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Nabi Musa by Air Drone *

Grave Nabi Musa Photo:Md iet

Nabi Musa – نبي موسى

Israeli and Palestinian Sunni Muslims celebrated at Nabi Musa an annual seven-day long religious festival beginning on the Friday before Good Friday in the old Greek Orthodox calendar. The festival centered on a collective pilgrimage from Jerusalem to what was understood to be the Tomb of Moses, near Jericho. A wall divides the opening into two parts: the eastern section is designated for men while the western part is for women.

Air Vuz Air Drone by Rea Burla

Nabi Musa (Nebi Musa), on the Jerusalem-Jericho road, 11 km south of Jericho and 20 km east of Jerusalem in the Judean wilderness, is the name of a site believed to be the tomb of Moses.

The burial site is not incidental. It is located on the ancient road from Jerusalem to the traditional Christian pilgrimage sites of The Baptism, Mount Nebo, and Madaba. Each Easter huge convoys o Christian pilgrims would take this road. After the Moslem re-conquest of the land from the Crusaders at the end of the 12th century, the Ayyubid ruler Salah-e-Din (Saladin) initiated an equivalent Moslem celebration, and constructed the first building at the site.

In 1269 the Mamluk Sultan Baibars al-Bunduqdari built a small shrine here for the Maqam (tomb). Gradually, the lookout point for Moses’ distant gravesite beyond the Jordan was confused with Moses’ tomb itself.  Ottoman Turks, around 1820, restored the buildings.

Inscription plate at Main gate Photo: Md iet
Inscription plate at Main gate
Photo: Md iet

A Mamluk inscription on the wall reads The construction of this Maqam other the grave of the Prophet who spoke to the God, Moses, is ordered by his majesty, Sultan Dhaher Abu El-Fateh Baybers, in year 668 Hijri (1269-1270 AD)“.

The site is constructed as a rectangular fortress. The external walls have 2 or 3 floors and are topped with a set of rectangular domes. Inside the buildings is a central courtyard surrounded by arched pillars. At the center is the structure of the tomb. Outside the walls is a large Moslem cemetery.

Moses in Islam

Asiya (depicted with long black tresses) and her servants, having finished bathing, find baby Moses in the Nile. Their clothes hang in the trees while the river waves and crests are done in the Chinese style. Illustration from the Persian
Asiya (depicted with long black tresses) and her servants, having finished bathing, find baby Moses in the Nile. Their clothes hang in the trees while the river waves and crests are done in the Chinese style. Illustration from the Persian

Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual, and his life is recounted more than any other prophet. According to Islam, all Muslims must have faith in every prophet (nabi) and messenger (rasul) which includes Moses and his brother Aaron (Harun). Moses is considered to be a prophetic predecessor to Muhammad. The tale of Moses is seen as a spiritual parallel to the life of Muhammad. The exodus of the Israelites from Egypt is considered similar to the (migration) from Mecca made by the followers of Muhammad. During his Night Journey (Isra), Muhammad is known to have led Moses along with Jesus, Abraham and all other prophets in prayer. Moses is mentioned to be among the prophets which Muhammad met during his ascension to heaven (Mi’raj) alongside Gabriel.

Nebi Musa Photo:Ori~
Nebi Musa
Photo: Ori~

Over the 19th century, thousands of Muslims would assemble in Jerusalem, trek to Nabi Musa, and pass three days in feasting, prayer, games and visits to the large tomb two kilometres south, identified as that of Moses’ shepherd, Hasan er-Rai. On the seventh day triumphantly back to Jerusalem.

Ottoman flags fly over the Nabi Musa for the last time, in 1917
Ottoman flags fly over the Nabi Musa for the last time, in 1917

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