The heart of the Prophet’s masjid houses a very special but small area named ar-Rawdah an-Nabawiyah, which extends from Muhammad’s tomb to his pulpit. Pilgrims attempt to visit and pray in ar-Rawdah, for there is a tradition that supplications and prayers uttered here are never rejected. Entrance into ar-Rawdah is not always possible (especially during the Hajj season), as the tiny area can accommodate only a few hundred people. Ar-Rawdah has two small gateways manned by Saudi police officers. The current marble pulpit was constructed by the Ottomans. The original pulpit was much smaller than the current one, and constructed of palm tree wood, not marble. Ar-Rawdah an-Nabawiyah is considered part of Jannah (Heaven or Paradise).
It is prescribed for the one who visits the Prophet’s Mosque to pray two rak’ahs in the Rawdah or whatever he wants of naafil prayers, because it is proven that there is virtue in doing so. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The area between my house and my minbar is one of the gardens ( riyaad, sing. rawdah) of Paradise, and my minbar is on my cistern (hawd)” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1196; Muslim, 1391.
And it was narrated that Yazeed ibn Abi ‘Ubayd said: “I used to come with Salamah ibn al-Akwa’ and he would pray by the pillar which was by the mus-haf, i.e. in the Rawdah. I said, ‘O Abu Muslim, I see that you are keen to pray by this pillar!’ He said, ‘I saw that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was keen to pray here.’” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 502; Muslim, 509.
Being keen to pray in al-Rawdah does not justify being aggressive towards people or pushing the weak aside, or stepping over their necks.
Women who want to pray in Rawdah area can enter the masjid through the Gates 21 – 25. Rawdah area for women is open after Fajr, Zuhr and Isha Prayers. It is open after Fajar for long time and 15 – 20 min after Zuhr prayer