JEDDAH – A huge expansion project for the historic Baqie Al-Gharqad cemetery in Madinah is ready for launch shortly, an official at the Presidency of the Holy Mosques said.
“The largest expansion in the history of the graveyard which will double its area to 300,000 square meters comes as part of the current expansion project of the Prophet’s Mosque to the northern side, with the number of grave spaces increasing to 42,000,” said the source.
The project of the cemetery which is designed to run parallel to King Faisal Road will require appropriation of the properties including farms and buildings on its eastern side. The office building of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Madinah will also have to be demolished to make way for the project, he said.
The entire facility, where relatives and companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and a number of Muslim leaders apart from Madinah residents are buried, is currently divided into 42 squares where the largest square houses 2,500 graves and the smallest accommodates 60. Some graves are allocated for infants while others are reserved for the elderly. He added that fresh remains are put in the graves every five years.
The cemetery has nine washing units for cadavers including four for men and four for women while one unit is kept in reserve. Bodies for burial are carried to the graves in golf carts. In addition, there are eight ambulances to transport the bodies to the cemetery.
The expansion work around the mosque has also taken into consideration the future requirements of the population growth in Madinah and the increasing number of pilgrims visiting the historical site.
The project is expected to have arrangements for the smooth entry and exit of pilgrims to the area besides better facilities for the washing and shrouding rituals, taking the bodies for prayers in the mosque and finally moving them to the burial site.
The regulations governing the burial include keeping records of the personal details of the deceased and the exact location of the burial.
The size of a single pit is 2 meters by 1 meter with a depth of 2 meters.
A network for the drainage of rainwater has also been put in place recently. — ARAB NEWS