Al-Masjid al-Nabawi

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Al-Masjid al-Nabawi was the first mosque the Prophet (a) built in Medina. The mosque is the most important after al-Masjid al-Haram. The Prophet (s) has attributed the mosque to himself so it is called al-Masjid al-Nabawi [mosque of the Prophet (s)]. The mosque has seen multiple expansions and its area now reach 98500 square meters.

Important historical and spiritual places are located in al-Masjid al-Nabawi, including al-Rawda, minbar and mihrab of the Prophet (s), and the most important of all is his (s) tomb.


Importance[edit | edit source]

In Medina, the first enterprise of God's Messenger was the erection of a mosque. Before this, a mosque had been built by him and his noble companions in Quba as well. Such an achievement indicates the important role of mosque in Islam. The most honorable mosque after al-Masjid al-Haram in rank is the Mosque of the Prophet (s) that is located in Medina. About saying prayer in this mosque, the Prophet of God (s) says: "For God, a prayer in my mosque equals ten thousands prayers in the other mosques, except al-Masjid al-Haram where a prayer equals one hundred thousand prayers."

Construction[edit | edit source]

The land of al-Masjid al-Nabawi belonged to two orphans and was used for drying dates. The Prophet (s) bought it for 10 dinars from the custodian of the orphans and built the mosque there. The courtyard of the mosque was covered by black pebble and the walls were made of bricks and mud. The holy Prophet (s) personally participated in the construction of the mosque.

A part of the mosque's roof was covered by leaves and branches of date palm, and it's tree trunks were used as its pillars. The mosque had three doors on east, west, and south. The first Qibla of Muslims was al-Masjid al–Aqsa' that was later changed to Ka'ba.

Most historians believe the initial area of the mosque had approximately been 1060 square meters, i.e. 35 meters length and 37.5 meters width. But after the Prophet (s) returned from the Battle of Khaybar in 628 CE, the mosque area was increased because of the increase in the number of Muslims and each of its length and width was enlarged nearly 50 meters and its area came up to 2475 square meters and consequently, the mosque turns into a square in shape.

Umar b. al-Khattab's Development[edit | edit source]

In 639 CE, Umar b. al-Khattab extended the mosque 10 meters in the east side, 5 meters toward Qibla (south of Medina) and 15 meters to the north and as a result, the mosque length came to 140 meters, its width to 60 meters and its area to 3575 square meters.

'Uthman b. 'Affan's Development[edit | edit source]

In 649-50 CE, 'Uthman b. 'Affan added 496 square meters to Mosque of the Prophet (s) and its area came to 4071 square meters and maintained its shape and size till the time of al-Walid b. Abd al-Malik.

Al-Walid b. Abd al-Malik's Development[edit | edit source]

In 707 to 710 CE, al-Walid added 2369 square meters to the mosque area and it came to 6440 square meters.

Al-Mahdi al-Abbassi's Development[edit | edit source]

In 778 CE, al-Mahdi al-Abbasi attempted to develop the mosque again and its area came to 8890 square meters.

Development in Mamluk Age[edit | edit source]

In Mamaluk age, Qaitibay added 120 square meters to the mosque area in 1482 CE, and its area came to 9010 square meters.

Development in the Ottoman Age[edit | edit source]

In 1849, Sultan Abd al-Majid had been adding 1293 square meters to the mosque area and made it came to 10303 square meters.

Additions in Saudi Age[edit | edit source]

The plate of the name of Imam al-Mahdi (a) made in the time of Ottomans before and after alteration by Wahhabis.

After the Saudis accession, 6024 square meters were added to the mosque area in the first development in 1951 and the mosque total area came to 16327 square meters. In the second development that began from 1984, 82000 square meters were added to the mosque area and it came to 98500 square meters that inhabits over 167000 praying people. It is worthy to say that thousands have been added to the population of praying people because of the development of the mosque environment.

