Masjid-un-Nabwi: Doors, Domes and Minarets

By Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad

A. DOORS

1. BAB  JIBREEL:

It is in the eastern wall of Prophet’s Mosque. It is also called Bab-un-Nabi since the Prophet (SAS) used to enter the mosque through this door. It was also known as Bab Osman since it was in front of Osman’s (RU) house.

Jibreel (AS) came to the Prophet (SAS) after the battle of Ahzab, and talked to the Prophet (SAS) at the door step of Bab Jibreel. It is mentioned in Bukhari as narrated by Aisha , “After the battle of Ahzab, Prophet (SAS) disarmed himself and took a bath. In the meanwhile, Jibreel (AS) came riding a pony and talked to the Prophet (SAS) near the door step of Bab Jibreel. Jibreel (AS) said to the Prophet (SAS), “You have put away your arms but we (the angels) are still in battle uniforms. So you should come with us to attack Jewish tribe Banu Quraiza .” Aisha  added, “I was looking at Jibreel (AS) through the cracks in the door of my hut. Jibreel (AS) was covered with dust.”

Prophet (SAS) asked people on his way to Banu Quraiza, “Did you see anybody pass this way a little while ago?” They said, “We saw Dehya Qalbi pass this way riding a white and black pony. He had silk sheet spread under him.” Prophet (SAS) said, “That was Jibreel (AS) who was sent to Banu Quraiza to destroy their forts and induce fear in their hearts.”

When Omar bin Abdul Aziz expanded this mosque, he built Bab Jibreel in the eastern wall of the mosque in line with the orignal position of Bab Jibreel. This door was closed during the renovation of this wall. At present, there is a window which has the following wording written on it. ( Al-Ahzab # 56 )

Allah sends His salat (Mercy) on the prophet and also His angels. O you who believe! Send your salat (pray Allah to bless him) on him and greet him with the Islamic way of greeting.

There is a round stone on the top of this window. This window indicates the location where Jibreel (AS) stood during his conversation with the Prophet (SAS).

During the extension of the mosque, the door has been moved somewhat eastward in line with its original position as reported by Samhoudi.
2. BAB  NISA:

Omar (RU) expanded the mosque during 17H. He built this door at the end of eastern wall of the mosque. Ladies used to enter the mosque from this door and offered their salat in the last rows. Ladies felt very comfortable to enter and leave the mosque from this door without coming across any men. Abu Dawud mentioned that Omar (RU) said, “We should let the ladies use this door exclusively.” Nafae said, “Abdullah bin Omar (RU) never entered the mosque through this door during his lifetime.”
3. BAB  RAHMAH:

It is in the western wall of the mosque and it was originally installed by the Prophet (SAS). During the various expansions of the mosque, it was moved westward in line with its original position. Since this door was in front of the house of Atika,  , it was sometimes called Bab Atika.

As mentioned in Bukhari and narrated by Anas bin Malik (RU), “One person entered the mosque from this door. The Prophet (SAS) was delivering his Friday sermon. That person stood up in front of the Prophet (SAS) and said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, our wealth is destroyed, the traveling routes are cut off. Please pray to Allah (SWT) for rain.’ The Prophet (SAS) raised his hands and said, ‘O Allah, please send us rain. O Allah, please send us rain. O Allah, please send us rain.’”

Anas (RU) added, “There was no visible cloud in the sky at that time. There was no house between us and the Silaa mountain which could hinder us in looking at the clear sky. After Prophet’s supplication, a small cloud rose from behind Silaa Mountain and spread over the sky and started raining there and then. It rained heavily for six days. We did not see any sun for these six days.”

“Next Friday the same person entered the mosque while the Prophet (SAS) was again delivering his Friday sermon. The man again stood up in front of the Prophet (SAS) and said, ‘Our wealth is ruined and the traveling routes are cut. Please pray to Allah to stop the rain.’ The Prophet (SAS) raised his hands and said, ‘O Allah, around us and not upon us. O Allah, on the trees and mountains and in valleys.’ Anas (RU) said, “The clouds split instantly and we were walking in the sun.”

Samhoudi said, “According to this Hadith a villager entered the mosque from a door near the Justice Department and he requested for rain. There was no other door of mosque in the western wall of the mosque at that time. Rain is the sign of Mercy of Allah (SWT). It rained due to the Prophet’s supplication. Hence this door was called Bab Rahmah.” Sakhavi also agrees with this explanation.

Sultan Abdul Majeed constructed the present wooden door of Bab Rahmah and it is written on it in Arabic: ( Amra Sultan Abdul Majeed Khan)
4. BAB  ABU  BAKR  SIDDIQUE (RU):

Ibn Hajar said, “Small door is called Khukhah” Such small door of Abu Bakr’s (RU) house was near the fifth column west of the pulpit. This small door opened into the mosque. This door was moved westward along the same line during the various expansions of the mosque. During the first expansion by the Saudi Government, it was named Bab Siddique.

