Al-Masjid al-Nabawī (Arabic: اَلْمَسْجِد اَلنَّبَوِي, "Mosque of the Prophet"), often called the Prophet's Mosque, is a mosque built by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad situated in the city of
It is the second holiest site in Islam (the first being the Masjid al-Haram in Medina ). It was the second
mosque built in history and is now one of the largest mosques in the world. After
an expansion during the reign of al-Walid I, it also now incorporates the site
of the final resting place of Muhammad and early Muslim leaders Abu Bakr and
The site was originally adjacent to Muhammad's house; he settled there after his Hijra (emigration) to
in 622. He shared in the heavy work of
construction. The original mosque was an open-air building. The basic plan of
the building has been adopted in the building of other mosques throughout the
The mosque also served as a community center, a court, and a religious school. There was a raised platform for the people who taught the Quran. Subsequent Islamic rulers greatly expanded and decorated it. In 1909, it became the first place in the
to be provided with electrical lights. The mosque is under the control of the
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
One of the most notable features of the site is the Green Dome in the south-east corner of the mosque, originally Aisha's house, where the tomb of Muhammad is located. In 1279 AD, a wooden cupola was built over the tomb which was later rebuilt and renovated multiple times in late 15th century and once in 1817. The dome was first painted green in 1837, and later became known as the Green Dome.
The mosque is located in what was traditionally the center of
many hotels and old markets nearby. It is a major pilgrimage site. Many
pilgrims who perform the Hajj go on to Medina
to visit the mosque and the Prophet. The mosque is open for service 24/7, all
year round. Medina
The original mosque was built by Prophet Mohammed and his companions next to the house where he settled after his journey to
in 622 CE. The
original mosque was an open-air building (covered by palm fronds) with a raised
platform for the reading of the Quran. It was a rectangular enclosure of 30 × 35
m (98 × 115 ft) at a height of 2 m (6 ft 7 in) wall which was built with palm
trunks and mud walls. It was accessed through three doors: Bab Rahmah (Door of
Mercy) to the south, Bab Jibril (Door of Gabriel) to the west and Bab al-Nisa' (Door
of the Women) to the east.The basic plan of the building has
since been adopted in the building of most mosques throughout the world. Medina
Inside, Prophet Mohammed created a shaded area to the south called the suffah and aligned the prayer space facing north towards
. When the qibla
(prayer direction) was changed to face the Kaaba in Jerusalem , the mosque was re-oriented to the
south. The mosque also served as a community center, a court, and a religious
Seven years later (629 AD/7 AH), the mosque was doubled in size to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims. The area of the mosque was enlarged by 20 × 15 m (66 × 49 ft) and became almost a square 50 × 49.5 m (160 × 162.4 ft). The height increased to became 3.5 m (11 ft) and the mosque encompassed 35 columns.
The mosque remained like that during the caliphate of Abu Bakr until the caliphate of 'Umar bin al-Khattab, who enlarged the area of the mosque to 3575 m2 and built more wooden columns.
During the Uthman ibn Affan an arcade of stone and plaster was added to the mosque and the columns were remolded and built of stone.
Subsequent Islamic rulers continued to enlarge and embellish the mosque over the centuries. In 707, Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik (705-715) replaced the old structure and built a larger one in its place, incorporating the tomb of Prophet Mohammed . This mosque was 84 by 100 m (276 by 330 ft) in size, with stone foundations and a teak roof supported on stone columns. The mosque walls were decorated with mosaics by Coptic and Greek craftsmen, similar to those seen in the Umayyad Mosque in
the Dome of the Rock in
(built by the same Caliph). The courtyard was surrounded by a gallery on four
sides, with four minarets on its corners. A mihrab topped by a small dome was
built on the qibla wall. Jerusalem
Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi (775-785) replaced the northern section of Al-Walid's mosque between 778 and 781 to enlarge it further. He also added 20 doors to the mosque: eight on each of the east and west walls, and four on the north wall.
During the reign of the Mamluk Sultan Al Mansur Qalawun, a dome was erected above the tomb of Prophet Mohammed and an ablution fountain was built outside of Bab al-Salam (Door of Peace). Sultan Al-Nasir Mohammed rebuilt the fourth minaret that had been destroyed earlier. After a lightning strike destroyed much of the mosque in 1481, Sultan Qaitbay rebuilt the east, west and qibla walls.
The Ottoman sultans who controlled
from 1517 until World War I also made
their mark. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520–1566) rebuilt the western and
eastern walls of the mosque and built the northeastern minaret known as al-Suleymaniyya.