Names and sayings of Imams of Shi'a, Sunni governors and some of the Prophet's (s) companions are seen in the inscriptions on the walls of the Mosque of the Prophet (s). They are the memorials to Uthmani kings who considered all the Islamic sects in their Islamic-artistic architecture. It is interesting that the name of the last Imam of Shi'a and the savior of the Apocalypse is written as "Mohammad al–Mahdi" in one of the inscriptions on the mosque wall in such a way that the word of "alive" displays itself from the inside of the pattern.

Parts[edit | edit source]

Rawda (Garden)[edit | edit source]

The part of Mosque of the Prophet (s) that is located in the south-eastern site (toward Ka'ba), is known as Rawda (graden). This part owns much esteem and it is introduced as one of rawdas of paradise in one of the saying of God's messenger (s): "there is one of paradise gardens between my tomb and my pulpit".

Rawda is 330 square meters. Its length is 22 meters and its width is 15 meters. In Rawda, there are other three holy places, too including the Prophet's (s) tomb, pulpit, and prayer–arch.

Tomb of God's Messenger[edit | edit source]

One of the best points of the mosque is the Messenger's resting place. The messenger who was the beloved of God and his creatures and precious inheritances of Islam are the fruit of his twenty–three years attempt. In the eastern side of the mosque, the God's messenger (s) built some chambers for his wives to live where maintained for nearly ninety years after his decease. First a chamber for Suda, then one for Aisha and along with it, another for Fatima –peace be upon her – were built. The historians wrote that God's messenger was buried in the chamber where he passed away.

The tomb of God's messenger was located in a small room and had maintained its form till the development of the mosque in al-Walid's time, when the eastern part of the mosque was developed, the pure tomb was located in the mosque.

At present, the area of the chamber which contains the tomb is 240 square meters (16 meters length and 15 meters width). A Golden frame is constructed all around it. In four corners of the chamber, four firm pillars are erected on which a green dome is put. This chamber has some doors: the door of Fatima's chamber that indicates the position of her chamber, the door of asceticism on the north of the pure chamber, the door of message entrance or the door of mercy on the west, the door of repentance or the Messenger's door on the south (Qibla). In the chamber, a place is determined as Fatima's tomb in particular delimitation put in a frame. In the southern side of this particular delimitation is Fatima's prayer–arch.

Pulpit of the Prophet (s)

Pulpit[edit | edit source]

One of the holy places in the mosque, is the pulpit of God's Messenger (s). It is said that the Messenger, at first, lectured while leaning against a date tree. One of his companions suggested building a pulpit so that God's Messenger (s) sat on it so that all of people see him and he does not get tired of standing. This pulpit had three stairs. The pulpit of God's Messenger (s) has been re-constructed eight times and each time it has been put on its previous place.

The existing pulpit is the one that King Morad Uthmani ordered to be built and set. This pulpit has twelve stairs and it is valuable artistic achievement.

Mihrab of the Prophet (s)

Mihrab[edit | edit source]

The mihrab was built where God's Messenger (s) said his prayers and there is no doubt that the place of his prayers is the very existing mihrab. When al-Walid had the mosque development and 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz developed it, a mihrab was built in the place of the Prophet's (s) prayers. Besides, other mihrabs were built in the mosque that was the place of some governors' prayers.

Pillars[edit | edit source]

The ceiling of the Mosque of the Prophet (s) was put on the pillars that kept the ceiling as well as were used by God's Messenger (s) and his companions. The eight pillars of God's Messenger time remind of particular memories that cause their holiness. Each time that the mosque was re-constructed the position of these pillars didn't change, just the new pillars were substituted for the old ones. Naturally, other new pillars have been added along with the mosque development as well in such a way that there are nearly 706 pillars in the mosque now.

The pillars that were located in the old position of the mosque and the southern section of the present mosque are separated from the rest of pillars with the white color now. The characteristics of some of them include:

Pillar of Protection[edit | edit source]

Ali b. Abi Talib (a) stood beside this pillar and protected God's Messenger (s). The pillar of protection is known as the pillar of Ali b. Abi Talib (a) too; because he said his prayers beside it.

