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Friday, 2 June 2017

THE MOSQUE FOUNDED ON PIETY: Masjid Quba, (Umrah Memories 1/3)

(Umrah Memories 1/3)

Masjid Quba
“The Mosque Whose Foundation
Was Laid On Piety”
– (al-Quran 9:108)

(M. Javed Naseem)

Masjid Quba (Quba Mosque), is the very first mosque that was established by the Muslims of Arabia who migrated from Makkah to Madinah. On Monday, September 23, 622, prophet Muhammed (s.a.w.) arrived at a town in Madinah named Quba.  He stayed with Khulthum bin Al-hadm, a hospitable chief of the tribe of Amr bin Awf.  Here he spent four days, and it was during this period that the foundation of the Quba mosque was laid, based on pure piety.
Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w.) positioned its foundation stones and it was completed by his companions, making Masjid al-Quba the first mosque in the history of Islam whose foundation stone was laid by the prophet Muhammed (s.a.w.) himself and is also the first mosque in which he prayed with his companions openly in congregation.
Allah refers to this mosque in the Quran (Surah al-Tauba):

“… There is a mosque whose foundation was laid
from the first day on piety. It is more worthy of
standing forth (for prayer) therein. In it are men
who love to be purified; and Allah loves those
who make themselves pure.”
(al-Quran 9:108)

Masjid Quba has the distinction of not only being the First Mosque of Islam, but also the first mosque founded by the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). This masterpiece of Islamic architecture is situated about 5-6km from the Masjid-e-Nabawi at Madinah. This is one of the most important landmarks of Madinah. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) himself participated in the construction of this mosque, along with other Mohajireen and Ansaar.
The Prophet (s.a.w) personally carried stones, rocks and sand with his companions for the construction work. Al-Tabarani quoted Al-Shimous Bint Al-Nuaman as saying, “I saw the Prophet when he constructed this mosque. He used to carry stones and rocks on his back until it was bent. I also saw dust on his dress and belly. But when one of his companions would come to take the load off him, he would say no and ask the companion to go and carry a similar load instead.”

In 1986, the Egyptian architect Abdel-Wahed al-Wakil was commissioned to reconstruct the new and expanded Quba Mosque, and he maintained the Medinah style of architecture – ribbed white domes, and basalt facing and modest exterior. He intended to incorporate the old structure into his expanded design but he could not. So, the old mosque was torn down and replaced with a bigger new one.

The new mosque consists of a rectangular prayer hall raised on a second story platform. The prayer hall connects to a cluster containing residential areas, offices, ablution facilities, shops and a library. Six additional entrances were dispersed on the northern, eastern and western façades. Four minarets mark the corners of the prayer hall. The minarets rest on square bases, have octagonal shafts which take on a circular shape as they reach the top.
The women's prayer area, which is surrounded by a screen, is divided into two parts as a passageway connects the northern entrance with the courtyard.
Sheikh Dr. Salih ibn Awwad al-Maghamsi is the current Imam of Masjid Quba.

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) led the first group-prayer from Quba Mosque when Al-Aqsa Mosque in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) was the Qibla at the time. That Friday he left Quba with Abu Bakr (r.a.a.). He sent a message to Banu Najjar, the house of his maternal grandfather. His kinsmen came to Quba and joined the Prophet (s.a.w.) on his way to Madinah.
As per a Hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Dinar: Ibn Umar (r.a.a.) said, “The Prophet used to go to the Mosque of Quba every Saturday (sometimes) walking and (sometimes) riding.”
According to another Hadith, the Prophet (s.a.w) said: “He who purifies himself at his home and comes to Masjid Quba and offers two Rakats therein, will be granted the reward of an Umrah.” – (Sunan ibn Majah).

Masjid Jummah

Masjid Jumma is also known by Masjid Bani Salim, Masjid al-Wadi, Masjid Ghubaib and Masjid Aatikah. It is situated on the boundary of Madinah and marks the site where the Prophet (s.a.w.) led the first Jummah prayer, shortly after migration (Hijrah) from Makkah. It’s about 2.5km from Masjid-e-Nabawi.

