Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi-Prophet's Mosque
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مولاي صلي و سلم دائما أبدا على حبيبك خير الخلق كلهم
One of the most notable features of the site is the Green Dome over the center of the mosque, where the Holy Grave of Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is located. It is not exactly known when the green dome was constructed but manuscripts dating to the early 12th century describe the dome. It is known as the Dome of the Prophet or the Green Dome.Subsequent Islamic rulers greatly expanded and decorated it. Early Muslim leaders Abu Bakr and Umar (ALLAH Bless With Both) are buried in an adjacent area in the mosque.In 1909, it became the first place in the Arabian Peninsula to be provided with electrical lights.
History of Construction,Restoration and Expansion of the Mosque
First Time Construction
The area where the Prophet’s camel had settled during the Hijira (His migration) was purchased its owners. After the ground was laid out, the construction started in the month of Rabi-ul-awwal (September 622 AD), when the Prophet located the first stone into the foundation, which was about 3 yards deep. The construction took approximately 8 months, and was completed in the month of Shawwal (April 623). The main building was built on stone foundation, and its walls were made up of single-row adobes. It covered an area of 60x70 zira (1022 sq.m); the side walls were about the height of a man, and it had three entrances and no ceilings: Bab Rahmah (Door of Mercy) to the south, Bab Jibril (Door of Gabriel) to the west and Bab un-Nisa (Door of the Women) to the east.
Inside, Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) created a shaded area to the south called the suffah and aligned the prayer space facing north towards Jerusalem. When the Qibla (Prayer direction) was changed to face the Kaaba in Mecca, the mosque was re-oriented to the south. The mosque also served as a community center, a court, and a religious school.To it main portion, two rooms were added by the Prophet for his wives Aisha and Sawda; later seven more rooms were built adjacent to the mosque.
Restoration and Expansion of the Mosque
Construction after Battle of Khyber
The first expansion project was in the year 7th Hijri (628 AD) right after the Khaibar war. The mosque was expanded in three directions (Excepting the Qibla side) and made square-shaped with the dimensions of 100x100 zira. The walls reached 1.5 zira (74 cm) wide, and 7 zira (3.45 m) high. The top portion was then covered with the branches and leaves of date trees, which were located on 9 columns with intervals of 9 zira (4.44 m). This way it was protected rain and hot weather.
Extension by Caliph Omar (ALLAH Bless With Him)
When the mosque was no longer large enough during the reign of Omar, in 17 Hijri it was expanded again. After the nearby houses were expropriated, the number of entrances reached to 6, the height of side walls to 11 zira (5.43 m), its north-south dimension to 140 zira and east-west dimension to 120 zira, and its area to 4088 sq.m. The ground was covered with stones brought the Aqiq valley, and the area of first lines was covered with felt.
Extension by Caliph Othman (ALLAH Bless With Him)
The Mosque of the Prophet was later expanded and restored during the reign of Othman, which was financially sponsored by the Caliph himself. This renovation was started in Rabi-ul-awwal of 29 (November 649) and ended in Muharram of 30 (September 650). With this expansion, the mosque’s area became 5061 sq.m. The material used composed mainly of chipped stone and lime. Also, the number of columns reached twelve, which were made up of stones with ornaments.
Extension by Umayyad Caliph Waled ibn Abdulmalik
After the first four “Rightly Guided Caliphs”, no restoration or expansion took place in the Mosque of the Prophet until the time of the Umayyad Caliph Waled ibn Abdulmalik. During 87-88 (707-708) when Omar ibn Abdulaziz was the governer of Medina, the rooms that had previously belonged to the Prophet’s wives were incorporated into the mosque, which caused great grief and disturbance among muslims at that time. During this renovation, the Caliph Waled requested some craftsmen the Emperor of Byzantium of the time, who then sent 100,000 mithqal of gold, 40 big mosaics, and 100 craftsmen. The mosque was then expanded on three sides and its reached 7500 sq. m. All of walls were made up of cut stone, and the Hujra Al-Saadah was incorporated into the the Mosque of the Prophet. This major restoration also involved some new additions, including a minaret, a mihrab (A niche of the mosque indicating the direction of the Ka’ba) and the calligraphic illustration the Qur’an ( The Surah Shams to the end of the Qur’an) with the jali style. These renovations were later recorded in writing with an epigraph in the year 91 (710 AD).
Extension by Abbasid Caliph Mahdi-Billah
When the Abbasid Caliph Mahdi-Billah visited Medina in 160 (777), he saw that the mosque was not large enough for the population; so he decided to once more expand it. The expansion was completed between 162-165 (778-782), as a result of which the area of the mosque reached 9309 sq.m., and the number of columns 290. The ornamentation of the Qibla wall was paid special attention: the bottom portion of it was covered with marble, and the top portion was decorated with mosaic-shaped pieces of gold. Later some other Abbasid caliphs made expansions and renovations in the mosque as well.
