Source: Arab News:
MADINAH: The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah is like a magnet pulling Muslims from across the world who come to pray there and salute Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and two of his close companions.
However, a rich Islamic history lies hidden behind the breathtaking view of the mosque, which is an epitome of modern and ancient art and architecture. Riyazul Jannah (green carpet area), where the original mosque once stood, is the center of attraction for various reasons.
Historians were quoted by local media as saying that the Mihrab facing the first Qibla was at the end of the mosque, from the northern side opposite the Othman gate and next to the fifth column, and to the north at Ayesha’s column.
The Prophet (pbuh) and his followers performed prayers in the direction of Jerusalem after they came to Madinah. However, after the Prophet (pbuh) was ordered to change the direction of the Qibla to Kaaba, he placed the Mihrab from the north of the mosque to the south, and prayed at Ayesha’s column for two or four months.
The Prophet (pbuh) later moved forward and prayed for a few days at another column, where he subsequently placed the Mihrab.
Omar bin Al-Khattab, the second caliph of Islam, later moved the Imam’s Mihrab to the far south. The mosque did not have a curved Mihrab during the Prophet’s time or during the time of the four caliphs.
Sources said that the first curved niche or Mihrab was added during the Ummayad period. The niches varied and include the Al-Rawdah niche, which is on the left of the Mimbar; the Othmani niche on the eastern wall of the mosque from where the imam leads the prayer now; Al-Suleimani niche, which was known as the Hanafi niche to the left of the Mimbar; Fatima’s niche, to the south of the night prayer niche inside the honorable room, and Sheikh Al-Haram niche, to the back of Dakat Al-Aghwath.