My first visit to Masjid An-Nabawi was strange in that I was on my own and I didn’t really know what to do.
We reached Madina very late at night, passed midnight in fact. After reaching the hotel we got something to eat and then set off for the Masjid, not knowing if it was still open. Alhamdu Lillah when we got there it was still open.
My mum and wife entered via the back gates into the womens area and walked up to the front of the mosque and entered the gate that is right next to the Prophet’s grave (peace be upon him) under the green dome.
As I walked in I was looking around trying to see where I was. There were people standing outside the grave giving their Salams. As it was late night, it was not that busy. I stood there for a while wondering to myself behind which of the doors the grave might be (There are three big doors/gates).
For some reason I had always imagined that the Prophet’s grave (peace be upon him) to be in the centre with Abu Bakr (RA) on his right and Umar (RA) on his left. Having this in mind I thought that the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was behind the centre door and the grave of Abu Bakr (RA) was behind the door on the right and the grave of Umar (RA) behind the door on the left.
I gave my Salams and sent some Durud and then walk up close to the door to see if I can see anything through the small holes. As I walked up I asked one of the gurards in my broken Arabic which is the door behind which the Graves were and he told me that they were all behind the door in the centre with the Grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) first and then the grave of Abu Bakr (RA) and then Umar (RA) and then as I looked up at the door there was actually three markers with their names in Arabic Calligraphy posted on the door to indicate the location of the graves.
I gave some more Salams and then decided to go and find a place to pray. I walked straight onto the area with the green carpets. You would not believe what I did next …
The area of the green carpet was fairly busy but there were still spaces where I could have prayed. I looked around the rest of the mosque and it was totally empty so I thought to myself why are all these people crowding around here when the entire mosque is empty. So I thought that I would be a clever boy and walk out of the area of the green carpet and pray in the empty part of the mosque. How clever was I ?
It was not until I got to the hotel that it dawned on me what I had done. I was speaking to the wife about how I gave Salams and prayed in the masjid. She asked me if I had prayed on the green carpet, and it was then that it hit me.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“The space between my house and my pulpit is (Rawdah) one of the gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit is at my Fountain.”
I had just been right next to the Rawdah of Jannah, even standing on it, but instead of praying on it I prayed in the other parts of the mosque. So that’s why it was so busy on the green carpet.
I made sure from then on that the next few nights that I was there, I always prayed on the green carpet after giving my Salams to the beloved of Allah (peace be upon him).