When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) set out on Hijrah journey (as directed by Allah Almighty) from Makkah towards Madina, He did not have any residence in that city just then. He stayed at some notable and generous tribes on the way, who offered Him place to live. But He declined their proposals by showing His gratefulness for their kindness. Finally, He stopped permanently at a place where the mosque of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), commonly known as Masjid-e-Nabavi, was formed.
Millions of Muslims visit this beautiful mosque every year for offering prayers from around the world, for it is the symbol of their emotional attachment with the Muhammad (PBUH). The original mosque was very simple, which had the roof covering of straw, walls with date branches, and pillars of supportive tree trunks and floor of bare sand. It`s appearance and interior have been restructured many times over the past centuries to have a room for maximum number of lovers of the Prophet (PBUH) to offer prayers at a time. Following is a list of some of the facts about it:
Initial vs. Current Capacity
The early makeup of mosque was extremely simple with a size of just about 35*30 meters and height of 2.5 meters. With a passage of time, when more and more people embraced Islam, after the victory of Khaibar Battle, size and height of it was increased to 50*50 meters and 3.5 meters respectively. After the passage of Muhammad (PBUH), the dimensions of masjid have been changed many times. The current situation of its capacity is roughly as follows: 90,000 square meters area, 1300 meters height, 66,000 meters long roof, and more than 2,000 pillars.
Impact of As-Suffah
In the initial years, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) allocated a separate space with cool shelter right along with the wall situated on North side of mosque. It was meant for resting and spending night especially for passengers and those people who could not go anywhere else, which shows the kindness and actual basis of Islamic teachings related to masjid. Unfortunately, today, our mosques have become only a place for offering Namaz and doors are locked after prayers time. The name Suffah means “companion”, those selfless and sacrificing Muslims who had devoted their lives for learning from the Holy Quran and the Prophet (PBUH). Most of them have narrated many of the Ahadiths we are known with today, like Abu Hurrerah (R.A).
As Learning Institute
The mosque was not only used for offering prayers but also a key place for enlightenment and education for all. Sahaba (R.A) used to learn Quran Reading and understand Quranic teachings and debate among one another. Each and every one of them was trying to surpass each other in learning the most. After gaining knowledge, they used to go out and teach other people about Islam. This shows that masjid is not only a place to pray, but also an important source of preaching the religion of Allah Almighty.
Sacred chamber of the Prophet (PBUH)
Hujrah (the sacred chamber) is place of the final residence and death of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) which is situated just outside main mosque and has a golden vault in front of it. It was originally house of His most beloved wife Ayishah (R.A) at that time. Inside compartment, the Prophet (PBUH) and His best companions Hazrat Abu Bakar (R.A) and Hazrat Umar (R.A) are resting in peace.
“Anyone who comes to visit me and he came solely for this purpose then It becomes Wajib upon me to do intercession for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Tabrani)
One the eastern side of it is the house of the youngest daughter Fatima (R.A) of the Prophet (PBUH).
Ajar (blessing) of Salah
Masjid-e-Nabawi is considered as one of the most significant mosques in religion Islam. Its importance can be observed in the following saying of Prophet (PBUH).
Do not prepare yourself for a journey to any mosque [with the intention to earn special reward of prayers] but the three mosques al-Masjid al-Haram, al-Masjid al-Aqsa, and my mosque. (Bukhari: No. 1115)
So it means that praying in this masjid guarantees extra-ordinary reward for the believers.
One prayer in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers in any other mosque excepting al-Masjid al-Haram. (Bukhari: No. 1116)
The amount of blessings that one could get by praying here is evident from the above mentioned Hadith, i.e. one thousand times that of praying elsewhere with the exception of Khana Kaaba.
Mimbar (Podium) of the Prophet (PBUH)
The spot where Muhammad (PBUH) used to lecture His Muslim brothers has great history and importance. There was no concept of a special place for Khateeb (addresser) at that time. He (PBUH) was asked by Sahaba (companions) to make a sitting place for Him as He used to get tired during the process. Hence the very first mimbar (pulpit) was made and got a very significant rank in mosque.
Riadh-ul-Jannah (backyard of paradise)
Another great part of Masjid-e-Nabawi which is 22 meters in length and 15 meters in width, with some part of it situated inside Hurah (chamber) of Muhammad (PBUH).
Abu Hurreha describes that the Holy 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]
The high significance of Riadh-ul-Jannah is evident from the above Hadith that it is called a garden similar to those ones present in paradise, by Prophet (PBUH), so it means visiting this place and offering salah in it is just like someone is in heaven.
Garden of Abu Talha
When Allah SWT revealed the following verses in Quran:
Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah knows of it. [Quran, 3:92]
After reading Ayah kareema, Abu Talha (R.A) presented his garden named “Bir Ha” for sake of Allah`s blessings, and that patch became part of Masjid-q-Nabawi. Such is the beauty of this mosque that there is a lesson for everyone in the shape of this garden that we should spend everything in the way of The Almighty without any hesitation.
Hence, the mosque of Muhammad (PBUH), i.e. Masjid-e-Nabawi is one of the greatest mosques in the history of Islam, which has laid the foundations for Muslims to not only pray and learn about the teachings of Allah, but also preach it to others.