With regard to the construction of Masjid Quba, it is mentioned that when the Holy Prophet (sa) arrived in Quba, he laid the foundation for a mosque which is known as Masjid Quba. It is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari that the Holy Prophet (sa) spent more than 10 nights in the village of Banu Amr bin Auf and laid the foundation of a mosque regarding which it is stated that its foundations were laid on taqwa and the Holy Prophet (sa) offered his prayers inside it.
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al-Ansar, Bab Hijrat al-Nabisa wa Ashabih ila al-Medina, Hadith 3906)
It is also mentioned in the narration that when the Holy Prophet (sa) laid the foundation, he first placed a stone in the direction of the qiblah [Holy Ka‘bah]. Thereafter, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) placed a stone and then Hazrat Umar (ra) placed a stone next to Hazrat Abu Bakr’s (ra) stone. After this, the rest of the people began working on its construction. During the construction of Masjid Quba, the Holy Prophet (sa) would carry a stone tied to his stomach and it would be a very heavy stone and the Holy Prophet (sa) would then place it down. Others would come and would want to lift the stone, but they would be unable to do so. Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) would instruct them to leave it and to take another stone instead.
(Ibn Hisham, Al-Raud al-Unf fi Tafsir al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Vol. 2, Ta‘yis Masjid Quba [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2013], p. 332)
In relation to Masjid Quba, it is mentioned that this was the very mosque whose foundations were established upon taqwa. However, according to some other narrations, it is said that Masjid Nabawi is the mosque whose foundations have been established upon taqwa.
It is mentioned in Sirat-ul-Halabiyyah that there is no contradiction in the two narrations because both mosques have been established upon the foundation of taqwa. This view has been supported by Hazrat ibn Abbas (ra). In his view, the foundations of all the mosques of Medina, in which Masjid Quba is included, were established upon taqwa, but the mosque regarding which the verse of the Holy Quran was revealed was indeed Masjid Quba.
(Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 75)
There are also narrations regarding the manner in which Hazrat Umar (ra) upheld the etiquette of the Prophet’s (sa) Mosque and the prayers. Hazrat Sa‘ibra bin Yazid narrates that he was standing in the mosque when someone threw a stone towards him. He turned and saw that it was Hazrat Umar (ra) bin al-Khattab. Hazrat Umar (ra) said, “Bring those two people to me.”
There were two people who had been talking loudly. So, they were taken to Hazrat Umar (ra), who said, “Who are you two”, or, “Where are you from?” They replied that they were residents of Ta‘if. Upon this, Hazrat Umar (ra) said, “Had you been residents of this city, I would have punished you for speaking so loudly in the mosque of the Holy Prophet (sa).”
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Bab Raf‘ al-Saut fi al-Masjid, Hadith 470)
Ikrama narrates: “Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas (ra) said to him [Ikrima] and Ali bin Abdullah, his own son, ‘Go to Abu Sa‘eed Khudhri and listen to what he says.’ We went to meet him and saw that he was watering his orchard with his brother. When they saw us they sat down on the ground with their legs crossed [in a comfortable manner] and then said, ‘During the construction of the Prophet’s mosque, we would carry each brick separately and Ammar bin Yasir would bring two bricks at a time. The Holy Prophet (sa) walked past him and removed the dust off of Hazrat Ammar’s (ra) head and said, ‘What a pity! The rebellious group will kill him. Ammar will call them towards God and they will call him towards fire.’”
(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Jihad Wa Al-Sair, Hadith 2812)
Thus, Hazrat Ammar (ra) would always pray to God Almighty to protect him from all forms of evil.
(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 194, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar-ul-Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)
Abdullah bin Abi Huzail narrates, “When the Messenger (sa) of God was constructing his mosque, everyone was carrying the bricks and stones. The Holy Prophet (sa) and Hazrat Ammar (ra) were also doing the same. Hazrat Ammar (ra) was reciting the following couplet:
نَحْنُ الْمُسْلِمُوْنَ نَبْتَنِي الْمَسَا جِدَا
That is, ‘We are Muslims who build Mosques.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) would also repeat those words with him. Prior to this, Hazrat Ammar (ra) had been ill and therefore some people said that Ammar (ra) would surely die that day because he was working in a state while recovering from illness and weakness. Upon hearing this, the Holy Prophet (sa) dropped the bricks from Hazrat Ammar’s hand and instructed him to rest.”
(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 190, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar-ul-Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)
Even in a state of severe weakness, the Companions (ra) did not want to be deprived from offering their services.
Hazrat Ibn Umar (ra) states that it was the practice of Hazrat Umar (ra) to not say ‘Allahu Akbar’ [i.e. begin the prayer] until the rows were straight. In fact, he had appointed a person for the task of ensuring that the rows were straight. Abu Uthman Nahdi said that as the Iqamah [announcement of the start of prayer] was announced, he would see Hazrat Umar (ra) standing with his back turned towards the ‘qiblah’ [direction of prayer] and would say, “O so and so, move forward” or, “O so and so, move back.” In other words, he would organise the rows. When the rows would be straight, he would turn towards the ‘qiblah’ and say ‘Allahu Akbar’ [i.e. begin the prayer].
