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المدينة المنورة
Al Madinah Al Munawwarah
Panorama of Medina
Medina is located in Saudi Arabia
Location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Coordinates: 24°28′N 39°36′E / 24.467°N 39.6°E / 24.467; 39.6Coordinates: 24°28′N 39°36′E / 24.467°N 39.6°E / 24.467; 39.6
Country Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg Saudi Arabia
Province Al Madinah Province
 - Mayor Abdulaziz Bin Majid (عبدالعزيز بن ماجد)
 - Total 589 km2 (227.4 sq mi)
Elevation 608 m (1,995 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Total 1,300,000
Time zone Arabia Standard Time (UTC+3)

Medina (pronounced /mɛˈdiːnə/; Arabic: المدينة المنورة‎, pronounced [ælmæˈdiːnæt ælmuˈnɑw.wɑrɑ], or المدينة [ælmæˈdiːnæ]; also transliterated as Madinah; officially al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah) is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and it is historically significant for being his home after the Hijrah.



Medina currently has a population of more than 1,300,000 people (2006). It was originally known as Yathrib, an oasis city dating as far back as the 6th century BCE.[1] It was later inhabited by Jewish refugees who fled the aftermath of the war with the Romans in the 2nd century CE. Later the city's name was changed to Madīnat(u) 'n-Nabiy (مدينة النبيّ "city of the prophet") or Al-Madīnat(u) 'l-Munawwarah ("the enlightened city" or "the radiant city"), while the short form Madīnah simply means "city." Medina is celebrated for containing the mosque of Muhammad and also as the city which gave refuge to him and his followers, and so ranks as the second holiest city of Islam, after Mecca (Makkah). Muhammad was buried in Medina, under the Green Dome, as were the first two Rashidun (Rightly Guided Caliphs), Abu Bakr and Umar, who were buried in an adjacent area in the mosque.[2]

Medina is 210 mi (340 km) north of Mecca and about 120 mi (190 km) from the Red Sea coast. It is situated in the most fertile part of all the Hejaz territory, the streams of the vicinity tending to converge in this locality. An immense plain extends to the south; in every direction the view is bounded by hills and mountains.

The city forms an oval, surrounded by a strong wall, 30 to 40 ft (9.1 to 12 m) high, that dates from the 12th century C.E., and is flanked with towers, while on a rock, stands a castle. Of its four gates, the Bab-al-Salam, or Egyptian gate, is remarkable for its beauty. Beyond the walls of the city, west and south are suburbs consisting of low houses, yards, gardens and plantations. These suburbs have also walls and gates.

Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (The mosque of the Prophet) stands at the east of the city and resembles the mosque at Mecca on a smaller scale. Its courtyard is almost 500 ft (150 m) in length, the dome is high with three picturesque minarets. The tomb of Muhammad, who died and was buried here in 632 C.E., is enclosed with a screen of iron filigree, at the south side of which the hajji goes through his devotions, with the assurance that one prayer here is as good as a thousand elsewhere.[3]

The tombs of Fatimah (Muhammad's daughter), across from the mosque at Jannat al-Baqi, and Abu Bakr (first caliph and the father of Muhammad's wife, Aisha), and of Umar (Umar ibn Al-Khattab), the second caliph, are also here. The mosque dates back to the time of Muhammad, but has been twice burned and reconstructed.[3]

Medina's religious significance in Islam

The Mosque of the prophet in 2007
Pilgrim at Madinah.

