Seven Madinah mosques popular with visitors

Updated 25 July 2013

Seven Madinah mosques popular with visitors

Of the many historical and archaeological sites in Madinah, visitors are most likely to visit a group of small mosques, commonly known as “The Seven Mosques.”
People visit six small mosques in the region, but add a seventh one, known as the “Mosque of the Two Qiblas” which is about a kilometer away from the others.
The largest of the seven mosques is Al-Fath on a hilltop near the western side of Sal’ mountain. It was built when Umar ibn Abd Al-Aziz was governor of Madinah in the years 87 to 93 after Hijrah (705 CE to 711 CE). It was rebuilt in 575 H (1179 CE). It was then rebuilt again during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abd Al-Majid I in 1851.
The Salman Al-Farisi Mosque is located south of Al-Fath Mosque, 20 meters from the base of Sal' mountain. It is named after Salman, the companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who recommended digging a trench to fortify the city from an invasion. It has one hall at 7 meters long and 2 meters wide. It was also built while Umar ibn Abd Al-Aziz was governor of Madinah. In 575 H (1179 CE) it was rebuilt on the orders of minister Said Al-Deen Abu Al-Haija. It was rebuilt again during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abd Al-Majid I.
The Abu Bakr Al-Siddeeq 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.
The Umar ibn Al-Khattab Mosque is 10 meters to the south of Abu Bakr Mosque, opposite Al-Ghamamah mosque and close to the Prophet's Mosque. There is not much historical detail about the mosque, but there is speculation that it could be the ancient mosque at Al-Durrah place where Umar may have prayed during his reign as caliph. This would explain why it was named after him. It has an open yard and is eight steps above the ground. Its structure is similar to Al-Fath Mosque, which indicates that the two structures may have been built and renovated together.
The Ali ibn Abi Talib Mosque is east of Fatimah Mosque on a high rectangular hilltop. It is 8.5 meters long and 6.5 meters wide. It has one small step. It is likely to have been built and renovated with Al-Fath Mosque.
The Fatimah Al-Zahra Mosque is known as Mus'ad ibn Mo'az Mosque. It is the smallest of the group and measures 4 meters by 3 meters. It has one small step. It has a similar structure to other mosques in the area and may have been built during the Ottoman era, most likely during the reign of Sultan Abd Al-Majid I in 1851.


Saudi Arabia may allow women to perform Hajj without male guardian

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammed Saleh Benten approved updates to Umrah services. (SPA)
Updated 56 min 20 sec ago

Saudi Arabia may allow women to perform Hajj without male guardian

  • Ministry exploring visa options for solo female pilgrims
  • The Maqam portal is an online platform, designed so that Muslims from around the world can apply for an Umrah package digitally

Women could be allowed to perform the Hajj without a male guardian, Arab News has learned, with the government studying various visa options. Women are currently required to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform pilgrimages with a mahram (male guardian), or be met by him on arrival in the Kingdom, although women over the age of 45 may travel without a mahram if they are in an organized tour group.
If women travel with a group and without a mahram they must submit a notarised letter of no objection from someone who could be considered their mahram, authorizing travel for Hajj or Umrah with that group.
But Arab News has learned that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is conducting studies to issue visit visas for both tourism and Umrah purposes, and that this process is expected to pave the way for allowing women to come without the need for a mahram.
It is one of a number of developments in the Hajj and Umrah sector, with Arab News also learning that the ministry was urged to intervene in the sector to save businesses.
Umrah firms have raised their concerns about the impact of regulations, saying they are losing out and warning around 200 companies will be leaving the market if authorities do not step in.
Marwan Abbas Shaban, head of the National Committee for Hajj and Umrah, said each Umrah company was obliged to have two branches, employ 20 staff and spend at least SR1 million ($266,666) annually even if it did not receive a single pilgrim. The majority of companies operating in this sector were small and could not bear such costs, he added.
“We always seek officials to interact with us and we call on higher authorities to consider our demands,” he told Arab News.
Shaban said there were about 750 Umrah and Hajj companies with licenses, but only about 500 of these were in the market and they were only running at 1 percent of their capacity.
The Umrah sector was more profitable than the industrial sector, he added, and pointed to the value of land in the holy city of Makkah.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammed Saleh Benten approved updates to Umrah services following a meeting with the National Committee for Hajj and Umrah to discuss updates to regulations and instructions for Umrah companies.
Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Abdulfattah Mashat said after the meeting that the updates included allowing all IATA membership categories — including travel agencies, WTO certificates, or a certificate of membership of the World Travel and Tourism Council — as a requirement for the eligibility of an external agent.
The ministry updates also include giving pilgrims greater flexibility on transport options, Mashat added, and can be accessed on a portal that allows Muslims around the world to apply for an Umrah package digitally.
The Maqam portal is an online platform, designed so that Muslims from around the world can apply for an Umrah package digitally.
Almost 1.1 million people used Maqam in its trial phase last year, allowing them to choose between over 30 companies providing travel, accommodation and other necessities for trips to Makkah and Madinah.