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Al-Ma'lat Cemetery

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Coordinates: 21°26′13″N 39°49′45″E / 21.43694°N 39.82917°E / 21.43694; 39.82917

Al-Ma'lat Cemetery near Mecca.

Al-Maʿlāt Cemetery (Arabic: مَقبَرَة المَعلاة) is the oldest cemetery in Mecca which is also known as Al-Ḥajūn Cemetery (Arabic: مَقبَرَة الحَجون), al-Mu'alla Cemetery (Arabic: مقبرة المعلی) and Abū Ṭalib Cemetery (Persian: قبرستان ابوطالب) among Iranians. It is mostly know as Banū Hashim Cemetery (Persian: قبرستان بنی هاشم) in recent centuries.

'Abd al-Muttalib, Khadija al-Kubra (a), Yasir and Sumayya (the first martyred Muslims) were buried in this cemetery. Therefore, after al-Baqi' Cemetery, al-Ma'lat is considered as the second most important cemetery among Muslims, especially Shi'ites, who perform hajj or visit Mecca and Medina.

Names and Geography

This cemetery is known as al-Ma'lat Cemetery, Jannat al-Ma'lat and the Cemetery of Quraysh or the Cemetery of Banu Hashim. It is located on the slopes of Mount al-Hajun and today it is sited on the north-east of Mecca on the two forked roads to Masjid al-Haram and Mount al-Hajun.[1]

In the Age of Ignorance and also early years after the emergence of Islam, this cemetery included Abi Dubb valley (right of the mountain) and Safi l-Sibbab valley (left of the mountain) which is extended to Adhakhir pass and the Khurman area.[2] Because it was located out of Mecca, geographers including al-Maqdisi and Ibn Khurdadbih did not mention this cemetery; Yaqut al-Hamawi[3] only discussed it in general. Therefore, specifying the exact size or borders of the cemetery would not be possible due to its neighboring al-'Ulya' Cemetery.[4]

Notable Interments

Early Islam
Hira cave-entrance.jpg

The oldest documents on Mount al-Hajun goes back to the poems from Banu Jurhum,[5] however, probably after the burial of Qusayy b. Kilab, the fifth ancestor of Prophet Muhammad (s), as the first one who was buried in al-Hajun, it was called al-Hajun Cemetery.[6] Afterwards, people of Mecca buried their dead on the left and right valleys of al-Hajun.[7] Therefore, it became a famous cemetery at the time that Islam emerged in Mecca, especially because the ancestors of Prophet Muhammad (s) were buried there including 'Abd Manaf b. Qusay, Hashim and 'Abd al-Muttalib. Some narrations mentioned that Amina, Prophet's mother, was also buried there.[8] Abu Talib, Prophet Muhammad's uncle, praised this cemetery in a poem.[9]

Although notable companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Tabi'un were buried in this cemetery and the spiritual importance of the cemetery is mentioned, the identity and exact burial site of them are unknown.[10] However, al-Firuz Abadi in his treatise, Itharat al-Hajun li ziyarat al-Hujun, (in the 7th/13th century), mentioned the names of 38 men and women of sahaba who are buried in al-Hajun Cemetery.[11]

Other notable buried people are: 'Abd-Allah b. 'Umar b. al-Khattab; al-Fudayl b. 'Iyad (Muslim ascetic in 2nd/8th century); a number of Sayyids; descendants of Imam al-Hasan (a) and also al-Mansur, the Abbasid Caliph.[12]

Ibn Fahd, an author in the 9th/15th century, dedicated a part of his book on notable men and women of Mecca (including judges, hadith narrators, Quran reciters and respected people) who are buried in al-Hajun Cemetery, mostly in family graves.[13]

In the 11th/17th century, Awliya' Chalabi[14] reported about 75 domed tombs in al-Hajun Cemetery including 'Abd al-Muttalib, Maymuna bt. al-Harith (Prophet Muhammad's (s) wife) and Shaykh Ala' al-Din al-Naqshbandi.

According to the reports of Husayni Farahani[15] (in 13th/19th century) and Ibrahim Raf'at Pasha (in 14th/20th century),[16] al-Hajun Cemetery was highly important among Muslims. The grave of Abu Talib is considered highly respected especially among Shi'a Muslims.

