Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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SAUDI ARABIA: Greeting the prophet

December 9, 2007 |  2:24 am

Arabic is, at its heart, a naturally flowery language. And as the language of Islam, it provides baroque poetic prayers for every occasion.

But the words spoken by all Muslims as they walk past the gravesite of the prophet Muhammad are endearingly simple.

Muhammad’s grave is embedded within the Mosque of the Prophet — a vast marble monument built around the remains of the humble mosque from which Muhammad preached to the first community of Muslims.

Visitors to Medina line up in packs to view the large wooden box that conceals the gravesite. As they walk past, each says just one simple sentence: Assalamu Alaikum ya Rusool Allah. “Peace be upon you O Prophet of God.”

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— Ashraf Khalil in Medina