MAKKAH/JEDDAH: The Quba Mosque in Medina, the first place of worship built by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), will increase in size tenfold, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced.
In 2018, the crown prince ordered the restoration of 130 historic mosques, which is part of the government’s national revitalization programme.
The Crown Prince believes in the importance of these ancient mosques, for their rich religious, social, cultural and architectural significance.
The structure will undergo the largest development in its history, expanding to 50,000 square meters.
Named after King Salman, the project aims to increase the mosque’s capacity to 66,000 worshippers.
Its current prayer area is 5,000 square meters, with the building and facilities occupying 13,500 square meters. It has a total capacity of 20,000 worshippers.
The crown prince said the plan would ensure the mosque could accommodate large numbers of worshipers during peak seasons.
It will preserve the architectural style of the mosque and other nearby monuments.
Shaded courtyards will be built on four sides, which will connect to prayer areas that are not structurally attached to the current building.
The Crown Prince said the revitalization would enhance the devotional and cultural experience for visitors.
This would further solve overcrowding and improve the safety of worshippers. In addition, the road network would be reorganized to facilitate access to the mosque.
No less than 57 sites, including wells, farms and orchards, are to be developed or rehabilitated as part of the project.
The Crown Prince commended King Salman for his commitment to these preservation initiatives, which is part of the goals and objectives of Vision 2030.
During his visit to Medina, the Crown Prince prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque, including the Rawdah, an area between the Sacred Chamber (known as the Prophet’s House) and the Prophet’s minbar (or pulpit). .
He was accompanied by Prince Faisal bin Salman, Governor of Medina, and several senior officials.
He also visited and prayed at the Quba Mosque.
Later, at Taiba Palace in Medina, the Crown Prince met with prominent scholars and leaders, as well as a group of citizens who came to greet him.
The Quba Mosque is located 5 kilometers south of the Prophet’s Mosque. It was the first place of worship in the history of Islam and built in 1 AH (622 AD).
It is believed that the Prophet Muhammad prayed frequently in the Quba Mosque, especially on Saturdays. He also urged his companions to do so.
There is a Hadith about the mosque, with the Prophet saying, “Whoever performs ablution in this house and offers prayer there, will be rewarded with the equivalent of one Umrah.” This is why the mosque remains of considerable religious and historical significance to Muslims.
The mosque was renovated during the time of the two Caliphs Othman bin Affan and Omar ibn Al-Khattab. The latter was the first to add a minaret to the structure.
A number of benefactors over the years have renovated the mosque, including in 1057, 1177, 1293, 1355, 1462 and 1503. This includes several times during the Ottoman era, the last of which was during the reign of Sultan Abdul Majid.
During the Saudi era, the Quba Mosque, as well as other places of worship, were regularly revitalized. In 1968, its north side was extended, and then in 1985 King Fahd ordered several expansions, while maintaining the building’s historically significant architectural features.
Abdul Haq Al-Uqbi, an architect specializing in mosque architecture in Medina, hailed King Salman’s development project, which he said would not only increase the capacity of worshipers, but also ensure that its cultural and religious significance would be strengthened.
An additional positive element was that the entire Quba complex and its surroundings would be revitalized. This is part of the “exceptional” urban regeneration program that the government has launched across the country. Many visitors could now learn about the 57 historically significant sites around the mosque, he said.
Dr. Hamza Al-Muzaini, writer and scholar, agreed that the expansion was of considerable social and cultural significance and suited the city of Medina, which is a center of such symbolism and history for Muslims around the world.
He added that residents of Madinah could comfortably attend prayers in the mosque during Hajj and Eid Al-Fitr, when the number of pilgrims visiting the city normally increases.