Notable Pillars in Rawdah Riyad ul-Jannah

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The notable pillars or columns of Masjid Nabawi mark a number of locations, with historic significance, inside the small part of the old Prophet's Mosque, known as the Rawdah Riyadhul Jannah. This area is covered with green carpets and marks the original premises of the Masjid an-Nabawi at the time of Prophet Muhammad.


The notable pillars or columns are eight in total. Six of these are located outside the enclosed tomb area and the rest two are located within the Maqsoorah. These pillars are believed to stand on/mark the exact spots where the original palm-tree trunks were erected to support the roof of the first mosque. These columns are significantly different from all other columns inside the mosque complex.

The positions of the columns are irregular in relation to the consistent layout of the other columns. Three of the pillars are incorporated within the golden railing surrounding the Sacred Chamber. This is on the side where visitors normally greet the Prophet.

One is to the rear of the mihrab and the other two stand in the first row of pillars, closest to the mihrab in the Rawdah area. A gold Arabic inscription on a large green circle marks the name of each pillar. This is encircled by a golden wreathe. The pillars as you see them today were erected during the Ottoman era.

There are either eight or nine of these pillars that retain the memory of some identification with the original mosque built by prophet Muhammad in 622 CE.

List of the Pillars

circa 625 CE

Pillar of the Guard
The Pillar of the Guard, Ustawana Muharrs (الاسطوانة المحرس) with an embosed calligraphic sign (inspect) marking the actual location of the guard's column, one of the major columns of prophet's mosque. Some of the Sahabah (companions of the prophet) used to sit watch here outside the Bab ul-Taubah which allowed direct access to the prophet Muhammad's residential quarters east of the mosque. It is also known as the ustuwana of 'Ali ibn abi Talib as he was the person who used to sit here on guard.

circa 625 CE

The Perfume Column
The Perfume Column (ustuwana Hannanah), also known as the ustuwana Mukhallaq is located directly behind the current Pulpit of the Prophet (Minbar Nabawi). It marks the spot where once the musallah of the prophet was. It was also the column, a tree trunk at the time, against which Prophet Muhammad used to lean during sermons (Khuttbah).

circa 625 CE

The Column of Tawbah
The ustuwana Tawbah (column of penitence) is located west of the Guards' Column and east of the Aiesha's Column, north-east of the current Mihrab Nabawi. Its name is attributed after an episode of penitence by Abi Lubaba, who was from the clan of Banu 'Amr bin 'Awf (a branch of 'Aus). At the time of Ghazwah Banu Quraizah he ties himself with this column and then remained there until his tawbah was accepted.

circa 625 CE

The Column of Aiesha
The ustuwana Aiesha is located directly to the north-east of the Mihrab Nabawi and to the west of the ustuwana Abi Lubabah. Today it is also marked by a golden wreath with an inscription (inspect). Historically this column has been known as the Column of the Migrants (ustuwana Muhajareen) or the Column of the Ballot (ustuwana Qur'ah) as well. Its importance stems from a tradition; where 'Abdullah ibn Zubair was told by Aiesha (hence the name ustuwana Aiesha) that this spot is so blessed that if people knew about it they would to cast lots (hence the name ustuwana qur'ah) to offer Salah here.

circa 625 CE

The Column of Wufud
The Column of the Delegations (ustuwana wufud) is located north of the guards' column. According to tradition this was used as a seat when the delegations of Arab people used to come. Historically, located at the edge of the shaded area of Masjid Nabawi, it was also known as majlis ul-qalawah (seat of the nobles), since the cheiftains and learned Sahabah also used to sit here.

circa 625 CE

The Column of Sareer
The Ustuwana Sareer (the column of the bed) is located to the south of the "guard column". During the time of prophet Muhammad a mat of dry date leaves used to be put here along the southern wall (the qiblah wall), and he used to rest here. This pillar marks an approximate area which was usually used by the prophet as a resting place. A tradition related from ibn Umar states that prophet Muhammad used to sit for aitekaf here and a cot made of dried date leaves was placed here with a pillow beside the lamps.

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