Green Dome

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Green Dome
Al-Qubbah Al-Khaḍrāʾ
ٱَلْقُبَّة ٱلْخَضْرَاء
The Green Dome, Masjid Nabawi, Madina.jpg
The Green Dome at the Prophet's Mosque and the Bab Al-Baqi' Minaret
RegionAl-Madinah Province
LeadershipPresident of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques: Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais
LocationAl-Masjid an-Nabawi,
Medina, Hejaz, Saudi Arabia
Green Dome is located in Saudi Arabia
Green Dome
Location of the Green Dome in Saudi Arabia
Green Dome is located in Middle East
Green Dome
Green Dome (Middle East)
Green Dome is located in West and Central Asia
Green Dome
Green Dome (West and Central Asia)
AdministrationThe Agency of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques
Geographic coordinatesCoordinates: 24°28′03.22″N 039°36′41.18″E / 24.4675611°N 39.6114389°E / 24.4675611; 39.6114389 (Green Dome)
FounderMamluk Sultan Al Mansur Qalawun[1]
Date established678 A.H. / 1279 C.E.[2][1]
Completed678 A.H. / 1279 C.E.[2][1]
MaterialsWood,[3] brick[4]

The Green Dome (Arabic: ٱَلْقُبَّة ٱلْخَضْرَاء, romanizedal-Qubbah al-Khaḍrāʾ) is a green-coloured dome built above the tombs of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the early Rashidun Caliphs Abu Bakr (r. 632–634) and Umar (r. 634–644), which used to be Aisha's chamber. The dome is located in the southeast corner of Al-Masjid al-Nabawi ("mosque of the Prophet") in Medina, Saudi Arabia.[5] Millions visit it every year, since it is a tradition to visit the mosque after or before the pilgrimage to Mecca.

The structure dates back to 1279 C.E., when an unpainted wooden cupola was built over the tomb. It was later rebuilt and painted using different colours twice in the late 15th century and once in 1817. The dome was first painted green in 1837, and hence became known as the "Green Dome".[2]


Wall of the Burial

Built in 1279 C.E. or 678 A.H., during the reign of Mamluk Sultan Al Mansur Qalawun,[1] the original structure was made out of wood and was colourless,[3] painted white and blue in later restorations. After a serious fire struck the Mosque in 1481, the mosque and dome had been burnt and a restoration project was initiated by Sultan Qaitbay who had most of the wooden base replaced by a brick structure in order to prevent the collapse of the dome in the future, and used plates of lead to cover the new wooden dome. The building, including the Tomb of the Prophet, was extensively renewed through Qaitbay's patronage.[4] The current dome was added in 1818 by the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II.[5] The dome was first painted green in 1837.[2]

When Saud bin Abdul-Aziz took Medina in 1805, his followers, the Wahhabis, demolished nearly every tomb dome in Medina based on their belief that the veneration of tombs and places claimed to possess supernatural powers is an offense against tawhid.[6] The tomb was stripped of its gold and jewel ornaments, but the dome was preserved either because of an unsuccessful attempt to demolish its hardened structure, or because some time ago Ibn Abd al-Wahhab wrote that he did not wish to see the dome destroyed despite his aversion to people praying at the tomb.[7] Similar events took place in 1925 when the Saudi militias retook—and this time managed to keep—the city.[8][9][10] Most of the famous Muslim scholars of the Wahhabi Sect support the decision made by Saudi authorities not to allow veneration of the tomb as it was built much later after the death of Muhammad and considered it as an "innovation".[11]

Tomb of Muhammad and early caliphs[edit]

The site under the green dome: Muhammad's burial according to various traditions. Right to left: Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Umar

Muhammad's grave lies within the confines of what used to be his and his wife Aisha's house, the Hujra. During his lifetime, it adjoined the mosque. The first and second Rashidun Caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar, are buried next to Muhammad. Umar was given a spot next to Abu Bakr by Aisha, which had originally been intended for her. The mosque was expanded during the reign of Umayyad Caliph al-Walid I to include their tombs.[2] The graves themselves cannot be seen, as the area is cordoned off by a gold mesh and black curtains.[12]

A fourth vacant spot is believed to be reserved for Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus) in the event of his return.[13]

The graves and what remains of Aisha's house are enclosed by a 5-sided wall, without doors or windows, built by caliph Umar II. The irregular pentagon shape was chosen deliberately, to make it look different from 4-sided Kaaba, so to discourage people from performing tawaf around it. This enclosure was not entered since Qaitbay's reconstruction of 1481. Only this wall, draped in green cloth, can be seen through the grills of the outer wall, which was built several centuries later and is currently accessible to the public.[14]


Green Dome and Prophet's Mosque at sunset, view from the east


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Prophet's Mosque". ArchNet. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ariffin, Syed Ahmad Iskandar Syed (2005). Architectural Conservation in Islam: Case Study of the Prophet's Mosque. Penerbit UTM. pp. 88–89, 109. ISBN 978-9-8352-0373-2.
  3. ^ a b "The history of Green Dome in Madinah and its ruling". Peace Propagation Center. 4 June 2009. Archived from the original on 24 August 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b Meinecke, Michael (1993). Mamlukische Architektur (in German). Vol. 2. pp. 396–442. ', II..
  5. ^ a b Petersen, Andrew (11 March 2002). Dictionary of Islamic Architecture. Routledge. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-2032-0387-3.
  6. ^ Peskes, Esther (2000). "Wahhābiyya". Encyclopaedia of Islam. Vol. 11 (2nd ed.). Brill Academic Publishers. pp. 40, 42. ISBN 9004127569.
  7. ^ Mark Weston (2008). Prophets and princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the present. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-0-470-18257-4.
  8. ^ Mark Weston (2008). Prophets and princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the present. John Wiley and Sons. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-470-18257-4.
  9. ^ Vincent J. Cornell (2007). Voices of Islam: Voices of the spirit. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-275-98734-3.
  10. ^ Carl W. Ernst (2004). Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World. Univ of North Carolina Press. pp. 173–174. ISBN 978-0-8078-5577-5.
  11. ^ "Kya gumbad e Khazra ko gira dena chahye Reply to Bol TV Ulamaa | Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza - YouTube". Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Important Sites: The Prophet's Mosque". Inside Islam. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Isa", Encyclopedia of Islam
  14. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Grave and Tomb of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ inside Masjid Nabawi in Madinah". YouTube.