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Jannat al-Baqīʿ (Arabic: جَنَّة ٱلْبَقِيع‎, lit. 'Garden of the Baqi') is a cemetery in Medina, the Hijazi[1] region of present-day Saudi Arabia. It is located to the southeast of the Prophet's Mosque, which contains the grave of Muhammad. It is also known as Baqīʿ al-Gharqad (Arabic: بَقِيْع الْغَرْقَد‎, meaning "Baqiʿ of the Boxthorn").[2]

The cemetery in 2008
EstablishedC.E. 622
CountryPresent-day Saudi Arabia
Owned byState

The grounds hold much significance for Muslims, being the resting place of many of Muhammad's relatives and companions, thus making it as one of the two holiest cemeteries in Islamic tradition. Many narrations relate Muhammad issuing a prayer every time he passed it.



The cemetery before the 1926 demolition

When Muhammad arrived at Medina from Mecca in September 622 CE, al-Baqi' was a land covered with Lycium shawii boxthorn trees. According to historical records, after the arrival of Muhammad

, the houses of Medina developed near Baqi', which was therefore considered as the public tomb. Also Baqi' was introduced as somewhere which its east side is Nakhl and its west side there are houses. In fact, before demolition Baqi was located behind the houses in the city.[3]

During the construction of the Prophet's Mosque, on the site he purchased from two orphan children when he arrived after his migration from Mecca to Medina, 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 among the Ansar.

While Muhammad was outside Medina for the Battle of Badr, his daughter Ruqayyah fell sick and died in 624. She was buried in al-Baqi. She was the first person from Ahl al-Bayt (Household of Muhammad) buried in this cemetery.

Shortly after Muhammad arrived from Badr, Uthman bin Maz'oon died and was buried in al-Baqi. He was considered the first companion of Muhammad from the Muhajirun to be buried in the cemetery.

Earlier, Caliph Uthman ibn Affan[4] was buried in the huge neighbouring Jewish grave yard. The first enlargement of al-Baqi in history was made by Muawiyah I, the first Umayyad Caliph. In order to honour Uthman ibn Affan, Muawiyah included the huge Jewish graveyard into al-Baqi cemetery. The Umayyad Caliphate built the first dome in al-Baqi over his grave. During different times of history, many domes and structures were built or rebuilt over many famous graves in al-Baqi.


First DemolitionEdit

The Cemetery after the 1926 demolition. The Prophet's Mosque in the background.
Panorama showing the cemetery, with the Qiblah being behind the photographer

The cemetery was demolished[2] by forces loyal to the Wahhabi-Saudi alliance in 1806 and 1925[5] (or 1926).[2][6]

At the beginning of the Wahhabis of Najd's nineteenth century (1806) control over Mecca and Medina, they demolished many of the religious buildings including tombs and mosques, whether inside or outside the Baqi,[7] in accordance with their doctrine.[2] These were razed to the ground[6][8] and plundered for their decorations and goods.[9]

Second Demolition[10]Edit

The clan of Saud regained control of the Hijaz in 1924[6] or 1925.[2] The following year King Ibn Saud granted permission to destroy the site with religious authorization provided by Qadi Abd Allah ibn Bulayhid, and the demolition began on 21 April 1926[6] (or 1925)[5][11] by Ikhwan ("The Brothers"), a Wahabbi religious militia.[12] The demolition included destroying "even the simplest of the gravestones".[2] British convert Eldon Rutter compared the demolition to an earthquake: "All over the cemetery nothing was to be seen but little indefinite mounds of earth and stones, pieces of timber, iron bars, blocks of stone, and a broken rubble of cement and bricks, strewn about."[6]

The second demolition was discussed in Majles-e Shora-ye Melli (The National Consultative Assembly of Iran) and a group of representatives was sent to Hijaz to investigate. In recent years[when?], efforts were made by Iranian religious scholars and political figures to restore the cemetery and its shrines.[6] Both Sunni and Shia protested against the destruction[2][11] and rallies are held annually.[2][13] The day is regarded as Yaum-e Gham ("Day of Sorrow").[11] Prominent Sunni theologians and intellectuals have condemned the "unfit" situation of the Baqi cemetery but the Saudi authorities have so far ignored all criticism and rejected any requests for restoration of the tombs and mausoleums.[6] Though nowadays the situation of the Baqi is better than the time of demolition but there was acrimony in the memories of the Muslims who visited there in the past.[14]

Kin of MuhammadEdit

Unknown locationsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary. 2001. p. 479. ISBN 0 87779 546 0. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Werner, Ende (2010). "Baqīʿ al-Gharqad". In Fleet, Kate (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Islam (Third ed.). Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  3. ^ Muhammad Sadiq Najmi. history of tombs of Imam in Baqi and other monuments (in Persian). Mashar. p. 67-68.
  4. ^ Textual Sources for the Study of Islam, by Knappert, Jan, and Andrew Rippin
  5. ^ a b Mohammadi, Adeel (2014–2015). "The destruction of Jannat al-Baqi': A case of Wahhabi Iconoclasm" (PDF). Undergraduate Journal of Middle East Studies. Canada (8): 47–56. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Bahramian, Ali; Gholami, Rahim (2013). "al-Baqīʿ". In Madelung, Wilfred; Daftary, Farhad (eds.). Encyclopaedia Islamica (Third ed.). Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  7. ^ Ahmed, Irfan. "The Destruction Of The Holy Sites in Mecca and Medina". Islamica Magazine. No. 15. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  8. ^ "History of the Cemetery Of Jannat Al-Baqi". Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  9. ^ Bahramian, Ali. "Baqi". The Great Islamic Encyclopedia (in Persian). Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Demolition of al-Baqi", Wikipedia, 2018-12-04, retrieved 2019-01-09
  11. ^ a b c Shahi, Afshin. The Politics of Truth Management in Saudi Arabia. Routledge. ISBN 9781134653195. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  12. ^ "The Destruction Heritage in Saudi Arabia" (PDF). The Center for Academic Shi'a Studies. August 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  13. ^ Hassan, Sara (27 July 2015). "Protests at Saudi Embassy in Washington". American al-Jazeera. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  14. ^ Abdellah Hammoudi (2006). A Season In Mecca : Narrative Of A Pilgrimage. p. 95-96. ISBN 9780745601540.
  15. ^ Lady Fatima, Islamic Insight, Accessed September 1, 2012.
  16. ^ "Al Baqi Cemetery". Al-Mustafa International University. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  17. ^ "History of the Cemetery Of Jannat Al-Baqi". Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Abu Sa'id al-Khudri", Wikipedia, 2018-08-20, retrieved 2019-01-09

External linksEdit