8 Interesting facts about Medina
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, home to Medinah and Makkah, two of the most sacred cities in the world. It is the key destination for Muslims as millions of pilgrims travel to the country to perform pilgrimage (Hajj and Umrah).
Centred around Masjid an-Nabawi, Medinah is where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived and preached Islam after migrating from Makkah in 622 AD. The significance of the city can be understood by the fact that the day Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) entered the premises of Medina is the day that marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar (Hijri Calendar).
Medinah is originally called Medina Al Munawwarah, meaning “The Enlightened City.” The city of Medinah plays a pivotal role in the history of Islam because of which visiting the sacred city is a lifelong dream for many Muslims.
In this article, we will be discussing some lesser-known yet interesting facts about Medina, the city of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
A brief history of Madinah
Formerly known as Yathrib, the city of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the oasis city of Medina is where he settled down until his last breath along with his beloved companions. The establishment of Yathrib dates back to the 6th Century BCE, when after a war between the Jews and Romans, the Jews escaped and resided in Madinah. From then till the day Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated, the city of Madinah had been surrounded by Jews.
Located in the Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula, today Medinah serves as the administrative headquarters of Saudi Arabia. The sacred city is home to Masjid an-Nabawi, the second largest mosque in the world, and the masjid which was originally established by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has spent some of the most important years of his life in Medinah.
Medina Is the Fourth Biggest City in Saudi Arabia
Officially known as Medina al Munawwarah, Medinah is the second holiest city in Islam and the fourth biggest city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia after Riyadh, Jeddah, and Makkah.
The city of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is located approximately 443 kilometres (275 miles) by road from the city of Makkah and 160 kilometres (100 miles) inland from the Red Sea. The area of the city of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) covers up to 58,680 miles (151,990 square kilometres).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Migrated from Makkah to Medinah
According to Islamic history, after being physically, emotionally, socially, and financially persecuted by the pagan Quraysh of Makkah, Allah SWT instructed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to migrate to Madinah. Therefore, on the 20th of September 622 CE, the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT, along with Abu Bakr (RA), embarked on a journey to the old city of Yathrib (Madina).
Upon arrival in Medinah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was welcomed with open hearts and was granted the seat of power of the sacred city. It was from Medinah that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sowed the seeds of a thriving Muslim community.
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “I was ordered to migrate to a town which will swallow (conquer) other towns and is called Yathrib, and that is Medina, and it turns out (bad) persons as a furnace removes the impurities of iron.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Medina Is the Burial Place of the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT
Medinah is also called the “City of the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT” and “The Enlightened City.” Medinah was the home of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after migration from Makkah and this is where he (SAW) laid the foundation of the Islamic community. It is also where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) passed away and is buried within the premises of Masjid an-Nabawi.
The Prophet’s (SAW) mosque is located in the city of Madinah, right next to the home of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Non-Muslims Are Not Allowed to Enter the Centre of Medina
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “There will be no town which Ad-Dajjal will not enter except Mecca and Medina, and there will be no entrance (road) (of both Mecca and Medina), but the angels will be standing in rows guarding it against him, and then Medina will shake with its inhabitants thrice (i.e., three earthquakes will take place) and Allah will expel all the non-believers and the hypocrites from it.”
After Makkah, Medinah is considered the second holiest city in Islam. Therefore, according to the rules and regulations of Saudi Arabia’s government, non-Muslims are forbidden to enter Nabawi Square. This is where Masjid an-Nabawi is located, and the area around it is marked haram to non-Muslims.
Anas (RA) reported, “The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Medina is a sanctuary from that place to that. Its trees should not be cut, and no heresy should be innovated, nor any sin should be committed in it, and whoever innovates in it heresy or commits sins (bad deeds), then he will incur the curse of Allah SWT, the angels, and all the people.” (See Hadith No. 409, Vol 9)
Medina Is Home to the Oldest Mosque in the World
The city of Medina is home to several significant masjids in Islam, including Masjid an-Nabawi, the second mosque that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) constructed in 622 CE (1 AH) after arriving in Medina. Masjid an-Nabawi is also the second largest mosque in the world and one of the holiest sites in Islam.
However, it isn’t only the Prophet’s (PBUH) mosque that makes the city special. Medina is also where the foundations of the first-ever mosque in Islam were laid. It is where Masjid Al-Quba was constructed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself upon arrival in Medina in 622 CE.
This makes the city of Muhammad (PBUH) home to the oldest yet most significant and sacred mosques in the world and in Islam.
