Issues, Opinion, Religion

My Muslim family holds the key to Jesus’ grave

38 Comments 04 June 2013

Nour Nuseiben

Nour Nuseibeh

By Nour Nuseibeh
Unis Middle School

I am very fortunate to come from the oldest Arab family in Jerusalem. Because of this special place in history, for centuries my family has had the honor of holding the key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The church is a special place because it is a very holy for many Christian sects, including Catholics, the Greek Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. They share the building, and my Muslim family has the neutral job of keeping the church safe. I strongly believe that my family’s role at the church makes the relations between the religious sects stronger.

My father's uncle Wajeeh is in the blue shirt. My dad, Raed, is the tall one with the beard. In front of him is my brother Abood. My sister Daniah stands next to Abood with my Mom, Huda, in back.

My father’s uncle Wajeeh is in the blue shirt. My dad, Raed, is the tall one with the beard. In front of him is my brother Abood. My sister Daniah stands next to Abood with my Mom, Huda, in back.

Every morning at 4 a.m., my dad’s uncle, Wajeeh Nuseibeh, grabs the ancient 12-inch iron key and a small ladder and opens the large wooden doors to the Holy Sepulchre Church, where Chrisitans believe Jesus was buried.

Nuseibeh was 15 the first time he opened the church. The Nuseibeh family arrived in Jerusalem in the 7th century, and has held the key since then. The mosque of Omar was built next to the Holy Sepulchre where Wajeeh goes and prays when he’s at work. Our ancestors opened the door to the place where many Christians believe Jesus was buried, and also crucified. “It goes from father to son, from one generation to another,” Nuseibeh says of his job.

Tourists visiting the church.

Tourists visiting the church.

I visited the church a couple years ago and got the oppurtunity to see all this history that’s affected my family and made us special, in a way. The experience made me realize that I’m very lucky to have such a history of neutrality and honor in my life.

Here‘s a link to a Wikipedia page about the Nuseibeh family. Here’s one family home page, and here‘s another.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is not the one with the gold dome. It is a smaller one with a grey dome on the left.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is not the one with the gold dome. It is a smaller one with a grey dome on the left.

Your Comments

38 Comments so far

  1. Hadi Homayed says:

    This is very interesting that your family hold that big responsibility. If your family didn’t arrive in Jerusalem in the 7th century you wouldn’t have this big of a honor.

  2. April Kincaid says:

    WOW! Nour your family has been given such a privelege and you must be extremely proud to be a Nuseibeh!

  3. Aya Aode 3rd hour says:

    Thats must be such an honor, I was wondering when your uncle Wajeed stops doing this every morning who will this honor be passed on to?

  4. Hanin Elhagehassan 3rd hour says:

    That must be really cool knowing that your family holds the key to where Jesus was buried. And knowing that the iron key has been passed from family to family since the 7th century must be exciting! This was a really interesting article to read, nice job.

  5. Deena Furlow says:

    I wondered the same thing as Aya….
    Also, I was so intrigued by your story that I already searched and read more information about the history of this important honor that was bestowed upon your family. Very interesting Nour!

    • Nour Nuseibeh says:

      Well it gets passed on in the family after Wajeeh retires it will be passed on to his son Obadah. Also yes it is a great honor to be apart of a family with a great reasure

  6. Joumana zantout- AAB- Lebanon- Beirut says:

    Well Nour, a family’s legacy is a great treasure and yours is both unique and very symbolic at the same time. What can I say? I envy you ;)

  7. Nour Nuseibeh says:

    Well it gets passed on in the family after Wajeeh retires it will be passed on to his son Obadah. Also yes it is a great honor to be apart of a family with a great reasure

  8. Danny Majed says:

    Wow Nour, holding such a honor must really be something that you are proud of. I really like your strong details in the story, Wow i envy you.

  9. Ali Elzaghir says:

    I was flabergasted that your family holds the key to jesus grave. That is a honor to have that key.

