Situated in the southeast part of the Prophet’s Mosque, Jannatul Baqi is the first cemetery in the city of Madinah. It is also called Baqi al-Gharqad and is an important Islamic site in the Hejazi region. This cemetery locates the graves of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) family members along with several companions. Also called the Garden of Heaven, this cemetery is the largest in the city and contains at least 10,000 graves of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) companions. The area of this cemetery is 175,000 m2.
It is known that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to pray inside the cemetery and also participated in the funerals. It is also said that he once did the funeral prayer for the Abyssian King Najashi around 8 AH. The Prophet once said, “From this cemetery (i.e. Baqi) emerges a light that will illuminate the heavens and the Earth.”
Jannatul Baqi History
In September 622 CE, when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) came to Madinah, the land of Al-Baqi was covered with Arabian boxthorns. The historical records say that a lot of houses of Madinah were developed near this land after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) came to the city. The place was cleared and was made a public cemetery for the Muslims of Madinah.
When the Prophet’s Mosque was in construction, one of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) companions, As’ad ibn Zurarah died. The Prophet chose this land to be a graveyard and As’ad was the first one to be buried here. Even the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) daughter, Ruqayyah, was buried here. She was the first of many of the Prophet’s relatives to be buried in this site. Also, Uthman bin Maz’oon was the first Muhajirun companion of the Prophet to be buried here.
The Prophet’s daughter Fatima, his uncle Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, great-grandson Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, son of Hussain and the Prophet’s great-grandson Ali ibn Hasain Zayn al-Abidin are also buried in this cemetery. The fact that it is the place so many pious souls were laid to rest, makes it one of the important places to visit in Madinah.
Jannatul Baqi Before Destruction
After first being demolished in 1806 and then reconstructed in the mid-19th century, Jannatul Baqi was again destroyed in 1925 or 1926. It is reported that in both cases, the site was demolished as per the orders of the followers of the Wahhabi movement (an Islamic revivalist movement within Sunni Islam). Before the first demolition, the House of Saud (Wahhabism) was taking down various religious buildings such as mosques and tombs. It destroyed the cemetery in obedience to its doctrine.
When the House of Saud once again gained control of the region in 1924 or 1925, Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud (founder of Saudi Arabia) allowed the destruction of the site under the religious authorization by Qadi (judge of Sharia court). It destroyed even the plain-looking gravestones on the site.
Jannatul Baqi FAQs
What is the significance of Jannatul Baqi?
As this cemetery is the resting place of several of the Prophet Muhammad`s (PBUH) relatives and companions, it is the holiest cemetery in the Islamic tradition. It is also believed that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to pray here whenever he was passing through.
How many companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are buried at Jannatul Baqi?
There are more than 10,000 Prophet Muhammad`s (PBUH) companions buried at this sacred cemetery.
When was Jannatul Baqi demolished?
Jannatul Baqi was destroyed in 1926 by the Saudi rulers when a group of Muslims rallied and protested for the reconstruction of the sacred graveyard.
What is the meaning of Jannatul Baqi?
Jannatul Baqi means the Garden of Heaven. It is also called Baqi al-Gharqad which means Orchard of the Box Thorn Trees.
Who can get buried in Jannatul Baqi?
Not everyone can get buried in this sacred cemetery. It is entitled to only those who have died in Madinah city.