as-Sabaq Mosque

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The as-Sabaq Mosque (مسجد السبق‎), also known as the Bani Zuraiq Mosque (مسجد بني زريق), was a mosque located in Medina, north-west of al-Masjid an-Nabawi. The mosque was located in an open area known as the Maidan Bab al-Shami, originally used as a place for horse training and racing during the time of the prophet Muhammad. It is believed that it was the first mosque where the Quran was read before the prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina. The Masjid Sabaq no longer exists, it was demolished during the expansion of Abu Bakr road and King Faisal road. Today the area is occupied by the SAPTCO mass transit station, near Masjid an-Nabawi.

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There is an account in Hadith of al-Bukhari, that mentions the prophet Muhammad participating in a horse race from Al-Hayfa to Tsaniyatul Wada' around six or seven miles, and from Tsaniyatul Wada' to the Bani Zuraiq Mosque (Masjid Sabaq) for around one mile. The name of the mosque refers to this practice, known in Arabic as Sabaqa (to surpass in race or competition). This mosque was demolished, during the expansions and renovations around the Prophet's Mosque.

Brief History

circa 650 CE

The Masjid al-Sabaq was originally established by scholar Muhyiddin al-Hanbali, who was the Qadi of Haramain Sharifain in the fifteenth century CE (circa 900 Hj.). Before its demolition the mosque was renovated by King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz for the last time. King Abdulaziz also built a hospital across the street.


circa 650 CE

The Masjid al-Sabaq had two floors, with an approximate area of 900 square meters. The mosque also included ablution facilities, shops and a minaret on the north-west corner. The minaret was about 30 meters in height, topped with a dome and a Muazzin's balcony.

The interior of the Masjid al-Sabaq was quite elaborate, which was in the architectural elements like walls, windows and columns. It was decorated with motifs highlighting Islamic architecture. The minbar of the mosque was to the right of the mihrab, and was decorated with stucco-painted forms, and ascended to seven marble steps.

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