Medina's importance as a religious site derives from the presence of the Tomb of the Prophet Muhammad inside Al-Masjid al-Nabawi or The Mosque of The Prophet. The tomb later became part of the mosque when it was expanded by the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I. The first mosque of Islam is also located in Medina and is known as Masjid Qubaʼ (the Quba Mosque). It was destroyed by lightning, probably about 850 C.E., and the graves were almost forgotten. In 892 the place was cleared up, the tombs located and a fine mosque built, which was destroyed by fire in 1257 C.E. and almost immediately rebuilt. It was restored by Qaitbay, the Egyptian ruler, in 1487.[3]

Like Mecca, the city of Medina only permits Muslims to enter, although the haram (area closed to non-Muslims) of Medina is much smaller than that of Mecca, with the result that many facilities on the outskirts of Medina are open to non-Muslims, whereas in Mecca the area closed to non-Muslims extends well beyond the limits of the built-up area. Both cities' numerous mosques are the destination for large numbers of Muslims on their Hajj (annual pilgrimage). Hundreds of thousands of Muslims come to Medina annually to visit the Tomb of Prophet and to worship at mosques in a unified celebration. Muslims believe that praying once in the Mosque of the Prophet is equal to praying 1000 times in an ordinary mosque.


Pre-Jewish times

The first mention of the city dates to the 6th century BC. It appears in Assyrian texts (namely, the Nabonidus Chronicle) as Iatribu.[1] In the time of Ptolemy the oasis was known as Lathrippa.[3] The first people to settle the oasis of Medina were the tribe of Banu Matraweel and Banu Hauf who trace their lineage to Shem the son of Noah.[citation needed] They were the first ones to plant trees and crops in the city.[citation needed] When the Yemenite tribes, Banu Aus and Banu Khazraj, arrived there were approximately 70 Arab tribes and 20 Jewish tribes in Medina.[citation needed]

Jewish tribes

Jews arrived in the city in the 2nd century AD in the wake of the Jewish–Roman wars. There were three prominent Jewish tribes which had inhabited the city till the 7th century AD: the Banu Qaynuqa, the Banu Qurayza, and Banu Nadir.[4] Ibn Khordadbeh later reported that during the Persian Empire's domination in Hejaz, the Banu Qurayza served as tax collectors for the shah.[5]

The Aus and Khazraj

The situation changed after the arrival from Yemen of two Arab tribes named Banu Aus (Banu Aws) and Banu Khazraj. At first, these tribes were clients of the Jews, but later they revolted and became independent.[6] Toward the end of the 5th century[7], the Jews lost control of the city to Banu Aus and Banu Khazraj. The Jewish Encyclopedia states that they did so "By calling in outside assistance and treacherously massacring at a banquet the principal Jews" Banu Aus and Banu Khazraj finally gained the upper hand at Medina.[4].

Most modern historians accept the claim of the Muslim sources that after the revolt, the Jewish tribes became clients of the Aus and the Khazraj.[8] According to William Montgomery Watt, the clientship of the Jewish tribes is not borne out by the historical accounts of the period prior to 627, and maintained that the Jews retained a measure of political independence.[6]

Ibn Ishaq tells of a conflict between the last Yemenite king of the Himyarite Kingdom[9] and the residents of Yathrib. When the king was passing by the oasis, the residents killed his son, and the Yemenite ruler threatened to exterminate the people and cut down the palms. According to ibn Ishaq, he was stopped from doing so by two rabbis from the Banu Qurayza, who implored the king to spare the oasis because it was the place "to which a prophet of the Quraysh would migrate in time to come, and it would be his home and resting-place". The Yemenite king thus did not destroy the town and converted to Judaism. He took the rabbis with him, and in Mecca, they reportedly recognized the Kaaba as a temple built by Abraham and advised the king "to do what the people of Mecca did: to circumambulate the temple, to venerate and honour it, to shave his head and to behave with all humility until he had left its precincts." On approaching Yemen, tells ibn Ishaq, the rabbis demonstrated to the local people a miracle by coming out of a fire unscathed and the Yemenites accepted Judaism.[10]

Civic strife

Eventually the Banu Aus and the Banu Khazraj became hostile to each other and by the time of Muhammad's Hijra (migration) to Medina, they had been fighting for 120 years and were the sworn enemies of each other.[11] The Banu Nadir and the Banu Qurayza were allied with the Aus, while the Banu Qaynuqa sided with the Khazraj.[12] They fought a total of four wars.[6]

Their last and bloodiest battle was the Battle of Bu'ath[6] that was fought a few years before the arrival of Muhammad.[4] The outcome of the battle was inconclusive, and the feud continued. Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy, one Khazraj chief, had refused to take part in the battle, which earned him a reputation for equity and peacefulness. Until the arrival of Muhammad, he was the most respected inhabitant of Yathrib.

