Building Al-Masjid An-Nabawi was the first thing that the Prophet, , did when he arrived in Madeenah. He built it on a piece of land that he had bought from two orphans at the Banu An-Najjaar district. The Prophet, , himself participated in the heavy work of construction with all his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. The original mosque was built on an area of 1050m2 (30 m × 35 m), and at a height of 2m. The mosque was initially built with palm trunks; the roof was from palm fronds and mud walls, and the two doorposts were made of stone. All the Muslims participated in the construction of the mosque with the sole hope of getting rewarded by Allah The Exalted. This was during the first year of the immigration around 622 AD.
Seven years later, the Prophet, , expanded the area of the mosque to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims after the Prophet, , came back from Khaybar. The area of the mosque was enlarged by (20m x 15m) and became a square with a total area of 2475m2 (50m x 49.5m) that is, the areaincreased by 1415m2. The height became 3.5m and the mosque was accessed through 3 doors and encompassed 35 columns.
The mosque remained like that during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, until the caliphate of ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, who enlarged the area of the mosque to 3575m2 and built wooden columns for the mosque.
During the caliphate of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him, an arcade of stone and plaster was added to he mosque and the columns were remolded and built of stone.
On 88 AH, during the caliphate of Al-Waleed ibn ‘Abd Al-Malik, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd Al-‘Azeez who was the ruler of Madeenah then, expanded the mosque by 2396m2, encompassing the rooms of Mothers of the Believers, may Allah be pleased with them, in the mosque, and rebuilding it with stone and plaster. Additionally, he rendered its columns of stone with iron and lead core.
The Abbasid Caliph Al-Mahdi, enlarged the northern section of the mosque by 2450m2, and this extension operations ended in 165 AH.
At the beginning of the month of Ramadan on 645 AH, a fire occurred in the mosque. It started at the doors and reached the roofs destroying them and spread throughout the entire mosque causing great damage to Ar-Rawdhah an-Nabawiyyah. However, the entire mosque was renovated later on.
On 879 AH, Sultan Qaitbay operated a comprehensive maintenance process of the mosque; its roofs, walls, columns, and minarets were renovated. Furthermore, he expanded the area of the mosque by 120m2.
The mosque witnessed no further improvements until the month of Ramadan in 886 AH, when lightning struck the biggest and main minaret and killed the head of Muezzins at that time. The fire spread to the walls and roofs of the mosque destroying much of it. Sultan Qaitbay then rebuilt what was ruined of the mosque.
In 980 AH, Sultan Selim II renovated the mosque and added a new Mihraab (prayer niche) to the west of the Mihraab of theProphet, , in the southern boundaries of the original mosque.
Just after the 19th century after Hijrah,the mosque was lit with oil lanterns that were distributed all over the mosque. The Ottoman Sultan Abdul Majeed Muraad ordered the mosque to be remodeled entirely in 1265 AH. The columns were replaced with new and more durable ones, and the remodeling process ended in 1277 AH.
Later, the Al Saud dynasty made several major modifications to the mosque. The latest extension process was begun in 1414 AH, and the area of the mosque has now become 384,000m2.
Virtues of the Prophet’s Mosque
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, , said:“One prayer in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers in any other mosque except al-Masjid Al-Haraam [the Sacred Mosque in Makkah].”[Al-Bukhari]
The Prophet, , also said:“One prayer in my mosque is better than one hundred prayers in any other mosque except al-Masjid Al-Haraam. And prayer in al-Masjid al-Haraam is better than one hundred prayers in this mosque [Al-Masjid An-Nabawi].”[Ahmad]
Furthermore, it was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, , also said:“Only three mosques are to be travelled to visit: this mosque of mine, Al-Masjid-al-Haraam, and Masjid Al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem].” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]