JEDDAH: The claim that the tomb of Eve, mother of mankind, is in the Cemetery of Eve in central Jeddah has sparked a controversy.
During a tour to the graveyard, Arab News learned that it is difficult to locate the tomb of Eve and to determine the exact date of her death. Some accounts claim that Eve was buried in this cemetery, while many academics stress that there is no reliable evidence to back this claim.
The cemetery is in Ammaria neighborhood in the center of Jeddah. According to elderly residents, it dates back thousands of years. But Mohammed Youssef Trabulsi, who authored a book on Jeddah and its history, explained that all historical references do agree to Eve’s presence in this part of the world at some point in the ancient past but they differ over the exact location of her tomb. However, the cemetery is undeniably ancient, and a number of historians and travelers said that it dates back to the 9th century AH.
Adnan Al-Harthi, professor of civilization at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, said the scientific opinion on the issue of the tomb’s existence in Jeddah remains neutral. Al-Harthi said Ibn Jubair, an Arab geographer and traveler from the 6th century AH, said that, during his visit to Jeddah, he saw an old dome said to be the home of Eve. Ibn Battuta, another Arab traveler, also pointed to the presence of the dome during his journey to Jeddah in the 7th century AH.
Al-Harthi said scientific sources confirm that the habitat of Adam and Eve was Makkah, but there is no evidence that Eve was buried in Jeddah.
A number of historians and travelers told many stories indicating that the site of the tomb of Eve is in the same cemetery. Some sources even identified the dimensions of the tomb, and there are drawings of it in books.
Muhammad Al-Makki, a historian, wrote in his book “The True History of Makkah and the Noble House of God” that the Cemetery of Eve used to receive a large number of visitors during the Hajj season. Pilgrims used to go there after Hajj rituals and were exploited by fraudsters who used to sell them some of the cemetery’s soil to take back home.
Despite these tales, some historians doubted the existence of the tomb of Eve in the same cemetery. The contemporary Saudi writer, Muhammad Sadiq Diab, author of “Jeddah: History and Social Life,” said: “There is no legitimate evidence to confirm the existence of the tomb in the cemetery. I think it is just a myth.”
Another old story says there used to be three domes built on one of the large tombs inside the cemetery, and it was believed to be the tomb of Eve. But now there are no domes in the cemetery, all graves are similar, and there is nothing to indicate the tomb’s existence.