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Sat 27 Dec 2008 10:41 AM

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Date set for huge expansion to Saudi mosque

Project to start in Jan to help accommodate 500,000 extra worshippers in Madinah.

The expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah aimed at accommodating 500,000 more worshippers will start by the middle of next month, according to media reports.

The new 4.7 billion riyal ($1.2 billion) expansion project includes 182 huge automatic umbrellas to protect worshippers from sun and rain.

The expansion of the eastern courtyard of the mosque would create an additional capacity for 70,000 worshippers with an underneath parking area for 420 cars and 70 large buses.

New toilets and boarding stations will also be built in that area. Three tunnels will also be constructed to connect the mosque with the King Faisal Road 1.

The project also includes the construction of new streets and pavements and electrification of the areas around the mosque, the mayor said.

“The proposed expansion of the mosque would be the second largest after the first expansion project launched by late King Fahd in 1986 that created space for one million worshippers at peak times,” Madinah Mayor Abdul Aziz Al-Hussein said in comments published by Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

Three years ago, King Abdullah ordered several projects aimed at increasing the capacity and facilities in and around the two holy mosques.

Several billion riyals have already been spent on the projects that include the expansion of Masaa (place for walking between Safa and Marwa); construction of four levels at the Jamrat in Mina; and expansion of the courtyards of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

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Kaptain Mirza 11 years ago

It's not MOSQUE but MASJID; why do we care too much about lexicon? Peking is Beijing, but Chinese prefer calling it Peking. Why? Chinese and other nations associate great importance to their culture. What has happened to us? Why has fear taken over our cultural priorities? Do we fear death or economic strangling? What unseen fears grip us? Cultures are powerful but never abhorring and aliens to our culture should see all the colours of any and our culture. Be positive and straight, the reaction would be short then. Counter it rather than seeking hiding routes.

salman 11 years ago

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH WITH CAPTAIN MIRZA,ITS MASJID NOT MOSQUE.SO EVERY MUSLIM SHOULD PRONANCIATE AS MASJID ONLY.

M K Shadi 11 years ago

Salaamu alaikum; During and after the Islamic Impire in Spain, the muaddin sounded like a MOSQUITO to the non believeres, so the word MOSQUE,was giveto the MASJID and the Muaddin of the salah, and that is where the word originated to make fun of the Muaddin and the prayers. We must use the MASJID for our MASAJID.

William Fury 11 years ago

Gentlemen: Your claims about the etymology of the word 'mosque' are incorrect. It does not come from 'mosquito.' I refer you to the Oxford English Dictionary and www.islamtoday.com. This is quoted from the website: "This etymology is incorrect...This word [mosque] was most certainly derived from the Arabic word masjid, which many Arabs then and now pronounce as masgid."

Maryam 11 years ago

Mosque could also come from the old Spanish word MEZQUITA and this word was to describe a building that was used to pray. Also, it may come from MOSQUEE - a French word from middle ages. Let us not jump to the worst conclusion without examining other possibilities.

Mindscape 11 years ago

My dear friends there are bigger problems facing the humanity and Muslims than the problem of whether it is Masjid or Mosque. The fact of the matter is nobody here is congratulating the authorities concerned for the expansion and the addittional facilities provided for the pilgrims. I come across many as a muslim who are more interested in trivia rather than the actuals. I would rather you focus on the illetracy of our umma. "A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin'.