He added a new mihrab (al-Ahnaf) next to the Prophet's mihrab (al-Shafi'iyyah),
and placed a new dome covered in lead sheets above the tomb of Prophet Mohammed
The Rawdah (referred to as al-Rawdah al-Mutaharah), covered by the dome over the south-east corner of the mosque, was constructed in 1817C.E. during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II. The dome was painted green in 1839 C.E. and came to be known as the Green Dome.
During the reign of Sultan Abdul Majid I (1839–1861), the mosque was entirely remodeled with the exception of Prophet Mohammed 's Tomb, the three mihrabs, the minbar and the Suleymaniyya minaret. The precinct was enlarged to include an ablution area to the north. The prayer hall to the south was doubled in width and covered with small domes equal in size except for domes covering the mihrab area, Bab al-Salam and Prophet Mohammed 's Tomb. The domes were decorated with Quranic verses and lines from Qaṣīda al-Burda (Poem of the Mantle), the famous poem by 13th century Arabic poet Busiri. The qibla wall was covered with glazed tiles featuring Quranic calligraphy. The floors of the prayer hall and the courtyard were paved with marble and red stones and a fifth minaret (al-Majidiyya), was built to the west of the enclosure.
When bin Saud took
Medina in 1805,
his followers, the Wahhabis, demolished nearly every tomb dome in in order to
prevent their veneration, and the Green Dome is said to have narrowly escaped
the same fate. Prophet Mohammed 's tomb was stripped of its gold and jewel
ornaments, but the dome was preserved either because of an unsuccessful attempt
to demolish its hardened structure, or because some time ago Ibn Abd al-Wahhab
wrote that he did not wish to see the dome destroyed despite his aversion to
people praying at the tomb. Similar events took place in 1925 when the Saudi
ikhwans retook—and this time managed to keep—the city. In the Wahabi
interpretation of Islam, the veneration of tombs and places thought to possess
supernatural powers was an offense against tawhid. Medina
After the foundation of the
in 1932, the mosque underwent several major modifications. In 1951 King Ibn
Saud (1932–1953) 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 Qurans and other religious texts. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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.
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 Al-Masjid an-Nabawi.
In 2007, according to the The Independent, a pamphlet, published by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs and endorsed by the grand mufti of
that "the green dome shall be demolished and the three graves flattened in
the Prophet's Masjid". Saudi Arabia
The original mosque was not very large, and today the original exists only as a small portion of the larger mosque. The newer and older sections of the mosque are quite distinct. The older section has many colorful decorations and numerous small pillars.
Architecture and Special Structures
As it stands today, the mosque has a rectangular plan on two floors with the Ottoman prayer hall projecting to the south. The main prayer hall occupies the entire first floor. The mosque enclosure is 100 times bigger than the first mosque built by Muhammad and can accommodate more than half a million worshippers.
The mosque has a flat paved roof topped with 27 sliding 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. Sliding Domes and retractable umbrellas are designed by the German architect Mahmoud Bodo Rasch and his firm SL Rasch GmbH
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, and fans have been installed in the ceiling; 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 Mahmoud Bodo Rasch with his firm SL Rasch GmbH and Buro Happold
The heart of the mosque houses a very special but small area named Riad ul-Jannah (Gardens of
extends from Muhammad's tomb (Rawdah) to his pulpit (minbar). Pilgrims attempt
to visit the confines of the area, for there is a tradition that supplications
and prayers uttered here are never rejected. Entrance into the area is not
always possible, especially during the Hajj season, as the space can only
accommodate a few hundred people.
Riad ul-Jannah is considered to be a part Jannah (
Paradise). It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that
Muhammad said, "The area between my house and my minbar is one of the
gardens of Paradise, and my minbar is on my
As per Prophet Mohammed, Rawadh is also in Heaven, the same Rawdah which is currently in Masjid -e- Nabwi. It is a small place in Masjid -e- Nabwi, floored with Green Carpet just to identify it & the entire Mosque is floored with red carpet. The Rawdah is one of the most important features of the site. It holds the tomb of Muhammad and two of his companions and first Caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab. A fourth grave is reserved for Jesus, as it is believed that he will return and will be buried at the site. The site is covered by the Green Dome. It was constructed in 1817 C.E. during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II and painted green in 1839 C.E.The Rawdah has two small gateways. The original pulpit was much smaller than the current one, and constructed of palm tree wood, not marble. The current marble pulpit was constructed by the Ottomans.