Restoration by Caliph Mutasim-Billah
When the mosque was damaged due to earthquakes and fires during 460-654 (1068-1256), a major restoration project was initiated by Caliph Mutasim-Billah, but because of certain historical factors, this project could not be completed until the reign of Mamluks. It was then re-initiated by the Mamluk sultan Malik Mansur Nureddin Ali and completed later in 668 (1269-70) by Baybars I
Extension by Sultan Kayitbay
The first (Wood) dome was built by Sultan Kalavun. In 881 (1476) Sultan Kayitbay renovated this dome and made some new arrangements in the mosque. On 13 Ramadan 886 (November 5th,1481) the mosque and its minarets were ruined by a thunderbolt, and repair and renovation continued until 888 (1483). With this renovation, in addition, the mosque’s area reached 9429 sq.m.
Renovations by Suleyman
With the transfer of the Caliphate to the Ottomans, the first renovations of the Mosque of the Prophet took place during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificient in the 16th century, which lasted 9 years. Then there were several minor renovations by the subsequent Ottoman sultans. During the reign of Sultan Mahmud II., the dome on top of the Hujra Al-Saadah was made up of stone, leaden and then painted in green. Since then this dome has been known as the Green Dome (Kubba Al-Khadra).
Extension by Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid
The most comprehensive renovation has been done by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid. In 1266 Hijri (1859) the Sultan sent a team of workers headed by a special engineer to Medina for the renovation of the Mosque of the Prophet which had not been repaired for four centuries. With this renovation, which was completed in 1277 Hijri (1861), the area of the mosque reached 10,939 sq.m., and the number of columns in the front section of the mosque and in the porches of the courtyard reached 327. The number of porches on the Qibla side became 12, and the ground of the mosque was covered with marble. The top portions of columns were covered by gold, and the Qibla wall by Ottoman chinas. In addition, the entire dome of the mosque, the Qibla wall, top portions of the five doors, and the mihrab (The niche) were decorated by beautiful calligraphic illustrations consisting of verses the Qur’an, hadiths and Prophet’s names with the jali-sulus style by calligrapher Abdullah Zühdü, which took three years to complete. In this major renovation 700,000 majidiya gold was spent, in addition to materials sent Istanbul and Egypt.
Extension by King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia (1st Saudi Extension)After the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, the mosque underwent several major modifications. In 1951 King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia ordered demolitions around the mosque to make way for new wings to the east and west of the prayer hall, which consisted of concrete columns with pointed arches. Older columns were reinforced with concrete and braced with copper rings at the top. The Suleymaniyya and Majidiyya minarets were replaced by two minarets in Mamluk revival style. Two additional minarets were erected to the northeast and northwest of the mosque. A library was built along the western wall to house historic Qur'ans and other religious texts.Its area reaching 16,326 sq.m.
Extension by King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia (2nd Saudi Extension)
In 1973 Saudi King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz ordered the construction of temporary shelters to the west of the mosque to accommodate the growing number of worshippers in 1981, the old mosque was surrounded by new prayer areas on these sides, enlarging five times its size.
Extension by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia (3rd Saudi Extension)
The latest renovations took place under King Fahd and have greatly increased the size of the mosque, allowing it to hold a large number of worshippers and pilgrims and adding modern comforts like air conditioning. He also installed twenty seven moving domes at the roof of Masjid.With 2nd and 3rd extension, its area reached 98,326 sq.m., and a second, 67,000 sq.m floor was added as an area for prayer. Now the marble courtyard around the mosque has the area of 235,000 sq.m, where 650,000 people can pray at the same time. Finally, the number of minarets is ten; and the basement is designed as parking lot.
Gates/Bab Of Mosque
These doors are in the North,East and West and for each one there is a separate entrance and exit. The length and width of the doors are (6 by 3) meters.The doors are made of thick wood with a thickness of 15cm and are covered by a layer of copper. At the middle of each door there is a big circle and is imprinted by the name of Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and there is a smaller circle in it that is imprinted by the name of Rasul-Allah, and there are some other identical doors in the north and west of the Qiblah of the mosque.
The doors in ground floor are as follows: Seven big entrances, each one with five, 6 by 3 doors and fourteen side doors with the same size.The name of these fourteen side door are
Two entrances (Bab-al-Makkah and Bab-al-Kubra) are placed at the back of the building and each one has three doors with the same dimensions. Two entrances, the entrance of Bab-al-Rahmah (with two doors) and the other one Bab-un-Nisa (with two doors) and twelve small (All listed above) two post-doors which are connected to six escalators and to the stone-step of the fourteen mentioned doors .There are two outer sloping entrances at the underground floor with six stairs to out and one stair to the mosque.
