MUHAMMAD, ROLE MODEL PAR EXCELLENCE
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NOBLE PROPHET'S GLORIOUS MISSION:

"Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom They find mentioned In their own (scriptures),- In the Torah and the Gospel;- for He commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; He allows them As lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe In him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is They who will prosper." (The Holy Qur'an: 7: 157)

VIRTUES OF THE MASJID-UN-NABWI IN MADINAH

By Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad



1.  The foundation of the Prophet’s Mosque was laid on piety.
Prophet’s Mosque is one of those mosques whose foundation was laid on piety. This is described in the Quran and Hadith. Allah (SWT) says in At-Taubah # 108
Verily, the mosque whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety is more worthy that you stand therein (to pray). In it are men who love to clean and to purify themselves. And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure.
It is narrated by Abu Saeed Khudari (RU) that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “The above verse is describing Prophet’s Mosque.” 1
Further explanation of the above, verse and some other Hadith support the idea that both, the Prophet’s Mosque and the Quba Mosque, have their foundations laid on piety.
The following scholars have discussed this topic in more detail.
Scholar
Book
Volume and page
Ibn Hajar
Fath Al-Bari
V6, P 245
Samhoudi
Vifa Al-Vifa
V2, P 415
Ibn Al-Jauzi
Zad-Ul Maseer
V3, P 501

2. Virtues of teaching / learning activities in the Prophet’s Mosque:
Seeking beneficial knowledge is a form of worship and it brings a person closer to Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) says in Fatir # 28
It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, Oft-Forgiving.
When the teaching/learning activity is conducted in the Prophet's Mosque, it becomes a superior form of worship.
Abu Hurairah (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Whoever will come to my mosque with the only intention to conduct teaching/learning activities and to promote beneficial knowledge will have his reward equivalent to the person who fights in the path of Allah (SWT). A person who has some other purpose in his mind is like an individual who is looking towards others’ wealth.”2
Abu Umamah Al-Bahili (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Whoever visits my mosque in the morning with the sole purpose of conducting teaching/learning activities will have a reward equivalent to performing a Hajj.”3

3. Virtues of performing Salat (congregational prayer) in the Prophet’s Mosque:
According to many narrations, the reward for offering one salat in the Prophet’s mosque is equivalent to one thousand salats. In other words the reward for one salat in the Prophet’s Mosque is greater than performing salats in another mosque for a period of six months.
Abu Omar (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “One salat offered in my mosque is superior to one thousand salats offered in other mosques except Masjid Al-Haraam (Makkah Al-Mukaramah).”4
The scholars have discussed this Hadith in great detail. It must be, however, kept in mind that this Hadith is not describing the number of salats as such. It is rather pointing out the amount of  reward. In  other words the amount of reward for one salat in the Prophet’s Mosque will be greater than one thousand salats performed elsewhere except in Masjid
Al-Haraam.
Furthermore, if a previously missed salat is offered in the Prophet’s Mosque, it will be considered only as one salat and not one thousand salats.

4.  Virtues of Salat in the extensions of the Prophet’s Mosque:
All scholars agree that the salat performed in the extensions of the Prophet’s Mosque has the same merit as the salat offered inside the Prophet’s Mosque existing at the time of the Prophet Mohammad (SAS).
Zainud-Din Rajab said that the merit of the salat in an extension is the same as in the original mosque. Hence the virtues and merits of offering salat in the extensions of Masjid Al-Haraam and the Prophet’s Mosque will be the same as in the respective original mosques.
For more discussion see the following references:
Books

