A Saudi businessman’s gesture of donating a piece of land to the famous Egyptian soccer player, Mohammed Salah, has stirred a lot of controversy as reported by Saudi Gazette.
Under the Saudi law foreigners are not allowed to own property in the sacred city.
KSA plans to reward @mosalah with piece of land in #Mecca. It's a good job, but is it not better for the Kingdom to focus on more important issues than these hollow shows? It's unlikely that such things can restore the international image of Saudi Arabia, even in the Muslim world pic.twitter.com/bTA1OEB9Ni
— Bill Smith (@Bill_Smith82) April 25, 2018
According to local daily Al-Madina on Tuesday, the donation was made by Fahd Al-Rouqi, deputy chairman of the municipal council in Makkah.
Salah has a daughter named Makkah.
“In the love of Makkah’s father, we have given him a piece of land in the Holy City,” Rouqi said.
Fahd Al-Mutairi, a lawyer, said under the Saudi law, foreigners are not allowed to own properties in Makkah unless they inherit them or have them as wakf (endowment).
It doesnt matter how many goals Mohamed Salah scores, land in Makkah is not to be given away to anybody.
Saudi Arabia might think that them being the "custodians" means they own the holy sites, but they belong to Allah and the Ummah.
— Aisha H (@shariahaisha) April 26, 2018
Salah, the Liverpool forward, was named Player of the Year by England’s Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), becoming the first Egyptian to receive the coveted award.
The news exulted football fans across the Arab World. They described Salah as the pride of the Arabs and Muslims, not just for his football brilliance, but also for his off-field work and carrying his Islamic faith on his shoulders.
A number of tweeters slammed Rouqi for his donation and said being a municipal council member, he should be aware of the laws preventing foreigners form owning lands or buildings in Makkah.
In his replies, Rouqi said he did not specify the exact location of the piece of land or whether it would be in or outside Makkah.
On the opposing reactions, Rouqi said these people were free in their opinion and he had nothing to do with them.
He said the whole matter is in the hands of Salah now and he is free to do with it whatever he wants to do. He said,
“We can pay Salah the financial value of the piece of land. He can also build on it a welfare project at his own personal expenses without registering it in his name.”
Rouqi said there are many ways to enable Salah to have the piece of land. “We will coordinate with the concerned departments in this area,” he said.