Madinah - Prophet's Mosque
Visiting the city of Madinah is not a devotional rite of Hajj and has nothing to do with Hajj. However it is highly commendable to visit the Prophet's (Peace Be Upon Him) mosque.
Your intention must not be to visit the grave of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), but it should be to visit the mosque.
Many books quote various ahadith about visiting the grave after or before Hajj. This causes undue stress on those who are unable to do so. These references have no authentic source. Below are some of these statements, which are INCORRECT:
û One who performs Hajj and does not visit me, wrongs me.
û One who visits me after my death is as if he visited me during my life.
û One who visits me and my ancestor Ibraheem within a year, I guarantee for him Jannah with Allah.
û One who visits my grave, my intercession for him is certainly due.
Send salutations on the Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) as often possible. This should be done at all times and not only while you are in Madinah.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
"Whoever asks Allah to bless me once, Allah will bless him for that ten times." (Muslim)
Extending greetings on behalf of other people (this is a very common practice) has no basis in the sunnah.
Abu Hurrairah (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
"Do not make my grave a place of festivity and merry-making (but) invoke blessings upon me for your blessings will reach me, wherever you may be." (Abu Dawud)
Doors of the Haram
As in Makkah the doors of the Haram have names and can be used as a means of identifying your location.
Some of the door names are:
- Baab as-Salaam;
- Baab ar-Rahmah;
- Baab Gibreel;
- Baab an-Nisaa;
- Baab as-Siddiq;
- Baab Malik Abdul Aziz.
Access to the Haram
The doors are all numbered and, unlike Makkah, there are specific doors for men and women to enter. There is no need to memorise the door numbers, as the entrances are rather obvious.
Some door numbers that are worth remembering:
- The graves are near door no. 41;
- Door no. 29 is where the ladies enter to go to Raudah-tul-Jannah;
- Access to roof area (men only) is via doors 6, 10, 15, 27, 31.
All the larger doors have wheelchair ramps for easy access.
Etiquette for visiting the graves
As with any other mosque, enter with your right foot and recite the supplication.
Perform two rak'at (Tahiyatul-Masjid) salah.
Proceed to the front of the mosque to visit the graves of Allah's Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) and his two companions, Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them), if possible.
Do not push and walk over fellow Muslims inside the mosque.
Visit the grave of our beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) if you can, and extend your greetings while facing his grave (if possible). It is the center gate. Say:
السَّلامُ عَلَيكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ وَ رَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَ بَرَكَاتُهُ
"Assalaamu 'alayka yaa rasullulah wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu."
“Peace be upon you, Oh Messenger of Allah, and Allah's mercy and blessings.”
Move about two steps to the right and extend your greetings to Abu-Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him).
السَّلامُ عَلَيكَ يَاأَباَبَكْر
"Assalaamu 'alayka yaa Abu-Bakr."
“Peace be upon you, Oh Abu Bakr.”
Move another step or two to the right and extend greetings to Umar (may Allah be pleased with him).
السَّلامُ عَلَيكَ يَاعُمَر
"Assalaamu 'alayka yaa Umar."
“Peace be upon you, Oh 'Umar.”
If it is crowded, it is quite acceptable just to walk past the graves (or from anywhere in the mosque) and pronounce the greetings as above.
There is no need to pass the graves after every salah. Also the long duas and greetings as many books teach have no authentic evidence in the sunnah.
Sending greetings on behalf of someone also has no evidence in the sunnah. The hadith related earlier in the chapter, indicates that one can send greetings upon the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) from wherever one is in the world.
"...invoke blessings upon me for your blessings will reach me, wherever you may be."
It is improper (even sinful) for a visitor to the Prophet's (Peace Be Upon Him) mosque to stand before the graves and indulge in the following:
û Crying, beseeching from the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), and supplicating to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him);
û Supplicating long dua’s and seeking the Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) intercession;
û Touching and kissing the lattice and walls.
The Prophet (saw) said:
"Do not praise me as the Christians did Eesa ibn Maryam (Jesus)." (Bukhari)
Walking backwards away from the tombs to leave the masjid is an innovation.
Try to perform salah in the area called 'Raudah-tul-Jannah'. This area is marked by white pillars and different coloured carpet, close to the front of the mosque. See the diagram later in this chapter for the location (There are other white pillars also, outside this area.)
Abdullah b Zaid al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
"Between my house and my mimbar is a garden from the gardens of Paradise." (Muslim)
There is no requirement to make salah or dua at every pillar in this area as many books teach.
Avoid performing salah in the forbidden times. Do not contravene a law with an action that is not part of the sunnah.
If you are fortunate to get a chance to perform salah here, and you wish to make dua, do it while you are in sujood, as the guards will move you as soon as you sit down to make dua.
There are special times for ladies to enter the Raudah-tul-Jannah area. Normally at about 7.00am and after Dhuhr salah. These times vary from year to year, so ask one of the guards at the door for the appropriate times.
You have to go very early, as it is sometimes impossible, due to the crowds, to get a chance to perform salah in this area.
On Fridays people sit in this area from after Salatul-Fajr until after Jumuah.
Salah in General
All the aspects of salah (sutra, sunnah, nafl, janazah, where to sit) mentioned for Makkah are applicable to Madinah as well. Also as with Makkah, going very early for Jumuah salah is essential.
As there is no tawaaf, try to spend your time with all the other aspects of Ibadah as mentioned for Makkah.
There are no special rewards to make salah in the 'old mihrab'. You will notice many people queuing and pushing to make salah in the small mimbar located next to the Raudah. Some people even go to the extent of performing salah in the forbidden times in this area. Once again do not contravene a law with an action that is not part of the sunnah.
The Haram is locked every day about one hour after Eshaa until Tahajjud (about 3.00am, depending on the season).
The Haram gets very full even by 4.00am. So be early for your prayers, in order to get a place inside the mosque. The mosque has been extended and is now quite large and has two levels (ground and roof level). Keep in mind that there are thousands and thousands of people in Madinah, before and after Hajj. The new section is air-conditioned.
Do not walk backwards out of the Haram.
There are no specified supplications, but one should read the supplication when departing from any mosque.
Ensure that all your luggage is secure and marked (labelled) correctly.
* As the Prophet's mosque is currently going through expansion works, we will update the content as developments progress.