During the time of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Baqi also served as a shrine, and the Prophet used to leave his house for the Baqi at nights to perform his acts of worships there.
One of the most memorable places in Medina is Jannat al-Baqi. It was originally called Baqi al-Ghurqad. The “Ghurqad” was the name of a tree, which is said to existed inside or near the cemetery, and probably disappeared gradually with the expansion of the cemetery (which some claim to have been a garden of berry trees). Before Islam, Baqi was used as a cemetery by the people of Yathrib, and after Islam, it continued to act as the most important cemetery in Medina. With its fairly large size, this cemetery has been the resting place of the Companions, and most importantly, four of the Imams (PBUH)during the Islamic history, and hence the visiting site of countless pilgrims of Medina. Baqi is located in the eastern part of the Nabi Mosque, at a distance of about two hundred meters. This cemetery was located outside the Hesar about a hundred years ago, but now it is located almost in the middle of the city of Medina and is surrounded by four streets; Sedin, Abdul Aziz, Abi Zar, Bab al-Awali.
During the time of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Baqi also served as a shrine, and the Prophet used to leave his house for the Baqi at nights to perform his acts of worships there. Some of the Prophet’s daughters and his companions, including Osman ibn Maza’un, who was a favorite companion of the Prophet (pbuh) are also buried in Baqi.
Before the ruling of Al Saud, Baqi cemetery had several domes (Ghobah) built on certain graves, but today it is in form of an open and simple area, and the graves are marked by nothing but a simple plaque installed as a tombstone over them. Nevertheless, considering the attachment of the Muslims to figures buried in Baqi, the grave of some prominent figures has distinctive features. However, over time, the graves of hundreds or even thousands of companions and followers of the Prophet sank into oblivion, and their graves still remain in obscurity.
The most important Shia figures buried in Baqi are four of the Infallible Imams, who are buried alongside each other.
- Imam Mojtaba (P.B.U.H)
The Reyhana of the Prophet (AS), Hassan ibn Ali (AS), was born on the fifteenth of Ramadan in the third year of Hegira. Along with his brother, Imam Hussein, he was the apple of the Prophet’s eye and they were known as the descendants of the Prophet (PBUH). After the demise of the Messenger of Allah, Imam Mujtaba, along with his father, Amir-al-Momenin, fought in the battles of Jamal, Safin and Nahrwan. After the martyrdom of Amir al-Momenan (AS), the Iraqi people swore allegiance to him following the appointment of his father, but for many reasons, they abandoned him like his father in the battle against Mu’awiya. He was forced to relinquish from the ruling and moved to Medina. It happened in the year 41 AH, after which Imam Mojtaba stayed in touch with Shi’a followers for ten years in Medina. He was seen as the epitome of ethics and morality, and he often dole out his properties amongst the poor. Finally, with Mu’awiya’s conspiracy, he was poisoned and martyred by his vicious wife, who was the daughter of Ash’ath bin Qays. The people of Madinah mourned the loss of that Imam, and they had him buried alongside his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah. However, the Marwanians, with the collusion of a man who claimed to be the owner of the land in which the Prophet (AS) was buried, thwarted their attempts. Hence, Imam Mujtabais buried in Baqi.
- Imam Sajjad (P.B.U.H)
Imam Sajjad is the fourth Imam of Shiite. Born in the year 38 AH, he grew up during the Imamate of Imam Mojtaba and his father, Hussein ibn Ali (AS). He was present in Karbala, but inflicted by a severe illness, he was unable to accompany his father in the battle. After that, for nearly thirty-four years until the year 94 AH, he was seen as the leader of the Shi’a. This period was full of hardships for Shiites and they lived under severe pressure of the Umayyads. Imam adopted various techniques to bring Shiites together and paved the way for the leadership of his son, Imam Baqir (AS). One of the most precious things inherited from Imam Sajjad (P.B.U.H) are his prayers, which are infused with great ethical, religious, and political concepts, constituting one of the greatest Shia religious texts after Quran and Nahj al-Balaghah.
In the year 94 AH, Imam Sajjad (AS) was martyred by poisoning with the provocation of Waleed ibn Abdul-ul-Kalk and buried alongside Imam Mojtaba in Baqi
- Imam Baqir (P.B.U.H)
As the fifth Imam of Shiite, Imam Baqir was born in the year 58 AH and lived in the Medina with his father until the year 94 AH. Then, following the demise of his father, he assumed the Shi’a leadership with his scholarly and jurisprudential reputation, drawing many disciples from different regions. An all-around man with extensive knowledge, Imam earned the title “Baqir al-Ulum”, which meant the “discoverer of all sciences”. Jabir Ansari, one of the latest companions of the Prophet, passed the message of the Prophet to him, and kissed his hands.
