The Prophet Muhammad PBUH Throughout its history, the Prophet's Mosque built his mosque in the first year of Hijrah ( 622). The area at that time was 1030 square meters. In the seventh year of Hijrah the Prophet expanded the mosque to an area of 2475 square meters. The Prophetic Mosque has witnessed consecutive expansions during the caliphs and Islamic states afterwards.
The Prophetic Mosque has never seen an expansion greater than what the kings of Saudi Arabia. In 1948, during the reign of King Abdulaziz, the mosque was enlarged to cover a total area of 16,327 square meters. At the same time, repairs and renovations were carried out in the existing structure.
During the following decades, the mosque continued to be enlarged, until it reached its present surface area of 400,500 square meters with a capacity of 707,000 worshippers.
Care was taken during all these modern phases of expansion to preserve and renovate the existing older sections of the Prophet's Mosque, in order that they may form a harmonious whole with the new areas. The Prophet's Mihrab was restored, for example, and the pillars of the Rawdah and all the rest of the pillars of the earlier periods of construction were consolidated, and the mosque was outfitted with all modern needs and equipment.
The protective awnings
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz ordered the completion of the expansion project.
This included the addition of 68 awnings to the 182 awnings which provide shade in the externals areas of the Prophet's Mosque in order to protect the worshippers and visitors from the sun and rain.
The awnings were equipped with a system of rain water discharge, lighting and automatic opening and closing.
They are also designed in two different heights, so that the higher ones would cover the lower ones to form an integrated whole. When they are closed, the awnings are all 21 meters high. One of the unique features of these awnings is that they can be opened and closed automatically according to need. When they are all open, they cover an area of 144,000 square meters.
The awnings have endowed the open areas surrounding the Prophet's Mosque with a special beauty which is wholly in keeping with the atmosphere of peace, spirituality and sanctity which pervades the mosque and they enable more than 200,000 worshippers to carry out their devotions at any time of the day.