Muhammad's arrival

The first mosque in Islam built by the prophet upon arrival in Madinah

In 622, Muhammad and the Muhajirun left Mecca and arrived at Yathrib, an event that would transform the religious and political landscape completely; the longstanding enmity between the Aus and Khazraj tribes was dampened as many of the two tribes embraced Islam. Muhammad, linked to the Khazraj through his great grandmother, was soon made the chief and united the Muslim converts of Yathrib under the name Ansar ("the Patrons" or "the Helpers"). After Muhammad's arrival, the city gradually came to be known as Medina (literally "city" in Arabic). Some consider this name as a derivative from the Aramaic word Medinta, which the Jewish inhabitants would have used for the city.[13]

According to Ibn Ishaq, the Muslims and Jews of the area signed an agreement, the Constitution of Medina, which committed Jewish and Muslim tribes to mutual cooperation. The nature of this document as recorded by Ibn Ishaq and transmitted by ibn Hisham is the subject of dispute among modern historians many of whom maintain that this "treaty" is possibly a collage of agreements, oral rather than written, of different dates, and that it is not clear exactly when they were made.[14]

The Battle of Badr

The Battle of Badr was a key battle in the early days of Islam and a turning point in Muhammad's struggle with his opponents among the Quraysh in Mecca.

In the spring of 624, Muhammad received word from his intelligence sources that a trade caravan, commanded by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and guarded by thirty to forty men, was traveling from Syria back to Mecca. Muhammad gathered an army of 313 men, the largest army the Muslims had put in the field yet. However, many early Muslim sources, including the Qur'an, indicate that no serious fighting was expected,[15] and the future Caliph Uthman ibn Affan stayed behind to care for his sick wife.

As the caravan approached Medina, Abu Sufyan began hearing from travelers and riders about Muhammad's planned ambush. He sent a messenger named Damdam to Mecca to warn the Quraysh and get reinforcements. Alarmed, the Quraysh assembled an army of 900–1,000 men to rescue the caravan. Many of the Qurayshi nobles, including Amr ibn Hishām, Walid ibn Utba, Shaiba, and Umayyah ibn Khalaf, joined the army. However, some of the army was to later return to Mecca before the battle.

The battle started with champions from both armies emerging to engage in combat. The Muslims sent out Ali, Ubaydah ibn al-Harith (Obeida), and Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. The Muslims dispatched the Meccan champions in a three-on-three melee, Hamzah killed his victim on very first strike although Ubaydah was mortally wounded.[16]

Now both armies began firing arrows at each other. Two Muslims and an unknown number of Quraysh were killed. Before the battle started, Muhammad had given orders for the Muslims to attack with their ranged weapons, and only engage the Quraysh with melee weapons when they advanced.[17] Now he gave the order to charge, throwing a handful of pebbles at the Meccans in what was probably a traditional Arabian gesture while yelling "Defaced be those faces!"[18][19] The Muslim army yelled "Yā manṣūr amit!"[20] and rushed the Qurayshi lines. The Meccans, understrength and unenthusiastic about fighting, promptly broke and ran. The battle itself only lasted a few hours and was over by the early afternoon.[18]. The Qur'an describes the force of the Muslim attack in many verses, which refer to thousands of angels descending from Heaven at Badr to slaughter the Quraysh.[19][21] Early Muslim sources take this account literally, and there are several hadith where Muhammad discusses the Angel Jibreel and the role he played in the battle.

