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Medina also transliterated as Madīnah, is a city in the Hejaz, and the capital of the Al Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia. The city contains al-Masjid an-Nabawi ("the Prophet's Mosque"), which is the burial place of the Islamic prophetMuhammad, and is the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca.
Medina was Muhammad's destination after his Hijrahfrom Mecca, and became the capital of a rapidly increasing Muslim Empire, first under Muhammad's leadership, and then under the first four Rashidun caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar,Uthman, and Ali. It served as the power base of Islam in its first century where the early Muslim community developed. Medina is home to the three oldest mosques, namely the Quba Mosque, al-Masjid an-Nabawi, and Masjid al-Qiblatayn ("the mosque of the two qiblas"). Muslims believe that the chronologically final surahsof the Quran were revealed to Muhammad in Medina, and are called Medinan surahs in contrast to the earlier Meccan surahs.
Similar to Mecca, non-Muslims are forbidden from entering the sacred core of Medina (but not the entire city) or the city center by the national government.
|TIME ZONE :||Arabia Standard Time (UTC+3)|
|AREA :||• City 589 km2 (227 sq mi)|
• Urban 293 km2 (113 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||608 m (1,995 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||24°28′N 39°36′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: |
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :|
Medina is the second holy city of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad 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.
By the fourth century, Arab tribes began to encroach from Yemen, and there were three prominent Jewish tribes that inhabited the city into the 7th century AD: the Banu Qaynuqa, the Banu Qurayza, and Banu Nadir. Ibn Khordadbeh later reported that during the Persian Empire's domination in Hejaz, the Banu Qurayza served as tax collectors for the shah.
The situation changed after the arrival from Yemen of two new Arab tribes named Banu Aus (or Banu 'Aws) and Banu Khazraj. At first, these tribes were allied with Jewish rulers, but later they revolted and became independent. Toward the end of the 5th century, the Jewish rulers lost control of the city to Banu Aus and Banu Khazraj. The Jewish Encyclopedia states that "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.
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. However, according to scholar of Islam William Montgomery Watt, the clientship of the Jewish tribes is not borne out by the historical accounts of the period prior to 627, and he maintained that the Jewish populace retained a measure of political independence.
Early Muslim chronicler Ibn Ishaq tells of a pre-Islamic conflict between the last Yemenite king of the Himyarite Kingdom 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 tribe, 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 Ka'ba 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.
Eventually the Banu Aus and the Banu Khazraj became hostile to each other and by the time of Muhammad's Hijra (emigration) to Medina in 622 AD/1 AH, they had been fighting for 120 years and were the sworn enemies of each other. The Banu Nadir and the Banu Qurayza were allied with the Aus, while the Banu Qaynuqa sided with the Khazraj. They fought a total of four wars.
Their last and bloodiest battle was the Battle of Bu'ath that was fought a few years before the arrival of Muhammad. 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. To solve the ongoing feud, concerned residents of the city met secretly with Muhammad in Al-Aqaba, a place betweeh Makkah and Mina, inviting him and his small band of believers to come to Yathrib, where Muhammad could serve as disinterested mediator between the factions and his community could practice its faith freely.
In 622 AD/1 AH, Muhammad and around 70 Meccan Muhajirun believers left Mecca for sanctuary in Yathrib, an event that transformed the religious and political landscape of the city completely; the longstanding enmity between the Aus and Khazraj tribes was dampened as many of the two Arab tribes and some local Jews embraced Islam. Muhammad, linked to the Khazraj through his great-grandmother, was agreed on as civic leader. The Muslim converts native to Yathrib of whatever background—pagan Arab or Jewish—were called Ansar ("the Patrons" or "the Helpers").
