Suffah (Bench of Ashab Suffah)

al-Suffah (الصُّفّة) or Dikkat Al-Aghwat (دكة الأغوات) is a place that was available at the rear side of Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Muhammad's Mosque), during the Medina period. Suffah is a rectangular raised platform near Riyad ul-Jannah. This is not the actual location of the original Suffah, the suffah was moved eastwards during several expansions of the mosque. This particular location marks the spot where Turk soldiers used to sit under shade while guarding the mosque.

circa 800 CE

Suffah platform looking directly towards Bab al-Nisa, Bab-i Jibraeel can be seen on the right (middle) and on the extreme right is the wall of Prophet Muhammad's Burial Chamber. It was initially available at the North-East corner of the mosque and Muhammad ordered it to be covered by palm leaves in order to provide shade, hence it was called al-Suffah or al-Zullah (الظلة); i.e. the shade. When al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Caliph, expanded the mosque, al-Suffah's location was change to where it is now called: Dikkat al-Aghwat.

circa 800 CE

Suffah platform looking west, Prophet Muhammad's burial chamber and Riyad ul-Jannah (extreme left). Homeless and unmarried Muhajirun (companions of Muhammad who migrated from Mecca) who did not have relatives in Medina, dwelt in al-Suffah where they were mainly learning the Quran and sunnah. These people were called "Ashab al-Suffah", which translates to "Suffa Fraternity". Prophet Muhammad used to sit with them, chat together, and used to call them to his food, sharing together his drinks, so they were counted as his dependents.

circa 800 CE

Suffah platform, Prophet Muhammad's burial chamber and Riyad ul-Jannah (extreme right). The most prominent member of Ashab al-Suffa was Abu Hurairah, at one time, as evidenced by Hadith. Members studied Sharia or Quran from Muhammad or from someone directly assigned by him. During wartime, those who were capable joined the army.

See Also