Ubaydah ibn al-Harith (Obeida) was given the honour of "he who shot the first arrow for Islam" as Abu Sufyan ibn Harb altered course to flee the attack. In retaliation for this attack Abu Sufyan ibn Harb requested an armed force from Mecca.[22]

Throughout the winter and spring of 623 other raiding parties were sent by Muhammad from Medina.

The Battle of Uhud

Mount Uhud

In 625, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb once again led a Meccan force against Medina. Muhammad marched out to meet the force but before reaching the battle, about one third of the troops under Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy withdrew. Nevertheless the Muslims marched forth into battle and originally were somewhat successful in pushing the Meccans back. However, a strategic hill was lost, which allowed the Meccans to come from behind the Muslims, so they suffered defeat in the Battle of Uhud. However, the Meccans did not capitalize on their victory by invading Medina and so returned to Mecca. A group of archers were commanded to stay on the hill at the ready keeping an eye on the cavalry which was placed behind the opposing army. The battle was first in the Muslims hands, when the enemy started to retreat the archers forgot what they were told in the excitement and the cavalry was then able to ambush the Muslim army from the rear. The Muslims felt heavy losses on that day and had to seek refuge on higher land to takke care of their wounded. The Prophet Muhammad was injured badly on this day, his helmet strap and cut into his jaw, he took one side of and one of his front teeth fell out. He then took the other of and the other front teeth fell out.

The Battle of the Trench

Panel representing the mosque of Medina (now in Saudi Arabia). Found in İznik (Turkey), 18th century. Composite body, silicate coat, transparent glaze, underglaze painted.

In 627, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb once more led Meccan forces against Medina. Because the people of Medina had dug a trench to further protect the city, this event became known as the Battle of the Trench. After a protracted siege and various skirmishes, the Meccans withdrew again. During the siege, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb had contacted the remaining Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza and formed an agreement with them, to attack the defenders from behind the lines. It was however discovered by the Muslims and thwarted. This was in breach of the Constitution of Medina and after the Meccan withdrawal, Muhammad immediately marched against the Qurayza and laid siege to their strongholds. The Jews eventually surrendered. Some members of the Banu Aus now interceded on behalf of their old allies and Muhammad agreed to the appointment of one of their chiefs, Sa'd ibn Mua'dh, as judge. Sa'ad judged by Jewish Law that all male members of the tribe should be killed and the women and children taken prisoner as was the law stated in the Old Testament for treason..(Deutoronomy)[23] This action was conceived of as a defensive measure to ensure that the Muslim community could be confident of its continued survival in Medina. The historian Robert Mantran argues that from this point of view it was successful - from this point on, the Muslims were no longer primarily concerned with survival but with expansion and conquest.[23]

Capital city

In the ten years following the Hijra, Medina formed the base from which Muhammad attacked and was attacked, and it was from here that he marched on Mecca, becoming its ruler without battle. Even when Islamic rule was established, Medina remained for some years the most important city of Islam and the capital of the Caliphate.

Medieval Medina

Under the first four Caliphs, known as the Rashidun (The Rightly Guided Caliphs), the Islamic empire expanded rapidly and came to include historical centres of civilisation such as Jerusalem and Damascus, and Mesopotamia. After the death of Ali, the fourth caliph, the seat of the Caliph was first transferred to Damascus and later to Baghdad. Medina's importance dwindled and it became more a place of religious importance than of political power. After the fragmentation of the Caliphate the city became subject to various rulers, including the Mamluks in the 13th century and finally, since 1517, the Ottoman Turks.[citation needed]

In 1256 Medina was threatened by lava flow from the last eruption of Harrat Rahat.[citation needed]