According to a narration, the Prophet (s.a.w.) left Quba on a Friday to enter Madinah. On the way, about a kilometer from Quba, he passed by the village of Banu Salim bin Auf. The people of Banu Salim implored:
“O Prophet of Allah! You stayed at the homes of our cousins for a number of days, so please reward us too with something, for they will pride themselves over us till the Day of Judgment that you stayed with them”.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) dismounted his camel and offered his first Jummah prayer in their locality. Approximately one hundred Muslims participated in this first Jummah prayer. Amongst them were the Prophet’s relatives from Bani an-Najjar who had come to meet him and some from Bani Amr who had escorted him from Quba.
After performing the Friday prayer, the Prophet (s.a.w.) mounted Qaswa (his camel) and set off for the city of Madinah.

Masjid Abu Bakr:

Not far from the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid Nabawi), in the middle of a populated area, there is a very small mosque. It is called the Abu Bakr Mosque. This mosque is 15 meters to the southwest of Salman Al-Farisi Mosque. It was reported that Abu Bakr, when he was caliph, prayed Eid prayer there. This is why it was named after him.

It was also reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed the Eid prayer there. And to commemorate that, they built another small mosque, about 50 meters away.

There is a cluster of small mosques right adjacent to the Masjid Nabawi and each one is named after some companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.). I doubt if these mosques existed during the period of the Prophet (s.a.w.) because it does not make sense to have six or seven small mosques in front of the Masjid Nabawi. In the presence of Masjid Nabawi, who would go for prayer to some other mosque nearby? All these tiny mosques were constructed and added later by the tribes as a token of pride for them.

Masjid Fajr Talaa

Masjid Fajr Talaa or Masjid Misbah, where Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) offered his first prayer of Fajr in Madinah, after migrating from Makkah. This is the only place that is still intact in its original form and shape (ruines) from the Prophet’s time. All other landmarks are reconstructed and refurbished.

This small piece of land consists of four not-so-high walls marking the praying area. Obviously, the place was used for prayers by travelers and passers by, and so did the Prophet (s.a.w.). It looks like ancient ruins. Now, people have put some praying mats there, in case somebody wants to offer two Rakats of prayer.

Nuzaha Garden:

Nuzaha Garden of date-palm trees or Garden of Salman Farsi (r.a.a.) is a very famous (historic) place in Madinah. This is the garden of date-palm trees where the Prophet (s.a.w.) and many other companions planted date-palm trees.
Salman the Persian (Salman Farsi) was a slave kept by a Jewish master. He had converted to Islam and for that reason his master was always hard on him. He came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) one day to seek his counsel and help. His master, a Jew of the Bani Quraizah, in the south of Madinah, kept him so busy that he had never been able to have close contact with the Muslim community. It had been out of the question for him to be at Badr or Uhud or take part in any of the missions/campaigns which the Prophet (s.a.w.) had led or sent out.

To discourage him further, the Jewish master set the price of freedom too high. Salman would have to pay forty ounces of gold and plant 300 date-palms trees. The Prophet encouraged him to negotiate with his master and called on his Companions to help Salman with the palms, which they did, one contributing thirty palm-shoots, another twenty, and so on, until the required number or 300 had been reached.
“Go dig the holes for them, Salman,” said the Prophet (s.a.w.), “and tell me when you are done, and mine is the hand that shall put them in.”
The Companions helped Salman to prepare the ground, and the Prophet (s.a.w.) planted each of the 300 shoots, which all took root and thrived. Everybody contributed and eventually, Salman Farsi won his freedom and became a devoted slave of Allah. In the battle of Khandaq (trenches), it was Salman Farsi’s idea to dig trenches (Khandaq) around the city to keep at bay the enemy forces. And Muslims won the battle without even fighting.
This garden produces the best quality authentic dates in Madinah in more than 30 varieties, Ajwa being the best among them. Other categories include Berni, Mabroom, Ambera, Rashidi, Khudri, Sughai, Khalas, Sufri, Safawi, etc., etc. They have a sales outlet at the entrance and the prices are very reasonable (cheaper than the retail markets of Madinah).

