Allah says in the Quran:
The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day. (Al- Quran 9:18)
Whoever builds a mosque for the sake of Allah, like a sparrow’s nest for Allah or even smaller, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.” (Ibn Majah 738, Musnad Ahmed 241/1)
He who built a mosque for Allah, Allah would build a house for him like it in Paradise. (Al-Bukhari 450, Sahih Muslim 533)
Top 5 Mosques of Saudi Arabia
The Kaaba also referred as al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah , the Holy Ka’bah), is a building at the center of Islam’s most important mosque, that is Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām , The Sacred Mosque), in the Hejazi city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
It is the most sacred site in Islam. It is considered by Muslims to be the Bayṫ Allāh (Arabic: بَـيْـت ٱلله, “House of God”), and has a similar role to the Tabernacle and Holy of Holies in Judaism. Wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba when performing Ṣalâṫ (Arabic: صَـلَاة, Islamic prayer). Being the qiblah (Arabic: قِـبْـلَـة, direction of prayer), Muslims would face it when praying.
One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim who is able to do so to perform the Hajj (Arabic: حَـجّ, Greater Pilgrimage) at least once in their lifetime. Multiple parts of the hajj require pilgrims to make Tawaf (Arabic: طَـوَاف, Circumambulation) seven times around the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction. Tawaf is also performed by pilgrims during the ‘Umrah (Arabic: عُـمْـرَة, Lesser Pilgrimage). However, the most significant time is during the hajj, when millions of pilgrims gather to circle the building within a 5-day period.In 2017, the number of pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform hajj was officially reported as 1,752,014 and 600,108 Saudi Arabian residents bringing the total number of pilgrims to 2,352,122.
Holy Ka’bah has four corners. The Black stone (Hajr-e-Aswad) is positioned in its eastern corner which is elevated almost four feet above from the ground level. Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are also headed straight in this direction. One side of this corner has, “Rukn-e-Yamni” which is in the direction of Yemen while on the other side near to the door of Holy Ka’bah there is a point named, “Rukn-e-Iraqi” which is headed towards Iraq. Hateem is located next to this. Hateem is a part of Holy Ka’bah but it is open and don’t have any roof or high walls etc. The last corner which is located very next to Hateem is called, “Rukn-e-Shami” as it is in the direction of “Syria”. The walls of Holy Ka’bah have following dimensions in height. 12.84 meters, 11.28 meters, 12.11 meters and 11.52 meters. While it is fourteen (14) feet above from the floor. Three pillars have been constructed in a row inside the Holy Ka’bah to support its ceiling. The floor of Holy Ka’bah is made of marble and limestone while its door frame is seven feet above from Mata’af’s floor. The walls of Holy Ka’bah has been built with Granite Marble collected from the surrounding mountains of Makkah, each wall is almost one (1) meter thick.
The holy city of Makkah is 64 Kilometers away from Jeddah in East and 985 feet above from the sea level. About four thousand (4000) years ago when Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) constructed the holy Ka’bah, it was so simple that there was no roof and doors etc. When Qussay Bin Qalabfrom one of the descendants of Prophet Ismaeel (Peace be upon him) was selected as the care taker of Holy Ka’bah, he demolished the old building of Ka’bah and constructed it again with a roof of date palms. As’ad Taba’ – the king of Yemen – was the first to cover the Holy Ka’bah with a cloth (Kiswah).
The development process of the Grand Mosques was initiated by Caliph Umer Farooq (May Allah be pleased with him) during his caliphate for the very first time in the history. From that time this process of development is still ongoing. Even the latest trends of modern construction and buildings are there but the art of Islamic construction is considerably taken into care in all developmental phases of the Grand Mosque.
Al-Masjid An-Nabvi (Prophet’s Mosque):
The Prophet’s Mosque (Classical Arabic: ٱلْـمَـسْـجِـدُ ٱلـنَّـبَـوِيّ, Al-Masjidun-Nabawiyy) is a mosque established and originally built by the Islamic prophet Muhammad (PBUH), situated in the city of Medina in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. It was the third mosque built in the history of Islam, and is now one of the largest mosques in the world. It is the second-holiest site in Islam, after the Great Mosque in Mecca. It is always open, regardless of date or time.
The site was originally adjacent to Muhammad’s house; he settled there after his migration from Mecca to Medina in 622. He shared in the heavy work of construction. The original mosque was an open-air building. The mosque served as a community center, a court, and a religious school. There was a raised platform for the people who taught the Quran. Subsequent Islamic rulers greatly expanded and decorated it. In 1909, it became the first place in the Arabian Peninsula to be provided with electrical lights. The mosque is under the control of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The mosque is located in what was traditionally the center of Medina, with many hotels and old markets nearby. It is a major pilgrimage site. Many pilgrims who perform the Hajj go on to Medina to visit the mosque.
Initially, there were three doors to enter in the mosque. One was on the western side named “Bab-e-Rehmat (The Door of Mercy)”. Second door was on the eastern side named “Bab-e-Nabi (The Door of Prophet)” which is currently names as “Bab-e-Jibreel (The Door of Gabriel (A.S))”. The third door was in the south.
The first Qiblah Al-Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem) was located in north direction. It is pertinent to mention here that the order for the change in Qiblah direction by Allah (SWT) was revealed in 2 Hijri and for about 20 months after the Hijrah, Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) led the prayer facing towards the Al-Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem).
In one corner of the Mosque is a place specified for the Ashab Al-Suffa. Where they used to sit and enlighten their hearts with the knowledge of Islam.
