Even though the tomb of Sheikh Mohammed Ali was a Muslim shrine, the Islamic State considers destroying it to be its Islamic duty. Muhammad himself is depicted in a hadith as appearing to be in favor of such actions: “Narrated ‘Aisha and ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas: When the last moment of the life of Allah’s Apostle came he started putting his ‘Khamisa’ on his face and when he felt hot and short of breath he took it off his face and said, ‘May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets.’ The Prophet was warning (Muslims) of what those had done.” (Sahih Bukhari 1:8:427)
“Isis destroys Palmyra shrine as group vows to ‘remove polytheism,'” by Jack Moore, Newsweek, June 23, 2015:
Isis has destroyed the tomb of Sheikh Mohammed Ali near Palmyra after announcing it would begin “removing the landmarks of polytheism” in the area, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Photos of the shrine being destroyed were circulated online in a report called ‘The Elimination of Polytheist Landmarks’ released by Isis’s media arm Wilayat Homs. The photos also show a second, unidentified shrine being destroyed by the terror group.
The photos depict Isis militants transporting explosive material to the site of the religious figure’s tomb, which sits atop the Mohammed Ali mountain, north of Palmyra. The city, captured by the group last month, is a Unesco World Heritage Site which the UN describes as a site of “outstanding universal value” due to its 1st and 2nd Century temples.
Rami Abdel Rahman, founder and director of SOHR, confirmed the detonation of the Mohammed Ali shrine to Newsweek and said that it was a popular tourism spot for Muslims around the world.
“It is important because for a long time the people have gone to visit this shrine,” he said. “Muslims visit this area and Mohammed Ali mountain.”
Rahman believes that the destruction of the shrines in Palmyra will continue, but indicates that the group might be feeling under pressure due to the advance of soldiers loyal to the Assad-regime.
“I think that Isis know that the regime are too close to this historic city and they will bombard this area,” he concluded.
Activist Batoul al-Homsi also confirmed to London-based Al-Araby that Isis militants blew up two shrines in response to the reinforcement of the Syrian regime forces near the city. The source said that the group “rigged the archeological city [with explosives], after regime forces summoned reinforcements to bolster their positions near Palmyra”….