Quba — the first mosque in the history of Islam

Updated 12 July 2014
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Quba — the first mosque in the history of Islam

Quba Mosque to the south of Madinah is the second largest and prestigious mosque in the city after the Prophet’s Mosque, but claims the first place owing to its importance in Islamic history having been built in the first year of the Islamic calendar.
Quba Mosque witnesses an influx of worshippers and visitors throughout the year, but the numbers have increased these days owing to the holy month of Ramadan. Large gatherings can be observed in the mosque’s precincts especially in the early hours of the morning.
Author Sapphire Hamwi said in his book (Lexicon countries) that Quba Mosque was originally a well surrounded by a village named after it. It was inhabited by the tribe of Bani Amr bin Auf. On his way to Madinah, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) visited the home of Bani Amr Bin Auf and built a mosque in the area which he named Quba.
Historical references indicate that the Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) built the mosque to the Southwest of Madinah, three km away from the Prophet’s Mosque in the first year of the Hijri or Islamic calendar.
The mosque contained a well which belonged to Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him). It became a blessed place as the Prophet’s she-camel first knelt down there to take a long draught of water after the Prophet’s journey.
The prestigious and unique characteristics of Quba Mosque compared to other mosques are cited in this Hadith narrated by the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Whoever makes ablutions in this house and offers one prayer therein, will be rewarded the equivalent of one Umrah.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) made it a habit to come to Quba Mosque every Saturday, either riding his camel or on foot and offer two rak’at prayers.
“The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to go to Quba Mosque sometimes walking, sometimes riding,” narrated by Ibn Umar, and in another narration: “He would then offer two Rak’at”. ‘Abdullah (Ibn ‘Umar) used to do the same.
In the past centuries, Muslims have accorded Quba Mosque much attention. It was renovated by a number of caliphs of the period. The third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) made the first renovations. Caliph Omar bin Abdul Aziz built the mosque’s first minaret. It was renovated again in 435 AH by Abu Yali Al-Husaini who constructed a prayer niche known as the “Mihrab.”
In the year 555 AH, several additions were made to the mosque by Kamal Al-Din Al-Isfahani. Successive renovations of the mosque took place in the years 671, 733, 840, 881 AH, and the latest changes were made in the era of Sultan Abdul Majid in the year 1245 AH during the time of the Ottoman Empire.
In modern times, the Saudi regime has taken charge of the mosque by endowing the responsibility to the Ministry of Haj Affairs which made further renovations and added structures to the original design.
The modern day Quba Mosque is an architectural feat equipped with the latest facilities while maintaining its Islamic identity. The mosque has been expanded to accommodate more than 20 thousand worshipers.
In 1984, the late King Fahd bin Abdulaziz laid the foundation stone for the historic expansion of the Quba Mosque. Two years later, he inaugurated the opening of the mosque after its expansion.
The Mosque was designed with an inner courtyard with several entrances. The northern section was reserved for women worshippers.
The mosque now has four minarets and 56 domes and adjoined to it is the residence of Imams and muezzins, a library, lodging for the guards in an area of 112 sq. meters, and a commercial center with 12 shops covering an area of 450 sq. meters. The mosque has 7 main entrances and 12 subsidiary ones.
The mosque has 64 toilets for men and 32 toilets for women, and 42 units for ablution.
The mosque is cooled by three central units each with a capacity of one million and eighty thousand thermal units. Quba Mosque is a unique landmark and its white building can be clearly seen from a distance.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016
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The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.