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Sunday, July 10

Legend of Abel

View of the total place
We all have heard the very well known legend of the two sons of Adam, Cain and Abel, as this legend is shared between many religions, it is when Cain slew his brother Abel, Cain having committed the fratricide, became exceedingly troubled in his mind and carried the dead body not knowing where to conceal it, so then Allah taught him to bury it by the example of a crow, who, scratched in the earth and show him how he might bury his brother.

The shrine form the outside
But what you might don’t know that it is claimed by some people that he is buried in Syria exactly at the heights of west mountains of Damascus, near the Zabadani Valley, overlooking villages of Wadi Barada.

I went there nearly about four times, but what surprises me; is that every time I go there I find the shrine is getting larger and larger, I still can remember that it was a simple wooden tomb, nearly about 6-7 meters in length covered by a green rag, placed in a small room divided by a wall separating the room into two parts one for women and other for men.This year it seems that claimed Abel became lucky enough so he got a larger marble magnificent shrine, and for not to be left alone on the top of the mountain, many rooms were built for those who made vows to God, so they can sleep there and be close to Abel.

A lot of visitors had found a way there, you can find hundreds of them heading toward this holy so called place, a kind of pilgrimage in the hopes of divine intercession! what bothers me the most is that a lot of mistakes is done there by the name of Islam although other religious sects rather than Muslims are also present there practicing their weird own rituals, but for a foreigners they might think it Islam, while in fact it has nothing to do with it. Islam clearly affirms that visiting graves is permissible for the purpose of being admonished by remembering death and the Hereafter. No asking for dead intercessions or wailing, laminating, clutching and touching the grave, As it is only a piece of a stone no more! I wonder if Abel is really buried there, why didn’t our ancestors care about him or build him a respectable shrine? and what surprises me more; I’ve heard that he is buried in many other countries as for example, Turkey! So I don’t know!

A man kissing the tomb as a kind of blessing!

It is for making wishes!

What is distinct there that all visitors place there hands on the top of the tomb and then turn around it not lifting their hand from it!


  • Never been there before, even though I heard about it a lot and wanted to go but couldn't :(
    Anyway beautifully written way to go :D

    By Blogger Sinan, at 10/7/05 2:04 PM  

  • let me say that i dont like those things i heard my mum talk about it,when she goes with here grandmum ...
    you may say that i dont like any thing, nope your wrong i like the old damascus , the smel of the air and the way that they were living ..
    to be honest i love to live in an old damascus house (which called arabic home ) although we have one , but i didnt live in it,i born when my parents moved to the building..
    any way : i love the old building.

    By Blogger Linux Juggler, at 10/7/05 9:05 PM  

  • yalatif hada kufr sareh nas2al alah al3afiya

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/7/05 1:05 AM  

  • This is a nice post. I knew about their history, but not all. keep on teaching us that kind of stories.

    By Blogger Oz, at 11/7/05 2:51 AM  

  • Great post Ghalia. I didn't know Habeel was burried there. I wonder about the the truth and the evidence of the tail

    By Blogger Omar, at 11/7/05 3:57 AM  

  • Really interesting post, Ghalia. I want to take a trip out there sometime soon.

    Shias may take a particular interest in the shrine of Habil because he is viewed as an analogy of Imam Hussein, who was also unjustly killed by his 'brother'. The Iranian government seems to have funded some such construction around Damascus.

    BTW: Things that other people do differently are not necessarily 'weird' or 'kufr'. Perhaps you might nicely ask such people why they do things their way. You may be surprised. A well-attested hadith states that "The ways to God are as numerous as the breaths of the creatures."

    By Anonymous Brian Anthony, at 11/7/05 6:28 AM  

  • Thank u all for ur comments

    Brain: thank u very much and in particular for ur advice, I do also agree with u, but what I meant that their acts is really weird from the real gist of Islam, there r certain rules that no one argue about it, as it is quit evident, I also tried not to mention Shias or Persian cuz they aren’t all alike, a lot of Shias I know despise these behaviors, but what I heard that this shrine was built by certain sects to practice their own rituals in public… and what made me post this post cuz I went there with an atheist German friend so he asked me if is this Islam…

    BTW: Imam Al Hussain wasn’t killed by his brother, but maybe as u’ve said the allegory between the two stories, they were both killed innocently!

    By Blogger Ghalia, at 11/7/05 3:57 PM  

  • I've never heard of this place before...I'll add it to my must-see locations in Damascus...thx for the info...

    By Blogger Rami, at 11/7/05 6:23 PM  

  • I've heard about this story before, but I never knew that there was an actual shrine!!

    Thanks for the info :)

    By Blogger Tolerant Damascene, at 13/7/05 2:24 AM  

  • wow this is so interesting. great post. I had heared about this shrine but I never visited it.

    By Blogger Steliano Ponticos, at 13/7/05 4:25 AM  

  • Interesting topic, I've got some questions though! You said "other religious sects rather than Muslims are also present there". What are those sects? are they not Islamic sects? finally, what did u mean by "Persians"? as far as I know it's not of a religious-related background!

