Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, Saudi Arabia
Al Masjid an Nabawi located in Medina, Saudi Arabia, is the second holiest site in Islamic history, it is also the second mosque ever built.
After Masjid Al Haram in Mecca, Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is the second mosque built in Islamic history, the second holiest mosque and one of the largest mosques in the world. The mosque is always open at all times of the day, at any time in the year.
Al-Masjid an-Nabawi was the first place in the Arabic Peninsula to have electricity.
The original mosque was designed to be accessed through three doors; one to the south, another to the west and a third to the east. This basic plan would later be copied in the design of other mosques worldwide.
The mosque was enlarged and renovated over the years by Islamic leaders and rulers to accommodate the growing number of Muslims.
When lightning destroyed a large portion of the mosque in 1481 its walls were rebuilt by Sultan Qaytbay. Ottoman rulers also redecorated and rebuilt the mosque massively.
Upon the creation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia however, the mosque saw major restructuring and modifications; two minarets were added, two were replaced, a library was built, the size of the mosque was considerably increased etc.
Today, the mosque is a hundred times bigger than the original site, and covers almost the entire area of the old city itself.
Located in central Medina, markets and numerous hotels are just stone throw from Al-Masjid an-Nabawi.
Muslim pilgrims visit the mosque when performing the Hajj pilgrimage yearly as Hajj pilgrimage is one of the pillars of Islam, compulsory for every Muslim who can afford it.
Al-Masjid an-Nabawi has 10 minarets, each one with holes that illuminate the interior at its base. The mosque has the older mosque encased within it, with both easily distinguishable. The old mosque is colourfully decorated within the shiny with marble of the newer sections which surround it.
The most noticeable feature of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is the Prophet’s green dome, standing higher admits the white domes. The dome is where the Prophet’s tomb is located with early Muslim Caliphs Umar ibn al-Khattab and Abu Bakr buried nearby.
A small area extending from the tomb of the Prophet to the pulpit is called ar-Rawdah an-Nabawiyah, meaning ‘Gardens of Paradise’. Every pilgrim tries to pray there because it is believed that prayers said there are never rejected.
Thus the area is manned by guards to prevent overcrowding in the space. The fence of the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb is guarded too, to prevent pilgrims from touching it.
On July 4, 2016, just before the end of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in the parking lot of the mosque, leaving four people dead and several others injured.
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