Rawdah Riyad ul-Jannah (Masjid al-Nabawi)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Rawdah Riyad ul-Jannah, inside the oldest part of Masjid an-Nabawi, is a small section which extends from the eastern boundry of the Prophet's Tomb enclosure to his pulpit (Minbar Nabawi) westwards. It is a relatively small but very special area named Rawdah ul-Jannah litarally meaning the "Garden of Paradise" (see note), also known as the Rawdaht min Riyad ul-Jannah and Rawdah Sharifah (الروضة الشريفة) due to its sanctity being mentioned in one of the Ahadith (see note 1). Pilgrims attempt to visit the confines of the area, for there is a tradition that supplications and prayers uttered here are never rejected.

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The Rawdah ul-Jannah, general view of the area, with Mihrab Nabawi to the left and Minbar Nabawi partially visible to the right. In Islamic tradition the 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 cistern (hawd) (see Note 2)."

Entrance into the area is not always possible, especially during the Hajj season, as the space can only accommodate a few hundred people. Rawdah ul-Jannah is carpeted green in contrast to the rest of the mosque carpeted red. Although commonly called Riyad ul-Jannah (رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ), the correct term would be Rawdah (روضة). The Hadith is narrated by Malik from Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr;

"‏ مَا بَيْنَ بَيْتِي وَمِنْبَرِي رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ ‏"

Rawdah ul-Jannah, Masjid al-Nabawi

circa 622 CE

A Panoramic view of the Rawdah ul-Jannah (green carpeted area), with mehrab nabawi in the far background (center) and mukabariyya (right). The Suffah platform during the time of prophet Muhammad (after the Qiblah shift to Mecca) would have been somewhere close to the pillars at the boundry of green carpet. Though historically the area of Riyadhul Jannah has varied over the centuries and due to change in the constructions, today the approximate area of Rawdah ul-Jannah is about 22 meters by 15 meters.

Notable Structures

circa 622 CE

Mihrab of the Prophet, Masjid al-Nabawi

Mihrab Nabawi
The Mihrab Nabawi is one of the six mehrabs of prophet's mosque, it was only a commemorative mehrab at Masjid al-Nabawi and marks the spot from where prophet Muhammad used to lead prayers. Up until recently (December 2017) this mehrab has remained a commemorative one and the Imams used to lead prayers from the Mihrab Uthmani. It is richly decorated with patterns and gold-plated calligraphic inscriptions.

circa 622 CE

Minbar Nabawi (Pulpit of the Prophet)
The current Minbar Nabawi, was placed in the mosque by Qaitbey in the late fifteenth century and is still in use. The original minbar (Arabic: مِـنـۢبَـر‎) used by Muhammad was a "wood block of date tree". This was replaced by him with a tamarisk one, which had dimensions of 50 cm × 125 cm (20 in × 49 in). Also in 629, a three staired ladder was added to it. The first two caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar, did not use the third step "due to respect for the Prophet", but the third caliph Uthman placed a fabric dome over it and the rest of the stairs were covered with ebony.

circa 622 CE

Mukabariyya (Muazzin's Platform)
Also known as the Muazzin's platform, it is situated at the appriximate spot where Bilal Habashi used to stand over the wall of the Prophet's Mosque to declare the Adhan. The height of the platform is also approximately same as that of the height of the mosque's at the time of the Prophet. Before the introduction of loud speakers the muazzins at the Two Mosques would call Adhan from one of the minarets but in 1970s Muazzin platforms were installed in both Masjid al-Nabawi and Masjid al-Haram.

circa 622 CE

Bab ul-Taubah
The Bab ul-Touba (the gate of forgiveness), also known as Bab Sayeda Aiesha or Bab ul-Wufud, is located in the western wall of Rawdha al-Sharifa enclosure between the Ustwana e Wufud (column of the delegations) and Ustwana e Hars (the column of the guards). According to tradition this is the entrance that was used by Prophet Muhammad to enter mosque. The actual position of the door is approximately 8-10 feet behind the current location, now it is situated within the Rawdah ul-Jannah and book shelves (inspect) have been placed in front of it.

Notable Pillars

circa 622 CE

The Rawdha al-Sharifah or the Riyadhul Jannah contains at least eight known columns or pillars with which a tradition is attributed. Three of these (the delegations' column, the guards' column and the bed column) are located in the western enclosure wall of the Prophet Muhammad's Tomb Chamber. Two of the columns (the column of tawbah and the column of Aiesha) are located on east-west axis a little to the north-east of the Mihrab Nabawi. One of these (the column of the perfume column), traditionally the most important one, is located directely behind the Mihrab of the Prophet. These columns bear an embosed-circular calligraphic sign marking the original location of the tree-trunks which once supported the roof of the Masjid an-Nabawi.

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