According to Ibn Ishaq, the local pagan Arab tribes, the Muslim Muhajirun from Mecca, the local Muslims (Ansar), and the Jewish population of the area signed an agreement, the Constitution of Medina, which committed all parties to mutual cooperation under the leadership of Muhammad. The nature of this document as recorded by Ibn Ishaq and transmitted by Ibn Hisham is the subject of dispute among modern Western historians, many of whom maintain that this "treaty" is possibly a collage of different agreements, oral rather than written, of different dates, and that it is not clear exactly when they were made. Other scholars, however, both Western and Muslim, argue that the text of the agreement—whether a single document originally or several—is possibly one of the oldest Islamic texts we possess. In Yemenite Jewish sources, another treaty was drafted between Muhammad and his Jewish subjects, known as kitāb ḏimmat al-nabi, written in the 17th year of the Hijra (638 CE), and which gave express liberty unto Jews living in Arabia to observe the Sabbath and to grow-out their side-locks, but were required to pay the jizya (poll-tax) annually for their protection by their patrons.
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 Harband 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 Quran, indicate that no serious fighting was expected, 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 mêlée, Hamzah killed his victim with the very first strike, although Ubaydah was mortally wounded.
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. 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!" The Muslim army yelled "Yā manṣūr amit!" and rushed the Qurayshi lines. The Meccans, although substantially outnumbering the Muslims, promptly broke and ran. The battle itself only lasted a few hours and was over by the early afternoon. The Quran 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. 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.
Throughout the winter and spring of 623 other raiding parties were sent by Muhammad from Medina.
Battle of Uhud
In 625, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Chieftain of the Quraish of Mecca, who paid tax to the Byzantine empire regularly, 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. With a smaller force, the Muslim army had to find a strategy to gain the upper hand. A group of archers were ordered to stay on a hill to keep an eye on the Meccan's cavalry forces and to provide protection at the rear of the Muslim's army. As the battle heated up, the Meccans were forced to somewhat retreat. The battle front was pushed further and further away from the archers, whom, from the start of the battle, had really nothing to do but watch. In their growing impatience to be part of the battle, and seeing that they were somewhat gaining advantage over the Kafirun(Infidels) these archers decided to leave their posts to pursue the retreating Meccans. A small party, however, stayed behind; pleading all along to the rest to not disobey their commanders' orders. But their words were lost among the enthusiastic yodels of their comrades.
However, the Meccans' retreat was actually a manufactured manoeuvre that paid off. The hillside position had been a great advantage to the Muslim forces, and they had to be lured off their posts for the Meccans to turn the table over. Seeing that their strategy had actually worked, the Meccans cavalry forces went around the hill and re-appeared behind the pursuing archers. Thus, ambushed in the plain between the hill and the front line, the archers were systematically slaughtered, watched upon by their desperate comrades who stayed behind up in the hill, shooting arrows to thwart the raiders, but to little effect. So they suffered defeat in the Battle of Uhud.
However, the Meccans did not capitalize on their victory by invading Medina and returned to Mecca. The Medinans suffered heavy losses, and Muhammad was injured.
Battle of the Trench
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 Jewish forces 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 enslaved as was the law stated in the Old Testament for treason.(Deutoronomy) . 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.
Capital city of early Islam and the caliphate
In the ten years following the hijra, Medina formed the base from which Muhammad and the Muslim army attacked and were attacked, and it was from here that he marched on Mecca, entering it without battle in 629 AD/8 AH, all parties acquiescing to his leadership. Afterwards, however, despite Muhammad's tribal connection to Mecca and the ongoing importance of the Meccan kaaba for Islamic pilgrimage (hajj), Muhammad returned to Medina, which remained for some years the most important city of Islam and the capital of the early caliphate.
Yathrib was renamed Medina from Madinat al-Nabi ("city of the Prophet" in Arabic) in honor of Muhammad's prophethood and death there. (Alternatively, Lucien Gubbay suggests the name Medina could also have been a derivative from the Aramaic word Medinta, which the Jewish inhabitants could have used for the city. )
Under the first three caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman, Medina was the capital of a rapidly increasing Muslim Empire. During the period of Uthman, the third caliph, a party of Arabs from Egypt, disgruntled at his political decisions, attacked Medina in 656 AD/35 AH and murdered him in his own home. Ali, the fourth caliph, changed the capital of the caliphate from Medina to Kufa in Iraq. After that, Medina's importance dwindled, becoming 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 of Cairo in the 13th century and finally, in 1517, the Ottoman Empire.
