Abu Amr said:

I came to Beirut to guard there at the borders of the Muslims (perform Rebaat), when I met a black woman near the Graveyard, so I asked her: Where are the Settlements [1]?

She told me: You are at the settlements (referring to the graves), but if what wanted are the ruins, then they are over there (pointing me to the city).

So I said [to myself]: Such a black woman saying such a thing, [this is surely a place] where I would [like to] live, so I resided in Beirut [2].


[1] The word used in Arabic is ‘Imraan, and refers to a constructed area, buildings, an inhabited area, etc. The word Settlement was used because it can be used to refer to "a city, town, village, or other agglomeration of buildings where people live and work".

[2] Tareekh Ibn ‘Asaakir 35/203

What she may have intended by saying that: the Graveyard is the Settlement or the constructed area is in reference to the prophet’s saying [Blessings of Allah and Peace be upon him] that: (The grave is either a garden from the gardens of Paradise, or one of the pits of the pits of Hell). So the wise is he who constructs and builds that grave of his, which he will soon settle in. As for the cities, buildings, and the settlements that people live in, no matter how long it takes, they will all end in ruins, and there is no one except that he will leave all this and will be carried to these final settlements, which were mentioned by that black woman (may Allah shower her with mercy). That prophetic tradition can be found in Majma’ Al-Zawaaid no. 4252.

[*] Image above is from Salalah, Oman and was obtained from:

سمعت الأوزاعي يقول جئت الى بيروت أرابط فيها فلقيت سوداء عند المقابر فقلت لها يا سوداء أين العمارة فقالت لي انت في العمارة وان أردت الخراب فبين يديك فقلت هذه سوداء تقول هذا لأقيمن بها فأقمت ببيروت