For the next few days, Insha’Allah, I plan to come up with some amazing piece of information on the topic, “The Houses of the Companions around the Prophet’s Mosque”. To start with, let us first learn about the Hujuraat, the apartments of Prophet Muhammad, Sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam, and understand the underlying principle behind Hujuraat: Humble Living, High Thinking. (See the layout given below)
1. Importance of Hujuraat (Huts):
Hujuraat is plural of Hujrah. It means a hut or an ordinary cottage. Here Hujuraat means those houses in which Prophet Muhammad, Sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam, stayed in Madinah with his wives. According to several narrations, Prophet Muhammad Sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam built two huts for his two wives when he built the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina. One hut was for ‘Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) and the other for Saudah (radhiyallahu anha). Later on he had more wives and he, therefore, built similar huts for them. He built nine such huts during his lifetime and he spent last ten years of his life in these huts. One of these huts happens to be his resting place till the Day of Judgment.
One of the chapters of the Qur’an is called Al-Hujuraat to bring out the idea of simple living and high thinking. Allah (SWT) has mentioned these houses in the Qur’an as Hujuraat. For example, Al-Hujuraat # 4.
“Verily those who call you from behind the dwellings, most of them have no sense.”
In Surah Al-Ahzab, these houses are also mentioned when wives of the Prophet Sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam are addressed directly: Al-Ahzab # 33, 34.
“And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like those of the times of ignorance, and perform As-Salat, and give Zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove evil deeds and sins from you, 0 members of the family, and to purify you with a thorough purification. And remember, that which is recited in your houses of the Verses of Allah and Prophet’s Sunnah. Verily, Allah is Ever Most Courteous, Well-Acquainted with all things”
The importance and sacredness of these houses reaches its climax when these houses are mentioned as the dwelling place of the Prophet Sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam in Al-Ahzab # 53.
“O you who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses, unless permission is given to you for a meal, not to wait for its preparation. But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse without sitting for a talk. Verily, such annoys the Prophet, and he is shy of you; but Allah is not shy of the truth. And when you ask for anything you want, ask from behind a screen: that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not for you that you should annoy Allah’s Messenger, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him. Verily, with Allah that shall be an enormity.”
2. Location of Hujuraat:
Historians agree about the location of five Hujuraat. These were the residences of Hafsah (radhiyallahu anha), ‘Aishah (radhiyallahu anha), Saudah (radhiyallahu anha), Zanab bint Khuzaimah (radhiyallahu anha) and Umm Salmah (radhiyallahu anha). There are some differences among historians about the locations of other Hujuraat. After analyzing their difference we arrive at the conclusion that all these Hujuraat were situated on the eastern side of the Prophet’s mosque. They were in a row and were extended beyond the northern boundary of the mosque.
3. Description of Hujuraat:
What were these Hujuraat like? Each Hujrah consisted of a small room and a tiny backyard. The backyard was enclosed by the branches of palm trees and unbaked bricks. Blankets of hair were thrown on them to ensure privacy in the yard. The door of each Hujrah was not built from an expensive wood. Each door had a rough blanket hanging there for privacy. Hence each Hujrah reflected humbleness and modesty.
Dimension of each Hujrah was approximately 5m × 4m and the backyard was 5m × 3½m. A person standing in a Hujrah could touch the ceiling by his hand. Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) said, “I had not yet come of age and I used to visit the Hujrah. I could touch the ceiling with my hand when I was standing in a Hujrah”. (Khalasa tul-Vafa).
If Prophet Muhammad Sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam wished he could have built lofty palaces. He did not like to occupy himself with worldly life. His focus was on the Hereafter. He wished to teach us that the pomp and show of this life is not the criterion of success. The real success is the success of life to come. Hujuraat were an extraordinary symbol to teach this lesson to us. Because of this Saeed bin Musayyab (rahimahullah) wished that these Hujuraat should not have been demolished during the extension of the Prophet’s Mosque. He said, “I earnestly wished that these Hujuraat were left as they were, to remind the visitors as well as the new generations of Madina about the life style of Prophet Muhammad, sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam, and his contentment with so very little. Owners of lofty buildings would hopefully avoid bragging about their worldly assets after their visit to these humble cottages.”
Note: This series is courtesy of Janab Imtiaz Ahmad Sahib and is taken from his official website. I have taken the liberty to modify the spellings of some names.