Saturday, October 08, 2011

Al-Baqi' Cemetery, Madinah

from Wikipedia

Maqbaratu l-Baqī' (Arabic: مقبرة البقيع‎, Al-Baqi' Cemetery) is a cemetery in Medina, Saudi Arabia, located to the southeast of the Masjid al-Nabawi. The cemetery is also known as Jannatu l-Baqi' (جنة البقيع) "The Garden of Heaven" and Baqi'u l-Qarqad "Orchard of the Boxthorn Trees".
A Jewish graveyard was once located behind Jannatu l-Baqi'. The Umayyad rulers took down the wall of the Jewish cemetery and widened the Muslim graveyard to enclose the tomb of Uthman ibn Affan within it.

During the construction of the al-Masjid al-Nabawi, Asa'ad Bin Zararah, one of Muhammad's companions died. Muhammad chose the spot to be a cemetery and Asa'ad was the first individual to be buried in Al-Baqi cemetery among the Ansar.

While Muhammad was outside Medina for the Battle of Badr, his daughter Ruqayyah fell sick and died in 624. Shortly after Muhammad arrived from Badr, Uthman bin Maz'oon died on the 3rd of Sha'ban in the 3rd year of Hijrah and was buried in al-Baqi'. He was considered the first companion of Muhammad from the Muhajirun to be buried in Al-Baqi' Cemetery.  The Prophet (s) ordered certain trees to be felled, and in its midst, he buried his dear companion, placing two stones over the grave.

The Prophet (s) used to greet those who were buried in al-Baqi by saying, "Peace be upon you, O abode of the faithful! God willing, we should soon join you. O' Allah, forgive the fellows of al-Baqi".

Nearly seven thousand companions of the Holy Prophet (s) were buried there, not to mention those of the Ahlul Bayt (a). Imam Hasan b. Ali (a), Imam Ali b. al-Husayn (a), Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a), and Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) were all buried there.

Among other relatives of the Prophet (s) who were buried at al-Baqi are: his aunts Safiya and Aatika, and his aunt Fatima bint al-Asad, the mother of Imam Ali (a). The third caliph Uthman was buried outside al-Baqi, but with later extensions, his grave was included in the area. In later years, great Muslim scholars like Malik bin Anas and many others, were buried there too. Thus, did al-Baqi become a well-known place of great historic significance to all Muslims.

On May 1, 1925, mausoleums in al-Baqi' were demolished by King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia. In the same year, he also demolished the tombs of holy personalities at Jannatul Mualla in Mecca where Muhammad's mother, wife, grandfather and other ancestors are buried. This happened despite protest by the international Islamic community.

The destruction of sacred sites in the Hejaz initiated by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab continues today to prevent what some consider to be the practice of grave-worshipping, revering the dead and asking favours of the dead buried there.[2] Many of these mausoleums, domes and structures, originally intended to identify famous companions of Muhammad, were destroyed upon the urging of Wahhabi scholars who argued, in accordance with Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab's ideology, that Muhammad forbade the building of structures over any grave.[3][4] According to these scholars, adornment or beautification of graves is forbidden in order to prevent people from seeking a means of approach to God through the dead and to directly seek help from the dead. Despite this, the graves of many historic figures continue to be visited by numerous pilgrims, and burials continue at the cemetery to this day.
Many Shi'i Muslims continue to mourn the day the House of Saud demolished shrines in al-Baqi'. They remember it as yaum e gham or Day of Sorrow. Shi'i Muslims continue to protest the Saudi government's demolition of these shrines.

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