Mecca is Islam’s holiest city and is believed to be the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad. Millions of Muslims throng to the holy city every year for Hajj, the annual pilgrimage. Dating from the 7th century, the central Masjid al-Haram (Sacred Mosque) surrounds the Kaaba, the cloth-covered cubic structure that’s Islam’s most sacred shrine.
On 13th January 2020, a person named Ayub Aroos posted a video on his Facebook profile with the caption “First time in history makkah masjidul haram snowing yesterday”, indicating that for the first time in recorded history, the sacred mosque of Al Masjid al-Haram in Mecca had a snowfall.
The video, shared over 1000 times had mixed reactions with most of the comments mentioning this video was not from a mosque in Mecca.
Snowing is usual in Saudi Arabia. This January, around the same time the above post was published, the country had experienced a powerful storm bringing sub-zero temperatures, transforming parts of the Saudi Arabian desert into a winter wonderland. As a result, few of the respondents had actually believed that these were indeed scenes of snow, at the sacred mosque of Al Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. We verified whether the claim made in the post is true or not and found out the mosque seen in the video is not in Saudi but Iran.
We did a Google Reverse Image Search on some of the video frames from the viral video and noticed a large number of entries, during the past month.
Number of search results were in Arabic language and with the help of Google Translator we inspected the report published by albidda.net and a screengrab of the translation to English is as below
“A video clip has been shared across social media, claiming that snow fell on the Noble Sanctuary in Medina. By searching for the truth of the passage, it turned out to be incorrect, and the real video came from the Iranian city of Mashhad more than three years ago which records a snowfall in each winter. In this context, the Anti-Rumor Commission clarified in a statement that what is being discussed about the snowfall on the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina is incorrect and the real video from the Iranian city of Mashhad more than three years ago”
To ascertain this statement, we did a Youtube search for “snowfall in Mashad” and noticed large number of content with similar background to the claimed video.
Upon further examination of the content from Mashad in Iran, we were able to locate the location exactly as Imam Reza shrine. Below are some of the images of the sacred Imam Reza shrine in Mashad.
Furthermore, after doing a Facebook search for “Reza shrine in Mashad” we were came across the same video posted by a person called Mohammed Abdul Nayeem with the caption “Snowfall at Shrine of Imam Reza(as). Mashhad,Iran”
We also searched the official Facebook page of the sacred mosque of Al Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and could not locate any images during January 2020 of a reported snowfall.
We searched Google for images of Al Masjid al Haram during snowfall in Mecca and found reports of snowfall in Mecca and Medina in January 2016. The snowfall took place in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina almost after 85 years.
From our investigation, we conclude that the video post by Ayub Aroos captioned “First time in history makkah masjidul haram snowing yesterday” is misleading and that the footage actually belong to the shrine of Imam Reza in Mashad, Iran.
Title:FACT CHECK: Video of snowfall in Iran’s mosque shared as Al Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca.Fact Check By: Sathyajith Subasinghe