Picture Perfect : Prophet’s Mosque

Photo Courtesy : http://www.flickr.com/photos/10187133@N06/

Photo Courtesy : http://www.flickr.com/photos/10187133@N06/

While Makkah is cardinally about the Kaaba, its pre-Islamic story, and early Islamic history; the Prophet’s (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) Madinah is where the religion took its final shape, where the Islamic state was formed, where Islamic law took a more dominant role, and where numerous battles were planned and fought. Madinah is replete with history of the nascent Islamic polity; it is an altogether different experience from Makkah – tranquil, and cooler in climate.

Surely the Prophet’s mosque is the most beautiful and most aesthetically complete in the world: hundreds of magnificent Cordoban arches of subtly different designs and colors provide decorum to the hugely extended mosque; lush carpets rich with color, beautiful scents, and spectacular marble flooring make up the recesses of the mosque, while open courtyards scatter the intramural, providing natural ventilation. This mosque is huge, over a thousand grand marble pillars support it, all arches extend in geometrically, perfect straight lines around a quarter of a mile long. Grand chandeliers provide constant lighting, while intricate calligraphy provides ample distraction to those wishing to decode it. The elaborate details one notices are countless and I can describe the mosque only as architecturally magnificent.

Aside from the physical splendor, there is nothing more special in Madinah than sending & salah upon the Messenger of Allah in the knowledge that he rests in his grave just feet away. That perpetually busy one-way passage, leading past his grave and Riyadh-ul-Jannah, is where his chambers were during his life; in that vicinity the Companions prayed in the mosque; revelation descended; battles were planned; and on a more somber note, in that vicinity was where ‘Umar and ‘Uthman were both assassinated, the former by a Persian non-Muslim, and the latter by proto-khariji insurgents. Awareness of all that and the impeccable condition of the mosque itself makes it unforgettable.

In both Makkah and Madinah, the beauty of the adhan and Quranic recitation – in the presence of the Kaaba or the Prophet’s mimbar, Raudat-ul-Jannah and his grave – utterly dominate and diminish the paler experiences one is used to in their homelands.

Tremendous money and thought has gone into the design and construction of these two sacred mosques, and since the sight, sound, smell and touch are looked after, the spiritual and aesthetic experiences are profound. There is no feeling comparable to worship in these two sanctuaries, intensified all the more in the knowledge that one’s worship is amplified in reward by a ratio of 1:100,000 and by 1:1,000 in Makkah and Madinah respectively.