Do you ever wonder about our Islamic history and the sacred landmarks that are still standing today?
There are around a billion Muslims in the world, but how many of us know about?
The importance of learning our history cannot be overstated. We read the Quran throughout the year especially during the blessed month of Ramadan where Allah (The Most High) continuously gives us reminders of what happened to the Prophets (peace be upon them) and the trials and tribulations they underwent. Some nations were destroyed due to their actions whereas some attained success due to their good deeds. For instance, the coming of Prophet Musa (Moses) to the Children of Israel due to the predicament of Pharaoh where the corpse of the Pharoah is still present today.
“So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Ayat (proofs,evidences.)” [Surah Younis, 10:92]
The hadith and the stories of the Sahaba (Companions) also provides us reminders. This allows us to reflect, learn, rekindle our faith and shape us to become better Muslims that are successful in this life and hereafter, we must not lose the evidence and its significance in our eyes.
“Say: If the mankind and the jinn were together to produce the like of this Quraan, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another” [Surah al-Isra 17:88]
When I initiated this project, I wanted to analyse by geographical locations as many countries are blessed with rich religious history and amongst them is Jordan that had a significant role in the momentous events in the history of People of the Book: Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Jordan has a special position in Islam where it is the first location where it has spread outside the Arabian Peninsula. It comprises of tombs of the Prophets (peace be upon them), the shrines of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that were martyred. The tree in which the Prophet Muhammad rested during his travel from Makkah to Damascus and is still present day situated near Safawi, Al-Mafraq Kahf Al-Raqim (The Cave of the Seven Sleepers).
The Sleepers were able to sleep for 300 years and Allah (The Highest) says in the Glorious Quran.
“And thou wouldst have deemed them waking though they were asleep, and we caused them to turn over to the right and the left, and their dog stretching out his paws on the threshold. If thou have observed them closely, thou hadst assuredly turned away from them in flight, and hadst been filled with awe of them.”
[Surah Al Kahf :18]
Many strategic battles in Islamic history have took place in Jordan such as the battle of Mutah (629 CE), Yarmouk (634 CE), Fahl (635 CE), and the second battle of Yarmouk (636 CE) where the latter helped expand Islam to neighbouring countries.
The country also marks historical events during the Caliphate, for instance, the Battle of Siffin took place at the Jabal Al-Tahkim (The Hill of Judication) situated between Maan and Shobak in Udruh. This occurred during the Caliphate of Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah have mercy upon him) where a case was put into the court of judgement. Abu Musa Al-Ashaari (may Allah have mercy upon him) represented Ali ibn Abu Talib whereas Amr ibn Al-Aas represented Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan (may Allah have mercy upon them all).
Masajids are still present from the era of other Caliphates such as Othman mosque in Aqaba. The castle of Salahuddin Al-ayoubi is also present in the same city.
The Shrine of the Prophets and the Sahaba
As stated earlier, many Prophets (peace be upon them) were buried in Jordan. Some Prophets were even reported to have travelled in Jordan such as Prophet Jesus and Abraham (peace be upon them).
How many of you have heard of Petra and its unique carvings on the rock at the Treasury?
Did you know that those who performed this work, the Nabateans, were similar to that of people of Thamud who Allah sent Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) to the latter?
Petra is situated near Mount Hor otherwise known as Jabal Al-Nabi or El-Barra. It is close to the valley of Moses where the shrine of Prophet Musa’s older brother Prophet Harun (Aaaron) may Allah be pleased with them is buried near their sister Miriam. As you enter the city of Petra you will find three blocks where they believed the ‘jinn’ were placed to guard the city.
Prophet Musa has been mentioned the most in the Quran and historians have stated that he was buried on Mount Nebo. The shrine Prophet Harun (peace be upon them) is in a small, domed mosque at the highest peak of Petra (4580 feet). Allah (The Most High) responded to the Du’a (supplication) of Moses and made him his accomplice in spreading the word of Allah and leading the tribes of Children of Israel. The Torah was given as a sacred book. Prophet Harun’s grandson was Yaqub (Jacob) and therefore was the descendant of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) peace be upon them all.
Moving to the north-west of Amman to the salt city, the shrine of the father in law of Moses is buried, Prophet Shuaib (Jethro) peace be upon them. He was mentioned in the Quran 11 times and was sent as a messenger to the People of the Wood and the Midianites.
In Salt, there is a shrine for Al-Khidr (may Allah be pleased with him) who was a righteous worshipper and was mentioned in Surah Kahf (The Cave) where he accompanied Prophet Musa peace be upon him (verses 64-82) and educated people on the importance of reliance and servitude to Allah (The Most High). His other shrines are situated in Bayt Ras, Ajloun, Mahes and Kerak.