  10. Hadi Hamade 7th hour says:

    For that kind of job your uncle must be really responsible to hold the key to Jesus grave wow.

  11. Hanine Abusalah says:

    Good job Nour! its really interesting that your family does such a huge responsibility everyday. Amzing story:)

  12. ali mokbel says:

    that’s very great and wounderful to know that your family is the ones the holds the key to jesus’s grave and that your family is ones to protect jusus’s grave.

  13. Leena Alhawati 6th hour :) says:

    This an amazing story; I never even knew someone holds the key to Jesus’s grave. Yet to know a person’s close relative goes to my school and hold the key. It must be such an honor I learned a lot reading this article. Again great job!!!

  14. Huda Alsheeblawy 6th Hour says:

    I think that it must be an honor to have something owned to you and your family. You guys don’t realize how lucky you are. Having this key is amazing. Who will your uncle pass the key down to?

  15. Amal aboulaila 6th hour says:

    I like that a Muslim has the key to Jesus grave

  16. Reanna Hallal ( 7th hour) says:

    I like knowing a muslim that would have this kind of responsibility. I was also surprised when I read that there was a key to Jesus grave. Your family has the biggest responsibility and they have kept it up for such a long time.

  17. lila assi 7th hour says:

    Wow! That’s amazing!You and your wonderful family has the key to Jesus grave and that’s a big responsibility to have and you guys kept the key and kept the grave safe..

  18. lila assi 7th hour says:

    I’m a Muslim my self and i think that’s a big responsibility to have and you guys have been doing it for years and years……I was very surprised when it said your dad lived in Jerusalem where Muslims and Jewish’s all ways get in a war but there so nice to each other when there close to each other.

  19. mohamad abbas7th hr says:

    you have a big honor to hold the key that is very cool

  20. Ali Makki 7th hour says:

    It is very cool and greAT that you and your family handle this responsibility, you should be honored to be from your family and i wish i could go and see jesus grave it would 1 of my things to say to my children.

  21. Mahdi El-Sayed 5th Hour says:

    WOW!, I never would’ve thought that the key to Jesus’s Grave is held by a muslim, let alone that a student at my school is apart of that family. Great Job on the story too :)

  22. Zeinab Farhat 5th Hour says:

    This is my favorite story that I have read this really is an honor to have responsibility to have the key of Jesus’s grave great story.

  23. Kassem Harb 3rd hour says:

    great story and I wondered if any one could ever have such a big responsiblility

  24. April Kincaid says:

    Nour you must be overwhelmed by all the responses. I can’t believe I’ve had you as a student for 3 years and you never mentioned this before. What seems so common to you is amazing to other ;)

    • Nour Nuseibeh says:

      Haha, well I didn’t know when to actually bring it up. But it came at a great timing to be my last story

  25. NGB/AAB says:

    You are very lucky to have this privilege.
    Hold on to it.

  26. Fatima Jomaa says:

    Wow! Ive known you for 10 years now, i knew every little thing about you accept this! Im so glad to know this about you now, i think having your family to hold the key should be the biggest honor and should be shared with everyone! Keep up the wonderful work in your writing, its amazing!!!!

  27. Mrs. McBain says:

    Hey Nour,
    I always enjoy hearing about my former students. This was very interesting to hear about your family’s tradition and support of others. I appreciate all you and your family have done for our school.

  28. adnan aljida 7 th hour says:

    that’s very great and wounderful to know that your family is the ones the holds the key to jesus’s grave and that your family is ones to protect jusus’s grave.

  29. sarah saab says:

    Wow! this story is amazing. I never new that a Muslim family could hold the key to Jesus’ grave but I knew it was possible. this is a very interesting story! ive known daniah your little sister for a long time but she never told me this! im surprised because this is a really great story and I would be honored. I know daniah and you are both very honored to have such a special family!! Also great job on the story :)

  30. Mr. Shockey says:

    I can’t believe I’m just reading this article now. Absolutely amazing!! I can’t wait to share this with my family!


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