This represents part two of a feature on the alleged graves of the prophets and companions situated in Palestine/Israel:
The region of Palestine and Israel carries much significance in terms of Islamic history, not only for being home to one of the religion’s most important sites in Masjid Al-Aqsa, but also for its wealth in links to prominent historical figures mentioned in the Holy Quran. Many prophets and companions of Nabi Muhammad (saw) are believed to have walked its lands at some point or another, and just as many are assumed to be buried there.
While the reports of ambiyah buried in the ‘blessed lands’ are reasonably extensive, the same cannot be said for the follows of the final prophet of Islam. This article will however look at the few, more credible links to the region.
Companions (and other historical figures) buried in Palestine/Israel:
Salman al-Farsi – One of the more prominent of Muhammad’s (saw) followers and well versed in multiple religions having converted to Christianity from Zoroastrianism. Born and raised in Persia, he left at a young age and travelled across the Middle East in a bid to learn more about Christianity. He was eventually enslaved and sold to owners in Madina, before being bought and freed by Muhammad (saw).
Many narrations credit him as being amongst the first few people to convert to Islam, as well as the first Persian native to do so. He is also credited with conceiving the idea of building a trench during the Battle of al-Khandaq.
There is debate on whether a small masjid on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem actually houses the grave of Salman al-Farsi, with counter narratives suggesting it may just be the home he resided at whilst staying in the city.
Ubadah bin As-Samit – A dedicated follower of the Prophet, it is said that As-Samit fought alongside Muhammad (saw) in every major battle of the era. He is also claimed to be one of the scribes involved in penning the Holy Quran.
His conversion to Islam came at a relatively early stage of the Prophet’s hijrah from Makkah to Madina, becoming one of the first 12 to embrace the religion prior to the journey. He was appointed as the first teacher and judge of the Palestinian people by the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, Umar (ra).
He is believed to have spent some period of time in the city of Jerusalem where he is also reported to be buried. The location identified as his final resting place is situated in the Ma’man Allah cemetery, an extremely historic site that has come under threat from the Zionist occupation.
Shadaad bin Aus – also buried at Ma’man Allah, one of the oldest cemeteries in the city, bin Aus was one of the closer companions of the Prophet. He is believed to have narrated hadith directly from Nabi Muhammad (saw).
Ma’man Allah cemetery – At around 1,400 years old it is amongst the oldest historical graveyards in Jerusalem, and potentially the most significant. Apart from the graves of Ubadah bin As-Samit and Shadaad bin Aus, it is assumed that the cemetery contains dozens of tombs dating back to the time of Muhammad (saw). Given that it was used to bury martyrs (including from the army of Salahuddin Ayyubi), notable religious figures and those deemed most pious, it is very likely that the true wealth of Ma’man Allah’s history remains undiscovered.
What is crucial is that the site has come under threat from the occupation. In recent years Israel has approved plans to have the cemetery demolished for the establishment of a new facility called the ‘Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance’; a joint effort by the local government of Jerusalem and a US-based NGO the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Multiple ‘clean-up’ operations have been conducted to raze graves, the most publicised incidents occurring in 2010 and 2012.
Other locations of note:
Tomb of Maryam/Mary – The final resting place of the mother of Nabi Isa (as), Sayyidatina Maryam (as) is also situated in Al-Quds, at the foot of the Mount of Olives close to the Masjid al-Aqsa compound. One claim, based on the Christian concept of the ‘Assumption of Mary’, is that the tomb was found to be empty after the third day after her burial.
While few to none of these tombs can be proved as the actual resting places of the respective ambiyah and Sahaba, what they do is further emphasise the historical and religious importance of Palestine (based on pre-Nakbah borders) to the global Muslim population, as well as followers of other Abrahamic religions. The hope is that better clarity on such issues will help strength the cause of pro-Palestinian resistance and clear up misconceptions as to the need for such resistance. VOC