In the beginning of fifth century Hijra, the first attempt was made to transfer bodies of Prophet Mohammad (SAS) and his two companions from Madina to Egypt. Order was issued by Egyptian Fatami ruler Ba Amrullah. Abu Al-Fatuh, the governor of Makkah and Madina, was to carry out this plot. Ba Amrullah was the sixth Obeidi ruler. He was very cruel and a criminal. Daruz of Lebanon still regard him a holy person. (May Allah’s curse be upon him).
Ibn Najjar wrote in his book “History of Baghdad”, Ba Amrullah
hatched this plot to attract the attention of the world to Egypt and thus allowing the residents of Egypt to gain great respect. The ruler spent a lot of money to build an expensive enclosure for this purpose. He sent Abu Al-Fatuh to Madina to carry out the plan. When Abu Al-Fatuh arrived in Madina, the residents of Madina came to know about his plot. They gathered around him. Qari Zalbani recited the following verses of the Quran there. (At-Taubah # 12-13).
But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and attack your religion with disapproval and criticism, then fight the leaders of
disbelief – for surely their oaths are nothing to them – so that they may stop. Will you not fight a people who have violated their oaths and intended to expel the messenger while they did attack you first? Do you fear them? Allah has more right that you should fear Him if you are believers.
The residents of Madina got very furious and were about to kill Abu Al-Fatuh and his soldiers. This made Abu Al-Fatuh scared. He said “I shall never carry out this dirty plan even if the ruler kills me.” In the meanwhile, a big storm swept through this area that evening. Many houses, animals and people died of this storm. Abu Al-Fatuh found a good excuse to run away from Madina. Allah (SWT) saved the Prophet (SAS) and his companions from these criminals.
Ruler Ba Amrullah hatched a second plot but failed again. Ibn Saadoon has reported this in his book that Ba Amrullah sent some people to carry out his evil plans. These people started residing in a house near the Prophet’s Mosque and started digging an underground tunnel to reach the grave of the Prophet (SAS). During this a fearful lightning struck the area and the following voice was heard, announcing very loudly, “Your Prophet’s grave is being dug!” The residents of Madina rushed out of their houses and started investigating. They got hold of the culprits and killed them all.
It took place in 557H (1164C). Samhoudi reported that the Christians made this plot very carefully to steal the body of the Prophet (SAS).
There was a very pious ruler of Egypt at that time known as Sultan Nuruddin Zanki. One night after Tahajjud he saw the Prophet (SAS) in his dream. The Prophet (SAS) was pointing out towards two persons of reddish color and saying i.e. save me from these two persons. Nuruddin woke up and was perplexed. He did ablution, performed his salat and went back to sleep. He again saw the same dream. He woke up and again offered his salat and went to sleep. He saw the same dream the third time. He lost his sleep and described his dreams to his advisor, Jamal-ud-Din Al-Musali. The advisor said to him, “Why you are sitting here? You should go to Madina immediately. He added, “Please do not related your dream to any other person”. Nuruddin started his journey towards the Madina the next morning. He took twenty persons with him including the advisor. They carried many expensive gifts with them for charity. They reached Madina in sixteen days. Nuruddin entered the Prophet’s Mosque and offered salat. Then he did salutation to the Prophet (SAS) and his companions. Nuruddin sat down in the mosque wondering what to do next. The advisor announced, “Sultan has brought lots of gifts for charity. These gifts will be distributed among the residents of Madina. Sultan granted a gift to each resident of Madina turn by turn. Sultan looked at each recipient very carefully to match the features with those seen in the dreams. Finally Sultan inquired, “Have all the residents visited me?” The answer from the residents was, “Yes, indeed.” Sultan said, “Are you really sure?” People said, “There are two pious Morrocans who do not accept anything from others. They rather feed the needy very generously. They fast regularly. Offer tahajjud and offer salutation to the Prophet (SAS) day and night. They also visit Quba mosque once a week.” Sultan exclaimed, “Subhanallah”. Sultan then ordered that both of them be brought to him. The Morrocans said, “We are very rich and don’t need charity.” On insistence of the Sultan they were brought to him. Sultan recognized them and asked them, “Where do you come from?” They said, “We are Morrocans. We came here for Hajj and wish to stay here as neighbors of the Prophet (SAS).” The Sultan said, “Why don’t you speak the truth?” At that they kept quiet. Sultan enquired about their residence. Their residence was near the Sacred Chamber. Sultan accompanied them to their residence. He found a lot of expensive goods lying there. Sultan kept roaming around the house alone till he removed an old piece of rug from the floor of the house. He saw a newly dug underground tunnel there leading to the Sacred Chamber. The men got terrified. Sultan said to them, “Now tell me the truth”. They confessed, “We are actually Christians. The King has sent us here as Hajji from Morroco. He gave lot of money to us so that we could remove the body of the Prophet. In order to achieve our goal we started residing in this house nearest to the Sacred Chamber. We dig underground tunnel at night and carry the mud in Morrocan bags to Baqee cemetery and spread the mud around the graves. When we reached near the Sacred Chamber a very fearful lightning struck and an earthquake shook the earth. Now you have arrived and caught us. We confess that we were about to commit the crime.” The Sultan ordered the execution of these criminals. He thanked Allah (SWT) who chose him to discover the plot.