Modern Madinah

Madinah dates market
Modern city of Madinah

In the beginning of 20th century during World War I Medina witnessed one of the longest sieges in history. Medina was a city of the Ottoman Empire. Local rule was in the hands of the Hashemite clan as Sharifs or Emirs of Mecca. Fakhri Pasha was the Ottoman governor of Medina. Ali bin Hussein, the Sharif of Mecca and leader of the Hashemite clan, revolted against the caliph and sided with Great Britain. The city of Medina was besieged by his forces and Fakhri Pasha tenaciously held on during the Siege of Medina from 1916 but on 10 January 1919 he was forced to surrender. After the First World War, the Hashemite Sayyid Hussein bin Ali was proclaimed King of an independent Hejaz, but in 1924 he was defeated by Ibn Saud, who integrated Medina and Hejaz into his kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Medina Knowledge Economic City project, a city focused on knowledge-based industries, has been planned and is expected to boost development and increase the number of jobs in Medina.[24]

The city is served by the Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport which opened in 1974. It handles on average 20–25 flights a day, although this number triples during the Hajj season and school holidays.

Masjid Nabawi at sunset


Universities include:

See also


  1. ^ a b Chronicle of Nabonidus
  2. ^ However, an article in Aramco World by John Anthony states: "To the perhaps parochial Muslims of North Africa in fact the sanctity of Kairouan is second only to Mecca among all cities of the world." Saudi Aramco’s bimonthly magazine's goal is to broaden knowledge of the cultures, history and geography of the Arab and Muslim worlds and their connections with the West; pages 30-36 of the January/February 1967 print edition The Fourth Holy City
  3. ^ a b c d 1954 Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 18, pp.587, 588
  4. ^ a b c Jewish Encyclopedia Medina
  5. ^ Peters 193
  6. ^ a b c d "Al-Medina." Encyclopaedia of Islam
  7. ^ for date see "J. Q. R." vii. 175, note
  8. ^ See e.g., Peters 193; "Qurayza", Encyclopaedia Judaica
  9. ^ Muslim sources usually referred to Himyar kings by the dynastic title of "Tubba".
  10. ^ Guillaume 7–9, Peters 49–50
  11. ^ The Message (Subhani) The Events of the First Year of Migration
  12. ^ For alliances, see Guillaume 253
  13. ^ The Jews of Arabia. By Lucien Gubbay
  14. ^ Firestone 118. For opinions disputing the early date of the Constitution of Medina, see e.g., Peters 116; "Muhammad", "Encyclopaedia of Islam"; "Kurayza, Banu", "Encyclopaedia of Islam".
  15. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 59, Number 287
  16. ^ Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 14, Number 2659
  17. ^ Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 14, Number 2658
  18. ^ a b Armstrong, p. 176.
  19. ^ a b Lings, p. 148.
  20. ^ "O thou whom God hath made victorious, slay!"
  21. ^ Quran: Al-i-Imran 3:123–125 (Yusuf Ali). “Allah had helped you at Badr, when ye were a contemptible little force; then fear Allah; thus May ye show your gratitude.§ Remember thou saidst to the Faithful: "Is it not enough for you that Allah should help you with three thousand angels (Specially) sent down?§ "Yea, - if ye remain firm, and act aright, even if the enemy should rush here on you in hot haste, your Lord would help you with five thousand angels Making a terrific onslaught.§
  22. ^ The Biography of Mahomet, and Rise of Islam. Chapter Fourth. Extension of Islam and Early Converts, from the assumption by Mahomet of the prophetical office to the date of the first Emigration to Abyssinia by William Muir
  23. ^ a b Robert Mantran, L'expansion musulmane Presses Universitaires de France 1995, p. 86.
  24. ^ Economic cities a rise

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Medina (disambiguation).

Medina (المدينة Madinah) is a city in Saudi Arabia, to the north of Mecca.


Medina is the second holy city of Islam. The Prophet Mohammed migrated to Medina from Mecca, and taught there for some years before his triumphant return to Mecca. The city is commonly visited as part of the Hajj pilgrimage.

Travel Warning

WARNING: Central Medina is strictly off limits to non-Muslims. Since this restriction carries jail time and deportation, travellers would be wise to heed it. However, parts of the city, notably the airport, are open to all.

