Museum in Makkah transports visitors to era of Prophet (peace be upon him)

April 19, 2018

Amal Al-Sibai

Saudi Gazette

What do Westerners of different religious following know about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? What do atheists know about him? What do new Muslims know about him and what do the Arabs who were born Muslim know about him, may Allah be pleased with him?

Does the average person know that when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) laughed, his molars showed, or that a scent of musk emanated from his body, or that he walked at a fast pace, or that he loved sweets? We could never imagine who he really was until after a thorough study of the verses of the Holy Qur’an that describe him, and the authentic Hadith that have been transmitted over generations.

It is not easy to find a book that describes the details of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in all of his roles; as a husband, father, friend, preacher, ruler, and military commander. Most available books about the Prophet (peace be upon him) are limited to a series of events: his birth, marriage, the Revelation, battles, and his death.

Realizing the pressing need for a book with a much broader scope and unique perspective, Dr. Nasir Al-Qurashy Al-Zahrani made it his mission in life to author an all-encompassing book and present it to the world. With a PhD in Arabic language, extensive background knowledge in the history of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and close contact with learned scholars, Al-Zahrani is a good candidate for this noble task.

Al-Zahrani immersed himself in his writings. What started out as a book expanded into an encyclopedia with 500 volumes.

“The encyclopedia is a comprehensive description of the radiant biography and excellent manners of the Prophet (peace be upon him); his physical and moral characteristics, so that you can almost picture him in your mind. It portrays his etiquette, life at home, his relationship with his family, his dress, home, possessions, and weapons. It is about the Prophet (peace be upon him) in all situations; in worship, prayer, travel, while fasting, standing, sleeping, giving sermons, in the pilgrimage, and battles. It shows the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in all of his emotions, his triumphs and tribulations; while joking, laughing, crying, and showing mercy and compassion,” said Al-Zahrani.

Before ink was put to paper for the making of this encyclopedia, Al-Zahrani consulted with over 80 scholars to be certain that all information contained within the covers of the encyclopedia is accurate. The book received the approval of the Union of Arab Archeologists in Cairo.

You may be surprised to learn that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his lifetime wore 85 different types of attire, as he received gifts from afar; India, Persia, Syria. He wore several colors, including yellow and red. He tasted 92 different types of dishes.

The encyclopedia fueled Al-Zahrani’s passion for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); it gained a momentum of its own until the project led to a full-fledged museum to honor the best of mankind.

A picturesque and outstanding museum has been founded in Makkah for the sole purpose of telling the true and full story of the Prophet’s life (peace be upon him). The museum is currently situated in Makkah and welcomes group visitors through reservations only, free of charge.

The special items encased in the museum are meant to be educational tools that help us understand the details of our Prophet’s life and aim to bridge the gap between us and the people who were closest to him, may Allah be pleased with him. All the items in the museum are designed by a team of historians and scientists to identically resemble the possessions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The museum’s founder clearly specified that they are not original old, historic relics.

Even fluent Arabic speakers have difficulty imagining exactly what the qasa’a is. It is the bowl that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to eat from; a bowl similar to it was designed and is on display at the museum. Seeing with one’s own eyes the exact size of the cup that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to perform ablution out of teaches several lessons; in water conservation, cleanliness, living a humble lifestyle, and moderation.

“The contents designed for the museum are all derived from accurate information. This part of the project is innovative and unprecedented in history; regarding the idea and contents of the museum. The items that are manufactured were mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and in the Hadith; possessions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Our team created furniture, weaponry, helmet, clothes, coins, a scale, and eating utensils like that of the Prophet (peace be upon him). We even made the Prophet’s ring that he (peace be upon him) used as a seal. The goal is to facilitate the spread of knowledge and to present practical illustrations, utilizing the latest technologies to satisfy the visitor’s curiosity and interest in learning,” said Al-Zahrani.

Architects and engineers built models or miniature cities of the old Makkah and Madinah. Visitors can see where the houses of the wives and companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to be. It is interactive, so a visitor can press the search button for let’s say the house of Khadijah, the Prophet’s wife, may Allah be pleased with them, and her house in the model will light up.

Hands-on learning is far more effective and long-lasting than more traditional methods of teaching, especially when it comes to children.

The largest library ever compiled that is dedicated only to the biography of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is found in the museum. The library will include all that was ever written about the Prophet (peace be upon him); books, sources, references, essays, research papers, and any publications by any author in any language. Archives will be connected to a digital database in which all items will be stored and indexed.

There is also a virtual garden that has more than 50 trees which include the names of all people in the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who were related to him through blood, marriage, or breastfeeding.

A second branch of the museum recently opened in Dubai and was inaugurated by His Royal Highness Sheikh Muhammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Dr. Nasir Al-Zahrani. Work is underway to open branches in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, France, and Spain.

Exploring a museum is one of the most enriching and enlightening forms of entertainment for families, students, tourists, and history buffs.

All scholars, Haj and Umrah pilgrims, dignitaries, school and university students, and diplomats who visited the museum in Makkah were mesmerized by it and they commended everyone who took part in making it possible.

We need more museums in the Kingdom.

This one is more meaningful and valuable because it is entirely about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The museum is a gift to people to come and enjoy, but it is also a humble gift and tribute to the Prophet, which is why its founder called it Peace Be Upon You, O Prophet; Assalamu Alaika Ayyuha Annabi.

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