Due to the rapid growth in the Muslim community, Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) decided to renovate the Mosque in 7-H (June 628) when he was returning from Khaybar. As the result of this expansion, the height of the Prophet’s Mosque remain the same i.e. 7 feet; while, the courtyard of the Mosque was strained twice from its original size.
During the first four years of Caliphate, Umer Ibn Al-Khataab (May Allah be pleased with him) persisted the Prophet’s Mosque as it was. But later on when the population increased in Medina due to the Islamic Victories all around, the people attending mosques for prayers also increased. In 17-H, Caliph Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) planned to extend Prophet’s Mosque. All the houses and buildings were demolished except the houses of the Prophet’s (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) wives, and the mosque was extended. The length of the Mosque which was about 100 yards before this extensions was now extended to 140 yards and broaden up to 120 yards. There was no proper lights before the era of Caliph Umar (May Allah be pleased with him), so he arranged the system of proper lights there.
The third expansion of Prophet’s Mosque was made in 29-H (649 AD) by Uthman Bin Afaan (May Allah be pleased with him). Teak wood was used in the ceiling of the Mosque and its length was increased to 160 yards along with the width to 150 yards. Uthman (May Allah be Pleased with him) ordered to build mosques in the newly conquered areas and to extend already built mosques. The courtyard of the Prophet’s Mosque was made stronger with the stones by Uthman (May Allah be pleased with him). The height of the Mosque was also increase from 7 Feet to 11 Feet and 35 pillars were made with limestone and other stones.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“One prayer in my Mosque is better than one thousand prayers in any other mosque except Al-Masjid-AI-Haram.” (Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith: 1190)
Mosque Quba (Majid Al-Quba’)
This mosque is blessed enough that its foundation stone was laid by the prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) after his successful migration from Makah to Medina. It is one of the very first mosques of Islamic history. Allah (SWT) has mentioned the virtue of this mosque in the Noble Quran as follows: Certainly this mosque founded on piety from the very first day [At-Tawbah 9:108]. This why it is also called, “Masjid At-Taqwa”.
Before entering into Medina after the migration from Makkah, the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) stayed in a locality called Quba for approximately twenty days with his companion Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him). This locality was about three Kilometers away from Medinah. During his stay in Quba, he (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) laid the foundation stone of a mosque which was none other than Mosque Al-Quba’. He (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) himself took part in its construction. It was Monday, 12th Rabiul Awal (September 24, 622) when the Prophet of Islam (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) entered in Quba. It was the beginning of Islamic calendarship.
Mosque Al-Quba has six domes and four minarets, one on each corner. It has six doors to enter in it which are located in North, East and Western sides. Mehrab which is used as an indication of the direction of Holy Ka’bah is on Southern side of the mosque. Its courtyard has white, red and black marble which is adding more beauty to the mosque. There are separate blocks for males and females so that they can offer their prayers easily.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Whoever purifies himself in his house, then comes to the Quba’ Masjid and offers two units of prayer therein, will have a reward like that for ‘Umrah.”. (Sunan Ibn Majah: 1412)
In another hadith, Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Whoever offers two units of prayer (Nafl) in Mosque Al-Quba, will have a reward like that for ‘Umrah.”. (Sunan Ibn Majah: 1411)
This mosque is located at a distance of four kilometers in the West of the holy city of Medinah. It was given the name of Qiblatayn (Mosque of Two Qiblahs) because the whole congregation changed their direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Makkah during their prayer. Before this revelation, the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) and his companions (May Allah be pleased with them all) were offering their prayers in the direction of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was taken as a holy city because it was known as the Qiblah in the times of early prophets and Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) went to heavens for Mae’raj from here as well. It was the heartiest wish of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) that Muslims may offer their prayers in the direction of Holy Ka’bah which was constructed by their ultimate ancestor i.e. Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). For this, he (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) used to look at the sky with meaningful eyes. One day, he (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) was leading Duhr prayer at Banu Salma. He (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was in the third unit (Rak’at); suddenly, a revelation came to him from Allah (SWT), with a verse as follows:
We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a qiblah with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]… (Al Baqrah 2:144)
This revelation was revealed in the month of Sha’ban 2-H and this incident took place in the mosque called Bani’ Salma. Hence it was named as, “Qiblatayn” later on.
Christians and Jews were not happy over this change in Qiblah even they were aware of this fact that a day will come when the Muslims will have their own Qiblah i.e. in Makkah. Even it was mentioned in their holy books but their ego and envy was not allowing them to accept this truth.
At the time when Muslims were celebrating this event, the Jews of Medinah were sadden as it was exactly the same thing which was written in their holy books.
Recently, this mosque has been renovated thoroughly to add more beauty and space to accommodate the visitors. This mosque is one of the very beautiful mosques of the world. The visitors of Holy Ka’bah and pilgrims often used to visit this historical mosque.
Floating Mosque – Jeddah
There are more than 1300 mosques in Jeddah – the second largest city of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But, the beauty of Floating Mosque is quite attractive not only for Muslims but for non-Muslims as well.
This mosque is located in Red Sea (Bahira Qulzam) a few kilometers away from the city. When water rises in the sea, it seems that the mosque is floating on its waves. It has very unique and stunning outlook that one cannot leave without admiring its designers and constructors. It is equally mesmerizing from internal and external side with all latest features like sound system, proper lightening and hot and cool water etc. This floating mosque depicts the historical Muslim art in its design. This mosque was constructed voluntarily by a Shaykh of Jeddah named, “Shaykh Sa’leh Kamil”.