Masjid Qiblatain
(The Mosque of Two Qiblas)

Masjid Qiblatain (the Mosque of Two Qiblas) is one of the three earliest mosques in Islam's history, along with Masjid Quba and Masjid Nabawi. It is situated in Madinah. It was here when Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) received the command of Allah to change the direction of prayer (Qibla) from Jerusalem to Makkah. It was during the Duhur (Zuhar) prayer (some scholars claim it was Asr prayer) and the worshipper had just completed two Rakats when the command of Allah came and the entire congregation turned their faces towards Makkah (in the opposition direction). They completed the remaining two Rakats of the same prayer facing Kaabah at Makkah.

The mosque was then altered to create a new niche (Mehrab) in the opposite direction. For many years, the mosque used to have two niches (Mehrabs), one in the direction of Jerusalem and the other towards Kaabab at Makkah. However, a few years ago, the Saudi authorities removed the first Mehrab facing Jerusalem. They covered it with a straight wall but they left a plaque there to commemorate. Today, the mosque has only one Mehrab facing one Qibla towards Kaabab at Makkah.

During his time in Makkah, Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w.) used to pray towards Bait-al-Maqdes, with the Kaabah in front of him. When he migrated to Madinah, he prayed towards Jerusalem for 16 months, but he hoped it would be changed to the Kaabah one day.
In Madinah, the Jews offered their prayers facing Bait al-Maqdes (Jerusalem).  The Prophet (s.a.w.) and his companions also offered prayers facing the same direction.  This had been their practice from Makkah and had continued until the second year after Hijrah. The Jews laughed and taunted Muslims by saying that they claimed to have a religion whose laws superseded all previous laws but they don’t have their own Qiblah to face. The Prophet (s.a.w.) used to come out at night and look up to the skies expecting a revelation from Allah.  Two months before the battle of Badr, it finally came. The following verses were then revealed:

“We see the turning of your face (for guidance) to
the heavens. Now shall We turn you to a Qiblah
that shall please you. Turn then your face in the
direction of the Sacred Mosque! Wherever you are,
turn your faces in that direction! The people of the
Book know well that this is the truth from their
Lord. Nor is Allah unmindful of what they do.”
(al-Quran 2:144)

It was a day of joy for the Muslims as they could now face the taunting Jews with their own Qiblah. They had now become completely independent and a prophecy in the old Jewish books had been fulfilled that the last of the great prophets would change the orientation of the religion of Allah from Jerusalem to the Ancient House of Abraham (Kaabah). The Jews were not happy as it came to them as a painful shock.

“The fools among the people will say: "What has
turned them from the Qiblah to which they were used?"
Say: To Allah belong both East and West. He guides
whom He will to a way that is straight.”
(al-Quran 2:142)

A Jewish delegation went to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and asked for the revision of their decision to change the Qiblah back to Jerusalem but with no luck. They were shaken as Jewish monopoly on Qiblah was shattered.

“Even if you were to bring to the people of the Book
all the Signs (together), they would not follow your
Qiblah; nor are you going to follow their Qiblah; nor
indeed will they follow each other's Qiblah. If you,
after the knowledge has reached you, were to follow
their (vain) desires, then were you indeed (clearly)
in the wrong.”
(al-Quran 2:145)

The Muslim nation now had an independent status. Allah had declared them as a ‘balanced nation’ and had appointed them as witnesses over other nations.

“Thus, have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced,
that you might be witnesses over the nations, and the
Messenger a witness over yourselves; and We appointed
the Qiblah to which you were used, only to test those
who followed the Messenger from those who would turn
on their heels (from the Faith). Indeed it was (a change)
momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never
would Allah make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to
all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful.”
(al-Quran 2:143)

The change in the direction of the Qiblah also served as a test of faith for the people.  Any refusal or delay in accepting the new Qiblah would cast doubt on their sincerity of faith and obedience to the commands of Allah and His Prophet.


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