Taif mosque is a historic Saudi jewel with a story to tell
TAIF: Flocks of Hajj and Umrah performers travel to Taif, 70km from Makkah, to visit the city’s historical places.
One of the main attractions in Taif is the Al-Qu’a and Al-Qantara Mosque, located in Al-Mathnah neighborhood.
Khalid Al-Shirbi, a licensed tour guide for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), told Arab News that the Qantara Mosque, also known as Al-Madhoun Mosque, was built some 162 years ago. “It was built during the Ottoman era. It is only its building style, inspired from Abbasid architecture, that gives the impression of being ancient,” he said.
He added that the farm where Prophet Muhammad rested after being expelled from Taif and was offered fruit by Addas, the graph farmer, is on the opposite side of the mosque.
Another mosque that many tourists are keen to visit in Taif is the Al-Qu’a Mosque, which Al-Shirbi confirmed was built some 800 years after the death of the Prophet.
“Many tourists believe that Prophet Muhammad came to this place and, with his elbow, leaned on a stone, leaving a mark,” Al-Shirbi said. He added that tour guides normally try to clear up such incorrect concepts, but some stories, he said, are engraved in tourists’ minds.
He pointed out that most of the visiting tourists come from Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Singapore, Bangladesh and Turkey.
“The Pakistanis, in particular, call it ‘Hazrat Ali Mosque,’ referring to Al-Bin Abi Talib, the Prophet’s cousin, who they think was with the Prophet when he was in Taif. “This is completely untrue. Islamic biographers have different opinions whether the Prophet was alone or accompanied by Zaid bin Haritha, but not Ali.”
Many scholars and historians have narrated the story of Prophet with Addas in different ways, but they all agreed on one theme. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Areefy, for instance, said: “After his wife, Khadija bint Khwuailed, and his uncle, Abu Talib, had passed away in the same year, which was later called “Year of Sadness,” he sought a place where he could find supporters. When he arrived in Taif, his call to Islam was not only robustly rejected, he was also followed on his way back to Makkah, and had stones thrown at him until he reached Al-Mathnah Valley, where he rested for a while.
“This area was known for its fruits. A Christian Iraqi farmer, Addas, who was serving a rich family originating from Makkah, approached the sad Prophet and offered him a bowl of grapes.
“The Prophet took the grapes and before starting to eat the fruit, said: ‘In the name of Allah.’ The phrase, which the worker had not heard before, sparked his attention and he asked: People here do not say that! The Prophet asked Addas where he was from. “From Nineveh,” the man replied. The story ended with the man embracing Islam.