Doors, Domes and Minarets of the Prophet’s Mosque

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DOORS

Baab Jibreel

It is in the eastern wall of Prophet’s Mosque. It is also called Baab-un-Nabi since the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] used to enter the mosque through this door. It was also known as Baab Osman since it was in front of Osman’s [Radhiallaahu anhu] house.

Jibreel [Alayhis salaam] came to the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] after the battle of Ahzab, and talked to the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] at the door step of Baab Jibreel. It is mentioned in Bukhari as narrated by Aaisha [Radhiallaahu anha], ‘After the battle of Ahzaab, Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] disarmed himself and took a bath. In the meanwhile, Jibreel [Alayhis salaam] came riding a pony and talked to the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] near the door step of Baab Jibreel. Jibreel [Alayhis salaam] said to the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam], ‘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 Qurayza.’ Aaisha [Radhiallaahu anha] added, ‘I was looking at Jibreel [Alayhis salaam] through the cracks in the door of my hut. Jibreel [Alayhis salaam] was covered with dust.’

Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] asked people on his way to Banu Qurayza, ‘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 [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] said, ‘That was Jibreel [Alayhis salaam] who was sent to Banu Qurayza to destroy their forts and induce fear in their hearts.’

When Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz expanded this mosque, he built Baab Jibreel in the eastern wall of the mosque in line with the original position of Baab 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:

‘Allah sends His Salaat (Mercy) on the prophet and also His angels. O you who believe! Send your Salaat (pray Allah to bless him) on him and greet him with the Islamic way of greeting.’ (Ahzaab 56)

There is a round stone on the top of this window. This window indicates the location where Jibreel [Alayhis salaam] stood during his conversation with the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam].

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

Baab Nisa

Umar [Radhiallaahu anhu] 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 Salaat 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 Umar [Radhiallaahu anhu] said, ‘We sould let the ladies use this door exclusively.’ Naafie said, ‘Abdullah ibn Umar [Radhiallaahu anhu] never entered the mosque through this door during his lifetime.’

Baab Rahmah

It is in the western wall of the mosque and it was originally installed by the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam]. 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 ibn Abdullah, it was sometimes called Baab Atika.

As mentioned in Bukhari and narrated by Anas ibn Maalik [Radhiallaahu anhu], One person entered the mosque from this door. The Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] was delivering his Friday sermon. That person stood up in front of the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] and said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, our wealth is destroyed, the travelling routes are cut off. Please pray to Allah for rain.’ The Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] raised his hands and said, ‘O Allah, please send us rain. O Allah, please send us rain. O Allah, please send us rain.’”

Anas [Radhiallaahu anhu] added, ‘There was no visible could 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 [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] was again delivering his Friday sermon. The man again stood up in front of the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] and said, ‘Our wealth is ruined and travelling routes are cut. Please pray to Allah to stop the rain.’ The Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] raised his hands and said, ‘O Allah, around us and not upon us. O Allah, on the trees and mountains and in valleys.’ Anas [Radhiallaahu anhu] 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. It rained due to the Prophet’s supplication. Hence, this door was called Baab Rahmah.’ Sakhawi also agrees with this explanation.

Sultan Abdul Majeed constructed the present wooden door of Baab Rahmah and it is written on it in Arabic, ‘amarahu al-Sultaan Abdul Majeed Khaan’.

Baab Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq [Radhiallaahu anhu]

Ibn Hajar [ra] said, ‘Small door is called Khukhah’. Such small door of Abu Bakr’s [Radhiallaahu anhu] house was near the fifth column west of the pulpit. This small door opened into the mosque. This door was movd westward along the same line during the various expansions of the mosque. During the first expansion by the Saudi government, it was named Baab al-Siddeeq.

As mentioned in Bukhari and narrated by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri [Radhiallaahu anhu], the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] said during a Sermon, ‘Allah has given freedom to his obedient servant servant to choose between the worldly life or what Allah has. I have chosen what is with Allah.’ From this, Abu Bakr [Radhiallaahu anhu] clearly understood that this is pointing towards the departure of the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] from this world. Hence, Abu Bakr [Radhiallaahu anhu] started crying on hearing this sermon. The Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] said to Abu Bakr [Radhiallaahu anhu], ‘Don’t cry, you are indeed my most trustworthy companion. If I had to make c comrade 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 [Radhiallaahu anhu].’

Ibn Hajar [ra] has given the following explanation of this Hadith. He said, ‘This was the time when the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] was ill before his departure from this world. It was also the time when the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] had ordered Abu Bakr [Radhiallaahu anhu] to lead the Salaat in his place. Both these events were pointing towards the Khalifat of Abu Bakr [Radhiallaahu anhu]. Hence, the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] ordered to keep the door of the house of Abu Bakr [Radhiallaahu anhu] open into the mosque.

Baab Salaam

In 17H, Umar [Radhiallaahu anhu] 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 [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] 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.

Baab Baqee

This door was installed in 1408H. It is in the eastern wall of the mosque and is exactly opposite to Baab Salaam. It is to facilitate the flow of traffic. People leave the mosque from this door after salutation to Prophet Muhammad [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] and his two companions.

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 178H, Sultan Mnsur 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 1235H its colour of lead plates fixed on it. In 1253H, Sultan Mahmood Osmani ordered to colour 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 done.

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 [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] and his companions.

Hence, it is not proper to make domes on graves in various countries. In fact, the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] has forbidden us to make graves with bricks or concrete or to make a structure on top of the graves. (Sunan Abu Dawud)

MINARETS

There were no minarets in the Prophet’s Mosque during the periods of the Prophet [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] and his four Caliphs. In 91H, Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz [ra] 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 Adhaan be heard as far as possible.

Urwa ibn al-Zubayr [Radhiallaahu anhu] narrated that one woman of Banu Najjaar informed Bilaal [Radhiallaahu anhu] that her house is the highest. Bilal [Radhiallaahu anhu] used to call Adhaan for Fajr from top of her house. (Abu Dawud)

Abdul Aziz ibn Imraan narrated that there was a column in house of Abdullah ibn Umar [Radhiallaahu anhu]. The Adhaan was called from the top of this column. This column was existing till tenth century Hijra. Hence, the scholars recommend to make Adhaan from top of a high spot to let the call reach as far as possible.

They started calling the Adhaan from the minarets for this reason in 91H.

Sakhawi (died 902H) narrated that Sultan Ashraf Qaitabai built a raised platform of marble for Adhaan. It was probably built where Bilaal [Radhiallaahu anhu] used to call Adhaan for Salaatul Jumu’ah 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 Muazzin used to make Adhaan from the top of this minaret. It always had its own original shape till a lightening struck it during 886H. The lightning 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 remodelled and its upper third part was redone with concrete. This remodelling was completed in seven months. During 1411H, several repairs were also made to satisfy some technical needs.