HISTORY OF THE CEMETERY OF JANNAT AL-BAQI
WHERE IMAM HASAN B. ALI (2ND IMAM), IMAM ALI B. AL-HUSAYN (4TH
IMAM), IMAM MUHAMMAD B. ALI (5TH IMAM), & IMAM JA'FAR B. MUHAMMAD
(6TH IMAM), PEACE BE UPON THEM, ARE BURIED
On 8th Shawwal, Wednesday, in the year 1345 AH (April 21, 1925),
mausoleums in Jannatul al-Baqi (Madina) were demolished by King Ibn
In the same year (1925), he also demolished the tombs of holy
personages at Jannat al-Mualla (Makkah) where the Holy Prophet (s)'s
mother, wife, grandfather and other ancestors are buried.
Destruction of sacred sites in Hijaz by the Saudi Wahhabis continues
even today. According to some scholars what is happening in Hijaz is
actually a conspiracy plotted by the Jews against Islam, under the
guise of Tawheed. The idea is to eradicate the Islamic legacy and
heritage and to systematically remove all its vestiges so that in
the days to come, Muslims will have no affiliation with their
The Origins of Al-Baqi
Literally "al-Baqi" means a tree garden. It is also known as "Jannat
al-Baqi" due to its sanctity, since in it are buried many of our
Prophet's relatives and companions.
The first companion buried in al-Baqi was Uthman b. Madhoon who died
on the 3rd of Sha'ban in the 3rd year of Hijrah. The Prophet (s)
ordered certain trees to be felled, and in its midst, he buried his
dear companion, placing two stones over the grave.
On the following years, the Prophet's son Ibrahim, who died in
infancy and over whom the Prophet (s) wept bitterly, was also buried
there. The people of Madina then began to use that site for the
burial of their own dead, because 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".
The site of the burial ground at al-Baqi was gradually extended.
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
Al-Baqi as viewed by historians
Umar bin Jubair describes al-Baqi as he saw it during his travel to
Madina, saying "Al-Baqi is situated to the east of Madina. You enter
it through the gate known as the gate of al-Baqi. As you enter, the
first grave you see on your left is that of Safiya, the Prophet's
aunt, and further still is the grave of Malik bin Anas, the Imam of
Madina. On his grave is raised a small dome. In front of it is the
grave of Ibrahim son of our Prophet (s) with a white dome over it,
and next to it on the right is the grave of Abdul-Rahman son of Umar
bin al-Khattab, popularly known as Abu Shahma, whose father had kept
punishing him till death overtook him. Facing it are the graves of
Aqeel bin Abi Talib and Abdullah bin Ja'far al-Tayyar. There, facing
those graves is a small shrine containing the graves of the
Prophet's wives, following by a shrine of Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib.
The grave of Hasan bin Ali (a), situated near the gate to it's right
hand, has an elevated dome over it. His head lies at the feet of
Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, and both graves are raised high above the
ground, their walls are panelled with yellow plates and studded with
beautiful star-shaped nails. This is how the grave of Ibrahim, son
of the Prophet (s) has also been adorned. Behind the shrine of Abbas
there is the house attributed to Fatima, daughter of our Prophet
(s), known as "Bayt al-Ahzaan" (the house of grief) because it is
the house she used to frequent in order to mourn the death of her
father, the chosen one, peace be upon him. At the farthest end of
al-Baqi is the grave of the caliph Uthman, with a small dome over
it, and there, next to it, is the grave of Fatima bint Asad, mother
of Ali b. Abi Talib (a)"
After a century and a half, the famous traveller Ibn Batuta came to
describe al-Baqi in a way which does not in any way differ from the
description given by Ibn Jubair. He adds saying, "At al-Baqi are the
graves of numerous Muhajirin and Ansar and many companions of the
Prophet (s), except that most of their names are unknown."
Thus, over the centuries, al-Baqi remained a sacred site with
renovations being carried out as and when needed till the Wahhabis
rose to power in the early nineteenth century. The latter desecrated
the tombs and demonstrated disrespect to the martyrs and the
companions of the Prophet (s) buried there. Muslims who disagreed
with them were branded as "infidels" and were subsequently killed.
The First Destruction of Al-Baqi
The Wahhabis believed that visiting the graves and the shrines of
the Prophets, the Imams, or the saints was a form of idolatry and
totally un-Islamic. Those who did not conform with their belief were
killed and their property was confiscated. Since their first
invasion of Iraq, and till nowadays, in fact, the Wahhabis, as well
as other rulers of the Gulf States, having been carrying out
massacres from which no Muslim who disagreed with them was spared.
Obviously, the rest of the Islamic World viewed those graves with
deep reverence. Had it not been so, the two caliphs Abu Bakr and
Umar would not have expressed their desire for burial near the grave
of the Prophet (s).
From 1205 AH to 1217 AH, the Wahhabis made several attempts to gain
a foothold in Hijaz but failed. Finally, in 1217 AH, they somehow
emerged victorious in Taif where they spilled the innocent blood of
Muslims. In 1218 AH, they entered Makkah and destroyed all sacred
places and domes there, including the one which served as a canopy
over the well of Zamzam.
In 1221, the Wahhabis entered Madina to desecrate al-Baqi as well as
every mosque they came across. An attempt was even made to demolish
the Prophet's tomb, but for one reason or another, the idea was
abandoned. In subsequent years, Muslims from Iraq, Syria, and Egypt
were refused entry into Makkah for Hajj. King Al-Saud set a
pre-condition that those who wished to perform the pilgrimage would
have to accept Wahhabism or else be branded as non-Muslims, becoming
ineligible for entry into the Haram.
