Masjid an-Nabawi at the time of Prophet Muhammad

The Masjid al-Nabawi was originally built by prophet Muhammad in the first year of the Hijrah (c. 622 CE), after his arrival in Medina. The land was owned by Sahal and Suhayl, partly as a place for drying dates, and at one end had been previously used as a burial ground. Refusing to "accept the land as a gift", he bought the land and it took seven or eight months to complete.

First Construction of Masjid an-Nabawi

circa 622 CE
(1 Hj.)

A model of the original mosque, at Dar al Medina, built by prophet Muhammad after he arrived in Medina following Hejrah from Mecca. The original mosque was 35 meters long and 30 meters wide. The imagined layout of the mosque as it might have looked in the first year of Hijrah, back then it was oriented north-south. The qiblah wall was to the north towards the Masjid al-Aqsa and the al-Suffah was along the south wall.

circa 622 CE
(1 Hj.)

The roof which was supported by palm trunks was made of beaten clay and palm leaves. It was at a height of 3.60 m (11.8 ft). The three doors of the mosque were Bab-al-Rahmah (The Door of Mercy) to the south, Bab-al-Jibril (Door of Gabriel) to the west and Bab al-Nisa (Door of the Women) to the east. originally these gates bore no names. The total area was some 1,050 square metres. Unbaked bricks were used as building material on top of a masonry foundation which was about 1.5 metres high.

circa 622 CE
(1 Hj.)

The initial construction of Masjid Nabawi started in Rabi al-Awwal of the year 1 Hj. (622 CE), with the Prophet himself taking part in laying its foundations and its development. He marked out the boundary of the site using the tip of a spear he inherited from his father, Abdullah. The Qibla (prayer direction) at time was north towards Jerusalem and it remained in this direction for 18 months. During this time prophet Muhammad was married to Sawdah bint Zam'a and Aiesha bint Abi Bakr, so at least two separate chambers were built on the south-eastern corner adjacent to the mosque.

circa 622 CE
(1 Hj.)

At some point after the completion of the first mosque, a minbar was installed. The original minbar used by Muhammad was a "wood block of date tree". This was replaced by him with a tamarisk one, which had dimensions of 50cm × 125cm (20in × 49in). Also in 629, a three staired ladder was added to it. Mud was used to plaster the walls and date palm trunks were used as columns. The original mosque of the Prophet did not have a mehrab, the first mehrab might have originated during the reign of Umayyad prince al-Walīd I (705–715)

circa 622 CE
(1 Hj.)

There was a roofed area towards the front of the masjid, which was made from palm tree branches cemented together by beaten clay. It was slightly sloped to facilitate drainage during the rainy season. The roof was attached to the northern wall and stood about 3.6 metres high. The majority of the courtyard was left open. The living quarters of the Prophet Muhammad were adjacent to Masjid Nabawi's south-eastern corner. The simple masjid underwent many phases of expansion, the first being seven years after its construction.

First Expansion of Masjid an-Nabawi

circa 629 CE
(7 Hj.)

First expansion of Masjid al-Nabawi took place right after the Battle of Khaybar, Width was increased by 20 meters and the length by 15 meters. The new dimensions became 50×50 meters. The northern boundary of the Mosque was where the Turkish construction ends in this direction. On the west side its boundary was five columns west of the pulpit. Written on each column there ‘The boundary of Prophet’s Mosque’ (inspect) can be seen.

circa 629 CE
(7 Hj.)

The foundation was laid with stones and the walls were built of unbaked mud bricks like before. The columns were made of palm tree and the roof was covered by branches of palm trees. The height of the roof was increased from 2½ meters to 3½ meters. Caliph Osman paid for the land for this addition of the mosque. By this time the mosque wasn’t just a place where the obligatory prayers were performed. It was also a place where teaching was carried out, politics were discussed, delegations were received and the needy were catered for.

circa 629 CE
(7 Hj.)

The total area of the mosque was increased to about 2200 square metres and the height of its walls was increased to about 3.6 metres. The masjid was extended to the north, east and west and each side now measured about 47 metres, making the masjid almost square. Three rows of columns, about 15 metres deep were added to the west wall. This area became the main space for prayer.

circa 629 CE
(7 Hj.)

Today this area is inside the older mosque Ottoman prayer hall and includes the Rawdah Riyad ul-Junnah. There was no mehrab in the mosque during this time as well, instead a minbar with either two or three steps was installed on the request of the companions.

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