Volume and Page

Vifa Al-Vifa
V1, P 357
Fatawa Ibn Taimiya
V2, P 146
Al-Majmuaa Nawawi
V8, P 277

5. Virtues of salat offered in the adjoining areas of the Prophet’s Mosque:
There are very large number of people who offer salat during Salat-ul-Juma (Congregational prayer of Juma), during the month of holy Ramadhan, during the Hajj period and at the time of both Eids. They cannot be accommodated in the Prophet’s Mosque. They have to offer salat in the adjoining open spaces around the mosque, in near by markets and even in some neighboring streets. Do the outside worshippers deserve the same reward as the one who offers salat inside the Prophet’s Mosque?
The opinion of a few scholars is that the insiders as well as outsiders do receive the reward of congregational salat. However, an outsider does not receive same reward as the one who offers salat inside the covered Prophet’s Mosque. Other scholars hold their opinion that the outsider will be one like offering salat inside the Prophet’s Mosque since the rows are continuous and joining with each other.
Famous scholar Shinqity  said that the additional credit for the salat offered in the Prophet’s Mosque is due to the Grand Mercy of Allah (SWT) and a gift of Allah (SWT). How can a person standing inside the mosque and the others standing outside the mosque with their shoulders joining with each other have different amount of credit? Both deserve the same reward.5
It will be beneficial to mention here that during the last extension of the Mosque by the Saudi Government, special attention was paid to the arrangement and continuity of rows for salat. Furthermore, in the outside open spaces, a relatively cool floor of white marble is laid down towards the north, east and western sides of the covered Mosque indicating that those open spaces are part of the Prophet’s Mosque. Hence whoever offers salat in the open spaces will earn the same credit as the one praying inside the mosque as long as their shoulders are joining with each other in the rows.
I must remind and warn that the salat offered in a row formed in front of the Imam is totally invalid. Therefore, the persons offering salat in the eastern and western open spaces should make sure that their rows are not in front of the Imam. To facilitate this, white marble floor is laid down in part of these open spaces indicating that the rows formed in these areas will be behind the Imam. Black granite stone is laid down in the rest of the open spaces on the eastern and western sides indicating that the rows formed in these areas will make the salat invalid. The administration also puts up display boards with warnings written in many languages for discouraging the worshippers to form any row in front of the Imam. Great care must be taken in this respect and we must remind each other about it very politely.

6. Is it better to offer voluntary salat at home or in the Prophet’s Mosque?
Offering an obligatory salat in Prophet’s Mosque is definitely superior to the one offered in other places except Masjid Al-Haraam (Makkah Al-Mukarama). References from Bukhari and Muslim have been already given in support of this. For the voluntary salat, scholars hold different opinions. Some scholars say that this superiority applies both to obligatory and voluntary salat. Other scholars hold the opinion that offering voluntary salat at home is superior. They support it by a saying of Prophet Mohammad (SAS). Abdullah bin Saad (RU) said to Prophet Mohammad (SAS), “Should I offer voluntary salat at home or in the mosque?” Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Although my house is very close to the mosque, yet I offer only obligatory salat in the mosque and voluntary salats are offered at my home.”6
Furthermore, Prophet Mohammad (SAS) preferred to offer Tahajjud and Sunnah for Salat-ul-Fajr at home. Hence offering voluntary salat at home is superior.

7. Is it better for a lady to offer salat at home or in the Prophet’s Mosque?
A review of the sayings of Prophet Mohammad (SAS) shows that it is mandatory for males to pray in a congregation in a mosque while it is better for the women to offer salat in their homes. Since we are discussing the superiority of salat offered in the Prophet’s Mosque, it is very appropriate to mention here what is better for the women. It is best illustrated by a Hadith narrated by Umm Hameed( RUA) . She said to Prophet Mohammad (SAS), “O dear Prophet, I enjoy very much praying when you are leading the salat”. Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “I understand that you enjoy praying more when I am leading the salat. It is, however, better for you to offer salat in your private room than even in your house. It is better for you to pray inside your house than in the courtyard of your house. It is better to offer salat in your house than offering it in the neighborhood masjid. It is better for you to pray in the neighborhood masjid than my mosque.”
After this Umm Hameed always prayed in the innermost room of her house and adhered to this practice for rest of her life.7
This Hadith very clearly instructs us that it is better for women to pray in their homes than in Prophet’s Mosque. Similarly it is better for women to pray in their homes than in their neighborhood mosques.

8. Important etiquettes for women in order to visit a mosque.
As mentioned earlier it is better for a woman to offer salat at home. It is, however, permissible to offer salat in a mosque if the following conditions are fulfilled.
i) Ask permission from the husband.
Ibn Omar (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Don't prevent your women to visit a mosque if they ask you for your permission.”8
Similarly Salam bin Abdullah (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “When your wife asks for permission to visit a mosque, do not refuse her.”9
Ibn Omar (RU) also narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Don’t prevent your women to visit a mosque although their homes are better for them.”10
ii) Don’t put on perfume and make up.
Zainab, wife of Abdullah, narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Don’t put on perfume when you visit a mosque.”11
It is therefore, not permissible for a women to visit a mosque when she has put on perfume. The scholars say that anything which draws attention of men to women is not allowed. For example the outer dress of women should not be showy to make her conspicuous. She should not wear ornaments which produce sound. She should try her best not to mix with men and follow a route which eliminates interaction with other sex.
A conscientious Muslim woman should ponder over what Aisha  said, “If Prophet Mohammad (SAS) had seen our time he would have totally prevented women to visit mosques just like women of children of Isralites were prevented.”12
Note that Aisha  said about that period of human history which was considered the Golden-Period  of Islam.
At present time the European culture has totally destroyed the Muslim community. How much advisable it is for a Muslim woman to go out of her home?
As a summary, it is better for a woman to offer salat at home than joining a congregational salat in a mosque. However, she is allowed to go to a mosque if she fulfills the conditions described above. We noted that proper dress and other conditions are necessary for offering salat by a woman in a mosque. Hence it is even more important for a Muslim woman to observe proper dress and fulfill above conditions when she wants to go out for shopping, education, visitation or a job.

