Islamic history has never witnessed members of one single family aiding in the growth of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque like has been done by Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman and his sons. Their contributions are so large that the title of “the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” is more synonymous to them than that of king.
“The first Saudi expansion was done by King Abdul Aziz ─ may God have mercy on him ─ and was completed by King Saud. Further expansion was done by King Faisal, King Khaled and then King Fahd (may they all rest in peace). King Fahd started the biggest expansion plan, which was the second of its kind, estimated at 82,000 square meters, five times the previous expansions’ space,” Abdul Wahid a-Hattab, director of Public Relations and Media in the General administration of the Prophet’s Mosque said.
History noted the names of all those who contributed in building the two mosques and they are as revered as those who made achievements in literature or defended their nations. This is why Saudi kings have become an integral part of the mosques’ history.
“The Prophet’s Mosque was once able to accommodate 28,000 worshipers but the new expanded building can handle 250,000 worshippers inside the mosque and on its roof. The arenas of the mosque, which has an area of 232,000 square meters, can receive 700,000 worshipers, so adding 250,000 others and the previous numbers, the mosque would be able to host one million worshipers,” al-Hattab said.
The importance of the mosques’ architecture during the Kingdom’s rule lies in its continual renovations over a period of more than 90 years, and in its flexibility to respond to the needs of the large number of devotees who come to pray.
“During the reign of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, there were 250 shades which covered the people from the sun and rain,” al-Hattab said.
Both mosques have benefitted from the expansion phase of King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz which is rich in space and architecture, and offers comprehensive solutions that complement the journey of his father and brothers, while retaining a unique imprint.