Thousands of pilgrims arriving for Hajj this year will again flock to Masjid Al-Qiblatain in Madinah, where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was urged by Qur'anic injunction to change the direction of prayers from Al-Aqsa Mosque in Palestine to the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Masjid Al-Qiblatain, meaning “two directions,” was built two years after Prophet Mohammed arrived in Madinah, a city known for its rich Islamic history, and a customary stop for millions of Umrah and Hajj pilgrims every year.
It was in Madinah where the Almighty revealed a Qur'anic verse to His messenger: “Verily! We have seen the turning of your face towards the sky. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qibla that shall please you. So, turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid-Al-Haram.”
Mud bricks, fronds, and palm trunks were the initial material used to build the mosque.
It has been renovated and expanded several times over the centuries, with the first expansion taking place during the era of Caliph Omar bin Abdulaziz in 706. The size of the mosque remained unchanged for nearly 800 years. It was then renovated by Shaheen Al-Jamali in 1488.
King Abdulaziz in the early 1930s also ordered further renovations which included the construction of a minaret, a surrounding wall, and the expansion of the mosque to 425 square meters.