First two plots were made between 386H. and 411H. The third plot took place in 557H. After this third plot, Sultan Nuruddin ordered to dig a deep trench around the Sacred Chamber. He filled this trench with molten lead. In this way nobody will ever be able to reach the graves through underground tunnels.
It will be appropriate to mention here that the Sultan stayed in a house in Madina called Darul-Ziaffa and distributed charity to the residents of Madina from this location. This house existed just outside the door known as Bab Omer. This house was included in the Prophet’s Mosque during the second Saudi extension of the Mosque.
The site where the lead was melted was just outside Bab Salam and was known as Saqeefa-tur-Rasas. When Qamash market
caught fire on the 18th Rajab 1397H, this house was also burnt in this fire.
The house where the Christians stayed and dug the tunnel was located outside the present window across the Sacred Chamber in the southernmost wall of the mosque.
Ibn Aseer said, “Sultan Nuruddin Zanki was a very pious and just ruler.” (Vifa-ul-Vifa).
Ibn Jubair has given details of this plot. He said, “On 29th Dhul-Qada 578H, I arrived in Alexandria during my excursion tour of Egypt. We left Alexandria on the 8th of Dhul-Hijja. We saw there that a very big crowd of people came out of their homes to see the Roman Christian prisoners. These prisoners were brought to the city on camels with their faces towards the tails of the camels. Bugles were being blown and other music was being played around them. We enquired about these prisoners. We were given a detailed picture of their cruel activities, which was as follows.”
“The Christians of Syria built some boats near Mediterranean sea and transported these boats on the backs of camels to the bank of the sea. There they equipped the boats for war activities. They then set out in the sea with these boats and plundered the caravans of pilgrims for Makkah. When they reached river Naam where they burnt sixteen boats of other people. Then they reached Eizab and captured a caravan of pilgrims coming from Jeddah. Similarly they overpowered a caravan which was traveling from Qaus towards Eizab and killed all the people. Two boats of traders were coming from Yemen with food grain for Makkah and Madina. They burnt the storage of this food grain. They carried out many such evil activities. Their most treacherous plan was to remove the body of the Prophet Mohammad (SAS) from the Sacred Chamber. They announced it boldly and started heading towards Madina. When they were about one day’s journey away from Madina, the famous Hajib Luhluh came with a few Moroccan youths who were expert in sea warfare. They arrested these Christians and killed some of them then and there. They also sent some of these prisoners to other cities to be put to sword. Some prisoners were sent to Makkah and Madina. The prisoners whom we saw were brought to Alexandria. In this way Allah (SWT) saved his Prophet (SAS) from these criminals.”
