Exploring the significance of the Sacred Chamber and Rawdah
الحجرة النبوية والروضة الشريفة: مكانة عظيمة لدى المسلمين
15 JAN 2021
Source: Nadeen Al-Wazani
Visitors to Madinah often make a point of visiting the Rawdah and Sacred Prophetic Chamber, also referred to as the Prophetic Compartment. The most venerated tomb in the world is located in the southeastern section of the Prophet’s Mosque. Part of the Rawdah is also included within this area.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is buried in the Sacred Chamber along with two of his most faithful companions and the first two caliphs of Islam, Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq and Umar ibn Al-Khattab.
The Sacred Chamber was once the hujra (house) of his wife Aisha – the house in which he was staying at the time of his death. The graves are surrounded by several walls that have no windows or doors and thus cannot be seen or accessed.
The Rawdah, or “The Noble Garden”, is an area between the minbar (pulpit) and house of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Aisha that eventually became the former’s burial chamber.
It is regarded as one of the Riyāḍ Al-Jannah – meaning “Gardens of Paradise”. The Rawdah is also distinguished from the rest of the mosque area by its white marble columns covered with gold of about two meters.
The Sacred Chamber has six doors and demarcated by gold and green copper and iron railings. The northern and southern sides of the chamber are 16 meters long and its eastern and western sides 15 meters long. Aisha continued to live in the northern part of the chamber; she set up a partition to separate the area where she lived from the graves out of respect for Umar after his passing.
The chamber has undergone many restorations, starting with a project led by Umar ibn Al-Khattab to refurbish the Prophet’s Mosque in 638 – he replaced the fronds of the building with a wall. Alwaleed bin Abdul Malik, the sixth Umayyad caliph, expanded the mosque in 707. Omar ibn Abd Al-Aziz, the eighth Umayyad caliph, rebuilt the chamber with black stones and then erected a pentagonal wall so it did not resemble the Holy Ka’aba. Restoration and maintenance are now done whenever needed.