The History of al-masjid al-nabawī & the virtue of visiting it - PDF

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The History of al-masjid al-nabawī & the virtue of visiting it The aim of this paper is two-fold. Firstly, a brief outline of the development of the Prophet s mosque in al- Madīna will be offered. Secondly,

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The History of al-masjid al-nabawī & the virtue of visiting it The aim of this paper is two-fold. Firstly, a brief outline of the development of the Prophet s mosque in al- Madīna will be offered. Secondly, just a handful of ahādīth will be mentioned citing the virtues of visiting the final resting place of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). There is no strength or power except with Allāh upon Him I trust and to Him I repent The history of the Prophet s mosque The foundation. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) migrated to al-madīna, one of the first things he did was to build a mosque. This would not only be the place of prostration, which is the literal meaning of Masjid, but the centre of the Madani community. The construction started in Rabī al-awwal and took about eight months. Our Messenger personally took part in its construction. Remember that the Muslims read towards Jerusalem for approximately the first eighteen months, and so the mosque reflected that. In terms of size, it is said the mosque was about 30m by 35m. Figure 1 The direction of the Mosque was in the opposite direction as we know it today. Suffa was the place where the poor Muslims resided. Our Prophet wanted to live as close as possible to them The seventh year of Hijra. It was after the battle of Khaybar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) extended the mosque, to about 50m by 50m. The height of the ceiling was 3.5.m. The direction had now changed and the Suffah side had been moved to the back. Not just in words but in actions too, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) loved the poor and so he lived as close as possible to him. 1 Islamic Centre -Leicester Figure 2 The direction of prayer was now towards Makka and Suffa was moved to the back The time of Sayyiduna Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him): 17 AH. As the Muslims increased, Sayyiduna Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) felt the need to extend the mosque. This resulted in 5m to the south (front), 10m to the west and 15m to the north (back). Bāb al-salām and Bāb al-nisā doors were added The time of Sayyiduna Uthman (may Allāh be pleased with him): 29 AH. Twelve years later, Sayyiduna Uthmān (may Allāh be pleased with him) too extended the mosque. This resulted in the last extension to be made south (the front side) of the Mosque no extension beyond this has taken place to this day. Sayyiduna Uthmān (may Allāh be pleased with him) personally took part in the work. Now the area of the mosque was 5061 squared metres. Figure 3 This was the last time the mosque was extended from the south side. 2 1.5. The Umayyads (91 AH.) At the end of the first Islamic century, the Umayyads gave due consideration to the Prophet s mosque, most notably Walīd and Umar ibn Abd al-azīz. For the first time, four minarets were added to the corners, each 27.5m high. The mosque now had twenty doors. Umar ibn Abd al-azīz also built five cornered walls around the four inner walls of the sacred chamber (this will be shown later). It was done as such so it did not resemble the Ka ba. Figure 4 At the end of the first Islamic Century, Minarets were added for the first time The Abbasids (168 AH.) In 168 AH, the Abbasid ruler Mahdī extended the mosque from the north side (back), and they added a shaded area for the first row. Figure 5 A water fountain for ablution was added in the courtyard too The Islamic Middle Ages. We move forward almost seven hundred years to the time of Sultān Qalāwun. He was the one who first put a dome over the sacred chamber, which was first made of wood. This was damaged due to bad weather. Then Sultān Qaytbai made improved on the dome in 881/1476. Further extension work was carried out by Qaytbai in 888/1483. He extended 1.21m east of the sacred chamber, raised the height to 11m and constructed two domes over the sacred chamber, placing wire mesh around it. He also built a fifth minaret at Bāb al-rahmat (which is next to Bāb al-siddiq). 3 Sultān Abd al-hamīd performed perhaps the most detailed and expensive renovation of the mosque. He added the beautiful calligraphy found in the old mosque. This was completed in 1277/1861. He made an extension 2.62m to the east of the sacred chamber and added lead coated domes made of stone on the ceiling of the mosque The twentieth century. A vast extension was carried out by King Abd al-azīz. He extended to the east, west and north, so the area was now 6042 squared metres. This cost 70m Saudi Riyals. This was followed by King Fahd s efforts. He extended it to 82,000 squared metres and increased the capacity by nine fold. This cost 72 billion Riyals. Today, it can accommodate 535,000 worships. Then there is the white marble courtyard that is 190,000 squared metres at this moment in time The Sacred Chamber & the Green Dome The Origins. Currently, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is buried in the Sacred Chamber along with Sayyiduna Abū Bakr and Umar (may Allāh be pleased with them). A place has been reserved for Prophet Īsā (peace be upon him) when he returns closer to the Day of Judgement. Each wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had her own Hujra, or chamber, which measured about 5m by 5m. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was buried in Ā isha s room (may Allāh be pleased with her). The reason for this was because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself had stipulated during his lifetime that every prophet is always buried exactly where they pass away. Since he passed away in her chamber, he was buried there too. Sayyida Ā isha (may Allāh be pleased with her) herself reports that I saw a dream that three moons fell in my lap. I described this dream to my father. When the Prophet passed away and was buried there, Abū Bakr (may Allāh be pleased with him) reminded her that this was the interpretation of the dream she had. When Sayyiduna Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) was on his death bed, he sent his son Abd Allāh to Ā isha, asking her permission to be buried there. She said she had wanted the place for herself, but happily gave it up for him. When Umar heard this, he said, Nothing is more important to me than to be buried in that sacred place. This proves that burial near the pious is the Sunna of the Companions. The three moons falling into the laps of Ā isha (may Allāh be pleased with her) were referring to the three great individuals who would be buried in her room. 4 It is worthy of mention that when Ā isha used to do Ziyāra when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and Abū Bakr were buried in her room, she sometimes did not cover her head. But when Umar was added (a non-mahram), she would always cover her head. Figure 6 The Chamber of Ā isha 2.2. Umar ibn Abd al-azīz. In 91 AH, Umar bin Abdul Azīz built these five cornered walls (see below) around the inner four walls of the Sacred Chamber. He made a pointed at the back so it didn t look like the Ka ba and to stop people praying to the chamber. There were no doors so the chamber was completely sealed. Figure 7 Umar ibn Abd al-azīz added these five walls around the Secret Chamber Securing the Sacred Chamber. Later, inner walls were built around the Sacred Chamber. This can still be seen today through the golden gates. The outer walls, side door and doors at the front are in the same position today. Directly above the Prophet s final resting place, a silver dome was built called Qubbat al-nūr. The dome has a small window with a grill. Except for this, the chamber is completely sealed. 5 Figure 8 A silver dome was placed above the Prophet's final resting place The Dome. Sultān Qalāwun al-sālihī was the first to build a dome over the sacred chamber. This was in 678/1279. It was renovated in 881 AH by Sultān Qaytbai. In 886/1481, a fire swept the mosque and as a result, the dome was damaged too. Between Sultān Qaytbai rebuilt and refurbished it. In 1253/1837, Sultān Abd al-hamīd ordered for the dome to be painted green. Beneath the green dome there is a smaller dome, which has the names of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) written on it, along with Abū Bakr and Umar (may Allāh be pleased with them). Figure 9 A diagram to show what the Dome looks like as a cross section. 6 2.5. The Pillars inside the old Mosque. There are many ancient pillars in the Prophet s mosque which hold historical significance. Here are a few of them Al-Ustuwāna al-mukhallakha (Hunāna). This is behind the Mihrāb of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). It was built at the place of the weeping tree stump, which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to use as a Minbar before one was formally built for him. Figure 10 Ustuwana Hunana Ustuwāna Ā isha. It was named after Ā isha as she informed the Companions of its location. It is also called the pillar of Qur a (which means lot ). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) identified this particular spot as a place of great virtue, adding that if people knew its true value, they would throw lots to read there. Figure 11 Ustuwana Ā isha Ustuwāna Abū Lubāba. This is the place where Abū Lubāba tied himself to after accidentally spilling a secret to Banū Quraydha. Figure 12 Ustuwana Abū Lubaba 7 Ustuwāna Sarīr. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to sit I tikāf here and would sleep there too during it. Figure 13 Ustuwana Sarir Ustuwāna Harth/Alī. This is the pillar from which the Companions (mostly Alī) would watch and act as gatekeepers. When Allāh revealed the verse And Allāh will protect you from the people (Mā ida: 67), they stopped Ustuwāna Wufūd. This is the place where delegations of Allāh be upon him). would meet and converse with the Prophet (peace and blessings Figure 14 Left pillar: Wufud, middle pillar, Ali and right pillar, sarir Ustuwāna Tahajjud. This is where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to perform optional night prayers. It is now covered with the Qur ān bookcases in Rawda al-janna. There are some writings on top of the old pillars that indicate the boundaries of the old mosque Ahādīth on the virtues of visiting the Prophet s Mosque in al-madīna. There are countless ahādīth extolling the virtue of al-madīna, the Prophet s mosque and other places in and around the blessed city. Heree are just a few: a. In an authentic saying narrated by Abū Hurayra (may Allāh be pleased with him) and recorded by Imām Muslim in his Sahīh, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, 8 One Prayer in this mosque [i.e. the Prophet s Mosque in Madīna] is better than a thousand Prayers in any other mosque, except for al-masjid al-harām. 1 Imām al-nawawī reminds us that the hadith states that one Salāh is better than a thousand prayers elsewhere, not equal to. 2 b. Abū Hurayra (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that he said, Travel is not undertaken except for the sake of three mosques; al-masjid al-haram, the Mosque of the Messenger and al-aqsā Mosque. 3 c. In a famous saying recorded by both Imām Muslim and al-bukhārī, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, What is between my house and my Minbar is a garden from the gardens of Paradise. 4 My house refers to his grave now; at the time it was the room of Sayyida Ā isha (may Allāh be pleased with her). Today the entire area is clearly marked with a different (lighter) carpet and pillars. Imām al-nawawī says there are two opinions regarding this hadith. One is that this place itself will be transferred to paradise. Though the entire world is nothing compared to the hereafter, Allāh deemed it valuable and worthwhile to transfer this place to the next life. The second opinion is that performing worship here leads to paradise. Why is this place special? It is because of the prolonged period the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) spent in this particular area. On the same analogy, we respect and visit Cave Hira and the Mawlid in Makka. d. Anas ibn Mālik (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), who said, Whosoever performs forty Salāhs in my mosque without missing any, then he will be decreed as free from the Fire, saved from the punishment and immune from hypocrisy. 