Tabri, the famous historian, has described it as follows:
“The head of the service personnel of the Prophet’s Mosque was Shamsuddin Sawab Lamti who was very gentle and a kind person. Sawab said that he had a close friend who happened to be known to the ruler of Madina. This friend often kept him informed about the major news. One day this friend said to Sawab, ‘A big event is about to take place. Some people have come from Halb in Syria. They have bribed the ruler of Madina and have demanded from him the bodies of Abu Bakr (RU) and Omar (RU). The ruler has consented to it.’
“Sawab got very worried. Shortly afterwards a messenger of the ruler of Madina came and took Sawab to the ruler. The ruler said to Sawab, “Some people will knock at the door of the Prophet’s Mosque at night. Open the door for them and let them do what they want to do. Don’t interfere in anyway.’ Swab said that he answered the ruler the way the ruler wanted him to answer. He then came back and I was crying bitterly. After salat-ul-Isha the doors of Prophet’s Mosque were closed as usual. Shortly afterwards, somebody knocked at the door known as Bab Salam. The ruler of Madina used to live in a fort in front of Bab Salam. Sawab opened the door. Forty people entered the mosque, he was counting them one by one. They had equipment to demolish buildings and were carrying torches with them. They were heading towards the Sacred Chamber. They had not yet even reached the pulpit when the earth split under their feet and they were buried with their equipment then and there. There was no sign left about their presence on the surface of the earth.”
“The ruler waited for them for a while. Finally he sent for Sawab and asked him, ‘Sawab, did some people not come to you?’ He said, ‘Yes, indeed. They were, however, buried in the earth.’ The ruler said, ‘Think before you speak. How can this happen?’ Sawab invited him to see the spot with his own eyes. The ruler said, ‘Leave the matter as it is. Don’t mention this to anybody. I shall cut your head off if you talked about it.’”
Samhoudi said, “Abu Mohammad Abdullah Margani has also described this plot briefly in the History of Madina. He has, however mentioned that the number of these people was fifteen or twenty and they were swallowed by the earth when they had gone only a few steps towards the Sacred Chamber.”
Note that the enemies of Allah make plans and Allah (SWT) also makes plans. However Allah is the Best planner. Surah Al-Anfal #30
They were plotting and Allah too was plotting and Allah is the Best plotter ( or planner ).
Indeed Allah (SWT) fulfilled his promise to Prophet Mohammad (SAS) as mentioned in Surah Al-Maida # 67
And Allah will protect you from the people.
Imam Malik (RTA) said, “There was some space in the Sacred Chamber. Hence Aisha (RUA) was told that, if it pleased her, she would be buried there after her death”. Aisha (RUA) replied, ‘I would then become one who invents an innovation.’”
Many scholars have written that there is a spot for a grave near the eastern part of the Sacred Chamber. Saeed bin Al-Musayyab said, “This is the spot for Isa (AS).” Furthermore, it is obvious that there was a tiny living area for Aisha (RUA) in her humble hut after the partition was built to separate her from the graves. In other words, there is a spot for the fourth grave in the Sacred Chamber, where Isa (AS) will be buried.
BURIAL OF ISA (AS)
Tirmidhi has mentioned as narrated by Abdullah bin Salam (AS), “The characteristics of Prophet Mohammad (SAS) are described in Old Testament and it is also mentioned there that Isa (AS) will be buried with him”.
Abdullah bin Omar (RU) has narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Isa (AS) will descend to the earth. He will marry and will have children. In this way he will spend forty five years and finally he will die and will be buried with me. On the Day of Judgement. I, Isa (AS), Abu Bakr and Omar will rise from the same site.” (Al-Vifa).
HISTORICAL STAGES IN CONSTRUCTION OF THE SACRED CHAMBER
Original hujra or hut of Aisha was built of branches of palm trees covered with blanket of hair. The frame of the door was made of wood. The branches of trees were replaced by bricks by Omar (RU).
It is narrated by Obeid ullah bin Abu Yazeed that the walls of the house of Prophet (SAS) were not made of bricks, stones or any other such materials. Omar (RU) rebuilt these walls by bricks during his Caliphate. These walls were, however, small. Abdulla bin Zubair raised these higher. (Tabka-tul-Kubra). Near the end of the first century of Hijra, Omar bin Abdul Aziz constructed the walls of the Sacred Chamber with black stone.
