Visiting Baqi Cemetery

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Image: http://news.liputan6.com/read/2574757/baqi-makam-di-madinah-yang-spesial-di-hati-nabi

“Zai!”  a well built officer in dark-covered squirrel shout to somebody.
“Oh someone called.” I thought. Zai is a Pashto language equivalent to “dude”. “Hmm, who he been shout at?” Curiosity flashed through my mind even though eyes of mine kept on to the high and gray-green gate of the Baqi Cemetary.
“Zai! Zai! “The shout got louder and louder. He seemed to be losing patience. But I do not want to intervene in someone’s business. Instead i prefer to enjoy the fresh air that accompanies the presence of the sun. The birds chirp and the chirp of the guard also getting louder, “Zai! Zai!”

Suddenly a Pakistani old man poked my shoulder while his other hand pointing at the guard who stared at me. “Subhanallah, it is me he been called.”
I came to him and luckily he didnt shout anymore; he only asked me to open the bag. Found no forbidden objects like weapon, he let me to proceed.
After looking to the right and to the left, back and forth; i realized that 99% of the pilgrims whom i’ve been surrounded have the same physical characteristics. Tall, sharp-nosed, beautiful-eyed, long beards, and shaved head as a sign of finishing the umra. The clothes also looked similiar, a robe covering the buttocks plus a trouser. Last but not the least was the cap sticking to the head.

Should i be be proud or not, because it seems like I was the only Indonesian while all the zais came from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. After observing the white robe I wore, i almost lough loudy. It is natural to the guard calling me “zai” instead of “sir”; Because the clothes I wore are so Pakistanis. Even Pakistanis, Afghans, and Indians often greet me using Urdu, Pashtun, or Hindi for thinking I’m their fellow countrymen.

After passing through the sentri where three younger guards were leaning on the fence, I and those zais enter The Baqi. In front of us stood four large blue boards that contained rules of ziarah (visiting tomb or cemetary). The points are written in Arabic, Malay, French, and Urdu. Some of the zais are busy reading it while others walk in queue to deeper part of Baqi.

“Zai !!!” a young guard yelled at three Pakistanis who tried to tread the grave ground. The three men immediately returned to the path, bowed in disgrace. There is indeed a rule that pilgrims may only walk on grass-covered walkways. They are strictly forbidden to descend to the tomb area which is located on a grayish-gray sandy soil.

Baqi is the first cemetary among moslem community and there lay 10,000 companions of the prophet. Baqi also become the resting place for all the wives of the Prophet except Ummul Mukminin Khadijah and Maimunah. All the daughter of the prophet including Fatima was buried there. And don’t forget the prophet’s son which named Ibrahim. His uncle Al-Abbas and his aunt Shafiyah were also buried there. His beloved grandson, Al-Hassan bin Ali and his son-in-law who was also one of those guaranteed to enter heaven, Uthman ibn Affan also buried there.

I greet the grave dwellers and pray for them, simply following the teaching of the prophet. I also remind a certain African man who died during the dawn prayers a few days ago; In sha’ Allah he too became the dweller of Baqi because every person who died in Nabawi buried there.

Visiting cemetary is an activity advocated by the Messenger of Allah to remind us that life in the world are not eternal  while death comes without permission. The prophet said,

ِنِّي كُنْتُ نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْ زِيَارَةِ الْقُبُورِ فَزُورُوهَا فَإِنَّهَا تُذَكِّرُكُمْ الْآخِرَةَ

“I used to forbid you to visit the cemetary. Now, you may visit for reminding you of the afterlife.”[1]

At first the Prophet forbade his companions to visit the cemetary because most of the them are new believers and their faith was not strong. It is still possible for them to perform the custom of pagan such as asking for sustenance and protection to the inhabitants of the grave. Later on when the companions faith firm, the Prophet encouraged them to visit the grave. We are also allowed to visit it but does not mean allowed to ask the blessing of grave dwellers. Such act would sent us tho the shirk or associating Allah with others.

I left Baqi that the entire have no grave with tombstone. What paced on the mound of land just a simple rock marked that it is a grave. No one knows who is buried under because each tombstone contains not a single word. “Alhamdulillah, I had a visited the Baqi.” I feel relieved due to this afternoon will have to take miqot (the first part of umra) in Dzul Hulaifah.

[1] Shahih narated by Muslim, an-Nasâi, dan Ahmad.

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