Saturday, 13 October 2012

Jabal 'Ayr & Jannat al-Baqi'

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Jabal ‘Ayr, Mount Ayr, is the second largest mountain in Madina after Uhud and marks the southern boundary of Madina.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) described it as a mountain of Hell.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) declared, “Uhud is a mountain which loves us and which we love; It is upon the Gate of Heaven;” adding, “And ‘Ayr is a place which hates us and which we hate; it is upon the Gate of Hell.”

‘‘Ayr’ means a ‘wild ass’, whereas Uhud is derived from Ahad, meaning ‘One’, so called because it is fated to be the place of victory to those who worship one God.  The very names, say Muslim sages, make it abundantly evident that even as the men of Madina were of two parties, friendly and hostile to the Prophet (s.a.w.), so were these mountains.

Jannat al-Baqi’, 'Garden of Heaven,' is the main cemetery of Madina.  Buried there, are many members of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) close family, around ten thousand of his companions, swahabah, and many prominent, pious personalities.

‘Aishah (r.a.) reported (that whenever it was her turn for the Prophet (s.a.w.) to spend the night with her, he would go out towards the end of the night to al-Baqi’ and say, “as-Salaamu’Alaykum, Ya Dar ul-Mu’minin.  What you were promised will come to you tomorrow.  You are receiving it after some delay; and insha’Allah, we shall join you.  O Allah, Grant Forgiveness to the inhabitants of Baqi; al-Gharqad.”  This is recorded in Swahih Muslim.

‘Baqi’’ means the land in which the roots of different trees are embedded.  ‘Gharqad’ is the name of a thorny tree, the boxthorn, which were abundant in Baqi’.  Hence the cemetery also came to be known as Baqi al-Gharqad.

The first person to be buried in al-Baqi’ was Asad ibn Zararah (r.a.), an answari swahabah who passed away soon after the Prophet‘s (s.a.w.) hijrah to Madina.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) chose the spot to be a cemetery.  The first of the muhajirun to be buried there was Utsman bin Mazun (r.a.) who passed away shortly after the Prophet (s.a.w.) returned from the battle of Badr.

Buried at Jannat al-Baqi’ are almost all the wives of the Prophet (s.a.w.), also known as Ummahat al-Mu’minin.  They include ‘Aishah bint Abu Bakr (r.a.), Hafswa bint ‘Umar (r.a.) and Sawdah bint Zam’a (r.a.).  Of the wives, only Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (r.a.) who is buried in Makkah and Maymunah bint al-Harits (r.a.) who is buried in Sarif are not at Jannat al-Baqi’.

The daughters of the Prophet (s.a.w.), Fathima (r.a.), Ruqayyah (r.a.), Zaynab (r.a.) and Umm Kultsum (r.a.) are also buried there.  So too is his son, Ibrahim (r.a.), the son by Maria al-Qibthiyya.  Also buried there are ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muththalib (r.a.), the uncle of the Prophet (s.a.w.); the aunts of the Prophet (s.a.w.), Swafiyyah bint ‘Abd al-Muththalib (r.a.) and ‘Athiqah bint Zayd (r.a.); ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.), the third Caliph and son-in-law of the Prophet (s.a.w.); Halimah as-Sa’diyah (r.a.), the wet-nurse of the Prophet (s.a.w.); Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqasw (r.a.); ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf (r.a.); ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (r.a.); Abu Sa’id al-Khudhri (r.a.) and Imam Malik ibn Anas (r.a.), founder of the Maliki madzhab.

As recorded by Imam at-Timirdzi (r.a.), the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “On the day of Qiyamah, my grave shall be opened first and I shall step forth.  Then Abu Bakr shall step forth and then ‘Umar.  Then will I proceed to Baqi’ and take all its people with me.  Then we will await the people of the graveyard of Makkah, who shall meet us halfway between Makkah and Madina.”

During different times of history many domes and structures were built or rebuilt over many famous graves in al-Baqi’ in order to identify the inhabitants.  On April 21st, 1925, mausoleums, domes and structures in Jannat al-Baqi’ were demolished by the order of the Wahhabis usurper, ‘Abd al-Aziz as-Sa’ud.  This was a grave desecration by the misguided innovators of religion.  It is virtuous to visit Jannat al-Baqi’, preferably on a Friday, and supplicate to Allah (s.w.t.) for all those buried in its noble earth and to ask for their intercession.


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