‘Mecca crane tragedy: Victims died as martyrs’

Crane-crashes-into-Mecca-MosqueBy the saying (hadith) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the 107 victims of the Mecca crane crash are martyrs. Beside the heavenly reward that they are automatically entitled to, the Saudi Arabian government has also announced huge compensation for the families of the victims.

Abū Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allāh said: “The martyrs are of five kinds: the one who dies of a plague; the one who dies of an abdominal disease; the one who drowns; the one who dies under debris (of construction among others) and the one who dies fighting in the path of Allah.” (Al-Bukhaari).

What also elevates the value of their reward is the fact that their death occurred on a Friday. It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “There is no Muslim who dies during the day of Friday or the night of Friday but Allah will protect him from the trial of the grave.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi.

And what appears like the icing on the cake is that their transition took place in the holy land. ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Adiyy ibn Hamraa’ Az-Zuhri said: “I saw the Prophet standing on Al-Hazwarah (a place in Mecca) addressing Mecca, saying:“I swear by Allah, you are the best of lands of Allah and you are the most beloved land to Allah, and had it not been that I was driven out of you, I would have never left you ”. (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah).

Meanwhile, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz has issued an order to pay compensation to the families of the deceased as well as the injured in the accident.

According to a statement from the Saudi Hajj Authority, the families of the deceased or those who suffered permanent disability will receive SR 1 million ($267,000) about N55.2 million each and individuals who suffered other injuries will receive SR 500,000 ($133,333) about N26.7 million each in assistance.

King Salman also issued directives that such payment would not deprive the families of the victims from filing private claims before the competent judicial authorities.

The King has also issued directives to host two family members of the deceased as the King’s guests to perform Hajj next year. The injured who cannot perform Hajj this year can perform Hajj next year as the King’s guests.

The families of those hospitalized will be granted visas to take care of the injured during the remaining period of Hajj and return to their country.

Also, the King has sanctioned the Saudi Binladin Group (the construction company) over the collapse of the crane at the Grand Mosque. The tragedy, which occurred last Friday killed, at least, 107 people and injured almost 400. Investigation revealed that severe thunderstorm accompanied by violent winds lead to the crane crash.

But investigators found that the crane was allegedly “in a wrong position” when the high winds struck, as its main arm should have been lowered.

“The position of the crane was in violation of operating instructions prepared by the manufacturer,” they said in a statement.

The firm’s executives have been forbidden from leaving the kingdom pending the completion of legal action, SPA said, adding that Salman ordered prosecutors to prepare an indictment. Until the case is closed, the company will also be excluded from new public projects.

According to Saudi Binladin Group’s website, the company has worked on numerous prominent projects in Saudi Arabia including Al-Faisaliah tower in central Riyadh, King Abdullah Financial District, universities and the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. It has also developed airports and other projects in the Middle East and as far afield as Malaysia.

Pilgrims from about 160 countries gathered in Saudi Arabia to perform this year’s exercise. Reports showed that six Nigerians, 11 Indians, and two British among others were casualties of the disaster.

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