Jannatul Baqi (Garden of Heaven) is the main cemetery in Madinah located just beside Masjid e Nabawi, where more than 10,000 companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are buried. Jannatul Baqi is also known as Baqi Al Gharqad because when the Prophet (PBUH) arrived in Madinah, this place was covered with Arabian boxthorn trees, also called Gharqad. The cemetery holds a special significance in Islamic history. It is believed that those who are truly blessed by Allah (SWT) get the opportunity to be buried here. Most of the people also believe that those who are laid down to rest in the Jannat ul Baqi go straight to Jannah, which is the reason that a majority of Muslims want to be buried here after their death.
History of Jannat Al-Baqi
“Al-Baqi” literally means a tree garden. The cemetery is known as “Jannat Al-Baqi” because of its sanctity as many of our Prophet’s (PBUH) relatives and companions are buried here. The first person to be buried here was As’ad Bin Zararah (RA), an Ansari companion who died soon after the migration (Hijrah) to Madinah happened. The Prophet (PBUH) chose this spot to be a cemetery. Uthman bin Mazoun (RA) was the first amongst Muhajirun (Emigrants) to be buried in Jannat ul Baqi, who died shortly after the Prophet’s (PBUH) return from the battle of Badr. Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) son Ibrahim, who died in infancy is also buried in the cemetery, over whom he (PBUH) wept bitterly. The Prophet (PBUH) used to greet those who are buried here by saying, “Peace be upon you, O abode of the faithful! God willing, we should soon join you. O’ Allah, forgive the fellows of al-Baqi”. And hence, soon the people of Madinah started using this site for the burial of their dead relatives.
According to accounts of various historians, Jannat Al-Baqi was extremely beautiful with splendid domes and decorated small shrines. An Englishmen described it as ‘a small city, resembling Istanbul’, after a visit in 1877. The cemetery was also visited by the famous traveller Ibn Batuta. Al Baqi was desecrated by the Wahabi sect in 1813 and completely razed to the ground after invading Medina. They believe that paying extraordinary respects to graves is a form of idolatry. Although Hijaaz was captured initially by the Wahabis, they were attacked by Muslims and other tribes who removed them from power. Thereafter, Jannat ul Baqi was renovated in the year 1818, 1848 and 1860. Madina was again attacked and captured by Wahabis in 1925, destroying almost its entire Islamic heritage, including Jannat Al-Baqi. Muslims across the world are still calling for the rebuilding of Jannat Al-Baqi.
Who is buried in Jannat Al-Baqee?
There is a curiosity among many people about who gets the chance to be buried in Jannat ul Baqi and if a deceased pilgrim will get buried here. One must know that the cemetery is not open to everyone. One cannot use influence or power to be buried here after death. A person is entitled to get buried in Jannatul Baqi cemetery in Madinah only if he dies in the city. If he dies anywhere else in Saudi Arabia, no matter who he is, he won’t be buried in Al Baqi. This is also the reason that none of the kings of Saudi Arabia got the chance to be buried here as they didn’t die in the city of Madinah. Many people spend their entire lives in Madinah without leaving the city as they are afraid if they die outside the city, they won’t be buried in Jannat ul Baqi.
Sahabas buried in Jannat ul Baqi
Here is the list of people buried in Jannat Al Baqi, which includes the companions of the Prophet (PBUH), his wives, daughters and some of the close relatives (RA):
- The aunts of the Prophet (PBUH), Safiyyah bint Abdul Muttalib (RA) and her sister Aatikah (RA)
- Relatives of the Prophet (PBUH), Abdullah bin Jafar (RA) and Aqeel bin Abi Talib (RA). Other close family members of the Prophet (PBUH) buried here include his uncle Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib (RA), Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Taleb (RA), Zainul Abideen bin Husain bin Ali (RA), Muhammad al-Baqir bin Zainul Abideen (RA) and Jafar bin Muhammad al-Baqir (RA). They are buried close together along with Fatima (RA).
- The wives of the Prophet (PBUH), also known as the Mothers of the Believers buried here include, Aisha bint Abu Bakr (RA), Sauda bint Zamaa (RA), Hafsa bint Umar (RA), Zainab bint Khuzaymah (RA), Juwairiya bint Harith (RA), Umm Habibah bint Abu Sufyan (RA), Safiyyah bint Hayy al Akhtab (RA), Zainab bint Jahash (RA), Umme Salamah bint Abu Umama (RA). The two wives, who are not buried here are Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (RA), who is buried in Makkah and Maymuna bint al-Harith (RA), who is buried in Sarif.
- The daughters of the Prophet (PBUH), Fatima, Ruqayyah, Zainab and Umme Kulthum (RA)
- Ebrahim (RA), the infant son of the Prophet (PBUH) by Maria al-Qibtiyya (RA)
- Imam Malik and his teacher Imam Nafi’ bin Abi Nu’aym (RA)
- Uthman (RA), the third Caliph and son-in-law of the Prophet (PBUH). He died in 656 AH.
- Haleemah Sa’diya, the wet-nurse of the Prophet (PBUH)
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “On the day of Qiyamah, my grave shall be opened first and I shall step forth. Then shall Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) step forth and then Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). Then shall I proceed to Baqi and take all its inmates with me. Then shall we await the inmates of the graveyard of Makkah – Jannat-ul-Mu’alla, who shall meet me halfway between Makkah and Madinah.” [Tirmidhi]