8th of Shawwal - A day of deep grief and sorrow


On 8th Shawwal, Wednesday, in the year 1345 AH (April 21, 1925), mausoleums in Jannatul al-Baqea (Madina) were demolished by King Ibn Saud. In the same year (1925), he also demolished the tombs of holy personages at Jannat al-Mualla (Makkah) where the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H)'s mother, wife, grandfather and other ancestors are buried.

Destruction of sacred sites in Hijaz by the Saudi Wahhabis continues even today. According to some scholars what is happening in Hijaz is actually a conspiracy plotted by the Jews against Islam, under the guise of Tawheed. The idea is to eradicate the Islamic legacy and heritage and to systematically remove all its vestiges so that in the days to come, Muslims will have no affiliation with their religious history.

The Origins of Al-Baqea

Literally "al-Baqea" means a tree garden. It is also known as "Jannat al-Baqea" due to its sanctity, since in it are buried many of our Prophet's relatives and companions. The first companion buried in al-Baqea was Uthman b. Madhoon who died on the 3rd of Sha'ban in the 3rd year of Hijrah. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) ordered certain trees to be felled, and in its midst, he buried his dear companion, placing two stones over the grave.

On the following years, the Prophet's son Ibrahim, who died in infancy and over whom the Prophet (P.B.U.H) wept bitterly, was also buried there. The people of Madina then began to use that site for the burial of their own dead, because the Prophet (P.B.U.H) used to greet those who were buried in al-Baqea 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-Baqea".

The site of the burial ground at al-Baqea was gradually extended. Nearly seven thousand companions of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) were buried there, not to mention those of the Ahlul Bayt (a). Imam Hasan b. Ali (AS), Imam Ali b. al-Husayn (AS), Imam Muhammad al-Baqear (AS), and Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (AS) were all buried there.

Among other relatives of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) who were buried at al-Baqea are: his aunts Safiya and Aatika, and his aunt Fatima bint al-Asad, the mother of Imam Ali (AS). The third caliph Uthman was buried outside al-Baqea, but with later extensions, his grave was included in the area. In later years, great Muslim scholars like Malik bin Anas and many others, were buried there too. Thus, did al-Baqea become a well-known place of great historic significance to all Muslims.



The First Destruction of Al-Baqea

The Wahhabis believed that visiting the graves and the shrines of the Prophets, the Imams, or the saints was a form of idolatry and totally un-Islamic. Those who did not conform with their belief were killed and their property was confiscated.

Since their first invasion of Iraq, and till nowadays, in fact, the Wahhabis, as well as other rulers of the Gulf States, having been carrying out massacres from which no Muslim who disagreed with them was spared. Obviously, the rest of the Islamic World viewed those graves with deep reverence. Had it not been so, the two caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar would not have expressed their desire for burial near the grave of the Prophet (P.B.U.H).


From 1205 AH to 1217 AH, the Wahhabis made several attempts to gain a foothold in Hijaz but failed. Finally, in 1217 AH, they somehow emerged victorious in Taif where they spilled the innocent blood of Muslims. In 1218 AH, they entered Makkah and destroyed all sacred places and domes there, including the one which served as a canopy over the well of Zamzam.


In 1221, the Wahhabis entered Madina to desecrate al-Baqea as well as every mosque they came across. An attempt was even made to demolish the Prophet's tomb, but for one reason or another, the idea was abandoned. In subsequent years, Muslims from Iraq, Syria, and Egypt were refused entry into Makkah for Hajj. King al-Saud set a pre-condition that those who wished to perform the pilgrimage would have to accept Wahhabism or else be branded as non-Muslims, becoming ineligible for entry into the Haram.

Al-Baqea was razed to the ground, with no sign of any grave or tomb whatsoever. But the Saudis were still not quite satisfied with doing all of that. Their king ordered three black attendants at the Prophet's shrine to show him where the treasure of valuable gifts were stored. The Wahhabis plundered the treasure for their own use.

Thousands of Muslims fled Makkah and Madina in a bid to save their lives and escape from the mounting pressure and persecution at the hands of the Wahhabis. Muslims from all over the world denounced this Saudi savagery and exhorted the Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire to save the sacred shrines from total destruction.

Then, as it is known, Muhammad Ali Basha attacked Hijaz and, with the support of local tribes, managed to restore law and order in Madina and Makkah, dislodging the Al-Saud clansmen. The entire Muslim world celebrated this victory with great fanfare and rejoicing.

In Cairo, the celebrations continued for five days. No doubt, the joy was due to the fact that pilgrims were once more allowed freely to go for Hajj, and the sacred shrines were once again restored.

In 1818 AD, the Ottaman Caliph Abdul Majid and his successors, Caliphs Abdul Hamid and Mohammed, carried out the reconstruction of all sacred places, restoring the Islamic heritage at all important sites. In 1848 and 1860 AD, further renovations were made at the expense of nearly seven hundred thousand pounds, most of which came from the donations collected at the Prophet's tomb. 


The Second Plunder by the Wahabis


The Ottoman Empire had added to the splendour of Madina and Makkah by building religious structures of great beauty and architectural value. Richard Burton, who visited the holy shrines in 1853 AD disguised as an Afghan Muslim and adopting the Muslim name Abdullah, speaks of Madina boasting 55 mosques and holy shrines. Another English adventurer who visited Madina in 1877-1878 AD describes it as a small beautiful city resembling Istanbul. He writes about its white walls, golden slender minarets and green fields.

1924 AD Wahhabis entered Hijaz for a second time and carried out another merciless plunder and massacre. People in streets were killed. Houses were razed to the ground. Women and children too were not spared.

Awn bin Hashim (Shairf of Makkah) writes: "Before me, a valley appeared to have been paved with corpses, dried blood staining everywhere all around. There was hardly a tree which didn't have one or two dead bodies near its roots."

1925 Madina surrendered to the Wahhabi onslaught. All Islamic heritage were destroyed. The only shrine that remained intact was that of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). Ibn Jabhan says: "We know that the tomb standing on the Prophet's grave is against our principles, and to have his grave in a mosque is an abominable sin."

Tombs of Hamza and other martyrs were demolished at Uhud. The Prophet's mosque was bombarded. On protest by Muslims, assurances were given by Ibn Saud that it will be restored but the promise was never fulfilled. A promise was given that Hijaz will have an Islamic multinational government. This was also abandoned.

1925 AD Jannat al-Mu'alla, the sacred cemetery at Makkah was destroyed along with the house where the Holy Prophet (s) was born. Since then, this day is a day of mourning for all Muslims.