Pillar of Repentance[edit | edit source]

This pillar is also called the pillar of Abu Lubaba, because he became conscience-stricken after what he did for the sake of the Jews of Banu Qurayza. In order to be repentant and punished by himself, he fastened himself to a pillar and continued this condition more than ten days and nights in such a way that his daughter unfastened him from the pillar just for the prayer times and emitting body waste till God inspired His messenger (s) that Abu Lubaba's repentance was accepted. Then God's messenger (a) came to the mosque and unfastened him from the pillar. Prayer and repentance beside this pillar has much esteem.

Pillar of Delegations[edit | edit source]

One of the routines of God's Messenger (s) was to meet the tribe leaders. The place of these meetings was beside one of the mosque pillars that would be known as the pillar of delegations later.

Pillar of Bed[edit | edit source]

It is the place where God's messenger (s) put a bed made of date branches and relaxed on it.

Pillar of Emigrants[edit | edit source]

The reason why the name of emigrants was chosen for this pillar is that they gathered beside it. It is also known as the pillar of Aisha, because it is narrated from her that people threw dice to come beside this pillar if they knew the esteem of saying prayer beside it. For this reason, it is called the pillar of dice, too.

Wahhabis have hidden mihrab al-tahajjud by the protruding book shelf in the center of image. The adjacent pillar is pillar of asceticism

Pillar of Asceticism[edit | edit source]

It is narrated when people left the mosque to their home at night, God's messenger (s) spread a mat beside this pillar and said the night prayer and proceed with asceticism and for this reason it is known through this name.

Pillar of Site of Gabriel[edit | edit source]

This pillar that is also called Murbi'at al-Qabr (مربعة القبر) is beside the northern side of the pure frame where the door of Fatima's house was being opened and this is the same door that according to Ibn Abbas's narration, God's messenger stood beside five times a day –at the time of five imperative prayers- for nine months and said: "peace be upon you, may God bless you and grant you his abundance. 'Indeed, God determines that the impurity withdraws from you –the Prophet's (s) household- and He cleanses you thoroughly.' (Quran 33:33)"

Al-Mukhallaqa Pillar[edit | edit source]

This pillar is beside the mihrab. At first, the Prophet (s) put his back on the trunk of a date tree and lectured. It was written when the pulpit was built for him, this trunk wailed similar to the female camel that is separated from her baby, therefore, this pillar is called the wailing one (حَنَّانة). The pillar was erected in the same place of the date tree. It is called al-Mukhallaqa (المخلقة) because perfume was put on it.

Suffa[edit | edit source]

Suffa is the name of the place outside of the mosque where a group of homeless emigrant Muslims inhabited during the first years of their emigration from Mecca to Medina, they were named Aṣḥāb al-Ṣuffa (people of Suffa). The place devoted to them was approximately 96 square meters and roofed and it was located between the door of Gabriel and the door of Women. Now the place is located inside the mosque. Individuals such as Bilal, Abu Dharr, Miqdad, Hudhayfa were among the Suffa inhabitants.

It is transmitted in the history as: “before Qibla was changed from Bayt al-Maqdis to Ka'ba, the mihrab of the Prophet (s) was in the north of the mosque. After the change of Qibla, this part of the mosque was roofed by the order of holy Prophet (s) as a place for homeless emigrants to rest and live in, which was included within the Mosque area during development activities in the seventh year after Hijra”.

What is known today as Suffah was previously called as Dakkat al-Aghawat. It was constructed in 1173 CE following the order of Nur al-Din al-Zangi as a place for Haram custodians who were responsible for guarding and serving in Haram.

Houses of the Wives of the Holy Prophet (s)[edit | edit source]

The houses for wives of the holy Prophet (s) which were in the form of hujra (chambers) were located in north, south and east of the mosque. After the demise of holy Prophet (s), he was interred in Aisha's chamber beside the mosque.