Anas (RA) narrated, “The Prophet (PBUH) came to Medina and ordered a mosque to be built and said, “O Bani Najjar! Suggest to me the price (of your land).” They said, “We do not want its price except from Allah” (i.e., they wished for a reward from Allah for giving up their land freely).
So, the Prophet ordered the graves of the pagans to be dug out and the land to be levelled, and the date-palm trees to be cut down. The cut date palms were fixed in the direction of the Qibla of the mosque.”
The city of Medinah was previously known as Yathrib. It is one of the two holiest cities in Islam and the key destination for millions of Muslims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah or Hajj. Medinah currently has a population of more than 1,525,000.
Medinah Is Known for Its Date Palm Trees
Despite being located in Saudi Arabia, a desert city, Medina has always been the centre of agriculture and the top producer of an array of fruits, especially dates, in the Arabian Peninsula. According to reports, being the world-famous producer of date palms, Medinah produces more than 300 varieties of dates.
Millions of Muslims Visit Medina Every Year
Did you know that during the 2016 Hajj, more than 300,000 pilgrims visited Masjid an-Nabawi in a single day?
Allah SWT and His Messenger (PBUH) have instructed all physically and financially able Muslims to perform the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) at least once in their life in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. After fulfilling the obligation of Hajj, many Muslims also visit Medina to pray 40 Rakats in Masjid an-Nabawi and to see the signature Green Dome of the masjid.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “The prayer in my Masjid (Masjid An-Nabawi) is better than one thousand (1000) prayers in any other masjid with the exception of Masjid Al-Haram, and a prayer in Masjid Al-Haram is better than one hundred thousand (100,000) prayers.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Why Is Medina Important in Islam?
Medina is more than just a city. It is the second-most sacred city in Islam after Makkah. Medina is where the Mosque of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is located, and where he (SAW) is buried. Medina was the destination of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after his migration (Hijrah) from Makkah. Soon after that, Medina became the centre of the Muslim Empire under the leadership of the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT.
The sacred city of Medina is deeply revered by Muslims because it is home to three of the most significant mosques in Islam: Masjid an-Nabawi, Masjid al-Qibaltayn, and Masjid Al-Quba. Furthermore, 28 Quranic verses were revealed in the city of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which are known as the Madni Surahs.
Compared to the verses revealed in Makkah, the Madni verses have a soft tone and are descriptive, elaborative, and long. These verses were revealed to teach Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the early Muslims the methods of worship and help them understand and practise the religion freely.
The Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT said, “I have made Medina a sanctuary between its two (Harrat) mountains. (Sahih Bukhari 1869). Welcome to the city of sanctuary, where heroes were welcomed as refugees and where millions flock to this day for spiritual sanctuary.
This is a place of safety and refuge as Ali (r) himself narrated a message from the Prophet (PBUH) that ‘The asylum (of protection) granted by any Muslim is to be secured (respected) by all the other Muslims.'” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Anas bin Malik (RA) stated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “O Allah SWT! Bestow on Medina twice the blessings You bestowed on Mecca.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
According to Islamic scriptures, the city of Medina is guarded by angels day and night, and even when Dajjal enters, he won’t be allowed to enter the premises of Madinah. Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT said, “There are angels guarding the entrances (or roads) of Medina; neither plague nor Ad-Dajjal will be able to enter it.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported, “Allah’s SWT Apostle (PBUH) said, “Verily, Belief returns and goes back to Medina as a snake returns and goes back to its hole (when in danger).”
Jabir (RA) reported, “A bedouin came to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and gave a pledge of allegiance for embracing Islam. The next day he came with fever and said (to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)), “Please cancel my pledge (of embracing Islam and of emigrating to Medina).”
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) refused (that request) three times and said, “Medina is like a furnace; it expels out the impurities (bad persons) and selects the good ones and makes them perfect.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Anas (RA) reported that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “For the believer, Medina is the best place. If only they could understand its virtue fully, they would never leave it, and whoever departs from Medina, having become disenchanted with it, Allah will send someone better to replace him. And whoever bears patiently the ordeals of Medina, for him shall I be an intercessor (or witness) on the Day of Qiyamah.” (Muslim)
Anas (RA) also narrated, “Whenever the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) returned from a journey and observed the walls of Medina, he would make his mount go fast, and if he was on an animal (i.e., a horse), he would make it gallop because of his love for Medina.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Summary – Facts about Medina
Known as the second holiest city in Islam, the city of Medinah holds great importance for Muslims around the world. It was where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) resided and found peace after migrating from Makkah at the command of Allah SWT. Since then, Medina became the power base for the development of the early Muslim community.
May every Muslim get a chance to visit the blessed city of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).