By plane

For pilgrims, the most common route is to arrive in Jeddah by plane, and get on a special pilgrims' bus to Mecca and Medina, and come back to fly home in a couple of weeks. However, Medina's Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport (IATA: MED) fields an increasing number of direct flights from around the Middle East, and the airport is accessible to non-Muslims.

By bus

The Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) runs to and fro luxurious buses several times daily from most parts of the country at cheap rates. There are also privately run buses. The SAPTCO terminal is off-limits to non-Muslims.

Get around

There is no public transport other than taxis.


Since it is visited only by Muslims, for religious purpose, the main thing to see is the Masjid Nabawi or the Prophet's Mosque where devout Muslims offer prayers. Men are allowed to visit the actual burial site of the Prophet and pay respects throughout the opening hours of the mosque, which used to close for the night at around 10PM but has since become 24/7. Women may visit only after the Fajr or dawn and Duhr or afternoon prayers, when they are taken there in groups according to their countries. In fact most of the things to be done or seen are around this grand mosque which is at the city centre. Adjacent to the mosque is Jannatul Baqi, a huge graveyard, where most family members and companions of the Prophet are buried. Other things to be seen ,a little away from the city,are the plains and mountain of Uhud where the battle took place. There is also the burial ground of the 70 martyrs of this battle including the Prophet's uncle Hamza who is considered the greatest of all martyrs. Further away is the Masjid Qiblatayen where the Prophet was ordered by Allah to turn his face from Masjid Aqsa in Jerusalem to the Kaaba in Makkah while offering prayers; Masjid Jumua where the Prophet prayed the first Jumua or Friday prayers; Masjid Gamama where once he had prayed for rain; Masjid Quba at Quba, which is the first mosque of Islam. Another place worth visiting is the battleground of Khandaq or the Trench.


Visit the grand mosque called Masjid Al-Nabawi. The Prophet Muhammad's burial site lies inside the mosque, along with the astonishing view and glamorous architecture of the beautiful mosque.

  • Try and avoid [that is don't do] all the things you are used to in the west. I looked in vain for a computer so I could eMail when I first arrived. This was a mistake because there are precious few computers, and what point is there in trying to figure out how to send an English eMail on an Arabic keyboard. Every minute trying figure this out is a minute lost in this magnificent place.


The streets leading to and around the Prophet's Mosque are lined with shops selling goods of every variety. Visitors to Madina usually buy prayer rugs (some with magnets pointing towards the Kaaba), caps, Tasveeh or rosary beads, Abayas, pictures of the holy city and mosques, religious cds, copies of the Holy Quran, clocks sounding Azan or the call to prayer ( correct to the second) for nearly 5 million cities, etc as souvenirs to take back with them or as gifts for family and friends. The best of them to take back are Dates from Medina.

There are also huge glittering shopping complexes and malls selling goods from all over the world.

  • Find a driver that speaks your language and tell him you want to hire his car for the day. Pay him generously and then ask him to show you the best things. You will get to see smaller, more interesting mosques and shops that sell the best dates in the world. Don't try and send post cards because they are unheard of. The banks I went to would not cash travelers checks and credit cards were unusable; which means bring a lot of cash. They like dollars and euros, but leave your shekelim at home.


There are restaurants selling almost all types of food from all over the world. There are Indian, Pakistani And Bangladeshi restaurants in abundance. There are also Chinese,Indonesian, Turkish,Egyptian, and local food available. The well known western fastfood chains like Mc Donald's,Pizza Hut, Don Giovanni's, KFC all have outlets, as well as the country's own famous fastfood chains like Al Baik,Kudu, Hardeez, etc also abound. The cheapest local delights are shawarma, taamiyya (a type of vegetable sandwich), foul (cooked beans) with tameez (bread), roasted whole chickens called Broasts.


Alcohol is prohibited.


Medina has many hotels, most of which are very close to the Mosque,as it is visited mostly by Muslim pilgrims.

City center

The following hotels are for Muslims only.

Numerous 5 star hotels have been and are being constructed all around the Prophet's mosque within a radius of 500 m.

