On sighting a scene of impeccable beauty, we often hear the term “Heaven on Earth!” But there is only one place that literally has the right to proclaim itself as such. There, deep in the mosque of the Prophet (SAW) “Masjid Nabawi”, covered by green carpets and the tears of millions, lies a “garden from the gardens of paradise.” It is a place known to Muslims of all generations, yet there’s still so much we don’t know about it. Here are just some of the interesting facts and mysteries of the Prophet’s (SAW) Mosque:
9. The first part in the Arabian Peninsula to have electricity
History has it that when the Ottomans introduced electricity to the Arabian Peninsula, the first place to be lit up was masjid Nabawi “the Prophet (SAW) mosque” By some accounts, it took a few more years before the Sultan himself had full electricity in his own palace at Istanbul.
8. The current mosque is larger than the old city.
The present day mosque is more than a hundred times the size of the original building. Because of this, the current mosque covers nearly the entire area of the old town itself. This is obvious from the fact that while Jannat Al-Baqi cemetery was on the outskirts of the city for the duration of the time of the Prophet (saw), it now borders the precincts of the current mosque grounds.
7. There’s an empty grave in the Prophet’s (SAW) room
It has long been the belief that there may be an “empty grave” next to where the Prophet (saw), Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA) are buried. This was confirmed from those who usually go in to change the coverings inside the hujrah during the 1970. The empty grave is believed to be reserved for Isa (RA) when he returns.
6. It was destroyed by fire
Historically most of the old mosque, including the original mimbar of the Prophet (SAW), was damaged in a fire outbreak that swept through the mosque centuries after the Prophet (SAW) died. The fire was so intense that it collapsed the roof and even some of the walls of the room of the Prophet (SAW), revealing his resting place for the first time in over 600 years.
5. There was no dome before, now there are two!
The domes currently seen at the top of the mosque where both erected some 650 years after the Prophet (SAW) passed away, and there was no dome over his grave. The first was built by a Mamluk sultan in 1279 and was made from wood. The green dome that we see today is actually the outer dome over the room of the Prophet (SAW). There is an inner dome that is much smaller and has the name of the Prophet (SAW), Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA) inscribed on the inside.
4. The dome used to be purple!
It is true that the domes we see today has been through various renovations which include various colors and renovations before its current form and colour about 150 years ago. It used to be white and for the longest period it was a purple-blue colour.
3. It has three mihrabs
Most mosques only have one mihrab (a niche inside a mosque where the imam stands that faces qibla), whereas, the Prophet’s (SAW) mosque has three. The current mihrab is the one used nowadays for the imam to lead prayers. The next mihrab is set back and is called the Suleymaniye which was made on the orders of the Sultan Suleyman the magnificent for the Hanafi Imam to lead prayers whilst the Maliki Imam lead prayers from the Prophetic mihrab. The Prophetic mihrab completely covers the area that the Prophet (SAW) used to lead prayers from except where he placed his feet.
2. What lies in the room of Fatima (RA)?
Fatimah’(RA) s room is believed to contain Items belonging to the Prophet (SAW) which was incorporated into his room after a major expansion. During world war 1, when Medina was under siege, the Ottoman commander evacuated many priceless artifacts to Istanbul, hidden in women and children cloths, which are currently being displayed in the Topkapi palace.
1.It is full of secret signs
In the prophet’s mosque it is evident that every pillar, dome and window carries a story or events that carry historical and spiritual significance. The architects of the Prophet’s Mosque realized that it would be impossible to put up signs everywhere as it would compromise the purpose of prayers. Therefore, devised an ingenious ways of indicating locations of importance through minor changes to the design of surrounding objects. The Rasul’s mosque was never just a mosque. It served as a center for the first Islamic community and nation. It represents the scene of our greatest triumphs and tragedies.