April 30, 2015

1555 SAUDI ARABIA - Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina

Established and originally built by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and for this reason named the Prophet's Mosque, Al-Masjid an-Nabaw is the second mosque built in the history of Islam and is now one of the largest in the world. It is the second-holiest site in Islam, after al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The site was originally adjacent to Muhammad's house; he settled there after his Hijra to Medina in 622 CE, and shared in the heavy work of construction. The mosque also 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.

After an expansion during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I, it also now incorporates the final resting place of Muhammad and the first two Rashidun caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar. One of the most notable features of the site is the Green Dome in the south-east corner of the mosque, originally Aisha's house, where the tomb of Muhammad is located. In 1279, a wooden cupola was built over the tomb which was later rebuilt and renovated multiple times in late 15th century and once in 1817. The current dome was added in 1818 by the Ottoman sultan Mahmud II, and it was first painted green in 1837. After the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, the mosque underwent also several major modifications.

As it stands today, the mosque has a rectangular plan on two floors with the Ottoman prayer hall projecting to the south. The main prayer hall occupies the entire first floor. The mosque enclosure is 100 times bigger than the first mosque built by Muhammad and can accommodate more than half a million worshippers. The mosque has a flat paved roof topped with 27 sliding domes on square bases. The roof is also used for prayer during peak times, when the domes slide out on metal tracks to shade areas of the roof, creating light wells for the prayer hall. The mosque has 10 minarets built in different eras. The largest 6 were constructed during the reign of King Fahd.

About the stamps

The stamps is part of a series of 16, Mosques, issued on 2003.

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi - Wikipedia
Masjid an-Nabawi - Islamic Encyclopedia

Sender: Ivy Marie Abrogena
Sent from Dammam (Eastern Province / Saudi Arabia), on 23.02.2015

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