In the foregoing chapters the houses of the companions of the Prophet (SAS) situated around the Mosque are described. Every visitor of Madina has keen desire to know other historic sites around the Mosque. The history of some of these sites is given below.
Saqifa means the meeting room of a village or community. We come across such meeting halls situated in various gardens. Their construction had a special pattern. Brick walls were built on the eastern, western and southern sides of such facilities. Northern side was left open for easy circulation of air. A window was installed in eastern wall to further facilitate the air circulation. Roof was built by the trunks of the palm trees and was covered by branches and mats of palm trees. Length and width of each meeting hall differed considerably. Most probably Saqifa Banu Saeda was built in the same manner.
This Saqifa has great historic importance. The Prophet (SAS) visited Saqifa with his companions. The Prophet (SAS) asked for drinking water there. Sahl bin Saad drew some water from the nearby well called “Bir Budaah”. The Prophet (SAS) and his companions drank that water. This well existed just north of the Saqifa till second Saudi extension of the Prophet’s Mosque.
As mentioned in the History of Madina Munawwara and narrated by Muttalib bin Abdullah (RU) that the Prophet (SAS) offered salat in Saqifa. That is why the exact spot where the Prophet (SAS) offered his salat was designated for salat in this facility. Sahl bin Saad of Banu Saeda got married and his wife Hind bint Ziyat joined him in this house. She was surprised to see the masjid in the middle of the meeting hall. She inquired, “Why don’t you offer your salat near a wall?” Her husband said, “This was the spot where the Prophet (SAS) offered his salat. Hence it is designated for this purpose.”
Leaders of a tribe or community used to meet in Saqifa to discuss and solve the social and cultural problems. The companions met in Saqifa Banu Saeda to choose the first caliph. Saqifa Banu Saeda has been the center of interest for the Muslims for the above reasons.
Hence it is noteworthy that the first Islamic Conference took place in this Saqifa Banu Saeda to choose the first caliph. In this conference Abu Bakr (RU) was chosen as the first caliph and he took pledge or solemn promise of his obedience from the participants in this Saqifa.
Location of Saqifa Banu Saeda:
After several extensions of the Prophet’s Mosque, Saqifa Banu Saeda now lies on the west side of the Mosque. Bidaah well was situated near it. Banu Saeda tribe was spread around the Saqifa. Saad bin Obada’s (RU) house was the nearest to the Saqifa.
Abdul Qaddus Ansari (who died in 1403 Hijrah) wrote: “There is a building in this community called Suhaimi. This building is built by lime mortar and has domes on it. Its door is closed. Ali Pasha built this in 1030 Hijrah. People say that it is the location of Saqifa Banu Saeda.”
Ali Hafiz Madni provided very minute details about it. He said, “Sultania Triangle is a triangular piece of land of Shami community. Saqifa is situated in the north part of this triangle. It is called Sultania since some sultan or ruler donated this land. Even now it is under the jurisdiction of Auqaf Department. The total area of Saqifa Banu Saeda is 4938 square meters.”
Recently this triangular track is divided into two parts. Eastern part has an area of 2740 square meters and it has an orchard or garden in it. The western part has an area of 1905 square meters and an electric power generation station is installed there. The total area of both parts sums up to 4645 square meters which is a bit less than mentioned by Ali Hafiz Madni. Probably rest of it lies in the open space around it.
In 1383 Hijrah, the city hall of Madina Munawarra presented a plan to the Saudi Government. In this plan it was suggested to build a Mosque and a public library at this site. A large meeting hall should be provided in the library for important meetings and conferences. It should be called Saqifa Banu Saeda to preserve the Islamic history.