Madina, Al-Madinah, Medinat-en-Nabi, Medinat Øasul Allah

General Information


Medina (Arabic: Al-Madinah), the second holiest city in Islam (after Mecca) and site of the tomb of Muhammad, is located in Hejaz region, western Saudi Arabia. It is about 485 km (300 mi) north of Mecca by coastal highway, 1,320 km (820 mi) south of Damascus by railroad, and 193 km (120 mi) northeast of the Red Sea. The population is 198,196 (1986 est.). All residents are Arabic-speaking Muslims. The city lies 625 m (2,050 ft) above sea level, on the western edge of a large lava field along the eastern slope of the Hejaz mountain range.

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Medina is noted for its pottery and date palms and has recently developed a date-packing industry. Other agricultural produce includes fruit, grapes, vegetables, and cereal grains. The old walled city is surrounded by the pilgrim camping ground (Al Manakh) and the An Bariya Quarter, the former commercial district in which the Turks located the railroad station. Islamic University (1961) has about 1,000 students. Numerous historical sites include the tomb of Aaron as well as that of Muhammad; the Mosque of Quba, the first mosque in Islamic history; the Mosque of the Two Quiblahs, commemorating Muhammad's changing of the direction to be faced while praying from toward Jerusalem to toward Mecca; and the Prophet's Mosque, which Muhammad helped to build. Medina is often visited by Muslim pilgrims en route to Mecca. Non-Muslims are forbidden access to all pilgrimage sites.

The first settlers of Medina were Jews expelled from Palestine by the Romans in AD 135. Muhammad arrived from Mecca in 622, and, although he first treated the Jews with indulgence, he soon drove them out of Hejaz and made Medina the administrative capital of his Islamic state, a position it maintained until 661. After 661 the Umayyads, Egyptians, and Turks controlled the city at various times until 1916, when the independent Arab kingdom of Hejaz was formed. In 1932, Hejaz became part of Saudi Arabia.

Ira Sheskin


General Information

Medina, also Medinat-en-Nabi (Arabic for "City of the Prophet") and Medinat Ųasul Allah ("City of the Apostle of God"), city in western Saudi Arabia, located in the Al Hijāz (Hejaz) Province. The city houses the remains of the Prophet Muhammad, who fled to Medina from Mecca in 622, an event that marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. Medina is consequently one of the most sacred shrines of Islam. It is second only to Mecca among the holy places of Muslim pilgrimage. Muhammad's tomb is in the Mosque of the Prophet, located in the eastern section of the city. The mosque also contains the tombs of Muhammad's daughter Fatima and of Umar I, the second Orthodox caliph of the Muslim Empire.

In ancient times, Medina was known as Yathrib. The Alexandrian geographer Ptolemy referred to it as Lathrippa in the 2nd century AD. Medina was the capital of the Muslim world until 661, when the caliphate was transferred to Damascus. Later, Medina was successively controlled by the Egyptians and the Ottoman Turks. The latter were expelled in 1919 by the troops of Husein ibn Ali, first king of Al Hijāz. Husein's forces were defeated (1924) by Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, sultan of Najd. The city of Medina was incorporated into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. Population (1990 estimate) 500,050.


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Unfortunately, we are not aware of any scholarly texts on this subject which have yet been translated into English. We know that a number of Arabic scholars have written wonderful texts in Arabic, and look for the day when we will be able to add higher quality texts to this presentation.

Also, see:
Islam, Muhammad
Koran, Qur'an
Pillars of Faith
Testament of Abraham
Revelation - Hadiths from Book 1 of al-Bukhari
Belief - Hadiths from Book 2 of al-Bukhari
Knowledge - Hadiths from Book 3 of al-Bukhari
Times of the Prayers - Hadiths from Book 10 of al-Bukhari
Shortening the Prayers (At-Taqseer) - Hadiths from Book 20 of al-Bukhari
Pilgrimmage (Hajj) - Hadiths from Book 26 of al-Bukhari
Fighting for the Cause of Allah (Jihad) - Hadiths of Book 52 of al-Bukhari
ONENESS, UNIQUENESS OF ALLAH (TAWHEED) - Hadiths of Book 93 of al-Bukhari
Hanafiyyah School Theology (Sunni)
Malikiyyah School Theology (Sunni)
Shafi'iyyah School Theology (Sunni)
Hanbaliyyah School Theology (Sunni)
Maturidiyyah Theology (Sunni)
Ash'ariyyah Theology (Sunni)
Mutazilah Theology
Ja'fari Theology (Shia)
Nusayriyyah Theology (Shia)
Zaydiyyah Theology (Shia)
Imams (Shia)
Qarmatiyyah (Shia)
Ishmael, Ismail
Early Islamic History Outline
Kaaba, Black Stone
Sunnites, Sunni
Shiites, Shia
Sahih, al-Bukhari
Abu Bakr
Fatimids (Shia)
Ismailis (Shia)
Islamic Calendar
Interactive Muslim Calendar

The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in December 1997.

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