At the peak of disputes between scholars in Medina about religious and jurisprudential subjects, Imam clarified many disputed jurisprudential issues, which are seen as the cornerstones of Shi’a genuine religion by many Shiites.
Imam Baqir (AS) was martyred in 114 or 117 AH with the provocation of Hisham bin Abdul-ol-Malek, and was buried alongside his father, Imam Sajid (AS) in Baqi.
- Imam Sadiq (P.B.U.H)
Imam Sadiq (AS) as the sixth Infallible Imamis widely known as the founder of Shia religion. Born in Medina in the year 80 or 83 AH, he assumed the intellectual and political leadership of the Shiite,who were followers of Imamieh’s religion, after the demise of his father. Until the year 148 AH, Imam trained thousands of disciples in his classes and was widely acknowledge ad praised by his contemporary scholars. In the Shiite religious texts, several thousand traditions have remained from Imam in areas such as interpretation, ethics, and especially jurisprudence, contributing to the richness of Shi’a hadith repertoire and strengthening of its scientific base.
Imam Sadiq strived to equip Shiites with the weapon of hadith and jurisprudence and to fight with deviations and aberrations that could inflict the nascent Shi’a. During the life of this Imam, especially in the first years, Abbasids imposed severe pressure on the Shiites. Mansour, the second Abbasid caliph, bore a deep-rooted grudge against Imam Sadiq, and finally, as quoted in some historical sources, he martyred Imam on 25 of Shawwal in 48 AH by poisoning. The imam was buried along with his ancestor and father in Baqi.
In the past, the graves of these four imams, marked with a dome built above them, served as one of the shrines of Muslims, especially the Shiites. One of these famous monuments was built by Majd Al-Malek Qomi Baravestani, the secretary of the Seljuk Barkiaraq, over the cemetery of the Imams in the fifth century. However, these monuments have been demolished in recent years and the graves of the Imams are only marked with a simple design.
The Grave Attributed to Hazrat Fatimah (SA)
The precise site of Hazrat Fatima’s grave or the fact that she is buried in her house or in the Baqi is not known. There as many evidences indicating Imam has been buried in Baqi as there are proofs that she has been buried in her house, which is now in the Hijab Sharifa. In the hadiths of Shi’ite Imams, the house of Hazrat Fatima is typically cited as the burial place of imam. For this reason, prominent Shiite scholars such as Sheikh Saduq, Sheikh Mufid, Sheikh Tusi, Ibn Tavous, and Allamah Majlisi contend that Imam is buried at her home, which later was changed into a mosque. The place identified as the grave of the imam in Baqi is positioned below the graves of the four Imams, on the right (northwest) corner, and it is probable that this place be the real grave of Hazrat Fatima Bint Asad.
Hazrat Fatimah (SA) is one of the chosen and distinguished woman of the world, who was also the favorite daughter of the Prophet. Innumerable virtues and qualities have been attributed to Hazrat Fatima, her children and her husband, Imam Ali (AS)by the Prophet.
One of the famous traditions is the one in which the Prophet asserts that Fatima is from his flesh and blood and that hurting her would be tantamount to hurting him After Saghifah event, Fatima opposed the rulers of her time and she refused to talk with them in the rest of her life.
As such, Hazrat Fatima made a will to be buried away from their eyes at night as a way of voicing her opposition to the caliphate and displaying her innocence to people.
Banat al-Rasul Qoba (Dome of Prophet’s Daughters)
Among the ones buried in Baqi are three daughters of the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H). They used to have a dome over their grave, which explains the reputation of this place as the Benat al-Rasul dome.
Roghaiyah: she was the wife of Osman bin Afan and lived in Medina. In the battle of Badr, she contracted a severe illness and died before her father arrived in Medina. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) buried her in Baqi.
Umm al-Kulthum: She was married to Osman bin Afan after the death of Roghaieh. Also dying in the ninth year of Hegira, she was buried in Baqi.
Zeinab: She was the wife of Abu al-Aaas bin Rabi. After the Hegira of the Prophet to Medina, she remained in Mecca with her husband. Abu al-Aas fought in the battle of Badr and was captured along with other idolaters. To save his life, Zeinab sent her necklace as the blood money of her husband to the Muslims. The Prophet ordered them to return the necklace and released Abu al-Aas on condition that he must divorce his wife and have her returned to Medina. In this way, Zeinab managed to rejoin the Messenger of Allah. Several years later, Abu Al-Aas converted to Islam and came back to Medina where he remarried Zeinab. Zeinab died in the eighth year of Hegira.
These three sisters are buried together, and as mentioned earlier, their grave used to have a dome and visited by many Shia as one of the shrines of Medina in Baqi.
