Saudi grave digger spends 36-year-stint working in cemetery

Ali Asghar has so far dug 2,000 graves over the 36 years he has worked in the graveyard

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Pakistani grave digger Ali Asghar has spent the past 36 years in the Kingdom.

He lives and sleeps in the local graveyard where he works. He cannot go anywhere because there are always visitors or funerals that require his presence.

Despite the nature of his job, he said he anticipates a reward from Allah because he believes he is providing a service to society.

Until today, his children in Pakistan are unaware what he does for a living because so much social stigma is attached to such work in Pakistan. “Only my wife knows about my work,” he said.

An al-Watan reporter met Asghar on the first day of Eid al-Fitr and talked to him about his job.

“I’m 50 years old. My hair has turned grey because of the sights of people crying over their beloved ones while they bury them and because of loneliness,” Asghar said while adding that he feels very sad when he sees a child or a young man being buried.

He spends most of his time digging and preparing graves. It takes him four hours to dig one if the soil is soft. But if it is hard, digging a grave can take up to 72 hours.

Asghar has so far dug 2,000 graves over the 36 years he has worked in the graveyard.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on August 3, 2014.

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