Al-Baqi was razed to the ground, with no sign of any grave or tomb
whatsoever. But the Saudis were still not quite satisfied with doing
all of that. Their king ordered three black attendants at the
Prophet's shrine to show him where the treasure of valuable gifts
were stored. The Wahhabis plundered the treasure for their own use.
Thousands of Muslims fled Makkah and Madina in a bid to save their
lives and escape from the mounting pressure and persecution at the
hands of the Wahhabis. Muslims from all over the world denounced
this Saudi savagery and exhorted the Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire
to save the sacred shrines from total destruction. Then, as it is
known, Muhammad Ali Basha attacked Hijaz and, with the support of
local tribes, managed to restore law and order in Madina and Makkah,
dislodging the Al-Saud clansmen. The entire Muslim world celebrated
this victory with great fanfare and rejoicing. In Cairo, the
celebrations continued for five days. No doubt, the joy was due to
the fact that pilgrims were once more allowed freely to go for Hajj,
and the sacred shrines were once again restored.
In 1818 AD, the Ottaman Caliph Abdul Majid and his successors,
Caliphs Abdul Hamid and Mohammed, carried out the reconstruction of
all sacred places, restoring the Islamic heritage at all important
sites. In 1848 and 1860 AD, further renovations were made at the
expense of nearly seven hundred thousand pounds, most of which came
from the donations collected at the Prophet's tomb.
The second plunder by the Wahhabis
The Ottoman Empire had added to the splendor of Madina and Makkah by
building religious structures of great beauty and architectural
value. Richard Burton, who visited the holy shrines in 1853 AD
disguised as an Afghan Muslim and adopting the Muslim name Abdullah,
speaks of Madina boasting 55 mosques and holy shrines. Another
English adventurer who visited Madina in 1877-1878 AD describes it
as a small beautiful city resembling Istanbul. He writes about its
white walls, golden slender minarets and green fields.
1924 AD Wahhabis entered Hijaz for a second time and carried out
another merciless plunder and massacre. People in streets were
killed. Houses were razed to the ground. Women and children too were
Awn bin Hashim (Shairf of Makkah) writes: "Before me, a valley
appeared to have been paved with corpses, dried blood staining
everywhere all around. There was hardly a tree which didn't have one
or two dead bodies near its roots."
1925 Madina surrendered to the Wahhabi onslaught. All Islamic
heritage were destroyed. The only shrine that remained intact was
that of the Holy Prophet (s).
Ibn Jabhan says: "We know that the tomb standing on the Prophet's
grave is against our principles, and to have his grave in a mosque
is an abominable sin."
Tombs of Hamza and other martyrs were demolished at Uhud. The
Prophet's mosque was bombarded. On protest by Muslims, assurances
were given by Ibn Saud that it will be restored but the promise was
never fulfilled. A promise was given that Hijaz will have an Islamic
multinational government. This was also abandoned.
1925 AD Jannat al-Mu'alla, the sacred cemetery at Makkah was
destroyed alongwith the house where the Holy Prophet (s) was born.
Since then, this day is a day of mourning for all Muslims.
Is it not strange that the Wahhabis find it offensive to have the
tombs, shrines and other places of importance preserved, while the
remains of their Saudi kings are being guarded at the expense of
millions of dollars?
Protest from Indian Muslims
1926, protest gatherings were held by shocked Muslims all over the
world. Resolutions were passed and a statement outlining the crimes
perpetrated by Wahhabis was issued and included the following:
The destruction and desecration of the holy places i.e. the birth
place of the Holy Prophet [s], the graves of Banu Hashim in Makkah
and in Jannat al-Baqi (Madinah), the refusal of the Wahhabis to
allow Muslims to recite Ziyarah or Surah al-Fatiha at those graves.
The destruction of the places of worship i.e. Masjid Hamza, Masjid
Abu Rasheed, in addition to the tombs of Imams and Sahaba (Prophet's
Interference in the performance of
Forcing the Muslims to follow the Wahhabis innovations and to
abandon their own ways according to the guidance of the Imams they
The massacre of sayyids in Taif, Madina, Ahsa, and Qatif.
The demolition of the grave of the Imams at al-Baqi which deeply
offended and grieved all Shias.
Protest from other countries
Similar protests were lodged by Muslims in Iran, Iraq, Egypt,
Indonesia, and Turkey. All of them condemn the Saudi Wahhabis for
their barbaric acts. Some scholars wrote tracts and books to tell
the world the fact that what was happening in Hijaz was actually a
conspiracy plotted by the Jews against Islam, under the guise of
Tawheed. The idea was to eradicate the Islamic legacy and heritage
and to systematically remove all its vestiges so that in the days to
come, Muslims will have no affiliation with their religious history.
A partial list of the demolished
graves and shrines
Al-Mualla graveyard in Makkah which includes the grave of Sayyida
Khadija bint Khuwailid (a), wife of the Prophet (s), the grave of
Amina bint Wahab, mother of the Prophet (s), the grave of Abu Talib,
(a), and the grave of Abdul Muttalib, grandfather of the Prophet (s)
The grave of Hawa (Eve) in Jeddah
The grave of the father of the Prophet (s) in Madina
The house of sorrows (bayt al-Ahzan) of Sayyida Fatima (a) in Madina
The Salman al-Farsi mosque in Madina
The Raj'at ash-Shams mosque in Madina
The house of the Prophet (s) in Madina, where he lived after
migrating from Makkah
The house of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) in Madina
The complex (mahhalla) of Banu Hashim in Madina
The house of Imam Ali (a) where Imam Hasan (a) and Imam Husayn (a)
The house of Hamza and the graves of the martyrs of Uhud (a)