, 3169)

2) According to the religion of Islam, it is a “safe town” because even if a person sentenced to death enters Makkah/Haram, this decree will not be executed there.

3) The reason why Makkah is a “safe town” is Hajar al-Aswad in the Kaaba. As Ali (r.a.) puts it, all the deeds of people are written on this stone and will not be lost as if they were in a “safe hand” until the Day of Judgment, and will be revealed on the Day of Judgment. (see Razi, the interpretation of at-Tin, verse 3; 95/3)

4) “Do they not then see that We have made a sanctuary secure, and that men are being snatched away from all around them?....”(al-Ankabut, 29/67) the issue is clearly expressed in the verse above. That is, due to the sanctity that Allah brought to this land - thanks to the Kaaba - it was made safe from attacks on other places even in the age of ignorance. The people of that place were also safe from the attacks of the bandits during their travels for trade thanks to the holy land (as it is stated in the chapter of Quraysh) and were respected everywhere.

5) As it is mentioned in Aal-i Imran, 97, the fact that Makkah is a “safe town” for both humans and birds and other living beings thanks to the Kaaba means that their lives are protected there - so much so that even in the age of ignorance, if a man had seen his father’s murderer there, he would not have killed him. Although the Arabs loved to hunt, they did not hunt the creatures in the haram of Makkah.

- To sum up, the phrase “Balad al-Amin” does not guarantee that “there will be no accident or misfortune and no one will die there”.

- In addition, if the determined time of death of the hajjis who died there came, they would still die, even if they were at home - based on divine predestination.

However, Allah took them there and removed their spirits in the most sacred place and had them buried in that holy land.

Moreover, He left them under the rubble and elevated them to a kind of spiritual martyrdom. Receiving the reward of hajj is one of the manifestations of that endless mercy.

In return for those few minutes of trouble, he sent them to Paradise, inshaAllah.

From this point of view, dying there like that was a great divine grace and grant for them.

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