  • Al Andalous Suites
  • Madina Al Rawda Suites
  • Dar Al Hijra Intercontinental
  • Hilton Hotel
  • The Oberoi

Beyond these are many budget hotels extending miles from the Masjid Nabavi. The tariff depends on a hotel's distance from the mosque, the nearer the more expensive. Even these low cost hotels have facilities like proper beds with clean linen, carpeted floors, air conditioning, refrigerator in every room, tiled bathrooms fitted with either eastern or western type WCs (sometimes both), 24 hours running hot and cold water. Kitchens with LPG and burners and sinks are also available for those pilgrims who would like to cook their own meals. But now all of these small old hotels are being demolished on a large scale to make way for starred hotels.

Outside forbidden zone

The following hotels are open to all.

  • LeMeridien Medina, [1]. Previously the Sheraton, this is the only branded hotel in Medina open to non-Muslims. Near the airport and often used by airline crew. One night is about 600 riyals.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of Medina discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also medina, and médina



Wikipedia has an article on:


Alternative spellings


Arabic المدينة المنورة, the enlightened city.

Proper noun




  1. A city, 200 miles north of Mecca along the Hejaz, from which the Hejira was launched; contains Muhammad's tomb.
  2. Various other cities of that name; see Wikipedia article on Medina.

See also



Simple English

Holy City of Al Madina Al Monawara
المدينة المنورة
Location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Coordinates: 24°28′N 39°16′E / 24.467°N 39.267°E / 24.467; 39.267
Province Al Madinah Province
 - Mayor Abdulaziz Al-Hussein
Population (2006)
 - Total 1,300,000

Medina IPA:/mɛˈdiːnə/ (Arabic:المدينة المنور IPA:ælmæˈdiːnæl muˈnɑwːɑrɑ or المدينة IPA:ælmæˈdiːnæ; also transliterated into English as Madīnah; officially al Madīnat al Munawwarah) is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of its prophet, Muhammad.



Medina currently has a population of more than 1,300,000 people (2006). The city was originally known as Yathrib, but later its name was changed to Madīnat al-Nabī (مدينة ﺍﻟﻨﺒﻲ IPA: [mæˈdiːnæt æˈnːæbiː] "city of the prophet") or Al Madīnah al Munawwarah ("the enlightened city" or "the radiant city"). The short form Madīnah simply means "city". Madina is the second holiest city of Islam, after Mecca (Makkah). [1]

Medina's religious significance in Islam

Medina is very important to Muslims. This is because the Prophet Muhammad is buried in a mosque known as 'Masjid-e-Nabawi' or 'The Mosque of The Prophet'. The Mosque was built on a site next to Muhammad's home. Muslims believe[needs proof] that Prophets must be buried at the very same place that they die. Accordingly, Muhammad was buried in his house. The tomb later became part of the mosque when it was expanded by the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I. The first mosque of Islam is also located in Medina. It is known as Masjid Quba, (the Quba Mosque).

Like Mecca, the city of Medina only permits Muslims to enter. The haram (area closed to non-Muslims) of Medina is much smaller than that of Mecca, though. Many facilities on the outskirts of Medina are open to non-Muslims. In Mecca the area closed to non-Muslims extends well beyond the limits of the built-up area. Both cities' numerous mosques are the destination for large numbers of Muslims on their annual pilgrimage. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims come to Medina each year to visit the 'Tomb of Prophet' and to worship at mosques in a unified celebration. Muslims believe that praying once in the Mosque of the Prophet is equal to praying at least 1000 times in any other mosque.


  1. However, an article in Aramco World by John Anthony states: "To the perhaps parochial Muslims of North Africa in fact the sanctity of Kairouan is second only to Mecca among all cities of the world." Saudi Aramco’s bimonthly magazine's goal is to broaden knowledge of the cultures, history and geography of the Arab and Muslim worlds and their connections with the West; pages 30-36 of the January/February 1967 print edition [1]

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