Spouses of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)
Most of the Prophet’s wives are buried in Baqi alongside each other. Some of them are Zeinab, the daughter of Khazimah (d. 4 AH), Reyhana, the daughter of Zubayr (d. 8 AH), Mariye Qabtieh (d. 16 AH). Zeinab the daughter of Johsh (d. 20 AH); Umma Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufyan (d. 42 or 44 AH); Hafsah, the daughter of Omar (d. 45 AH); Suodeh (d. 50 or 54 AH); Safiyah, the daughter of Hay ibn Akhtab Tahudi (d. 50 AH), Joveiriah, the daughter of Hareth (d. 50 or 54 AH), Aisha the daughter of Abu Bakr (d. 57 or 58 AH). Aisha desired to be buried beside the Prophet (PBUH), but ashamed of what she had done after the demise of the Prophet, she demanded to be buried in the Baqi.
Umma Salameh (d. 61 AH), was the favorite wife of the Prophet after Khadijah and one of the supporters of the Amir al-Momenin’s welayat.
Ebrahim, the only son of the Prophet (PBUH) born in Medina, was from a mother called Marieh Qabttiyah. This woman was offered to the Prophet as a gift by the Egyptian ruler. Ebrahim was born in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the eighth year of Hegira, with his birth sparkling a wave of bliss and happiness in Medina, so that the birthplace of Ebrahi, known as the Mashrabe of the mother of Ebrahim, was considered as of the historical sites of Medina until recently. However, after nearly one year, Abraham died and the Prophet (pbuh) was deeply grief-stricken by the loss of his child.
Ebrahim was buried beside Osman bin Mazoun, who was a devoted and loving follower of the Prophet (pbuh).
Fatima Bint Asad
She was the wife of Abu Talib. She was such a great woman, which gave birth to Amir al-Momenin at this sacred place. As the wife of Abu Talib, she was also involved in the upbringing of the Prophet, and he loved Fatima Bint Asad as much as he loved his own mother. She was one of the first Muslim women in Mecca, and after Hegira, she lived with her child, Ali, in Medina. Her demise left the Prophet (PBUH) grief-stricken and he said prayers over her grave. It is likely that the tomb near the graves of the Imams (PBUH) belongs to Fatima Bint Asad.
In other traditions, her burial place is said to be located near the grave of Saad bin Mu’asz and Abu Sa’id Khedri.
Abbas ibn Abdul Motabal
Abbas was the uncle of the Prophet (pbuh), and in the events befell to Muslims in Mecca, he was one of the protectors of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH). He came from an aristocratic background in Mecca, and after converting to Islam, due to contributions that he had made to the Prophet among the household of Hashemite, and on the account of being the uncle of the Prophet, he was endeared by the Muhammad (pbuh). After the demise of the Prophet (pbuh), he remained loyal to Amir al- Mu’menin until he died in 33 AH during the caliphate of Othman. Bani Abbas are his descendants.
Other religious figures buried in Baqi
We have already mentioned that Baqi is the resting place of thousands of companions, followers and great figures of Islam. The graves of many are unknown but some have distinctive signs.
Muhammed bin Ali
Mohammad Hanafi was the eldest son of the Amir al-Momenin. He was the favorite son of his father and fought in the battles with Nakesn, Ghasetin and Marwghein alongside Imam Ali (AS). He died in 80 AH.
Aqeel ibn Abi Taleb
The son of Abu Talib, he was twenty years older than the Amir al-Momenin. He was also one of the renowned genealogists of his time.
Abdullah bin Ja’far
Ja’far bin Abi Talib was the one leading the emigrants of Habsha, and after his comeback, he was martyred during the battle of Motah. Abdullah, his elder son, who married Zeinab, the daughter of the Imam Ali (AS) was a selfless and devoted man. A handful of his sons were martyred in Karbala. He died in 80 AH
Ismail ibn Ja’far al-Sadiq (AS)
Isma’il was the elder son of Imam Sadiq (AS) whose death preceded that of his father. One of the sects of Islam, Isma’iliah, is made of those believing in the Imamate of Isma’il and his descendants. Ismail’s tomb was out of Baqi for ten to fifteen years. It is said that his grave was brought inside Baghi.
There are eyewitnesses claiming that his tomb was destroyed at night and the contents of the grave were brought inside Baqi.
Safiyah was the daughter of Abdul Mutallab and the aunt of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). She was one of the brave women in the early days of Islam, and during the battle of Ahzab, she killed a Jew who spied for the Jews of Bani Qariyas.
Ateka was also the daughter of Abdul Mutallab and the aunt of the Prophet (AS). She was the one who before the battle of Badr in Mecca dreamed that her loved ones were taken from her. At that time, Abu Jahl had ridiculed her, but as it turned out, in the battle of Badr, Quraish lost most of its elders, including Abu Jahl
These two sisters, who are buried alongside each other, used to have a tomb known as Baqi al-Emat”, but nothing is left of it today.