As mentioned in Bukhari and narrated by Abu Saeed Khudri (RU), the Prophet (SAS) said during a Sermon, “Allah (SWT) has given freedom to his obedient servant to choose between the worldly life or what Allah (SWT) has. I have chosen what is with Allah (SWT).” From this Abu Bakr (RU) clearly understood that this is pointing towards the departure of the Prophet (SAS) from this world. Hence Abu Bakr (RU) started crying on hearing this sermon. The Prophet (SAS) said to Abu Bakr, “Don’t cry, you are indeed my most trustworthy companion. If I had to make a comrade (Khaleel)   in my Ummah, it would have been you. But we are bonded together through Islamic brotherhood. All doors opening into the mosque should be closed except the door of the house of Abu Bakr (RU).”

Ibn Hajar has given the following explanation of this Hadith. He said, “This was the time when the Prophet (SAS) was ill before his departure from this world. It was also the time when the Prophet (SAS) had ordered Abu Bakr (RU) to lead the salat in his place. Both these events were pointing towards the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (RU). Hence the Prophet (SAS) ordered to keep the door of the house of Abu Bakr (RU) open into the mosque.
5. BAB   SALAM:

In 17H, Omar (RU) built this door in the western wall of the mosque. People used to enter the mosque through this door and proceeded straight to the Sacred Chamber for salutation. This led the people to the south of the Sacred Chamber. Note that the Prophet (SAS) and his two companions are facing in this direction. After salutation the people often leave this area to make room for others.

During the various extensions of the mosque, this door was also moved westward in the same line.
6. BAB  BAQEE:

This door was installed in 1408 H. It is in the eastern wall of the mosque and is exactly opposite to Bab Salam. It is to facilitate the flow of traffic. People leave the mosque from this door after salutation to Prophet Mohammed (SAS) and his two companions.
B. DOMES:

There were no domes on the Sacred Chamber for a long time. The roof of the Sacred Chamber was made of bricks to distinguish it from the roof of the rest of the mosque.

In 678H, Sultan Mansur Qalaon made a dome on the Sacred Chamber. He covered it with lead plates so that rain water may not go through it. This is known as the outer dome.

It was renovated from time to time. From 678H to 1253H its color was the color of lead plates fixed on it. In 1253H, Sultan Mahmood Osmani ordered to color it green. Since then it is known as Green Dome. It is repainted whenever it becomes faint due to weather conditions.

In 881H, Sultan Ashraf Qaitabai replaced the brick roof of the Sacred Chamber by an inner smaller dome.

The Domes were built to distinguish the roof of the Sacred Chamber from the roof of the rest of the mosque and also to safeguard against severe weather conditions. It was also to prevent anybody walking on the roof of the Sacred Chamber out of respect for the Prophet (SAS) and his companions.

Hence it is not proper to make domes on graves in various countries. In fact the Prophet (SAS) has forbidden us to make graves with bricks or concrete or to make a structure on top of the graves.   (Sunan Abu Dawud)
C. MINARETS:

There were no minarets in the Prophet’s Mosque during the periods of the Prophet (SAS) and his four caliphs. In 91H, Omar bin Abdul Aziz (RU) built four minarets on the four corners of the Prophet’s Mosque. Each minaret was about thirty feet high and with a base of 4×4 meters.

The purpose of these minarets was to let the Aazan be heard as far as possible.

Urwa bin Zubair (RU) narrated that one woman of Banu Najjar informed Bilal (RU) that her house is the highest. Bilal (RU) used to call Aazan for Fajr from top of her house.  (Abu Dawud)

Abdul Aziz bin Imran narrated that there was a column in house of Abdullah bin Omar (RU). The Aazan was called from the top of this column. This column was existing till tenth century Hijra. Hence the scholars recommend to make Aazan from top of a high spot to let the call reach as far as possible.

They started calling Aazan from the minarets for this reason in 91H.
Sakhavi (died 902H) narrated that Sultan Ashraf Qaitabai built a raised platform of marble for Aazan. It was probably built where Bilal (RU) used to call Aazan for Salat-ul-Jumah in front of the pulpit. In 1403H, it was renovated.

MAIN  MINARET:

It is situated on the southeastern corner of the mosque. It is called main minaret since the head muezzin used to make Aazan from the top of this minaret. It always had its own original shape till a lightening struck it during 886H. The lightening damaged the minaret severely. It was, therefore, totally removed and rebuilt from the very foundation. During this construction its height was increased. Sultan Qaitabai completed its constructions during 892H. When Sultan Abdul Majeed reconstructed the mosque, he left this minaret as is because of its elegance and sturdiness. However, its door was redecorated. This door is inside the mosque just west of the foot of the minaret.

During 1402H this minaret was remodeled and its upper third part was redone with concrete. This remodeling was completed in seven months. During 1411H, several repairs were also made to satisfy some technical needs.

 
 

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