Arts & Culture

Have you ever heard about the First Capital of Islam?

The history of Medina is full of stories of giving and benevolence, the city has a special place in the hearts of Muslims as its people received Muhajirun (The first converts to Islam) who arrived from Mecca and welcomed them with brotherhood and sacrifice.

The reception came at a time when Muhajirun were suffering from ongoing assaults from disbelievers based in Mecca.

It is the city of the Prophet Muhammad and one of the places where the Islam message has been delivered to him.

Medina is the source of faith from which the light of guidance radiated, and to it, the Prophet Muhammad emigrated and where he lived the end of his life and where he was buried.

Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah has received care, attention, development, and construction throughout the ages, due to its Islamic, cultural, historical, and social status, and the Islamic and historical places and landmarks it contains associated with the biography of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Prophet’s Mosque, the second of the Two Holy Mosques, to which millions of Muslims flock throughout the year from all over the world, had the first and priority in the development, construction, and expansions.

The Prophet’s Mosque witnessed about 10 successive expansions, the largest of which took place during the era of the Saudi state, while the construction of the mosque began during the era of the Prophet, as the Prophet Muhammad planned the land of the mosque, making its length 30 meters and its width 35 meters.

The mosques’ pillars were erected from palm tree trunks.

The mosques included three doors, one at the back of the mosque, and it was called “Gate of Mercy”, and ” Jibril s Gate”, through which Prophet Mohamed enters, while a shaded place was made at the back of the mosque known as “Safa”, which is the place that was sheltering strangers and the poor.

The expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque continued in different periods from successive Islamic countries.

The Prophet’s Mosque has received care and attention since the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the hands of the founding King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud and his sons after him, who prepared all the capabilities and infrastructure.

 During the reign of late King Abdul Aziz, a crack was observed in some of the northern parts, some of the stones of the columns in that direction were strikingly disintegrated, so the king issued an order after studying the project to conduct architecture and expansion of the mosque.

He ordered to allocate all the needed expenses without restriction, with the expansion of roads around it, as King Abdulaziz announced in an official speech his intention to expand the Prophet’s Mosque and to start the project.

The demolition work also began for the buildings adjacent to the Prophet’s Mosque. It ended during the reign of King Saud bin Abdulaziz, and the architecture was made of reinforced concrete. As a result, 6033 square meters were added to the mosque’s surface.

The expansion was erected in a structural building of reinforced concrete, which consisted of columns bearing pointed arches.

The ceiling was divided into square surfaces formed in the style of wooden ceilings and decorated with vegetal shapes.

As for the minarets, they were built to reach a height of 72 meters; each one consists of four floors that are consistent in shape with the old minarets of the mosque. The walls of the mosque were decorated with beautiful windows.

The mosque was made of two naves separated by a portico instead of one. The floor of the mosque was covered with marble, and the Prophet’s Mosque had ten doors.

 With the increasing numbers of incoming visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque in the era of Late King Faisal, especially during the Hajj season, it became necessary to expand the Prophet’s Mosque to accommodate these increasing numbers.

Therefore, King Faisal issued his order to expand the Prophet’s Mosque; the expansion was from the western side of the Prophet’s Mosque only, as the expansion represented the addition of 35,000 square meters to the land of the Prophet’s Mosque.

It did not address the architecture of the mosque itself, but rather that space was prepared for the establishment of a large and shaded area that accommodates some worshipers, similar to their number inside the mosque.

An area of ​​5550 square meters was added and remained as such, which allowed the room to accommodate more worshipers.

During the reign of King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a fire broke out in the cloth market on the southwestern side of the Prophet’s Mosque. The area was removed and its floor leveled.

Moreover, owners of houses and real estate were compensated.

The aforementioned zone has been added to the area of ​​the mosque, where the area reached 43,000 square meters.

After taking over power in Saudi Arabia, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ordered studies for a major expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque, where the foundation stone for the expansion project of the Prophet’s Mosque was laid.

The expansion project includes the addition of a new building next to the existing mosque that surrounds and connects to it from the north, east, and west, with an area of ​​82,000 square meters, accommodating 167,000 worshipers, bringing its total area to 98,500 square meters.

The surface of the expansion was also covered with marble, and its area is estimated at 67,000 square meters to accommodate 90,000 worshippers. Thus, the Prophet’s Mosque after the expansion could accommodate more than 257,000 worshipers within a total area of ​​165,500 square meters.

The expansion work included the construction of a basement with the area of ​​the ground floor for expansion, to accommodate air conditioning, refrigeration, and other services.

