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Al-Buq'a al-Mubaraka

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Al-Buqʿa al-Mubāraka (Arabic: الْبُقْعَةِ الْمُبَارَكَة, lit: the Blessed Spot), or al-Wādi l-Muqaddas Ṭuwā (Arabic: الْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى, lit: the Sacred Valley of Tuwa) or al-Wādi l-Ayman (Arabic: الْوَادِ الْأَيْمَن, lit: the right side of the valley), is a blessed piece of land, to which the Qur'an refers. God talked to Moses (a) and selected him as a prophet in the Blessed Spot. According to the majority of exegetes, the place is blessed because it is where God talked to Moses (a). It is located in the southern part of Sinai Peninsula. On the way from Madyan to Egypt, it is located on the right side of Mount Sinai.

Brief Introduction

Al-Buq'a al-Mubaraka, or the Blessed Spot, is a Quranic term appearing only once in the Qur'an. When Prophet Moses (a) departed from Madyan (Midian) to Egypt overnight, his attention was attracted by a piece of fire in Mount Sinai, and thus, he went towards the fire. According to the verse thirty of Qur'an 28,

فَلَمّا أَتاها نودِيَ مِن شاطِئِ الوادِ الأَيمَنِ فِي البُقعَةِ المُبارَكَةِ مِنَ الشَّجَرَةِ أَن يا موسىٰ إِنّي أَنَا اللَّهُ رَبُّ العالَمينَ

But when he came to it [the fire], he was called from the right side of the valley in a blessed spot - from the tree, "O Moses, indeed I am Allah, Lord of the worlds.

At this time, Moses (a) was selected by God as a prophet and was given the miracles of the staff and the bright hand.

Spatial Location

The story of God talking to Moses (a) appears in other parts of the Qur'an as well. In the Suras of Qur'an 20 and Qur'an 79, the place where Moses (a) heard God's voice is called "the Sacred Valley of Tuwa" and because of its sanctity, God commanded Moses (a) to remove his sandals there. Thus, Quranic exegetes take the Blessed Spot and the Sacred Valley of Tuwa to refer to the same thing. It is located in the southern part of Sinai Peninsula, and on the way from Midian to Egypt, it is located on the right side of the mountain.

However, there are hadiths in which al-Buq'a al-Mubaraka is taken to refer to the land of Karbala. These hadiths, cited in Kamil al-ziyarat and Tahdhib al-ahkam, interpret "shati'i l-wadi l-ayman" (the right side of the valley) as Euphrates, and al-Buq'a al-Mubaraka as Karbala. The hadiths were mentioned by al-Fayd al-Kashani, and are also cited in al-Burhan fi tafsir al-Qur'an and Bihar al-anwar. Some authors take this interpretation to be contrary to the explicit content of the verse. In some ziyaras for the Imams, their mausoleums are referred to as al-Buq'a al-Mubaraka (the Blessed Spot).


The majority of Shiite and Sunni exegetes believe that the spot is referred to as "blessed" (mubaraka) because it was where God talked to Moses (a) and selected him as the prophet. 'Allama Tabataba'i maintains that the spot is blessed and dignified in virtue of God talking to Moses (a) there. However, some people believe that the place was called "blessed" because it had a profusion of fruit trees. Al-Tabrisi believes that it was the place where God asked Moses to remove his sandals. According to 'Allama Tabataba'i, Moses (a) was ordered to remove his sandals because of the dignity and sanctity of the spot. The author of al-Tibyan fi tafsir al-Qur'an appeals to a hadith from Imam 'Ali (a) to show that God ordered Moses (a) to remove his sandals in order for him to receive the blessings of the place. Moreover, the removal of sandals is said to indicate the ultimate humbleness when receiving the message of prophethood.