(Ibn al-Juzi, Sirat Umar al-Khattab [Al-Azhar, Egypt: al-Matba‘ah al-Misriyyah], p. 165)
After arriving in Medina [after the migration from Mecca], the Holy Prophet (sa) turned his attention towards constructing a mosque. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) has written about this in The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets:
“Upon arriving in Medina, the first task was the construction of Masjid-e-Nabawi. The place where the camel of the Holy Prophet (sa) chose to rest, was the property of two children from Medina named Sahl and Suhail, who lived in the guardianship of Hazrat As‘ad (ra) bin Zurarah. This was a vacant land, on which a few date palms had been planted in one area. In another area, there were ruins, etc. The Holy Prophet (sa) selected this plot to construct the Masjid-e-Nabawi, and his own living quarters. This plot of land was purchased for 10 dinars, (and an equivalent figure of that era has been given in Rupees in the book) and by levelling the place, and cutting down the trees, the construction of Masjid-e-Nabawibegan. The Holy Prophet (sa) supplicated to Allah, and laid the foundation stone himself. Just as in the construction of the mosque at Quba, the Companions (ra) worked as builders and labourers. The Holy Prophet (sa) would also participate at times.”
(Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra), p. 269)
As has been mentioned, the Holy Prophet (sa) purchased a plot for the mosque and residential quarters for ten dinars and in the traditions, it is mentioned that this amount was paid out of Hazrat Abu Bakr’s (ra) wealth.
(Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 1, Bina al-Masjid al-Nabawi [Makrabah Islami, 2004], p. 316)
Further details regarding the construction of the mosque are as follows; at the start of the construction, the Holy Prophet (sa) placed a brick with his own blessed hands. The Holy Prophet (sa) then called for Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), who placed a brick beside the one placed by the Holy Prophet (sa). Following this, the Holy Prophet (sa) called for Hazrat Umar (ra), who placed a brick next to the one placed by Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra). Hazrat Uthman (ra) came after this and he placed a brick next to the one placed by Hazrat Umar (ra).
In another narration, it is mentioned that when the Holy Prophet (sa) constructed the mosque, he laid the foundation stone and said to Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), “Place your stone next to mine.” He then said to Hazrat Umar (ra), “Place your stone next to Hazrat Abu Bakr’s (ra).” Following this, he said to Hazrat Uthman (ra), “Place your stone next to Hazrat Umar’s (ra).”
(Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, Bab al-Hijrah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 90)
When the Holy Prophet (sa) returned victorious from the Battle of Khaybar in the month of Muharram, in the seventh year after Hijra, he ordered for the expansion and reconstruction of Masjid-e-Nabawi. Even on this occasion, the Holy Prophet (sa) personally participated in the construction of the mosque along with his noble Companions (ra).
(Justuju-e-Medina [Pakistan: Oriental Publications], p. 446)
Ubaidullah bin Abdillah relates, “When the Holy Prophet (sa) granted us plots of land for our homes in Medina, he allotted a piece of land for Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) close to the mosque.”
(Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) wa min Bani Tayyim… [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, 1996], p. 93)
After spending 10 or 14 nights in Quba, the Holy Prophet (sa) left for Medina. On the way when the Holy Prophet (sa) reached the village of the Banu Salim bin Auf, it was a Friday. The Holy Prophet (sa), along with the Muslims, offered the Jumuah prayer [Friday prayer] in the mosque situated in the Valley of Ranuna. The total number of people was 100. The Valley of Ranuna is situated to the south of Medina. Ever since the Holy Prophet (sa) offered his Jumuah prayers there, it is known as “Masjid al-Jumu‘ah.” This was the first Jumuah offered in Medina.
(Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, Bab al-Hijrah ila al-Medina [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 75) (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Bab Hijrat al-Rasul (sa) [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001], p. 349) (Atlas Sirat Nabawisa, p. 168)
Perhaps the mosque was built afterwards and was named Masjid al-Jumu‘ah because the Holy Prophet (sa) offered his Jumuah there. It is then mentioned that after offering the Jumuah prayers, the Holy Prophet (sa) mounted upon his camel and left for Medina and he had seated Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) behind him.
(Sharh al-Zurqani ala al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1996], p. 157)
In relation to when the [straw] prayer mats were first laid out in Masjid Nabawi it is said that initially, people would pray without it directly on the floor or on any soft area, and there would be dust on their foreheads. Afterwards, the custom of using prayer mats came into effect. Abdullah bin Ibrahim narrates that the first person to use straw prayer mats in Masjid Nabawi was Hazrat Umar (ra) bin Al-Khattab. Before this, when people would raise their heads after performing sajdah, they would wipe their hands. Subsequently, Hazrat Umar (ra) ordered for prayer mats to be laid down which were brought from Aqiq and laid out in Masjid Nabawi. Aqiq is the name of a valley which spans almost 150 kilometres from the southwest of Medina up to the northwest of Medina and it is said to be a large valley.
