Baqee means the land in which the roots of different trees are embedded. Gharqad is name of a thorny tree. Such trees were in abundance in Baqee. Hence it came to be known as Baqee al-Gharqad. In order to make this land a cemetery, all trees were removed from this site. However the name Baqee al-Gharqad stayed. It is also called Janna-tul-Baqee. It is a famous cemetery of Madina. There are about ten thousand companions buried in it. Many members of the family of the Prophet (SAS) are resting in this cemetery as well.
Historians have developed a map of the cemetery that shows the graves of some companions and a few other noteworthy persons.
1. Caliph Osman (RU) was buried in a garden called Hush-e-Kokab that used to be east of Baqee. When Muawiya (RU) extended Baqee, Kukab became part of Baqee. Several other extensions of Baqee took place time to time. Now caliph Osman’s (RU) grave is in the center of Baqee.
2. The Prophet’s daughters, Fatima (RUA), Ruqqaya (RUA), Umm Kalsum (RUA) and Zainab (RUA) are buried here. Ibrahim, the son of the Prophet (SAS) is also buried in this cemetery.
3. All wives of the Prophet (SAS) with the exception of Khadija (RUA) and Mymuna (RUA) are buried here.
4. The graves of the Prophet’s (SAS) uncle, Abbas (RU) and his paternal aunt Safia (RUA) and Atika (RUA) are also in this cemetery.
5. Other members of the family of the Prophet (SAS) who are buried here are as follows:
(i). Hassan (RU), (ii). Fatima bint Asad (RUA), the mother of Ali (RU), (iii). Aqeel bin Abu Talib (iv). Abdullah bin Jafar bin Abu Talib (RU).
6. Among the companions a few are mentioned below.
1. Osman bin Mazuon (RU)
2. Khunais bin Huzafa (RU)
3. Saad bin Abi Waqqas (RU)
4. Abu Saeed Khudri (RU)
5. Abdur Rehman bin Auf (RU)
6. Abdullah bin Masood (RU)
7. Asad bin Zurara (RU)
8. Saad bin Muaz (RU)
7. Apart from companions, Imam Malik (RTA), Imam Nafea (RTA), Zain-ul- Abedeen (RU) and Jaafar Sadiq (RU) are buried here too.
Virtues of Janna-tul-Baqee:
There are many Ahadith to describe the virtues of Janna-tul-Baqee. For example, it is mentioned in Musnad Ahmed and Tirmidhi that the Prophet (SAS) said, “Whoever gets the golden opportunity to die in Madina should avail it. Note that I shall make recommendation to Allah (SWT) for the forgiveness of a person who died in Madina.”
This is the promise of the Prophet (SAS) for the Day of Judgment. Even during his lifetime he used to go to Baqee at night and made supplication for those buried there. It is mentioned in Muslim and narrated by Aisha (RUA). “Whenever the Prophet (SAS) spent night in her Hujrah, he used to visit Baqee during the later part of the night and used to make the following supplication:
O residents of the community of the believers, peace be upon you. You have received what you were promised. Our appointed time will come soon. God willing, we shall meet you soon. O Allah (SWT), please forgive those who are in Baqee Gharqad.
According to another narration, the Prophet (SAS) said, “Jibreel (AS) came to me and said, ‘Your creator has ordered you to go to Baqee and make supplication for their forgiveness.’”
Aisha (RUA) was always very keen to acquire learning from the Prophet (SAS). As mentioned in Muslim, Aisha (RUA) asked the Prophet (SAS), “O Prophet of Allah, what should I say to the inhabitants of Baqee?” The Prophet (SAS) told her to make the following supplication:
O the dwellers of the community of Muslims and believers, peace be upon you. May Allah (SWT) shower His mercy on those who have left us and on those who are to follow. God willing, we shall also join you.
Domes in Baqee:
A very large number of companions of the Prophet (SAS) are buried in Baqee. The companions and their immediate successors never dared to build any dome in the graves in Baqee since they were aware of the instructions of the Prophet (SAS). For example, as mentioned in Muslim, Jabar (RU) said, “ It is unlawful in Islam to sit on a grave or to lay bricks or other similar materials on the grave. It is also forbidden to construct a building on top of a grave.”
After a few centuries, some people built domes on the graves of some companions in Baqee. Hence about seventy years ago there were many domes on the graves in Baqee. King Abdul Aziz removed these domes in 1344 Hijrah and all graves were reverted back to their original form.
It is an important lesson for the Muslim Ummah. We must follow the instructions of the Prophet (SAS). Allah (SWT) will not accept any deviation from it.
Extension of Baqee:
Saudi government has extended Baqee twice. First extension was done by King Faisal and second by King Fahd.
Two paternal aunts of the Prophet (SAS) are buried in a piece of land just north of Baqee. Their names are Safia (RUA) and Atika (RUA). The area of this piece of land is 3493 square meters. This part of Baqee was called (Baqee al Ammat) i.e. the Baqee of aunts. A Street used to run between the two cemeteries. This area of the street was 824 square meters. There was also a vacant piece of land just north of Baqee. It was of triangular shape and its area was 1612 square meters. King Faisal ordered to include all those areas into Baqee. Hence Baqee was extended by 5929 square meters.
During 1390 Hijrah, concrete walls were built around Baqee. A few pathways were also built inside the Baqee. It was to facilitate the movement of the people during the burial services.
The population of Madina has increased a lot. Hence King Fahd ordered to further extend Baqee. This time it was extended both in east and south directions. New area of Baqee is 174962 square meters. The height of the boundary wall is four meters and it is 1724 meter long. A main entrance gate was built in addition to the several smaller doors. More pathways were also provided inside the Baqee.