Tomb of Prophet Muhammad

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The Tomb of Prophet Muhammad, known in Arabic as the al-Rawdah as-Sharifah (الروضة الشريفة), literally meaning the "the honoured garden", is a small enclosure, inside the Prophet's Mosque, where prophet Muhammad and two of his companions (Abu Bakr and Umar) are buried. The tomb of prophet Muḥammad is also known in Arabic as al-ḥujra al-nabawiyya (“the chamber of the prophet”), al-ḥujra al-sharīfa (“the noble chamber”), al-qabr al-sharīf (“the noble grave”), or al-rawḍah (“the garden”).

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Overview

Originally Prophet Muhammad's grave was within the confines of what used to be his wife Aisha and his house. Today the tomb enclosure includes a little more area along with the house of Aiesha and the house of Fatimah (which was located directly to the north). Today it is part of the Ottoman prayer hall.

The expansion of the Prophet’s mosque adjacent to this space, which took place between 706–709 during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph al-Walīd I (reigned 705–715 CE) and under the authority of the governor of Medina and future Umayyad Caliph, ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (died 717 CE), marks the most significant elaboration of his place of burial and a fundamental transformation of the space surrounding the grave.

The Prophet's grave is an important reason for the particular high sanctity of the mosque. Millions visit it every year, since it is a tradition to visit the mosque after the pilgrimage to Mecca. The “Tomb of Muḥammad” refers to the grave of the Prophet Muḥammad (d. 632 CE) as it is contained within a constructed sepulcher in addition to the surrounding area, which is at the same time an integral part of the Prophet’s mosque (al-masjῑd al-nabawῑ) in Medina, Saudi Arabia.

Death and Burial

circa 1279 CE

The deathbed of the Prophet Muhammad served as his place of burial, and he was inhumed within the earth of the room (ḥujra) assigned to his wife ʿĀ’isha, where he died in 632 CE. The first two Caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar are also buried next to Muhammad inside the same chamber. Umar was given a spot next to Muhammad by Aisha, which had originally been intended for herself. Muhammad's grave itself cannot be seen as the area is cordoned off by at three enclosure walls, green curtains and a gold mesh.

Current Structure

circa 632 CE

Golgen Grills of Prophet Muhammad's Tomb

Facades
The facade (المواجهة الشريفة) of the burial chamber is surrounded by a golden-grilled enclosure on all four sides, adorned with calligraphic inscriptions and patterns. These grills around the Maqsurah surround the burial chamber from all four sides, but are visible only from two sides, on the fourth side shelves for Qurans and books have been placed.

Iconic golden grills on the southern facade are the closest to the grave of prophet Muhammad. The southern side grills have six viewing holes which allow a glance inside the of prophet Muhammad's tomb, compose the southern wall of the burial chamber. The larger viewing marker to the left on the central panel lies in line with the tombstone of prophet Muhammad's grave and the other two are in line with the heads of Abu Bakr and Umar respectively.

circa 632 CE

The western facade (inspect) of the burial enclosure marks the modern day boundry of Riyadhul Jannah. On this side, there are located, three notable columns (from left to right: delegations' column, guard's column, and the bed column) and the Bab al-Taubah, which was once used by prophet Muhammad to enter in to the mosque. Today a number of book shelves (inspect) have been placed in front of this area.

circa 632 CE

The northern facade

circa 632 CE

Bab Fatimah
The Bab Fatimah (باب فاطمة), also known as the Bab Hujrah as-Sharifah (door of the noble chamber), is the modern day entrance that allows access to the outer chamber (area once comprised the house of Faitimah). This entrance is located on the eastern side, near the northern corner.

circa 1279 CE

Green Dome
The tomb/grave of prophet Muhammad is topped by a large Ottoman era dome. Today known as the Green Dome (القبة الخضراء) at the Prophet's Mosque, it is one of the most recognised feature of the Prophet's Mosque. The dome is located in the south-east corner of al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Mosque of the Prophet), marking the burial location of Muhammad, in Medina. The current dome structure dates back to 1279 CE, when an unpainted wooden cupola was built over the tomb. It was later rebuilt and painted using different colours twice in the late 15th century and once in 1817. The dome was first painted green in 1837, and hence became known as the Green Dome.

circa 632 CE

South-east corner of the Prophet's burial chamber (Aiesha bint abi-Bakr's House), as viewed from inside the Bab al-Baqi. The entrance to the chamber is in the right isle and the viewing holes in the Golden Grill are in the left isle. The Bab Fatimah is also located in the right isle at the north-eastern corner of the prophet Muhammad's tomb enclosure.

circa 632 CE

Interior
This is the area where the Mehrab Tahajjud was located. This corridore is located outside the Maqsoora. The is the closest point accessible inside the current enclosure. The actual tomb is covered with the green cloth to the right and is not accessible. During his lifetime it adjoined the mosque. The mosque was expanded during the reign of Caliph al-Walid I to include Prophet Muhammad's tomb and the quarters of Aisha and Fatimah as well.

circa 632 CE

Cut away of the sacred chamber and the Green Dome above it, based on the traditional accounts of the chamber structure. The crescent over the dome is made of brass and is gold-plated. The dome has a small window on the north side and is currently shut with wires. There's another smaller and lower dome inside the tomb as well, above the internal ceiling.

Disambiguation

circa 632 CE

A number of photographs circulate on the internet including this one titled as the "Rawdha Rasool", "Real Grave of prophet Muhammad" claiming to depict the actual interior and the grave of the prophet. But none of these are the factual ones, since the interior of the chamber is totaly closed to any entry. Though some areas of the current enclosure are accessible, the burial chamber itself is not.

Gallery

See Also

References

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