9. Offering Forty Salats in the Prophet’s Mosque.
Offering forty salats in the Prophet’s Mosque is not an obligatory part of Hajj or Umra. By not offering forty salats in Prophet’s Mosque will not make the Hajj or Umra invalid or incomplete.
When people come for Hajj or Umra, they also try their best to visit the Prophet’s Mosque. They try to offer forty salats in the Prophet’s Mosque during this visit because of its mention in some Hadith as explained below. Again, these forty salats are not part of visitation to the Prophet’s Mosque.
Ibn Taimiya said that visitation to Prophet’s Mosque consists of offering two rakat tahayya-tul-masjid, salutation to Prophet Mohammad (SAS) and then to Abu Bakr (RU) and then to Omar (RU), and making a supplication for the Muslims.13
Anas (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said, “Whosoever will offer forty salats in my Mosque will be saved from punishment and hypocrisy.” Many reputed scholars consider it a good Hadith. A recent scholar Al-Bani, however, called it a weak Hadith because of Nabeet , a transmitter of this Hadith.
Qadi (Justice of Islamic court) of Madinah Al-Munawarah and a teacher in the Prophet’s Mosque, Attiya Mohammad Salim has rejected Al-Bani’s opinion. He said, “Habban, Mandhari, Bahiqi and Ibn Hajar consider Nabeet a trustworthy person and they did not raise any objection about him. We have no right to question his trustworthiness when the above esteemed scholars accept him.” He added, “Even if we take it as a weak Hadith, it does not involve halal or haram (permitted or forbidden) and it in no way effects our belief. This Hadith is only describing the virtues of our actions. We can even accept a weak Hadith when it pertains to virtues of our deeds or actions. The scholars of Hadith do not act very rigidly in such matters.”14
A similar Hadith is in Tirmidhi which describes the merit of offering forty salats not only in Porophet’s Mosque but also in any mosque. Al-Bani has mentioned it as a good Hadith in his book.15
What is the wisdom in offering forty salats in Prophet’s Mosque or in any other mosque? Why should we be there at first Takbeer,  of each salat? Attiya Mohammad Salim (RTA) writes, “Allah (SWT) knows the best the answer to the question. However, a person who is present at first Takbeer of each salat for eight days will have the importance of his presence in the mosque on his mind all the time. He will also become used to the daily congregational salat. When he goes back to his homeland after visiting the Prophet’s Mosque, he will take with him a good habit of attending congregational salat and will develop a taste for it. Same benefit will be derived by offering forty salats in any other mosque. That is why Allah (SWT) has promised him salvation from punishment and safety against hypocrisy.” 16
I may add that forty salats in the Prophet’s Mosque are equivalent to forty thousand salats.  Furthermore, a salat offered in congregation is rewarded by Allah (SWT) twenty five times more. Hence these forty salats will be equivalent to salat offered in five hundred years. Obviously, the equivalence is in reward and not in number.
Hence the purpose of this Hadith is to motivate people for congregational salat. It will be very unfortunate for a person to miss congregational salat in his homeland  after his visitation to the Prophet's Mosque.

REFERENCES:


      1.         Muslim 15:1398
      2.         Sunan Ibn Majah # 227, Musnad Ahmad 23/270
      3.         Al-Mojam Al-Kabir Tabarani 8/111, 7473
      4.         Bukhari 20:1190, Muslim 15:1395
      5.         Tafseer Adhwa-ul-Biyan V. 8, P.466
      6.         Sunan Ibn Majah 5:1378
      7.         Musnad Ahmad V.6, P.371, Sahee Ibn Khazeema 1689
      8.         Muslim 4:442
      9.         Bukhari 10:873
    10.      Sunan Abu Dawud 2:567
    11.      Muslim 4:443
    12.      Muslim 4:442-443, Bukhari 10:869-873, Sunan Abu Dawud 2:867
    13.      Fatawa Ibn Taimiya V. 26, P.136
    14.      Tafseer Adhwa-ul-Biyan V. 8, P.873
    15.       Silsila al Ahadith As-Sahiah  V. 4: P.628-631
    16.      Sunan Tirmidhi V 4, P.628, Tafseer Adhwa-ul-Biyan V. 8, P. 574
  
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