Sultan Nurudin Zengi Protects the Grave of the Prophet (s)

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The grave of Sultan Nurudin Zengi

Nur ad-Din Zengi (February 1118 – 15 May 1174) was a member of the Turkic Zengid dynasty which ruled the Syrian province of the Seljuk Empire. He reigned from 1146 to 1174.

  • The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) pointed to two men of blond hair and said: “Mahmud, save me from them.”

 An attempt to steal the body of the Prophet was made in the year 557H (1164CE). They were two Christian men disguised as Moroccans who claimed that they were from Andalusia. The two rented a house not far from the Sacred Chamber where the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was buried and began to dig a tunnel from within to the Sacred Chamber. During the day they were found in Prophet’s Mosque and visiting al-Baqi` graveyard. Sultan Nuruddin Mahmud ibn Zanki saw a dream in which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) pointed to two men of blond hair and said: “Mahmud, save me from them.” The Sultan woke up in panic, said his prayers, and went back to sleep. But the dream was repeated three times. He then summoned his minister Jamaluddin Al-Mawsili and directed him to prepare for a journey to Madina. The Sultan and his minister left for Madina in a large caravan which one historian, Majduddin Al-Matari, said comprised of one thousand camels. They crossed the distance from Syria to Madina in 16 days. The Sultan went directly to the Prophet’s Mosque, performed prayers and sat there, bewildered at what to do next. The minister asked the Sultan if he could recognize the two men if he saw them, and when the Sultan replied in the affirmative, the minister summoned the citizens and asked them to present themselves so that the Sultan could bestow alms on them.

Among all those who came to receive the alms, the Sultan could not identify the two men. On being informed that two Moroccan men were the only ones who had not come to collect alms, he ordered that they be brought forth, whereupon he immediately identified them. Leaving them there the Sultan went to the house where the two men lived but could find nothing to incriminate them until he found large sums of money. Continuing the search he stumbled upon a piece of wood. Lifting it he saw the beginning of a tunnel leading to the direction of the Sacred Chamber. The two men admitted the crime. Sultan Nuruddin ordered the digging of a ditch around the Sacred Chamber and lead to be cast inside the ditch to guard against any future attempt to penetrate the walls.

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