(Izalatul Khulafa An Khilafat Al-Khulafa, translated by Shah Walliullah, Vol. 3, p. 236, Qadeemi Kutub Khana Karachi) (Al-Sirat Nabawi, p. 168, Dar-ul-Islam Al-Riadh, 1424 AH)
Hazrat Hakam bin Utaibah narrates, “It was between sunrise and midafternoon when the Holy Prophet (sa) arrived in Medina. Hazrat Ammar (ra) said, ‘We should create a place of shade for the Holy Prophet (sa) where he can sit and take rest and also offer his prayers.’ Hazrat Ammar (ra) then gathered some rocks and set the foundation of Masjid Quba. This was the very first mosque constructed and Hazrat Ammar (ra) was the one who did this.” (Usdul Ghaaba, Vol. 4, p. 126, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar-ul-Kutub-ul-Ilmiyyah, 1996, Beirut)
Sufiyan relates a narration from his father that Hazrat Ammar (ra) was the first person who dedicated the space in his house to be used as a mosque for worship.
(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 189, Ammar bin Yasir, Dar-ul-Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)
There are some details mentioned in Umdat al-Qari, which is a commentary of Sahih Bukhari, about the mosque which was established in the courtyard of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra). It is mentioned that this mosque was spread to the walls of his house and this was the first-ever mosque established in Islam.
(Umdat al-Qari, Kitab al-Kafalah, Bab Jiwar Abi Bakr (ra) fiAhd al-Nabi (sa), Vol. 12, p. 185, Hadith 2297)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states:
“Abu Bakr (ra) was such a person to whom all of Mecca was indebted. Whatever he earned was spent in freeing slaves. He was once leaving Mecca when a chieftain encountered him on his way. He asked, ‘O Abu Bakr, where are you going?’ Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) replied, ‘There is no peace for me in this city. I am moving elsewhere.’ That chieftain said, ‘If a man as pious as you leaves this city, then it will surely lead to its ruin. I will offer you protection under my authority, so do not leave this city.’ He returned under the protection of this chieftain. In the morning, when Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) would wake up and recite the Quran, women and children would put their ears to his walls just to hear the words of the Quran. This is because his voice was impassioned with fervency and emotion and because the Holy Quran was in the Arabic language, every woman, man and child could understand it and every listener would be inspired by it. When word spread of this, there was an uproar in Mecca for fear that everyone would lose their faith.”
In other words, the people would leave their old beliefs upon hearing the recitation of the Holy Quran and the fervency of Hazrat Abu Bakr’s (ra) voice. This is exactly what is happening to Ahmadis in some countries, particularly to those living in Pakistan. [They claim] that they, too, will become faithless if they see an Ahmadi recite the Quran or pray. For this reason, there are severe punishments for Ahmadis who are caught praying or reciting the Quran.
Nonetheless, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) further writes:
“The people went to that chieftain and questioned him, saying, ‘Why have you provided him with protection?’ This chieftain then went to Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and said, ‘Please desist in reciting the Quran in this manner because the people of Mecca are angered by it.’ Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) replied, ‘Withdraw the protection you have offered to me because I cannot abandon this practice.’ Thus, the chieftain withdrew his protection.”
(Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, 327)
In the time of Hazrat Umar (ra), Masjid Nabawi underwent an expansion in 17 AH. Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (ra) narrates that during the time of the Holy Prophet (sa), Masjid Nabawi was made from mudbricks, the roof was made from date palm leaves and branches and date palm trunks were used as pillars. The mosque remained the same throughout the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and no expansion or changes were made. Hazrat Umar (ra) instructed for the mosque to be extended and renovated but did not make any changes to the appearance and building structure and left it on the original foundations. The roof was kept in its original condition using date palm leaves but changed the pillars using wood instead. The renovation of the mosque was completed in 17 AH under the supervision of Hazrat Umar (ra). After this expansion, the area of the mosque increased from 100 x 100 cubits, which is approximately 50 x 50 metres to 140 x 120 cubits, approximately 70 x 60 metres. From this narration, it is evident that during the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), the mosque remained in the same condition as it was during the time of the Holy Prophet (sa). But it was extended significantly due to the construction in the time of Hazrat Umar (ra).
Abu Saeed Khudri (ra) narrates that Hazrat Umar (ra) gave instructions to expand Masjid Nabawi and to make provisions for people to be safeguarded from the rain, but to avoid the use of red and white in the renovations, because it is these sorts of adornments that place man in trial. Hazrat Umar (ra) was careful in what he spent and ensured it remained in the same style and design as it was in the blessed era of the Holy Prophet (sa). During the expansion, he obtained the houses that were attached to the mosque to the northern, southern and western side. Some people happily donated their land for the mosque and for some Hazrat Umar (ra) had to explain to them and offered them financial incentives. Hence, Hazrat Umar (ra) had to purchase some land and include it as part of the mosque.
(Justuju-e-Madinah, Abdul Hameed Qadri, p. 459, Oriental Publications Lahore, 2007)