October 27, 2019

Major pillars of Masjid-e-Nabwi

Pillars of Masjid-e-Nabwi
The diagram above is a plan view of the front part of Masjid-e-Nabwi and identifies pillars (ustuwaanah) where a significant event or act occurred (the pillars themselves are not important). Note that the position of these pillars was the same as in the time of the Prophet (ﷺ).
1. Ustuwaanah Hannanah (the weeping pillar):
Pillars of Masjid-e-Nabwi: 1. Ustawaanah Hannanah
This is also called the Ustuwaanah Mukhallaq. This is the most blessed of the pillars for this was the Prophet’s (ﷺ) place of salah. On this spot there once used to grow a date palm tree. Before the advent of the mimbar, the Prophet (ﷺ) used to lean on it while delivering the khutbah (sermon). When the mimbar was made the Prophet (ﷺ) used it for the khutbah. It so happened when the change took place, such a bitter sound of weeping was heard from the tree that the whole masjid echoed; and those in the masjid started weeping. The Prophet (ﷺ) then said: “The tree cries because the zikr of Allah was near it, and now that the mimbar is built it has been deprived of this zikr in its immediate vicinity. If I did not place my hand on it, it would have cried thus till the Day of Qiyamah.” Afterwards the tree dried up and was buried.
2. Ustuwaanah Sareer:
Ustawannah Sareer
‘Sareer’ means sleeping place. It is reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) used to make i’tikaaf here also, and used to sleep here while in i’tikaaf. A platform of wood used to be put here for him to sleep on.
3. Ustuwaanah Tawbah:
Pillars of Masjid-e-Nabwi: 3. Ustawaanah Tawbah
Also known as Ustuwaanah Abu Lubabah. Abu Lubabah (may Allah be pleased with him) was one of the famous Sahaba. Before Islam, he had much dealings with the Jews of Banu Quraizah. When they acted treacherously during the Battle of the Trench and were taken captive he told them that they were to be killed by making a sign across his throat. After having done that he become so grieved at this indiscretion that he could not rest.
He entered the masjid at this spot where a date-tree used to stand. He bound himself to the trunk saying: “As long as my repentance is not accepted by Allah, I shall not untie myself from here. And the Prophet (ﷺ) himself must undo my bonds.” When the Prophet (ﷺ) heard this he said: “If he had come to me I would have begged forgiveness on his behalf. Now he had acted on his own initiative, I cannot untie him until his repentance has been accepted.”
For many days he remained tied there, except for salah and the call of nature. At such times his wife and daughter used to untie him and then again tied him to the tree. He remained without food and drink as a result of which his sight and hearing were affected. Then after a few days one morning while the Prophet (ﷺ) was in tahajjud prayer in the house of Umme Salamah (may Allah be pleased with him), he received the good news that his tawbah had been accepted. The Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with him) conveyed the news to him, and wanted to untie him but he refused, saying: “As long as the Prophet (ﷺ) does not untie me with his blessed hands, I shall not allow anyone else to do so.” When the Prophet (ﷺ) entered for Fajr salah he untied him.
4. Ustuwaanah Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her):
Pillars of Masjid-e-Nabwi: 4. Ustawaanah Aisha
The Prophet (ﷺ) used to say his prayers here and afterwards moved to the place at Ustuwaanah Hannanah. It is also called the Ustuwaanah Qu’rah. The reason for this is that Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reports that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “In this masjid is one such spot that if people knew the true blessed nature thereof, they would flock towards it in such in a manner to pray there they would have to cast such lots (i.e. Qu’rah).”
People asked her to point out the exact spot which she refused to do. Later on, at the persistence of Abdullah bin Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) she pointed to this spot. Hence it is called Ustuwaanah Aisha, because the Hadith is reported by her and the exact spot was shown by her. It is a fact that Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) very often used to pray here.
5. Ustuwaanah Ali (may Allah be pleased with him):
Pillars of Masjid-e-Nabwi: 5. Ustuwaanah Ali
Also known as Ustuwaanah Mah’ras or Hars. ‘Hars’ means to watch or protect. This used to be the place where some of the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) used to sit when keeping watch or acting as gatekeepers. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) used to be the one who mostly acted as such, for which it is often called Ustuwaanah Ali (may Allah be pleased with him). When the Prophet (ﷺ) entered the masjid from the door of Aisha’s (may Allah be pleased with her) room, he passed this spot.
6. Ustuwaanah Wufood:
Pillars of Masjid-e-Nabwi: 6. Ustuwaanah Wufood
‘Wufood’ means delegations. Whenever deputations arrived to meet the Prophet (ﷺ) on behalf of their tribes, they were seated here and here he used to meet them, conversed with them and taught them Islam.
7. Ustuwaanah Jibraeel:
This was the usual place where Jibraeel (upon him be peace) used to enter to visit the Prophet (ﷺ). Today it cannot be seen as it lies inside the Sacred Chamber of the Prophet (ﷺ).
8. Ustuwaanah Tahajjud:
It is reported that this was the spot where late at night a carpet was spread for the Prophet (ﷺ) to perform tahajjud prayer, after all the people had left. It is currently covered by a bookcase but this historic photo shows what exists behind it:
Mehrab Tahajjud
And this is the small mehrab (prayer niche) that also exists inside the Rawdah Mubarak itself:
Mihrab of Tahajjud

