Jannat ul-Baqi, literally meaning "Tree Garden of Heaven" is one of the largest cemeteries in the Muslim world, containing more than 7000 bodies, located across the mosque of the Prophet in the city of Medina, Saudi Arabia. The graveyard today contains the bodies of many of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and other members of his family, including four Shi`a Imams.
Once a site with beautifully constructed mausoleums, the graveyard architecture has been destroyed twice by the Wahhabis, once in 1806 and finally in 1925.
Al-Baqi literally means the "garden of trees" in Arabic. It is the largest cemetery in the old city, dating back to the sixth century. The cemetery originated from the time of the Prophet Muhammad himself and consists of several of his children, grandchildren and renowned companions. The graveyard is in particular important to Shi`ite Muslims as four of the twelve Imams, also grandsons of the Prophet, are buried here, and possibly the daughter of the Prophet, Fatima - although the exact location of her grave is disputed.
The graveyard over the past decades has also been a symbol of injustice due to the destruction of the tombs on this cemetery by members of the extreme Wahhabi school of thought. There is also a strict restriction on visitors, particularly Shi`a visitors, from going any where close to the graves, especially the graves where the four Shi`a Imams are buried. Women are strictly not allowed to visit the graveyard.
Some of the earliest descriptions of how the architecture and tombs looked like are by a traveler named Ibn Jubayr who explored the Middle East extensively in the eleventh and twelfth century, and took detailed accounts of his travels - including those in Medina. He describes the traditions of who is buried there, the shrines that existed, and the architecture, including things like the white domes and elevations involved. The grave of the second Imam of the Shi`ites, Hasan ibn Ali, has been described as follows: "Close by are the graves of `Abbas ibn Abdu`l Muttalib and of Hasan ibn `Ali. The latter has a dome which stands high in the air. It is near the Bakií Gate which we have mentioned, on the right, as one would go out. The head of al-Hasan lies towards the feet of al-`Abbas. Their two graves are broad and elevated from the ground, are faced with slabs of beautiful stone, are ornamented with plates of nickel, and are bound with star-headed nails, all of which gives a most pleasing effect. The grave of Ibrahim, the son of the Prophet, is of the same kind."
Demolition of the graveyard of Baqi:
The formation of the first Saudi state in the late 18th century was largely due to the alliance formed between Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad ibn Saud with an aim to establish a religious and political authority over Arabia. As part of their campaign, they wished to revive authentic Islamic practices and get rid of heretical customs and what they deemed deviations. Subsequently their intolerant doctrine wished for all historical sites of visitation to be destroyed or at the very least pilgrims be deterred away from them.
In 1806, under the rule of Saud bin Abdulaziz the tombs in the graveyard of Baqi were demolished for the first time. However, the Ottomans gained power and control over the region a few years later and rebuilt the graveyard in 1818. With the turn of the 20th century, the House of Saud under the authority of Abdulaziz ibn Saud (commonly known as Ibn Saud) began capturing different regions again and took over Medina in 1925 during their victory at the Conquest of Hejaz.
On April 21st, 1925 ibn Saud ordered for the demolition of the graveyard of Baqi for the second time in history. The campaign also involved the demolition of the tombs at the graveyard of Mualla in Makkah and various other historical buildings.
While at the time many Muslims around the world protested against the policies and actions of the House of Saud, these protests remained in vain. Today, primarily the Shi`ites mark the day as a day of sorrow which explicitly depicts the on-going injustice and oppression carried out by the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia.
There are many notable personalities buried in the graveyard.
Some of them include:
- Imam Hasan ibn Ali, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, son of Fatima and Ali; the second Imam
- Imam Ali ibn Husayn, commonly referred to as Zayn al-Abidin, the fourth Imam
- Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, son of Ali ibn Husayn, the fifth Imam
- Imam Jafar al-Sadiq, son of Muhammad al-Baqir, the sixth Imam
- Most of the wives of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
- Ibrahim, son of Prophet Muhammad through Maria al-Qibtiyya who died in infancy
- Fatima bint Asad, aunt of Prophet Muhammad and mother of Imam Ali
- Other aunts of Prophet Muhammad including Safiya and Aatika
- Fatima Zahra, Muhammad`s daughter by his first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid; her actual grave location is unknown or disputed since she did not want the people who hurt her to know where she was buried
- Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, uncle of Muhammad
- Fatima bint Hizam, known as Umm ul-Banin, who married Imam Ali; mother of four children who died defending Imam Hussain ibn Ali in the Battle in Karbala
- Uthman ibn Affan, a companion of Prophet Muhammad and third Caliph. He was originally buried outside of Jannat ul-Baqi, but the cemetery was later expanded to include his grave
- Malik ibn Anas, also known as Imam Malik; a Sunni Muslim jurist based on who the present day Maliki school of thought exists.
Shaheed Foundation Pakistan condemns the destructions ofholy sites and shrines, especially Al-Baqi, and requests all the momineens to participate in your local protests/rallies to make our voice heard.We need to take actions against these acts of injustice and demand the rebuilding the grave of these divine personalities, giving them an everlasting home that is worthy of their name.
Youm-e-inhaydam jannat-ul-baqi by sfp presentaion:
A video prepared by Shaheed Foundation Pakistan on this tragic event