We were on our way to the Dead Sea and Eileen thought that we might do some sightseeing in the Judean Desert (Palestine) so we turned off the main highway and headed west. I cannot recall the destination she had in mind but we never got there. Instead we were lucky enough to come upon the…
Maqam Al Abi Musa…
The maqam of Nabi Musa is considered a Muslim holy place because it houses the grave of prophet Moses according to local tradition. Moses is recognized by Muslims as one of the great prophets of Islam. Muslims believe that Moses is buried here but according to the Old Testament, Moses never entered the Promised Land and is said to have died at Mount Nebo in what is now known as Jordan.
The maqam represents Islamic architecture in its simplest and best form. It is a large three story building topped by a complex of domes.
The building consists of a large central open courtyard surrounded by over 120 rooms and halls.
A Palestinian family from Jericho lives on the site and looks after it, they are happy to show visitors around. They run a small shop selling interesting and unusual gifts, such as pure olive-oil soap, honey and locally-produced olive oil, the proceeds of which go towards maintaining the site. Soft drinks and snacks are also available.
The huge cemetery outside the walls of the shrine as seen in the photograph below is for Muslims who either died during the festivals that are held here each year, or who asked to be buried here because of the sanctity of the site.
Outside the mosque, Eileen captured a wonderful view of the shrine.
We contined on our journey heading further into the desert. We passed over a small bridge above a dried out river bed which local Bedouins were found with their herd of goats.
We drove on for a little while and came accross an abandoned building. We later found out that this double-domed structure is identified by Muslim tradition as the Tomb of Hasan Al-Rai the shepherd of Moses.
Unfortuantely this site has been vandalized
and the grave has been removed.
We decided it was time to head back to the main road and continue our journey to the Dead Sea. There is always something interesting to see in Israel. This trip has proven to be no exception.