For most Muslims, what happens to the body of a deceased person is not quite as important as what happens to that person’s soul.
However, historians and archaeologists are trying to locate the grave of a Muslim buried in Washington, DC nearly 200 years ago, for it touches the soul of early American history.
The deceased, Yarrow Mamout, was among tens of thousands of Muslims brought to America during the slave trade, but one of few for which historians have much information.
Historic documents suggest Yarrow may be buried on the property he purchased after gaining his freedom in 1797.
That land is located in Washington’s historic Georgetown neighbourhood where homes now sell for several million dollars.
Its owner, real estate developer Deyi Awadallah, hopes to build and sell a new residence on the property.
He knew nothing of Yarrow when he purchased the land last spring, but he’s willing to give archaeologists a chance – a few weeks or months - to investigate before he finalises his plans.
“I’m trying to respect the situation. It deserves that,” he said in an interview this month.