The first Caliph to undertake major reconstruction projects in Medina, Omar Ibn Abdulaziz, constructed four minarets when expanding and renovating the mosque. These minarets were 26 m high placed on a base of 8x8 zira dimensions. In the year 97 (716) Suleyman Ibn Abdulmalik removed the upper portion of the minaret on the south-west corner for it was violating the privacy of someone’s home. The mosque remained with three minarets for centuries until 706 (1306-7) when Muhammad Ibn Kalavun added another one called the Bab Al-Salam minaret. This minaret was later renovated by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV.
When the Masjid Al-Nabawi was completely ruined as a result of a major thunderbolt in 13 Ramadan 886 (5 November 1481), all four minarets were re-built together with other parts of the mosque. The minaret on the south-east corner, which is decorated by subtle and most beautiful examples of the Mamluki art, still stands today. Since the head muadhdhin gives adhan in this minaret, it is called Raisiyya. Other minarets that were built by Sultans Suleyman the Magnificient and Abdulmecid were in the Ottoman architectural style and survived until the first expansion project under the Saudi dynasty. In the first Saudi expansion project, there were six minarets; their number reached ten with the major renovation project in 1994. These new minarets are 104 m high and have 4 sharafas (balconies) each. The bottom portion of these minarets are square-shaped, the middle part octagonal, and upper portion cylindrical.
Insight Green Doom
The Hujra Al-Saadah
Pillar of Hanana
There was a date trunk here with which the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) used to take rest and deliver the sermons. When a permanent pulpit was made, it is said that the trunk wept profusely.
Pillar of Hars\Guard
There used to be one or other companions sit here as guard when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) be inside the residence.
Pillar of Wafood\Envoys
Here the outside delegates used to meet the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and convert to Islam.
Pillar of Sareer\Itikaf
Here the Prophet used to sit in Itikaf and retire in the night.
Pillar of GabrielWhenever the Archangel Gabriel come with Quranic revelation in the garb of the companion Dahih Kalbi (ALLAH Bless With Him), he used to sit here.
Pillar of AishaThe Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) told his companions that there is a spot in his mosque where to offer the prayer is of excellence. The companions searched this spot vehemently but could not succeed. It was after the death of the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) that Hazrat Aisha (ALLAH Bless With Her) identified this spot to her nephew. Every pilgrim and visitor to the Prophet’s mosque should offer the prayer near this pillar.
Pillar of Abi Lababa\Tawba
Ali Lababa (ALLAH Bless With Him), a companion, has committed a mistake in Tabuk war against infidels (Gazwa-e-Tabuk). He got himself tied up with this pillar as a matter of punishment; so long the Prophet does not release him. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) waited for seven days till the revelation of a Quranic Verse in this respect and the acceptance of his repentance, when he was freed.
In addition to this main Mihrab, there are also other niches outside the Masjid Al-Nabawi that function as markers/indicators. For instance, among these included are the Mihrab Al-tahajjud built where the Prophet used to pray the tahajjud prayer at night; the Mihrab Othman built where Othman the Companion used to pray; the Mihrab Fatima which is similar to that of the Prophet built behind the Hujra Al-Saadah. In addition to these, there other Mihrabs built for different madhabs in the Masjid al-Nabawi.
Mosque In These Days
The mosque has a flat paved roof topped with 27 domes on square bases. Holes pierced into the base of each dome illuminate the interior. The roof is also used for prayer during peak times, when the domes slide out on metal tracks to shade areas of the roof, creating light wells for the prayer hall. At these times, the courtyard of the Ottoman mosque is also shaded with umbrellas affixed to freestanding columns. The roof is accessed by stairs and escalators. The paved area around the mosque is also used for prayer, equipped with umbrella tents.
The north facade has three evenly spaced porticos, while the east, west and south facades have two. The walls are composed of a series of windows topped by pointed arches with black and white voussoirs. There are six peripheral minarets attached to the new extension, and four others frame the Ottoman structure. The mosque is lavishly decorated with polychrome marble and stones. The columns are of white marble with brass capitals supporting slightly pointed arches, built of black and white stones. The column pedestals have ventilation grills that regulate the temperature inside the prayer hall.
This new mosque contains the older mosque within it. The two sections can be easily distinguished: the older section has many colorful decorations and numerous small pillars; the new section is in gleaming white marble and is completely air-conditioned.
The open courtyard of the mosque can be shaded by folded, umbrella-like canopies, designed by Bodo Rash and Buro Happold.