Monday, May 10, 2010

The Housing of the Mothers of the Believers

As Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!

Insha Allah this finds you in the best of health and Iman.
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From the book: The Houses of the Companions around the Prophet's Mosque by Imtiaz Ahmad (A summary and translation of Dr. Mohammed Ilyas Abdul Gani's book of the same title)

Hujrat is plural of Hujrah. It means a hut or an ordinary cottage. Here Hujrat means those houses in which the Prophet Mohammed (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) stayed in Madina with his wives (radhi Allahu anhun). According to several narrations, the Prophet Mohammed (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) built two huts for his two wives when he built the Prophet's Mosque in Madina. One hut was for Aisha (radhi Allahu anha) and the other for Sauda (radhi Allahu anha). Later on he had more wives and he, therefore, built similar huts for them. He built nine such huts during his lifetime and he spent the last ten years of his life in these huts. One of these huts happens to be his resting place till the Day of Judgment...

Historians agree about the location of five Hujrat. These were the residences of Hafsa, Aisha, Sauda, Zainab bint Khazima and Umm Salma (radhi Allahu anhun). There are some differences among historians about the locations of the other Hujrat. After analyzing their difference we arrive at the conclusion that all these Hujrat were situated on the eastern side of the Prophet's mosque. They were in a row and extended beyond the northern boundary of the mosque...

What were these Hujrat like? Each Hujrah consisted of a small room and a tiny backyard. The backyard was enclosed by the branches of palm trees and unbaked bricks. Blankets of hair were thrown on them to ensure privacy in the yard. The door of each Hujrah was not built from an expensive wood. Each door had a rough blanket hanging there for privacy. Hence each Hujrah reflected humbleness and modesty.

Dimension of each Hujrah was approximately 5m x 4m and the backyard was 5m x 3.5m. A person standing in a Hujrah could touch the ceiling by his hand.

Saeed bin Musayyab wished that these Hujrat should not have been demolished during the extension of the Prophet's Mosque. He said, "I earnestly wished that these Hujrat were left as they were, to remind the visitors as well as the new generations of Madina about the lifestyle of Prophet Mohammed (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and his contentment with so very little. Owners of lofty buildings would hopefully avoid bragging about their worldly assets after their visit to these humble cottages."

The locations of Aisha's Hujrah and Sauda's Hujrah are shown on the map below. Sauda (radhi Allahu anha) died during the year 55 Hijrah. She gave her Hujrah to Aisha (radhi Allahu anha) at the time of her death. The location of Hafsa's Hujrah can also been seen on the map. There ran a very narrow street between the huts of Aisha (radhi Allahu anha) and Hafsa (radhi Allahu anha). It was so narrow that hardly one person could pass through it at a time. Aisha (radhi Allahu anha) and Hafsa (radhi Allahu anha) used to talk to each other while sitting in their own Hujrat. Zainab bint Khuzaima (radhi Allahu anha) passed away two months after her marriage to the Prophet Mohammed (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Location of her Hujrah can be seen on the map. When the Prophet Mohammed (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) married Umm Salma (radhi Allahu anha) he housed her in the hut that formerly belonged to Zainab bint Khazima (radhi Allahu anha).

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