 The project also included surrounding the Prophet’s Mosque with 23,000 square meters of courtyards with marble and granite, according to geometric shapes in multiple beautiful Islamic styles.

The number of worshipers can increase to 400,000 if the entire area of ​​the courtyards surrounding the Prophet’s Mosque is used, which makes the capacity of the entire mosque and the courtyards surrounding it more than 650,000, to reach one million worshipers at peak times.

The project included the installing of 12 huge umbrellas in the exposed pebbles area, which is located between the old mosque and the first Saudi expansion. 

During the reign of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the largest expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque in history was launched, in addition to the umbrella project of the Prophet’s Mosque, which he ordered, which is one of the giant projects, bringing the capacity of the Prophet’s Mosque to two million worshipers by the end of the project’s work.

The procession of care and attention to the Two Holy Mosques and their visitors continues under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who emphasizes in every forum his keenness to continue work on major expansion projects in the Two Holy Mosques, all of which serve Islam and Muslims.

Among this is the interest in the project of paving the western squares of the Prophet’s Mosque, to take advantage of the available spaces near the Prophet’s Mosque.

The project eases atmospheres for worshipers and visitors at peak times; it also reduces the burden of congestion during the Ramadan and Eid season.

The project area is estimated at 95,000 square meters, including 53,000 square meters of chapels, with a capacity of 80,000 to 100,000 worshippers. The project includes 164 speakers, 52 cameras, and LED lighting poles with 32 columns.

The royal approval was also issued to start implementing development projects and technical modernization of the sound system, light current systems, and electromechanical systems in the Prophet’s Mosque and its facilities, according to the latest technologies available globally. The approval also includes the development of sound, air conditioning, and automatic control systems in the Prophet’s Mosque projects, parking lots, and service buildings.

The Prophet’s Mosque also enjoys a prominent aspect of the Kingdom’s ambitious vision 2030 presented by Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister which aims to improve all services, and overcome all difficulties, so that pilgrims find all the specific ways to perform their rituals.

Medina abounds with many religious and historical places, these places have strict connections to the biography and life of the Prophet Muhammad.

Among the aforementioned places, is the “Quba Mosque”, which is located on its southwestern side.

Prophet Muhammad participated with his companions in building the mosque, and then the third Caliph Othman bin Affan renewed it. 

Expansions continued on the Quba Mosque, reaching the Saudi era, in which the largest expansion of the Quba Mosque took place, to accommodate more than 20,000 worshipers.

The northern part of it was designated to be a prayer room for women, with a capacity to accommodate more than 7000 worshippers.

Moreover, among the most important landmarks visited by pilgrims and visitors coming to Medina is the area of ​​the “Seven Mosques”, which is located on the western side of Mount Silaa, at part of the trench dug by Muslims during the era of the Prophet Muhammad, to defend Medina, during the Battle of Al-Ahzab (Parties) in the fifth year of Hegira.

The “Qiblatain Mosque” is one of the aforementioned seven historical mosques in Medina, where it was named after the change of the (Qiblah)  “The qibla is the direction towards the Kaaba in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, which is used by Muslims in various religious contexts”  from Bait Al-Maqdis to the Kaaba during prayer in it.

Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah was known for its numerous mountains and valleys, which were linked to the biography of the Prophet Muhammad.

The most important of these mountains is “Mount Uhud”, which overlooks its great historical position on Medina, from the northern side, boasting great prophetic evidence, represented in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad who walked in his footsteps and his honorable companions.

Besides the aforementioned mountain is the “Martyrs of Uhud” cemetery, which includes the graves of 70 martyrs of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, who were martyred during the Battle of Uhud.

The mountain witnessed that invasion, which marks the spread of Islam and the Hegira of the Prophet – Muhammad – from Mecca to Medina mountains.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques pays attention to the Islamic sanctities and maintains their security, as is the case with the leaders of Saudi Arabia since the era of King Abdulaziz, to this era in which the service of the Two Holy Mosques reached an unprecedented stage.

The upgrades include the establishment of the Royal Commission for the Development of Makkah and the Holy Sites, the establishment of the Holy Sites Company, the inauguration of the Al-Haramain Train, the order to establish the new Taif Airport to serve Makkah and another gateway for pilgrims, and the directive to complete all projects for the development of the two holy cities.

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz’s presidency of the Royal Commission for Makkah and the Holy Sites, and his instant visits to the holy sites, come from his keenness, interest, and care for the development of the Two Holy Mosques and align the development process with Saudi 2030 Vision.

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