By Arab News
By MD Al-Sulami
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has ordered an expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to accommodate more than 1.6 million worshippers, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf announced yesterday.
“The new expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque is part of King Abdullah’s efforts in the service of Islam and Muslims, the latest of which was the unprecedented expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah,” he said.
Al-Assaf said the expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque would extend a great service to the pilgrims and visitors who will be able to pray comfortably in the mosque and the surrounding plaza.
He said King Abdullah’s Expansion Project of the Prophet’s Mosque would be implemented in three phases. “The first phase will accommodate more than 800,000 worshippers while the second and third will accommodate an equal number of worshippers bringing the total number of people the mosque can accommodate at a gvien time to more than 1.6 million,” he said.
The minister said the new expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque would complete the other projects that the king has ordered for the welfare and comfort of the pilgrims and visitors. He recalled in this connection the ongoing expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the expansion of the Massa (pathway between Safa and Marwa), increasing the area of the Jamarat bridge, the Makkah Development Plan, the Haramain Express Train, the Makkah Gate and the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.
The Prophet’s Mosque has been expanded twice. The first one was mooted during the time of King Abdul Aziz, the Kingdom’s founder, in 1949. Work on the expansion started in July 1951 and took nine years to complete. The second one, called after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque King Fahd, started in 1984 and was completed in 1994.
During the first expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque, four minarets were added in addition to 18 ordinary staircases. During King Fahd’s rule, six new minarets were added to bring their total number to 10 and six electric staircases were established raising the number of staircases to 24.
The ground floor of the mosque has an area of 98,500 sq. meters accommodating 167,000 worshippers, the roof has an area of 67,000 sq. meters accommodating 90,000 worshippers and the surrounding plaza has a total area of 235,000 sq. meters accommodating 450,000 worshippers.
The total area of the mosque and its plaza is 400,500 sq. meters accommodating 707,00 worshippers but at the peak time as many as a million worshippers could be in the mosque at one time.