    False practices, mainly, this very sort of praising the deads and asking them for whatever they ask for, are common practises that are carried out by so many people of ALL religions (regardless of their sects). It's mainly related, I think, to ignorance in the true faith of their religion. I saw very similar behaviours in Mecca, at the Kaaba, I saw it in Al-Madina near the grave of prophet Mohammad and the place called Rawda. Those who do it are not "other sects", they are Moslems, however, ignorant ones.

    Anyway, back to the topic, I have never been there but I've known about it for like ever. Never had the curiosity nor the interest of going there! Yet, I would be really interested in knowing who is funding such a place(s)! any idea, anybody?

    By Blogger Ihsan, at 13/7/05 3:20 PM  

  • I don't think it's nice to call these people 'ignorants' or 'weird'. As Ihsan said, people from all sects have some kind of rituals that are not as mainstream, but that doesn't make these people stupid. Every individual has their own way to reach God(or the higher power they believe in) that doesn't make them stupid, it might be strange though.

    Rituals and religions are effected by the culture and the background of people. Touching and praying to the tombs might not be in the core teaching of islam, but it might be part of a custom these people are used to.

    And it's good to mention that not all Muslims come from the same place. Many of them converted from Paganism, others from Christianity, Judaism, Atheism...etc
    I think the effects of that are still present in our time.

    Plus, I support the fact that everybody has the freedom to believe in whatever they want, and have whatever kind of rituals they have, provided that they don't hurt anyone .

    By Blogger Tolerant Damascene, at 13/7/05 7:35 PM  

  • No no Ayman, u missed the point! I did not get near any sect, I talked purely about Moslems, as one of them, I do know that these practices are false in Islam and I have full right to refer to them when done by people from same religion and sect, I did not get near any other religion nor sect cuz simply, I'm not entitled to talk about them!

    I, too, support the freedom of reaching God! However, there are certain things that are referred to by a religion itself to be false or should not be carried out!

    If something is wrong "per a religion" habits and custom do not make it right especially if it contradicts a core of a principle of that very same religion.

    The alpha and omega, being ignorant at something is not an insult! it's simply not knowing the right of it from the main source. Here it's the Quran.

    By Blogger Ihsan, at 14/7/05 1:10 AM  

  • When it comes to religion, who has the right to decide what’s right or wrong?!
    I personally think that my religion is a private relationship between me and my creator, and no one has the right to tell me how I am supposed to worship him/her…
    I also believe that all people should be allowed to worship anyone/anything they want, as long as they are not harming themselves or someone else, and the less “labels” (harateka or heretics, kuffar, unbelievers, ignorants…etc) we give them, the better it is.

    People look for ways to reach God, especially during the time of hardships and sickness, and that’s why they visit these “holy places”. I highly doubt that Abe is actually buried in this place, but if a sick person might find a peace of mind from visiting it, I can’t see what’s the harm in that. After all, isn’t that what religions are supposed to do?! to give us a peace of mind and bring us closer to God…

    (BTW Ghalia, VERY nice new header…I was thinking of doing something like that but didn’t know how…)

    By Blogger Rami, at 14/7/05 3:22 AM  

  • First of all, I intended to doubt that Abel is buried here, cuz according to me, it is something impossible to determine it.
    And when I said that there are other sects rather than Muslims besides some Muslims of course, I really meant it, but I prefer not to mention who they are.

    Muslims are obliged to do something called “ Al Amer bil maarouf wa al nahi an al munkar” so they should if they saw something wrong to hint about it, and not to keep silent!

    And finally I do agree with Rami, that religion is someone’s own personal relationship with God, and I do assert and like to invite people, to treat each others as humans first regardless of their religious or cultural backgrounds.

    By Blogger Ghalia, at 14/7/05 7:38 PM  

  • I came by this place by chance...and I was curious. Then I was surprised to read about what happens there. I think that the people who practice these rituals are ignorant. It is true that people are free to believe in whatever they want, but that doesn't make it right. The road to Allah is clear and has been clearly defined by Muhammad peace be upon him. Going to any place and ask for intercession is WRONG...only Allah is to be asked for anything...May Allah guide us all to the right path

    By Anonymous Monib, at 29/7/05 11:54 PM  

  • Oh, I forgot to ask the visitors...How come the tomb is still there after all this time, and after the Flood!!!

    By Anonymous Monib, at 30/7/05 12:00 AM  

  • Good point Monib, thank u very much.

    By Blogger Ghalia, at 30/7/05 10:03 PM  

  • Greetings...

    What I have heard and believe myself is that places such as this come about not to be a literal place where an event occurred, or a person was burried, or anything of that..

    They come about to *remember* it. Remembering the story is more important than knowing it is this grave that holds Abel or this rock where someone stood or this house where someone was born.

    The story is the important part. If in a thousand years from now the grave of Abel exists but no one remembers who Abel was, what difference would his grave make, even if it was his true grave?

    Yet the exact place can be lost to the passage of time and the obscurity of history, but if the story is not lost then it does not matter if we have the right grave or the right stone or the right house, what matters is we remember why we wish to remember it.

    The story, not the grave, teaches us things. The story, not the rock, helps us to live. The story, not the house, makes us better people.

    Is that Abel's grave? The answer is, it does not matter. What matters is that we remember who Abel was, and what his story is, so that it is never forgotten and the lesson is never forgotten.

    By Anonymous elengil, at 31/1/06 8:47 AM  

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