Burial Site of Khadija bt. al-Khuwaylid

The most important gravestone in al-Ma'lat Cemetery belongs to Khadija al-Kubra (a), which was built with a high dome in the 8th/14th century.[17] This mausoleum was not demolished until 950/1543-4 and then Sultan Sulayman al-Qanuni, an Ottoman Emperor, rebuilt an Egyptian style mausoleum with a high dome on it. Prior to its reconstruction, it only had a wooden box on the grave. According to its inscription, it was rebuilt in 1298/1880-1.[18] As Husayni Farahani said,[19] its wooden darih was decorated and some people were taking care of the religious practices there.

Importance

  • After the burial of Khadija al-Kubra (a) and Abu Talib in al-Hajun Cemetery, it became highly important among Muslims.[20] Although primitive sources[21] clearly stated that Khadija al-Kubra (a) was buried in al-Hajun Cemetery, Al-Fasi,[22] a historian in 9th/15th century, cast doubt on this matter. According to a narration, the tomb has been discovered and precisely pinpointed in a dream in 729/1328-9.[23]
  • Because of a narration from the Prophet Muhammad (s) on the advantages of burying the dead in al-Hajun Cemetery, the number of interments increased exceedingly, especially on its left side.[24]
  • The poems which praised al-Hajun Cemetery demonstrate the importance and credibility of this cemetery compared to other cemeteries.[25]
  • Also, some historical events around the al-Hajun area, this cemetery drew the attention of Muslims; in one case it is said that the meeting of a group of Jinns with Prophet Muhammad (s) which led to their conversion to Islam -reported in the holy Quran- was around al-Hajun Cemetery.[26] Then after some time a mosque was built near al-Hajun Cemetery, and it was named Masjid al-Jinn (Al-Jinn Mosque) or Masjid al-Haras, which still remains there today.[27]
  • Ibn Jubayr (in the 6th/12th century) visited the remaining structure which was built in al-Hajun in the memory of Ibn al-Zubayr and his execution there. As he said, people of Ta'if destroyed the building, because other people came to curse al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf, their fellow tribesman.[30]
Al-Ma'lat Cemetery before demolition by Wahhabis

Demolition by Wahhabis

All the domes and mausoleums in al-Hajun Cemetery were demolished by Wahhabis in 1343/1924-5, after the demolition of Al-Baqi' Cemetery. This act irritated all Muslims.[31] Although Wahhabis tried to justify it with religious reasons and even rejecting the burial of the relatives of the Prophet Muhammad (s) in the cemetery,[32] however, it did not calm Muslims' anger.[33]

Current Condition

Al-Hajun Cemetery is surrounded by walls which extended to the slopes of Mount al-Hajun, but the northern part of the cemetery is not enclosed by walls. In addition, the cemetery is divided into two parts: the northern, which includes the graves of Banu Hashim and ancestors of Prophet Muhammad (s), and the southern.[34]

According to the stone inscription on the entrance of the cemetery, it was rebuilt in 1383/1963-4. Today Mount al-Hajun is getting bulldozed for expansion of the cemetery.[35]

