Masjid-e-Nabawi holds a special place in the hearts of Muslims. It is the second most important place for Muslims in the world, and a major pilgrimage destination where millions of Muslims flock to pay homage. The Mosque has expanded so much in the recent times that it has not only integrated the Prophet’s (PBUH) living quarters but also a good portion of the original settlement in Madinah. The location of the Mosque was chosen by Allah (SWT) Himself. When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated to Madinah, he did not have a place to stay. Some of the most notable tribe chieftains offered him their place but he declined them after showing gratefulness. He (PBUH) told everyone to allow his Camel to go her own way for “she is guided by Allah.” The she-camel knelt on the place where Masjid-e-Nabwi is located today. The Prophet (PBUH) decided to stay at the place and Masjid-e-Nabawi was built. The mosque has come a long way from its humble beginning and seen many expansion and renovation projects over the years. The original mosque was simple with the walls of date branches, pillars of tree trunks and roof covering of straw.
Here are some of the unknown facts about the Masjid-Al-Nabwi (The Prophet’s Mosque) mentioned below in detail:
1. The current Mosque is larger than the Old Madinah
The current structure of the mosque is 100 times larger than the old building. It almost covers the entire area of old Madinah of the times of the Prophet (pbuh). This is evident from the fact that Jannat-ul-Baqi which was on the outskirts of the old city now borders the precincts of the current mosque grounds.
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2. The Mosque was the first one to get electricity in the Arabian Peninsula in the year 1909
It is said that the Ottoman emperor who was ruling Madinah at the time did not have electricity installed in his palace before installing it in Masjid-e-Nabawi.
3. Masjid-e-Nabawi is full of Secret Signs
The mosque is covered with many subtle signs and secrets. Each pillar, dome, and window of the mosque carries a story and indicates the location of historically and spiritually significant events. Those who built the Mosque realized that it would be impossible to put up signs everywhere and it would be a distraction from the main purpose of prayers. Therefore, they came up with a clever way of indicating a location of importance through minor changes in the design elements of the mosque.
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4. Impact of As-Suffah in the Mosque during the times of the Prophet (PBUH)
The word ‘Suffah’ means verandah, shed, or porch’ in Arabic and the term Ashab al-Suffa was given to those Companions who stayed in the shed next to the Prophet’s Mosque and devoted their lives for learning Quran and seeking knowledge from the Prophet (PBUH). Most of these people narrated many of the hadiths that we know today. Some of the well-known companions from As-Suffah include Talha ibn Ubaydullah (RA), Abu Hurayra (RA), Abu Zar al-Gifari (RA), Bilal al-Habashi (RA), Abdullah ibn Umar (RA), Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud (RA) and Bara ibn Malik (RA).
When the mosque was constructed, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) allocated a separate space with cool shelter for passengers and those who had no place to go. It shows the actual basis of Islamic teachings like kindness and sharing. Unfortunately, today our mosques have become just a place for offering Salah.
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5. The Mosque was also a Learning Centre
Prophet’s mosque was not only used for offering prayers but also for spreading enlightenment and education. People used to learn Quran and teachings and have discussions on religious topics. After gaining knowledge, they would travel and teach other people about Islam. The mosque was not only a place to pray but also an important centre for preaching Islam.
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6. The Sacred Chamber of the Prophet (PBUH) and the Empty Grave inside
Hujrah is the final resting place of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which is situated outside the main mosque. It was originally the house of his beloved wife, Aisha (RA). There are also the graves of his best companions Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA). It is also stated that there is an empty grave in the chamber discovered in the 1970s and it is said that the grave is meant for Prophet Isa (AS) or Jesus after his second coming. It is one of the unknown secrets under the Green Dome that most people do not know about.
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7. Blessings of praying Salah in this Mosque are immense
Prophet’s mosque is considered one of the most significant mosques in Islam, the importance of which can be understood by the following Hadith where the Prophet (PBUH) says,
“Do not prepare yourself for a journey to any mosque [with the intention to earn the special reward of prayers] but the three mosques Masjid al-Haram, Masjid al-Aqsa, and my Mosque.” (Bukhari)
Praying in Masjid-e-Nabawi carries immense blessings and extraordinary rewards which is evident from the following Hadith:
“One prayer in my Mosque is better than one thousand prayers in any other Mosque except al-Masjid al-Haram.” (Bukhari)
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8. The story of the Weeping Pillar of the Prophet’s Mosque (PBUH)
The pillars of Masjid-e-Nabwi hold interesting stories from the time of the Prophet (PBUH) with great spiritual significance. One such pillar is the Ustuwaanah Hannanah, also called the Weeping Pillar. This was the spot where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to offer Salah and there used to grow a date palm where he would lean on while delivering the sermon. After the advent of mimbar (pulpit), the Prophet (PBUH) started using it as a pulpit while delivering the sermon. It is said that the whole masjid echoed with the cries that seemed to be coming from the tree. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The tree cries because the zikr of Allah was near it, and now that the mimbar is built it has been deprived of this zikr in its immediate vicinity. If I did not place my hand on it, it would have cried thus till the Day of Qiyamah.”
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9. The two Domes of the Prophet’s Mosque for centuries
There was no dome over the grave of the Prophet (PBUH) and now there are two domes. The first one was built by Mamluk Sultan and constructed of wood. There is also an inner dome with the names of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA). The green dome that we see now was not always green. It has gone through many changes and was once white and even purple. The current green colour of the dome was decided and painted 150 years ago.
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10. Riadh-ul-Jannah or the Garden of the Paradise
It is the area between the Sacred Chamber and the Mimbar (the pulpit) presently distinguished by the green carpet in the Mosque, known as Riadh-ul-Jannah. It is narrated by Abu Huraira (RA) that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Between my house and my pulpit lays a garden from the gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit is upon my fountain (Al-Kauthar).” [Bukhari]
These were some of the things to know about the Prophet’s Mosque related to the history of Masjid-e-Nabawi that one should know before visiting the Mosque. The best way to explore all the Islamic sites including the Masjid-e-Nabawi is by asking your Hajj/Umrah travel agent to include the visit to these sites in the customized Umrah packages 2018.
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