It was blown up by the Islamic State when it took control of the city.. Learn about the shrine of the forty companions in Tikrit

Tikrit- The so-called Shrine of the Forty Companions in the center of Tikrit, the center of Salah al-Din Governorate (north of Baghdad), is one of the most important religious and historical sites in Iraq.

The people of the area mention that the shrine includes the tomb of 40 companions who were martyred during the Islamic conquests in Tikrit, which took place in the 11th year of migration during the reign of Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him. A religious school, a mosque, and a number of domes.

The shrine is located at a distance of no more than 300 meters from the wall of the city of Tikrit to the left of the Baghdad-Mosul road, which was built on part of the wall. A large cemetery separates the building from the city in the southwest of the city.

The shrine has a special symbolism for the residents of the city of Tikrit (the island)

Outstanding teacher

The people of Tikrit constantly mention this story, even though history books, trips, and translations did not mention information confirming the validity of what was reported about the existence of this shrine, except for what was mentioned about the presence of the tomb of the companion Amr bin Jundab al-Ghafari, which is of great importance to the people of the city, and is visited on religious occasions and holidays.

Citizen Badi’ al-Tikriti says that the residents of Tikrit have been attached to the shrine since childhood, and they used to visit it with their mothers on religious occasions, and they asked for vows and blessings at the shrine.

He added, “As for the days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, we used to go to the square opposite the shrine, where Eid games, celebrations, prophetic virtues and the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday were held. All these occasions and memories increase our appreciation and love for the forty shrine.”

The shrine of the forty companions in Tikrit Source: Al JazeeraThe time of the construction of the shrine dates back to the last quarter of the fifth century AH (the island), according to specialists.

construction time

The time of the construction of the shrine, according to specialists, dates back to the last quarter of the fifth century AH, so it is considered among the oldest historical monuments in the city of Tikrit.

The researcher in the history of the city of Tikrit, Mohsen Auf Al-Tikriti, speaks to Al Jazeera Net by saying that the shrine was associated with the Islamic conquest of the city of Tikrit, which was under the rule of the Nestorian Christians. .

Al-Ghafari was buried at the site of the forty shrine, which was built more than 500 years after his death, while the historical accounts of the existence of the graves of 40 other Companions are weak.

The writings of some European travelers interested in Arab and Islamic antiquities, most of which date back to the beginning of this century, are still among the most prominent books written about it.

As for the archaeological aspect, the shrine was built according to the domed architecture of the advanced Islamic architecture, and the building’s planning and urban style refer to the building style that spread in Iraq before Islam, and the demand for it increased in Islamic times, and by that we mean a courtyard surrounded by buildings on all sides. It opens with direct doors, as al-Tikriti explains.

Most of the building was built with gravel and plaster, except for a few parts of it built with bricks and plaster, and the whole building was covered with a layer of plaster, and the building is characterized by special durability, and the two important rooms have thick walls and a solid height of 10 meters.

The corner room is occupied by a huge tomb 3 meters long and two meters wide, and about a meter above ground level. It is the tomb of Amr bin Jundab Al-Ghafari.

The architect tried to hide the transition from the square shape to the circular shape on which the dome centered, by lengthening the transition phase or the neck. The similar adjoining room is also covered with a dome, and these two adjacent domes represent an important urban phenomenon in the history of Arab-Islamic architecture.

And the researcher in the antiquities of Salah al-Din, Mr. Adel Wasfi, talks about the shrine, saying, “The method of construction in its architectural plans and its engineering component expresses an advanced Islamic school that grew up on its peers from the early schools such as the Mustansiriya School in Baghdad, and the Kamaliyya School in Cairo.”

In order to strengthen the documentation of its status as an advanced school, we recall what the Iraqi archaeologist Behnam Abu Al-Souf said about it, “The archaeological and comparative historical study confirmed that the Arba’in building in Tikrit is the remains of one of the oldest religious schools that were established in the Islamic world.”

It is likely that one of the rulers of the city of Tikrit reconstructed the shrine of the forty, and made it a school at the same time to teach the sciences of religion, as this case explains the planning of the building in a general way. The construction of this building to be a shrine and a school at the same time.

The shrine of the forty companions in Tikrit Source: Al JazeeraThe Islamic State blew up the shrine when it took control of the city in 2014 (Al-Jazeera)

Architecture and decorations

The architectural and decorative elements stand out in this building, as it is square in shape, its sides are 47 meters, and its corners meet the four sides.

It appears that this section is devoted to services such as cooking, bathing, and others. In addition, the architecture collected a number of architectural elements that prevailed and spread before the construction of the forty shrine. Some of them were developed and created and added to them spherical pointed domes, beautiful luxurious warriors, and corners in the form of stalactites and semi-cylindrical columns sometimes. And a double, on the other hand, all of them combined in one building in a harmonious and beautiful way.

The architecture did not fail to sweeten the building with decorative formations consisting of vegetal branches that wrap and end with half palm fans dug on a layer of plaster, and in an oblique manner, and some architectural elements were used for decorative purposes.

It is worth noting that in the history books dealing with religious schools a text mentions a “Hamami school in Tikrit” in relation to the Emir of Tikrit, Hammam al-Din Tabar bin Ali, who died in the year 578 AH / 1182 AD, and it is likely that what is meant is the same school that was built in the shrine of the forty.

The Arbaeen shrine had a share in the destruction of antiquities by the Islamic State in Iraq, as it blew it up when it took control of Tikrit in 2014, and this was a great shock to the people of the city because of the symbolism of the place for them.

Since then until this moment, the people of Tikrit have been demanding the government and the competent authorities to rebuild and restore the Arbaeen Shrine, which is considered by them a religious shrine, an archaeological and historical landmark, and a social destination.

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