Another Prophet whose shrine lays in the same area is Prophet Yusha (Joshua) and Ayub (Job) peace be upon them. Prophet Yusha was the second Prophet revealed to the Children of Israel and he led an army in conquest of Palestine/Israel. Prophet Ayub was mentioned in the Quran four times and was known for his faith, gentleness and patient attributes.
"And (remember) Ayyoub, when He cried to his Lord, 'Truly distress has seized me, but Thou art the Most Merciful of those that are merciful'. So we listened to him: We removed the distress that was on him, and we restored his people to him, and doubled their number, as a Grace from Ourselves, and a thing for commemoration, for all who serve us"
[Surah Anbaya, verse 83-84]
Moreover, there are a number of companions of Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) in Salt. For instance, Maysarah ibn Masruq Al-Absi participated in the conquest of Syria and Battle of Yamamah. He successfully entered the lands of Byzantine as commander of chief of the army.
Other suburbs in Amman have shrines of the Sahaba who were amongst those who were promised Jannah (paradise). For instance, Abdul-Rahman ibn Awf Al-Zuhri and Bilal ibn Rabah (may Allah be pleased with them) and is situated in Jubaiha and Wadi Essair. Abdul-Rahman was a good businessman who spent money in charity and participated in a number of major battles Badr, Uhud in Medina, Al-Khandaq (The Trenches) and conquest of Mecca and signing treaties. This puts emphasis on the social and political concepts in response the growing number of Muslims. Bilal ibn Rabah (may Allah be pleased with him) was gifted with a beautiful voice and participated in battles of Badr and Uhud.
Near the Dead Sea, the statue comprised of salt is of Lut’s (Lot) wife and this location has been reported to be Sodom and Gomorrah where Allah informed Lot and his family as they ran away to not look back. However, the wife of Prophet Lut (peace be upon him) looked back and was converted to a of salt. Lot (peace be upon them) and his children were saved in the cave in the mountains. The people of Lut rejected the message of Allah and denied he was a prophet.
"We will bring down on the inhabitants of this city a devastating punishment from heaven because of their deviance." We have left a Clear Sign of them behind for people who use their intellect.
[Surah Fatir, 29:34-35]
Researchers have suggested that the cities that were demolished near the Dead Sea comprised a high level of sulphur that normally occurs during earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. There was also evidence of basalt rocks which further evidently suggests that this has in fact occurred. Allah has left these as evidence for mankind to seek and take heed!
Another Prophet whose shrine is located in Jordan is Yahya who was the son of Prophet Zakariyah (Zacharia) (may Allah be pleased with them) and was inspired and continued what was left from his father in spreading the word of Allah. He was born in response to the prayer of his father and was pious. He was beheaded at Kind Herod’s citadel in Mukawir (Machaerus) and was buried there whereas his head was sent to Damascus buried in the Umayad Masjid. He was executed because he refused to recognise the marriage of King Herod. This correlates with King Henry VIII who beheaded the Pope of England and reformed Catholicism to Protestantism in order for his marriage to be recognised.
There are shrines of many other Prophets peace be upon them such as Nuh (Noah) and Sulayman (Solomon) in Kerak, Hud in Jerash, Dawud (David). The third son of Adam, Sith was buried near Tafila and the same area aalso has a shrine of one of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) companions, Jabir ibn Abdullah Al-Ansari who participated in the conquest of Mecca and 19 military events.
Moreover, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) lost many of his companions at the Battle of Mutah (629 AD) where they gained their status as martyrs and their shrines are found in various areas in Kerak. Zaid ibn Haritha, Jafar ibn Abi Talib and Abdullah ibn Ruwaha died in this order as all were put in command where if one died, the other takes over and replace them.
Zaid ibn Haritha was the adopted son of our Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his name was mentioned in the Quran, where Allah says:
And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, "Keep your wife and fear Allah," while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished. [Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:37]
Additionally, other tombs of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them) companions are found in Jordan. For instance, near Irbid, Abu Darda who is known for narrating many hadiths, accompanied the Prophet and participating in military campaigns. In the northern valley, Amr ibn Abi Waqqas, the general Derar ibn Al-Azwar, the governor of Yemen Muath ibn Jabal and the scriber of Quran revelations Shurhabil ibn Husna (may Allah be pleased with them are buried.
Ultimately. Jordan has a wealth of history where sacred landmarks present today portray the number of trials the Prophets and Sahaba and it is important to revive them to reflect on the trials and tribulations they underwent for their beliefs and implement the positive attributes they possess. May Allah have mercy upon them all.