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The Burial of Mahomet.

Grave prepared in Ayesha's house. Tuesday, 14th Rabi, 9th June.

WHEN Abu Bakr had ended his speech, preparations were made for the burial of the Prophet. The people differed regarding the place most fitting for his grave. Some urged that the body should be buried in the Mosque close by the pulpit; and some, beneath the spot where as Imam he had so long led the daily prayers; while others wished to inter him beside his followers in the grave-yard of Backi al Gharcad. Abu Bakr, with whom as Caliph the matter now rested, approved none of these proposals: for, said he, "I have heard it from the lips of Mahomet himself, that in whatsoever spot a Prophet dieth, there also should he be buried." He therefore gave command that the grave should be dug where the body was still lying within the house of Ayesha.

It was dug in the vaulted fashion

Another question arose as to the form in which the tomb should be prepared. Two fashions prevailed in Arabia: in one kind, the bottom or pavement of the grave was flat ;1 in the other, the bottom was partly excavated for the reception of

1 This species of grave was called Shackk.

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the body, a ledge being left on one side of the vault or cavity.1 The former was the plan followed at Mecca, the latter at Medina; and for each there was a separate grave-digger. Both were now summoned. The man of Medina first appearing, dug the grave in the vaulted form; and so this fashion is followed by all Mahometans to the present day.

The body is visited by the people. Oration of Abu Bakr and Omar

The body of Mahomet remained upon the bier for about four-and-twenty hours, namely, from the afternoon or the evening of Monday to the same hour on the following day. On Tuesday, it was visited by all the inhabitants of the city. They entered in companies by the door of the apartment which opened into the Mosque; and, after gazing once more at the countenance of their Prophet and praying over his remains, retired by the opposite entrance. The room was crowded to the utmost at the time when Abu Bakr and Omar entered together. They prayed as follows : “Peace be upon thee, O Prophet of God; and the mercy of the Lord, and his blessing! We bear testimony that the Prophet of God hath delivered the message revealed to him; hath fought in the ways of the Lord until that God brought forth his religion crowned with victory; bath fulfilled his words, commanding that he alone is to be worshiped in his Unity; hath drawn us to himself, and been kind and tender-hearted to believers; hath sought

1 Called Lahd.

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no recompence for delivering to us the Faith, neither hath he sold it for a price at any time!" And all the people said, Amen! Amen!" The women followed in companies, when the men had departed; and then even the children crowded round the bier for a last look at their Prophet's face.


In the evening the final rites were paid to the remains of Mahomet. A red mantle, worn by him, was first spread as a soft covering at the bottom of the grave; then the body was lowered into its last resting-place by the same near relatives who had washed and laid it out. The vault was built over with unbaken bricks, and the grave filled up.1

Ayesha continued to occupy an apartment next to the grave

Ayesha continued as before to live in her house thus honoured as the Prophet's cemetery. She

1 There was a wonderful rivalry, at least among the traditionists; as to which person was the last to leave the interior or the tomb. Mughira asserts that, having dropped his ring into the grave, he was allowed to go down and pick it up, and thus was the last. Others hold that Ali sent down his son Hasan to fetch the ring. Others, that Ali denied the story of the ring altogether. Some allege that one or other of the sons of Abbas was as the first to enter, and the last to leave the grave." K. Wackidi, 162. These variations form a good example of the Alyite and Abbasside influences.

I must not omit a tradition which seems to me to illustrate the scepticism of Omar regarding the Prophet's death. Omm Salma, one of his wives, says,- "I did not really believe that Mahomet was dead, till I heard the sound of the pickaxes at the digging of the grave, from the next room." Ayesha also says that the sound of the pickaxes was the first intimation she had of the approaching interment. She had apparently retired, with the other wives, into an adjoining apartment. K. Wackidi, 162 ½.

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occupied a room adjoining that which contained the grave, but partitioned off from it. When her father died, he was buried close by the Prophet in the same apartment, and in due time Omar also. It is related of Ayesha that she used to visit the room containing the graves of the Prophet and her father, unveiled; but after the burial of Omar there (as if a stranger had been introduced), she never entered that room unless veiled and fully dressed.1

1 Ayesha tells us, she once dreamt that three moons fell from the heavens into her bosom, which she hoped portended the birth of an heir. After her husband's death, Abu Bakr told her that the grave of Mahomet in her house was the first and best of the moons. The other two were the graves of Abu Bakr himself and of Omar.

Wackidi tells us that there was no wall at first round Mahomet's house. Omar surrounded it with a low wall, which Abdallah ibn Zobeir increased. K. Wackidi, 160 ½.

The Life of Mahomet, Volume IV [Table of Contents]