See Also

Notes

  1. Fāsī al-Makkī, Shifāʾ al-gharām, vol. 1, p. 453; Ibn Zahīra, al-Jāmiʿ al-laṭīf, p. 303; Qāʾidān, Tārīkh wa āthār-i Islāmi Makka wa Madīna, p. 129.
  2. Azraqī, Akhbār Makka wa mā jā fīhā min al-āthār, vol. 1, p. 432, 482-483; Fākihī, Akhbār Makka, p. vol. 4, p. 54; Fāsī al-Makkī, Shifāʾ al-gharām, vol. 1, p. 471-475; Ibn Zahīra, al-Jāmiʿ al-laṭīf, p. 304-305.
  3. Ḥamawī,Muʿjam al-buldān, under the word.
  4. Fākihī, Akhbār Makka, p. vol. 4, p. 59; Bilādī, Maʿālim Makka al-tarikhiyya wa al-athariyya, p. 80; Jāsir Ḥamd, Amākin-i tārīkhī islāmī dar Makka mukarrama, p. 114.
  5. Ibn Jubayr, al-Raḥla Ibn Jubayr, p. 78; Fāsī al-Makkī, Shifāʾ al-gharām, vol. 1, p. 597-598.
  6. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 1. p. 73; Fākihī, Akhbār Makka, p. vol. 4, p. 58-59.
  7. Azraqī, Akhbār Makka wa mā jā fīhā min al-āthār, p. 434.
  8. Azraqī, Akhbār Makka wa mā jā fīhā min al-āthār, p. 433; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 1. p. 116-117.
  9. Ibn Qudāma, al-Tabyīn fī ansāb al-qurashīyīn, p. 372.
  10. Fāsī al-Makkī, Shifāʾ al-gharām, vol. 1, p. 456; Ibn Baṭūṭa, al-Raḥla Ibn Baṭūṭa, p. ?; Ibn Jubayr, al-Raḥla Ibn Jubayr, p. ?
  11. Jāsir Ḥamd, Amākin-i tārīkhī islāmī dar Makka mukarrama, p. 113-114.
  12. Azraqī, Akhbār Makka wa mā jā fīhā min al-āthār, p. 432; Qāʾidān, Tārīkh wa āthār-i Islāmi Makka wa Madīna, p. 136.
  13. Ibn Fahd al-Makkī, Nayl al-munā, part 1, p. 49, 76, 228, 234, 424.
  14. citation needed.
  15. Farāhānī, Safarnāma-yi Mīrzā Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ḥusaynī Farāhānī, p. 203.
  16. Ibrāhīm Rafʿat Pāshā, Mirʾāt al-ḥaramayn, vol. 1, p. 31-32.
  17. Jāsir Ḥamd, Amākin-i tārīkhī islāmī dar Makka mukarrama, p. 115.
  18. Ibrāhīm Rafʿat Pāshā, Mirʾāt al-ḥaramayn, vol. 1, p. 31.
  19. Farāhānī, Safarnāma-yi Mīrzā Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ḥusaynī Farāhānī, p. 202.
  20. Balādhurī, Jumal min ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 35.
  21. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 8. p. 18; Balādhurī, Jumal min ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 35.
  22. Fāsī al-Makkī, Shifāʾ al-gharām, vol. 1, p. 456.
  23. Jāsir Ḥamd, Amākin-i tārīkhī islāmī dar Makka mukarrama, p. 115; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 1. p. 116-117; TDVIA, under the word "Cennetu'l-Maulla".
  24. Azraqī, Akhbār Makka wa mā jā fīhā min al-āthār, p. 473; Fāsī al-Makkī, Shifāʾ al-gharām, vol. 1, p. 454.
  25. Fākihī, Akhbār Makka, p. vol. 4, p. 60-61.
  26. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 1. p. 212.
  27. Azraqī, Akhbār Makka wa mā jā fīhā min al-āthār, p. 482; Ibn Baṭūṭa, al-Raḥla Ibn Baṭūṭa, p. 142; Qāʾidān, Tārīkh wa āthār-i Islāmi Makka wa Madīna, p. 121.
  28. Azraqī, Akhbār Makka wa mā jā fīhā min al-āthār, p. 389.
  29. Azraqī, Akhbār Makka wa mā jā fīhā min al-āthār, p. 481.
  30. Ibn Baṭūṭa, al-Raḥla Ibn Baṭūṭa, p. 142; Yaʿqūbī, Tārīkh al-yaʿqūbī, vol. 2, p. 267.
  31. Amīn, Tajdīd kashf al-irtīyāb fī atbaʿ Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb, p. 55-56.
  32. Jāsir Ḥamd, Amākin-i tārīkhī islāmī dar Makka mukarrama, p. 115-117.
  33. Haykal, Fī manzil al-waḥy, p. 225-227; 235-236.
  34. Qāʾidān, Tārīkh wa āthār-i Islāmi Makka wa Madīna, p. 131.
  35. Jaʿfariyān, Āthār-i islāmi-yi Makka wa Madīna, p. 163.

References

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  • Ḥamawī, Yāqūt b. ʿAbd Allāh al-. Muʿjam al-buldān. [n.p]. [n.d].
  • Ibn Baṭūṭa, Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh. Al-Raḥla Ibn Baṭūṭa. Beirut: 1384 AH.
  • Ibn Jubayr, Muḥammad b. Aḥmad. Al-Raḥla Ibn Jubayr. Beirut: 1986.
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  • Ibn Zahīra, Muḥammad Jārullāh. Al-Jāmiʿ al-laṭīf fī faḍl-i Makka wa ahluhā wa bināʾ al-Bayt al-Sharīf. Edited by ʿAlī ʿUmar. Cairo: 1423 AH.
  • Ibrāhīm Rafʿat Pāshā. Mirʾāt al-ḥaramayn, aw, al-raḥlāt al-ḥijāziyya wa al-ḥaj wa mashāʿirihi al-dīniyya. Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifa, [n.d].
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