Site of Gabriel[edit | edit source]

This place was known as the site of Gabriel because this divine intimate angle came to the Prophet (s) through this door and met him. This place is located within the noble chamber, so it is inaccessible.

First Doors of the Mosque[edit | edit source]

Mercy Door (Bab al-Rahma)[edit | edit source]

This door is in the western wall of the mosque. The appellation of this door as "Mercy" is derived from a saying of the Prophet (s) that asked God to rain according to the request of someone who entered through this door and then he asked him to stop raining after seven days according to the same person's request. It is also called the door of 'Atika.

Door of Gabriel[edit | edit source]

This door was the entrance of the Prophet (s) and it is in the eastern wall of the mosque. It is narrated that the Prophet (s) met Gabriel in the entrance of this door; therefore, it is called the door of Gabriel.

Peace Door (Bab al-Salam)[edit | edit source]

This door is also located in the western wall of the mosque and it has existed since the time of the first construction of the mosque.

Door of Women[edit | edit source]

One of the important doors that was built in the mosque development in the second caliph's time is the door of Women. It is also known as the same name now. The door was devoted to the women's coming and going to the mosque. In the successive developments, many new doors have been added to the mosque.

Minarets[edit | edit source]

When al-Walid developed the mosque, he built four minarets in the four corners of the mosque. Later, bigger and firmer minarets substituted the old ones and new minarets were also built for the mosque.

The four main minarets are Sulaymaniyya minaret and Majidiya minaret that are located at both sides of the northern wall and Qaitibay and Bab al-Salam minarets are located at both sides of the southern wall. At present, other towers are also added to the mosque and their number reaches ten.

Ziyara[edit | edit source]

When you enter Medina, after ziyara ghusl (ghusl before visiting holy shrines) and saying the prayer of entrance permission, enter through the door of Gabriel, and your first step should be with the right foot, then repeat takbir one hundred times. Then say a two-rak'a prayer for salutation of the mosque and move toward the noble chamber and stand up there and say:

"Peace be upon you, O the Prophet (s), peace be upon you, O God's messenger, peace be upon you, O Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah, peace be upon you, O the last of the prophets, I testify that you indeed propagated your message, and said prayer and gave alms, and advised to do virtuous deeds, and prevented from vicious deeds, and worshiped God purely until you demised, so may God bless you and your pure, chaste descendants."

Then stand toward Ka'ba in such a way that your left shoulder is located toward the Prophet's (s) tomb and your right shoulder toward the pulpit and say:

"I testify indeed there is no god except Allah who is alone without any partner for Him, and I testify that Muhammad (s) is indeed His servant and messenger, and I testify you are indeed God's messenger, and you are indeed Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah, and I testify you have indeed propagated messages of your Lord, and advised your followers, and endeavored in God's path, and worshiped God until death came upon you, with wisdom and fair exhortation, fulfilled the duty that was incumbent upon you, acted compassionately to the believers, and been firm of heart against the unbelievers. Therefore, Almighty Allah has exalted you to the most honorable position of the ennobled ones. All praise be to Allah Who has saved us, through you, from polytheism and error. O Allah, pour Your blessings and the blessings of Your archangels, Your commissioned Prophets, Your righteous servants, the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth, and all those who glorified You, O Lord of the Worlds, from the past and the coming generations, on Muhammad —Your servant, Your messenger, Your prophet, Your trustee, Your confidant, Your most beloved, Your choice, Your select, Your elite, and the best of Your creation. O Allah, confer upon him with the elevated rank, grant him the right of intercession for entering Paradise, and raise him to a position of glory that all the past and the coming generations will wish to have. O Allah, You have said, "and had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful." Here I am, before you, asking forgiveness, repenting from my sins, and seeking your intercession for me before Allah—your and my Lord—that He may forgive my sins."

And beg your wishes. There is hope that they are offered –if Great God determines.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Makkah and Madinah: The Cities of Bounties & Blessings, Hajj and Ziarah Research Center
  • The Prophet's Mosque, Hajj and Ziarah Research Center