World War I to Saudi control
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 Turkish Ottoman Empire. Local rule was in the hands of the Hashemite clan as Sharifs orEmirs 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 in Constantinople (Istanbul) and sided with Great Britain. The city of Medina was besieged by the Sharif's forces, and Fakhri Pasha tenaciously held on during the Siege of Medina from 1916 till 10 January 1919. He refused to surrender and held on another 72 days after the Armistice of Moudros, until he was arrested by his own men. In anticipation of the plunder and destruction to follow, Fakhri Pasha secretly sent the Sacred Relics of Medina to Istanbul.
As of 1920, the British described Medina as "much more self-supporting than Mecca." After the First World War, the Hashemite Sayyid Hussein bin Ali was proclaimed King of an independent Hejaz. Soon after, in 1924, he was defeated by Ibn Saud, who integrated Medina and the whole of theHejaz into the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Today, Medina ("Madinah" officially in Saudi documents), in addition to being the second most important Islamic pilgrimage destination after Mecca, is an important regional capital of the western Saudi Arabian province of Al Madinah. In addition to the sacred core of the old city, which is off limits to non-Muslims, Medina is a modern, multi-ethnic city inhabited by Saudi Arabs and an increasing number of Muslim and non-Muslim expatriate workers: other Arab nationalities (Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese, etc.), South Asians (Bangladeshis, Indians, Pakistanis, etc.), and Filipinos.
Medina has a hot desert climate . Summers are extremely hot with daytime temperatures averaging about 43 °C (109 °F) with nights about 29 °C (84 °F). Temperatures above 45 °C (113 °F) are not unusual between June and September. Winters are milder, with temperatures from 12 °C (54 °F) at night to 25 °C (77 °F) in the day. There is very little rainfall, which falls almost entirely between November and May.
Climate data for Medina
|Record high °C (°F)||33.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||24.2|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||17.9|
|Average low °C (°F)||11.6|
|Record low °C (°F)||1.0|
|Source: Jeddah Regional Climate Center|
The soil surrounding Medina consists of mostly basalt, while the hills, especially noticeable to the south of the city, are volcanic ash which dates to the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era.
Al Madinah Al Munawarah is located at Eastern Part of Al Hijaz Region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on longitude (39 36 6) and Latitude (24 28 6).
Madinah is located in the north-western part of the Kingdom, to the east of the Red Sea, which lies only 250 km (155 miles) away from it. It is surrounded by a number of mountains: Al-Hujaj, or Pilgrims' Mountain to the West, Salaa to the north-west, Al-E'er or Caravan Mountain to the south and Uhad to the north Madinah is situated on a flat mountain plateau at the junction of the three valleys of Al-Aql, Al-Aqiq, and Al-Himdh. For this reason, there are large green areas amidst a dry mountainous region. The city is 620 meters (2034 ft) above sea level. Its western and southwestern parts have many volcanic rocks. Madinah lies at the meeting-point of longitude 39 36' east and latitude 24 28' north. It covers an area of about 50 square kilometers (19 square miles).
Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is a desert oasis surrounded with mountains and stony areas from all sides. It was mentioned in several references and sources. It was known as Yatrib in Writings of ancient Maeniand, this is obvious evidence that the population structure of this desert oasis is a combination of north Arabs and South Arabs, who settled there and built their civilization during the thousand years before Christ.
In 1256, Medina was threatened by lava flow from the last eruption of Harrat Rahat.
Historically, Medina is known for growing dates. As of 1920, 139 varieties of dates were being grown in the area. Medina also was known for growing many types of vegetables.