References:  How to perform Ziyaarah – Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat, Ziyarah & Salawat – Fisabilillah Publications

Riadhul Jannah and mehrab

Riadhul Jannah in Masjid-e-Nabwi
The area between the Sacred Chamber and the Pulpit (Mimbar) is known as the Riadhul Jannah i.e. Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet and is also referred to as Rawdah.
  • Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
    “Between my house and my pulpit lays a garden from the gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit is upon my fountain (Al-Kauthar).” [Bukhari]
  • Scholars have interpreted the above narration as follows: The Garden is parallel to a garden above it in Paradise. Or it is in reality a garden of paradise, which will be returned to paradise in the hereafter. Or it is like the gardens of paradise, because the peace and tranquility which is experienced in it when engaged in the remembrance of Allah resembles that of paradise. [Akhbar Madina tur Rasool, Ibn Najjar]
  • The original size Is approximately 22 meters in length and 15 meters in width, part of it is in the chamber of the Prophet (ﷺ).
Mehrab (Prayer niche):
Mehrab of Masjid-e-Nabwi
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) prayed for about 16 months facing towards Al-Quds in Jerusalem on his arrival in Madinah. If one was to walk away from the ‘Aisha column’, leaving it towards your back, the fifth column will be in line with the door marked as Bab-e-Jibraeel. This fifth column was the approximate praying spot of the Prophet (ﷺ) for the above period. It was near to the extreme north boundary of the original mosque.
  • After the change in Qibla, the Prophet (ﷺ) offered salah near Aisha’s column for a short period while facing towards the Ka’bah. Later he started leading salat at the spot where the Mehrab Nabwi is nowadays. Note that there was no mehrab at this spot during the period of the Prophet (ﷺ) and the four Caliphs.
  • In 91 AH, Umar bin Abdul Aziz made a praying niche in the form of a mehrab. Since then it is called Mehrab Nabwi. If you were to stand in the mehrab for offering salah, your place of sajda will be where Prophet’s (ﷺ) feet used to be. The Prophet’s (ﷺ) place of sajda is intentionally covered by the thick wall of the mehrab.
Mimbar (pulpit):
Pulpit (Mimbar) of Masjid-e-Nabwi
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) used to lean against the trunk of a palm tree  while delivering a sermon. The Ansar humbly suggested to him, “If you approve, we can make a pulpit for you.” The Prophet (ﷺ) approved it and a pulpit was made. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) sat on this pulpit to make an address. When the Prophet (ﷺ) started using the new pulpit, the old tree yearned for him like a camel missing its calf. The Prophet (ﷺ) hugged the trunk until it had calmed down and then ordered that a ditch be dug and the trunk buried decently into it.
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) used to stand on the third rung while delivering his sermons. When Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) became caliph, he stood on the second rung and Umar bin Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) stood on the first. Caliph Usman bin Affan did as Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) had done for six years before he returned to the old position of the Prophet. Amir Muawiyyah (may Allah be pleased with him) made a pulpit consisting of nine rungs. The leaders started sitting on the seventh rung. The pulpit has since been kept in this form and the Khateeb has been sitting on the seventh rung since that time.
  • The pulpit has been replaced on many occasions throughout the centuries. The present pulpit was put up by Sultan Murad in 998 AH.
Athan Platform:
Platform for adhan in Masjid-e-Nabwi

References:  History of Madinah Munawwarah – Dr. Muhammad Ilyas Abdul Ghani, Wikipedia History of Madina – Ali Hafiz

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