The Prophet’s Mosque One Of The Most Amazing Structure Of The World

- Published in Arabnews On 26 July 2013

The Prophet’s Mosque One of the Most Amazing Structure of the World

Masjid Nabawi

The Prophet’s Mosque is known the world over as the second largest Mosque with its most beautiful structure of the modern age. Before I go through its details, I jot down its brief history as many readers of Arab News wish to know the stages with which this holiest Mosque has gone through to its final development to this age.

This Holy Mosque was founded by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in 622 C.E. The original Mosque was an open air covered with palm fronds with a raised platform for the recitation of Quran. It was a rectangular enclosure of 30mx35m with a roof more than 2 meters in height. It had three doors Bab Al-Rahmah, Bab Gariel, and Bab Al-Nisa.

A shaded platform was created inside known as suffah. This is known in Arabic as ‘Dakka Ashab Al-Suffah’ place for the companions of Suffah. It is still there just behind the enclosure of the Prophet’s Tomb. There were many companions who had exclusively reserved themselves for learning traditions of the Prophet and tenets of Islam and then to spread Islam. Abu Hraeyrah was among them who had remembered by heart 8,000 traditions of the Prophet. Similarly there were others too.

Seven years later the covered area of the mosque was doubled and roof’s height was increased to 3.5 meters and the mosque was encompassed of 35 columns. During the caliphate of Umar bin Al-Khattab the area of the mosque was enlarged to 3,500 sq.meters and was built with more wooden columns.

Riad-al- Jannah

The heart of the Prophet’s Mosque houses a very special but small area named Riad-al-Jannah (Garden of the Heaven) it extends from Prophet’s tomb (Rawdah) to his pulpit. The visitors attempt to visit the confines of the area. Riad-al-Jannah is considered to be the part of Jannah. Abu Hurayrah narrated, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The area between my house and my pulpit is one of the Gardens of the Heaven. To pray and recite the holy Quran there, is considered to be of great virtue as if one prayed in Jannah.

In 707 C.E. Al-Walid Ibn Abd Al-Malik of Bani Umayya (707-715) replaced the old structure and built a larger one in its place incorporating the Prophet’s tomb. This mosque was 84x100 square meters with stone foundation and roof supported by stone columns. He also built four minarets.

Caliph Mahdi of Banu Abbas (Abbasids) (775-785) enlarged the Mosque and he added 20 doors, eight on each of the east and west walls and four on the north wall.

During the reign of Sultan Abdul Majid of Ottoman Empire, the Mosque was entirely remodeled. The prayer hall to the south was doubled in width with a new Mihrab for Imam. The Qibla wall was covered with glazed tiles featuring Quranic Calligraphy. The floor of the prayer hall and courtyard were paved with marble and red stones and fifth minaret Al-Majidiyya was built to the west of the enclosure.

Magnificent Services of Saudi Kings to Two Holy Mosques

King Abdul Aziz (1932-1953) ordered the 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 expansion included two open courtyards. These open courtyards have been provided with mechanically operated Taflon Umbrellas in these inner two courtyards. These courtyards have verandahs on their west and east wings with marble columns braced with golden brass on top embedded with electric lamps emitting beams of light. This expansion exists up to the gate Al-Majidi. A library have been built along the western wall to house historic Qurans and other religious texts. Two additional minarets were erected to the northeast and northwest of the mosque which form part of King Abdul Aziz’s expansion plan.

The late King Fahad’s giant expansion plan was launched in 1985.

This grand expansion started north of the old Ottoman Mosque, enlarging the mosque on the western and eastern flanks, giving another grand floor added with stairs and escalators on gates of eastern and western flanks. This great expansion covers an area of 400,327 square meters. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al-Faleh Deputy President of the Presidency of the Prophet’s Mosque told Arab News that King Fahad’s expansion with its plazas in the north, west and east now accommodates about one million worshippers. The Mosque is a symbol of master piece plan of architecture. The base of its columns is square shape with brass grills. These thousands of columns are connected from their bases under a well planned net work to air condition plant situated 7 kilometers away from the mosque. All these columns emit cold air giving the worshippers a cool relief coming from very hot weather outside the Mosque.

The Mosque is lavishly decorated with poly-chrome marble and stones. The columns are of white marble braced with golden brass on top embedded with electric lamps emitting beams of light. The white marble pillars reflect the beams of light that produce a most beautiful scene for the onlookers. The arches are built with black and white stones matching to Al-Qurtuba Mosque in Spain. These arches produce a beautiful scene when an onlookers sees them diagonally or in straight line. The entire mosque is provided with thousands of beautiful big chandeliers producing a cool light which hold the worshipper in amazement.

A unique feature of the Prophet’s Mosque is that it consist of 27 main plazas. Each plaza is now capped by a state of the art sliding domes, which can be rapidly opened and closed. These domes do not produce any sound while opening or closing. These domes slide out on metal tracks to shade areas of the roof, creating light wells for the prayer hall. These can be used in unison or separately as required. When opened these do away suffocation and make the air very light. Elaborately carved stone friezes decorate the dooms, and these plazas have been paved in geometrically patterned marble tiles. These amazing sliding domes are very exceptional piece of architecture not found anywhere in the mosques all over the world or in temples or anywhere. I have seen people looking aghast while these dooms with their tons of weight recede producing no sound.

King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ordered to erect in the open plazas mechanically operated Taflon Umbrellas in east, west, north and by the right and left wings of the Qibla wall. This was a great humanitarian act of King Abdullah to save the worshippers from scorching heat and pray under these umbrellas. Moreover on his order special fans were manufactured, which give cold air emitting water vapors. King Abdullah’s New Annex in the Holy Mosque Makkah accommodating 400,000 worshippers is a dynamic work which earned appreciation all over the Muslim world. There are plans of expansion to the Prophet’s Mosque. No doubt that Saudi Kings did stand whole heartedly in the expansion of the Two Holy Mosques. Their services shall be written in the golden words in the pages of history.

- By Ahmad Wahaj Al Siddiqui Al Taimi