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.
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.
With the increasing number of pilgrim visiting each year, many hotels are being constructed.
Prices in Medina
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$28.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.16|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$2.75|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$|
56 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
190 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
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 fields an increasing number of direct flights from around the Middle East, and the airport is accessible to non-Muslims. Keep in mind that this is a very small airport, and not really designed to cope with the large numbers now passing through it. So expect a crush at the baggage carousels. And expect a free-for-all in the check-in areas, where queuing seems to be (literally) a foreign concept. Also, beware of scammers.
A new high-speed railway linking Medina with Jeddah and Mecca is currently under construction and expected to open in December 2016.
The Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) runs luxurious buses several times daily to and from most parts of the country at cheap rates. There are also privately run buses. The SAPTCO terminal is off-limits to non-Muslims.
Transportation - Get Around
There is no public transport other than taxis. If you are on the side of the road, you might find locals willing to pick you up and take you to your destination for a fee, even though they aren't officially taxis, but beware of con artists from among both official and unofficial taxi drivers .
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
The streets leading to and around the Prophet's Mosque are lined with shops selling goods of every variety. Visitors to Medina 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.
Credit cards are largely unaccepted, and few banks will exchange travelers' checks. Also, always make sure to count your change carefully and don't assume it'll all be there.
There are restaurants selling almost all types of food from all over the world. There are Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants in abundance. There is also Chinese, Indonesian, Turkish, Egyptian, and local food.
The well-known Western fast-food chains such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Don Giovanni's and KFC all have outlets, as do Saudi chains such as Al Baik, Kudu and Hardeez. The cheapest local specialities are shawarma, taamiyya (a type of vegetable sandwich), foul (cooked beans) with tameez (bread), roasted whole chickens called Broasts. There are always dates.
Coffe & Drink
As it is everywhere else in the country, alcohol is prohibited. Drinking any kind of beverage during Ramadan is subject to punishment by the religious police and thus shouldn't be done in the open.
Sights & Landmarks
Since it is visited only by Muslims, for religious purposes, 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 one of the greatest martyrs of all time. Further away is the Masjid Qiblatayen where the Quran recounts that the Prophet was ordered by Allah to turn his face from 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.
Things to do
Visit the grand mosque, Masjid Al-Nabawi. The Prophet Muhammad's burial site lies inside the mosque.
Safety in Medina
Many visitors think that because Medina is a holy city, they need not fear being treated dishonestly. Sadly, that is not a safe assumption. Below are some scams to beware of:
- As you leave the secure area of the Medina airport and into the arrivals hall, if you look like a well-to-do visitor from a wealthier country, you will be approached by a confident and well-spoken man demanding to see your passport. This person is NOT an airport or government official, but is actually working for a local taxi company and you should demand to see ID if anyone asks for your passport. If you do give him your passport, he will then ask you to follow him to a desk where it will be handed over to someone who will pretend to be scrutinising it carefully for a while and then tell you to follow one of his colleagues to the taxi rank where you will certainly be hideously overcharged for your journey into central Medina. There are standard set prices for taxi journeys from the airport into central Medina, as set by the government, and these will be listed on signs in the car park area. Do not be tricked into paying over the odds.
- Beware of taxi drivers - both official and unofficial - selling you a sob story about great hardships at home, or even saying they are about to go and fight Jihad in Palestine, Chechnya, Burma etc., and will ask you for a donation. These are always lies designed to con you out of money, as they know pilgrims are feeling charitable and won't question the lies. Never fall for this trick.
- Beware, as some shops and kiosks will unashamedly short-change you as they know few people will realise and it is easy money for unscrupulous businesses. So if you are from a place where you trust shops to be honest then you need to be much more cynical while you are in Medina. Confirm the price before you hand over cash and then double-check your change. If you get less than you should have, be firm in asking them for the correct change. They will then give you the correct change without complaint as there are severe penalties for theft, which is essentially what short-changing people amounts to.