How was Masjid an-Nabawi, in whose construction the Prophet (pbuh) himself worked, was built?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

1st year of the Hijrah / AD 622.

When the Honorable Messenger honored Medina with his coming, the city was lacking a place where they could perform salah together, and gather together to discuss their issues. They needed a mosque which would be a center for these important duties.

The first thing the Prophet started in Medina was to build this mosque.

When they entered the city for the first time, the Prophet’s camel kneeled down in a plot where two orphans named Sahl and Suhayl, from the Sons of Najjar tribe, dried dates. These two orphans were under protection of Muadh bin Afra, who was a Medina Muslim. The Honorable Messenger told Hazrat Muadh that he wanted to purchase this plot. However, this renunciant companion said that he wanted to donate the price of the plot, in order to have this distinct honor, to two orphans under his protection. However, the Prophet declined it. Then, he sent for the two orphans, who were the owners of the plot, and asked them the price of the plot. Two young orphans said: “O Messenger of Allah! We can only ask its price from Allah! We shall give it to you for the sake of Allah!”

The Honorable Messenger did not accept this proposal of the orphans, either and purchased the plot for ten shekels of gold, which was its price. Hazrat Abu Bakr paid this price to them right away as the Honorable Messenger told him to do so.1

The plot was cleaned up by self-sacrificing Companions in a short time, and with the order of the Messenger of Allah, adobe bricks were made.

Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Uthman and Hazrat Ali were present there when the Honorable Messenger was about to lay the foundations of the mosque. A Muslim who was passing by asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Are there only those few people with you?”

The Prophet said in response: “They are the ones who will manage after me.” Following him, Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Uthman and Hazrat Ali put down a stone in the base in this order. Therefore, in addition to the foundations of the Masjid an-Nabawi, the foundation of four caliphs era was also laid metaphorically.

The Prophet worked in building of the mosque actively without having a rest. While carrying adobe bricks in his blessed hands, he was also saying the following words, in order to cheer up and encourage Muslims:

"This load we are carrying, o Lord!
More decent and purer than Khaibar’s load!
O Lord! Blessings, yet otherworldly blessings!
May Thou mercy the Ansar and immigrants!"
2

Masjid an-Nabawi was built in a short time as a result of non-stop working. This divine temple, which was made of four adobe brick walls, free from all kinds of ornamentation, did not have a roof. Its qiblah was towards Jerusalem, as the Kaaba was not appointed to be the qiblah at that time. It was tetragonal in shape and had three gates and a mihrab. Date tree trunks were put in line in place of mihrab. There was no mimbar. Only was there a date log which the Messenger of Allah leant on while reciting sermons. Later, a mimbar with three steps was built as the Companions wished to do so.3

Masjid an-Nabawi took its final shape, having gone through restorations at various times.

Masjid an-Nabawi was used not only for collective praying but also for meeting religious needs of Muslim population. Moreover, lessons were taught in the mosque and, messengers and tribe chiefs were received (as it will be seen later) there.

Two rooms, one for Hazrat Sawda and one for Hazrat Aisha, were built of brick next to Masjid an-Nabawi. The top of the rooms were covered with date logs and branches.

Later, more rooms were built when the Prophet married other wives. Four rooms were made of brick and the other five were made of stone. Their roofs were made of date branches.

The Prophet moved into the rooms built next to Masjid an-Nabawi from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari’s house, after they were built.4

Footnotes:

1. Tabaqat, 1/239.
2. Sirah, 2/142; Tabaqat, 1/240
3. Tabaqat, 1/240
4. Sirah, 2/143.

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