THE EVENT OF A VISIBLE FOOT
Urwa bin Zubair narrated that hujrat were removed during the period of Waleed bin Abdul Malik in order to include them in the expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque. At that time the eastern wall of the Sacred Chamber collapsed. It was necessary to dig its foundation to rebuild it. In this process a foot appeared.
Someone said that it was perhaps the Prophet’s (SAS) foot. Urwa saw it and said, “I swear it is not the Prophet’s foot, it is Omar’s (RU) foot”.
More detail of this event is given by Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Aqeel. He said, “I used to come to the Prophet’s Mosque in the later part of the night. I used to salute Prophet (SAS) and then used to stay in the mosque till salat-ul-fajr. One night it was raining. When I reached near the house of Al-Mugayyara bin Shaabah (RU), I came across some fragrance which I had never experienced before. I entered the mosque and saluted the Prophet (SAS). I was surprised to see that one wall of the Sacred Chamber had collapsed. I went inside the chamber and saluted the Prophet (SAS) again. Shortly after this Omar bin Abdul Aziz, the Governor of Madina, arrived there since he had been informed about the fall of the wall. He ordered to cover the Sacred Chamber with a large piece of cloth. In the morning a builder was brought and was told to go inside the chamber. He requested that another person should also accompany him. Omar bin Abdul Aziz (RU) became ready for it. Qasim bin Abu Bakr volunteered for it also. Similarly Salim bin Abdullah bin Omar volunteered too and insisted to accompany them as well. Omar bin Abdul Aziz (RU) said, ‘We should not bother the residents of the graves by crowding there.’ Omar (RU) then said to his freed slave, Mazaham, ‘Please go inside all alone.’ Mazaham said, ‘The first grave is slightly lower in height than the other two graves.’ After the completion of the renovation Omar (RU) said to Mazaham, ‘Go inside again and clean the Sacred Chamber.’ Mazaham went in again and did the general cleaning there after the renovation activities. Later on Omar (RU) remarked, ‘I wish I had done this cleaning in place of Mazaham. This cleaning activity would have been better for me than all of the worldly assets.’”
FIVE CORNERED WALLS
In 91H, Omar bin Abdul Aziz built these five cornered walls around the inner four walls of the Sacred Chamber so that nobody may enter the Sacred Chamber. These outer walls are about seven meters high and are covered by a cloth. These days this outer structure is called Sacred Chamber. Samhoudi said, “The outer walls were made with five corners instead of four, so that the Sacred Chamber does not resemble the Kabah. This was to avoid any possibility of people making prostration to the Sacred Chamber.
In 1296H, a screen of a window fell inside the Sacred Chamber. Burzanji went, with the Imam of Prophet’s Mosque, on the roof of the mosque. They saw that there was an inner smaller dome. The inner Sacred Chamber was a square structure and covered with a cloth. Hence it was not possible to see inside the Sacred Chamber enclosed by the four walls.
RENOVATION OF WALLS OF THE SACRED CHAMBER
During the period of Qaitabai, the walls of the Sacred Chamber were renovated again. Samhoudi described it as follows:
“The eastern wall of Sacred Chamber developed some cracks. The cracks were filled and white washing was done on top of it. In due course of time these fillings wore off and cracks appeared in the five cornered walls of the Sacred Chamber. Hence on the 14th of Shaaban 881H, the outer five walls of the Sacred Chamber were removed for reconstruction. The cracks were also visible in the inner four walls of the Sacred Chamber. Hence these innermost walls were also removed. This made the Sacred Chamber open and visible.” Samhoudi stated, “I had the privilege and honor to enter the Sacred Chamber. I entered from the backside (i.e. North). I experienced a unique fragrance there which I never came across in my life. I humbly saluted the Prophet (SAS) and his two companions. I then took part in reconstruction of the Sacred Chamber voluntarily and this construction work was completed on the seventh of Shawwal.”
Samhoudi added, “We saw that the inner structure of the Sacred Chamber was a square and built of black stones similar to the stones of Kabah. There was no door in it. The visitor automatically develops very lovely feelings there.”