5 e. Abū Hurayra (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, When one of you leaves from his house for my Mosque, then each step equates one virtue (hasana) and each step removes one sin (sayyi a). 6 1 Book of Hajj, Hadith no. 2469, Chapter The Superiority of Prayer in Makka and Madīna. 2 Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and the authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 18, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 3 Recorded by Imām al-bukhārī. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and the authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 18, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 4 Recorded by Imām al-bukhārī. Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and the authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 19, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 5 Recorded by Ahmad and al-tabarani. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and the authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 19, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 6 Recorded by Imām Ahmad with a sound chain. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and the authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 19, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 9 f. In fact, Allāh himself affirmed the superiority of the Prophet s (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mosque. In the Qur ān, it is stated, A Mosque that was founded on Taqwa from the first day is better for you to stand in (Qur ān; 9;108). When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was once asked which mosque the Qur ān was referring to in this verse, he replied My mosque. (Sahīh Muslim). 7 The scholars have suggested it could also be Quba Mosque, but like Ibn Hajar explains, Both mosques are built on Taqwa from the very first day. Hāfiz Ibn Kathīr indicates this when he said, If Quba Mosque is built on Taqwa from the first day, then the mosque of Allāh s Messenger certainly will be too. 8 g. The city is often referred to as al-madīna al-munawwara, or the Enlightened City. The reason for this is the hadith of Anas ibn Mālik (may Allāh be pleased with him), who said, The exact day the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) entered al- Madīna, every single thing there became enlightened. 9 h. Abū Hurayra (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, This Minbar of mine is on a gate (tur a) from the gates of Paradise. 10 i. Abū Hurayra (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, Undoubtedly Faith returns to al-madīna just like a snake returns to its hole. 11 j. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to supplicate, O Allāh! Make al-madīna beloved to us just like you made Makka beloved to us 12 k. Abū Bakra (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), who said, 7 Recorded by Imām al-tirmidhi. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and the authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 15, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 8 Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and the authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 16, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 9 Recorded by Imām Ahmad and al-tirmidhi. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 7, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 10 In one of the reports of Sahl ibn Sa d from Imām Ahmad, a tur a means a gate. Ibn al-athir writes that originally, tur a refers to a garden situated in a high place (Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and the authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 21, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH) 11 Recorded by Imām al-bukhārī and Muslim. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 25, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 12 Recorded by Imām al-bukhārī and Muslim. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 26, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 10 The Dajjāl will not enter al-madīna. On that day, there will be two angels guarding the seven gates to the city. 13 l. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) warned, Whosoever intends evil with the inhabitants of al-madīna, Allāh will dissolve them just like salt dissolves in water. 14 m. Jābir ibn Samura (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, I heard the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say, Indeed Allāh Almighty has named al-madīna Tāba. 15 Imām al-nawawī writes in the commentary of this hadith, Tāba and Tayba comes from Tiyb which means a beautiful fragrance. Al-Tāb and al-tayyib are two readings. It is also said it comes from Tayyib, meaning clean. Al-Madīna is so called because it is clean from Shirk. 16 n. Al-Barrā ibn Āzib (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports in a Marfū hadith that, Whosoever refers to al-madīna as Yathrib, then he should seek forgiveness from Allāh. It is Tāba, it is Tāba. 17 o. Even the people related to the city were given superiority by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Abū Hurayra (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, Soon people will embark on camels [in travel]. But they will not find a scholar more learned than the scholar of al-madīna. 18 Imām al-tirmidhī is of the opinion that this is referring to Imām Mālik (may Allāh be pleased with him), who lived in al-madīna. He was a great beloved of the Messenger (peace be upon him) and his sayings and actions reflected this fact. Once, he decreed the lashing of anyone thirty times who dared criticise even the soil of al-madīna Recorded by Imām al-bukhārī. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 30, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 14 Recorded by Imām Muslim. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 33, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 15 Recorded by Imām Muslim. Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and authentic ahādīth (Arabic); p. 38, Dr. Abd al-rahman al-kawthar, Maktaba al-malik al-fahd al-wataniyya, 1429 AH. 16 Cited in Seventy Superiorities of al-madīna al-munawwara, in light of the Qur ān and authentic ahādī
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