I was looking at the interpretation of this verse from a Shia perspective

But why should Allah not punish them while they obstruct [people] from al-Masjid al- Haram and they were not its guardians? Its guardians are not but the righteous, but most of them do not know.(Quran 8:34)

After this verse was revealed there has never been a "sect" change in Mecca. It's guardians (awliya) have always been Muslims (some call them Sunni or ahle sunnah) but the Quran says they are mutaqoon.

Now this gives me the understanding that all those who are guardians of al Masjid al Haram are mutaqoon.

Do Shias think otherwise?

  • 2
    Its guardians are not but the righteous Does it mean that whoever is there is righteous? Check out now who is there.
    – rowman
    Oct 14, 2012 at 19:14
  • @rowman the word used is "guardians" so it does not refer to one person rather a group of people. The guardians since ages are muslims so that would mean that this group is mutaqoon.
    – islam101
    Oct 14, 2012 at 20:27
  • Yes it it a group of people. Does this mutaqoon group mean Wahabi Saudis now?
    – rowman
    Oct 14, 2012 at 21:00

2 Answers 2


This verse does not mean anyone who is guardian of (regardless of if they are believer or not) are Mutaqoon (pious men). But it mean its real guardians are Mutaqoon. So we should seek who are Mutaqoon. So firstly we should know what Taqwa is and then check who has the attributes of Taqwa.

A sermon of Imam Ali in response of Hammam when he asked Imam to describe Mutaqoon in such a way that as if he see them is known as best source for definition and knowing Mutaqoon.

This sermon can be read here: Sermon 193 It is related that a companion of Amir al-mu'minin called Hammam who...

This sermon is famous and is recorded in many shia and sunni books. For example:

(1) Kitab Sulaym ibn Qays, 211;

(2) al-Saduq, al-'Amali, 340;

(3) Ibn Qutaybah, `Uyun, II, 352;

(4) al-Harrani, Tuhaf, 159;

(5) Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, Tadhkirah, 148;

(6) Ibn Talhah, Matalib, I, 151;

(7) al-Karajiki, Kanz, 31;

(8) al-Masudi, Muruj, II, 420.Abd al-Zahra' mentions 8 commentaries on this famous khutbah al-Qasi`ah.

Some parts of this sermon:

Thus, the God-fearing, in it are the people of distinction. Their speech is to the point, their dress is moderate and their gait is humble. They keep their eyes closed to what Allah has made unlawful for them, and they put their ears to that knowledge which is beneficial to them. They remain in the time of trials as though they remain in comfort. If there had not been fixed periods (of life) ordained for each, their spirits would not have remained in their bodies even for the twinkling of an eye because of (their) eagerness for the reward and fear of chastisement. The greatness of the Creator is seated in their heart, and, so, everything else appears small in their eyes. Thus to them Paradise is as though they see it and are enjoying its favors. To them, Hell is also as if they see it and are suffering punishment in it.

Then you asked about interpret of this verse according to Shia. Here is an English commentary of Shia about this verse:

[Pooya/Ali Commentary 8:34]

The true custodians of the masjid al haram are the divinely commissioned guardians of faith- the Imams of the Ahl ul Bayt. After the Holy Prophet there is no one equal to them in taqwa (piety) (see commentary of al Baqarah: 2).

  • So since the current guardians are not mutaqoon, means this verse is false? I am not looking at the definition of "mutaqoon" rather looking for meaning of gaurdian according to shia theology.
    – islam101
    Oct 14, 2012 at 18:20
  • 1
    @islam101 firstly verse does not say guardian. this is a false (at least not perfect) translate. secondly verse means only real Mutaqeen are Awlia of Masjid al-haram. verse is correct. but who you interpret as Mutaqeen is not correct. OK look definition of Mutaqeen then yourself judge if Saud Kings are real Mutaqeen or not. this link may help you to decide Oct 14, 2012 at 18:37

Doesn't the verse itself answer you? Allah is talking about the Mushrikeen in Mecca before triumph of Mecca who claimed to be guardians (although Guardian is not a very complete translation for Awliya) of Masjid Al-Haram, so that they prevented Muslims to enter the city [obstruct from al-Masjid al- Haram], but Allah says "they were not its guardians". Note that Ka'ba was considered by Mushrikeen of Mecca as a holy place for keeping their idols! They claim Muslims are unclean and cannot enter the Masjid ul-Haram. Allah here states that they are not true Awliya of the mosque, then in another verse states that Mushrikeen are not clean and should not enter the mosque! So that not anyone who has the political power or army in Mecca is true Walee for Masjid Ul-Haram, but the real Walee of the mosque is the one who is Mutaqqee. Also no one --who is not the true Walee for Masjid Ul-Haraam-- is ever permitted to prevent the other Muslims --from anywhere around the globe-- from coming to it. I saw several Shia interpretations and none said anything else.

Does this answer satisfy you or you meant something else?

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