Thus it may be said that Jordan, with its blessed land, and with its wealth of Sacred Sites, is in itself a spiritual treasure with the potential to grace the lives of all those who visit it.
H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed
While sites such as Petra, the Dead Sea and Jerash may be well-known among travellers, there’s a part of Jordan’s heritage that often goes missed by travellers. These incredible hidden gems are located throughout Jordan and make up a large part of the incredible treasures in the country.
For a long time now, Jordan’s religious and heritage sites have been pushed to the side when it comes to tourism. With many focusing on places such as the marvels of Petra and Wadi Rum, sites such as tombs of prophets and major companions are often neglected. Thanks to a collection of sites published by TURAB (Turath Al-Urdun Al-Baqi meaning ‘Jordan’s Everlasting Heritage), we now have a comprehensive list of religious sites belonging to the Christian and Islamic traditions.
Known as a blessed land, Makkah and Madinah lie directly to the south whilst the historic city of Jerusalem lies directly to the west. It was this area for which the Prophet PBUH made a specific invocation when he said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham and our Yemen.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Sham is a region which includes countries such as Palestine, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Lebanon, and Turkey’s Hatay Province. Steeped in history and religious significance, pilgrims of the past and present have made their way to these blessed lands to pay their respects and bridge the gap between the three holiest mosques in Islam.
Over the many years, a host of prophets have made their way through Jordan, with some even living in the region. Whilst all the names cannot be noted, the prophets we know about include Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Lut (Lot), Shu’ayb (Jethro), Musa (Moses), Yahya (John), ‘Isa (Jesus) and the Prophet Muhammad – peace and blessings be upon them all.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more sites shared in their significance by Muslims and Christians scattered throughout the country. Below we list some of the most significant ones.
Located near the small town of Safawi, we find a site which takes visitors by surprise. In a small area called Buqayawiyya, we find the Blessed Tree which is believed to be the same tree under which the Prophet PBUH rested when he was a child whilst travelling with his uncle, Abu Talib, to Syria. A monk named Bahira – upon seeing the Prophet PBUH resting in this manner – immediately told the Prophet’s uncle to protect him as he would one day become a prophet.
The famous and notable landmark of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers is located only a 30-minute drive from Amman city centre. The Holy Qur’an makes mention of a group of pious youths who took refuge in a cave after fleeing from persecution for their monotheistic beliefs. It was in this cave that the seven youths slept for 300 years (309 lunar years), and upon awaking, were completely gobsmacked by the duration.
Jordan is replete with tombs and shrines belonging to prophets, which is one of the main reasons why many visit the country. An important distinction to make is that shrines refer to a place that a blessed personage has visited or lived during his lifetime, whilst graves and tombs refer to a place where a prophet or companion could be buried.
Located in the Karak province of Jordan, we find one of the most popular spots for those searching for religious landmarks in the country; the shrine of Prophet Nuh AS. With an entire chapter named after him in the Qur’an and as one of the most ancient prophets, the prophet Nuh AS is cherished across all three major religions. His story was one that is remembered timelessly. After being rejected by his people for many years, a flood covered the earth and drowned all but Nuh and his companions.
After a 45-minute drive west of Amman city, you’ll reach the tomb of the Prophet Shu’ayb AS. Also referred to as Jethro, the Prophet Shu’ayb AS was a descendant of Prophet Ibrahim AS. He was one of four Arab prophets along with Prophet Hud AS, Prophet Salih AS and Prophet Muhammad PBUH. The Prophet Shu’ayb AS was also the father-in-law of Prophet Musa AS, and the Qur’an relates the incident of Prophet Musa AS working for him for ten years.
While there are no confirmed sources stating that the Prophet Musa AS is buried here, many historians allude to this being the spot. There is a difference of opinion around the topic with many claiming his resting place to be near Jericho. The Prophet Musa AS has been described exceptionally well in the Holy Qur’an as he undertook a mammoth task. Rescuing the Children of Israel from Egypt and bringing them back to Palestine was no easy feat. His life was one filled with prophetic missions which is why Allah often made mention of him in the Holy Qur’an; “And ‘remember’ when We gave Moses the Scripture—the standard ‘to distinguish between right and wrong’ that perhaps you would be ‘rightly˺ guided’.” [2:53]
One of the best locations to visit in Jordan is Mazar near Mu’tah and Karak. Here you will find the tombs of legendary companions such as Abdullah Ibn Rawahah RA, Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib RA and Zaid Ibn Harithah. As the tombs are located within close proximity to one another, visitors can pay their respects to all three in one visit.
Originally a Christian scribe from Madinah, Abdullah Ibn Rawahah RA was one of the early converts in Madinah. Such was his trustworthiness and reputation, that the Prophet PBUH left him in charge of Madinah during the Battle of Badr. Known for his piety and eagerness to follow the Sunnah, Abu Darda mentions about him, ‘If we were travelling with the Prophet PBUH on a hot day, no one in the group would be fasting but the Prophet [PBUH] and Abdullah Ibn Rawahah’.
Not only was Ja’far RA the first cousin of the Prophet PBUH, but he was also one of the first to become Muslim after the advent of revelation. Ten years older than Ali RA, he looked a lot like the Prophet PBUH. Ja’far RA had a busy life as he was one of the early migrants to Abyssinia, and was later deployed in Mu’tah in Jordan. It was here that he was martyred at the age of forty-one. The Prophet PBUH soon after had a dream about him in which he saw Ja’far RA in the Highest Paradise with wings instead of arms. It was for this reason that Ja’far RA was later given the name Ja’far Al-Tayar (Ja’far, the Winged One).
Zaid Ibn Harithah RA was the first person to become Muslim after Ali RA, putting him on the list of the earliest converts in Makkah. At a young age, Zaid RA was sold into slavery and later bought by the Prophet PBUH, who granted him his freedom. Zaid’s RA father did come looking for him, but by then Zaid RA had become attached to the Prophet PBUH and therefore chose to stay with him. Not only was Zaid RA referred to as the son of the Prophet PBUH, but he was also the only companion mentioned by name in the Holy Qur’an.
There are many other religious and significant sites in Jordan. It’s recommended that one reads through the book titled, The Holy Sites of Jordan for a full list.
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