/ Mosque Stamps / Al Madinah Al Munawwarah, Medinah, Saudi Arabia
Al Madinah or
Medina (in full: Al Madinah Al Munawwarah )
Al Madinah is a province of Saudi Arabia, located on the country's west
side, along the Red Sea coast. It has an area of 173,000 km² and a
population of 1,310,400 (1999). Its capital is the sacred city of
Medina. Other towns include Yanbu' al Bahr and Badr Hunayn.
Madinah is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia. It
currently has a population of 918,889 (2004 census). Medina is located
at 24.50° N 39.5833° E. Medina was originally known as Yathrib, but
later the city's name was changed to Madinat al-Nabi ('city of the
prophet') or Al Madinah al Munawwarah ('the enlightened city' or 'the
radiant city'), while the short form Medina simply means 'city'. Medina
is the second holiest city of Islam, after Makkah (Mecca).
Its importance as a religious site derives from the presence there of
the shrine of the prophet Muhammad by Masjid al-Nabawi (or the Mosque of
the Prophet), famously known as Gumbad-e-Khizra, Prophet's Dome or Green
Dome, which was built on a site adjacent to Muhammad's home. His home
later became part of the mosque when it was expanded by the Umayyad
caliph al-Waleed ibn AbdelMalek. The first mosque of Islam is also
located in Medinah and is known as Masjid Quba, (the Quba Mosque).
Like Mecca, the city of Medina only permits Muslims to enter. Both
cities' numerous mosques are the destination for large numbers of
Muslims on their annual pilgrimage.
Mosque in Medina; the mosque has the Shrine of Muhammad in the middle,
also known as Gumbad-e-Khizra or Dome of the Prophet
In pre-Islamic times the
city was known as Yathrib. It was an important trading town and its
pagan inhabitants would make yearly pilgrimages to the shrines in Mecca,
being that the chief god of both cities was Manat. It was also notable
as a center of Arab Jews, who were only distinguished from their fellow
citizens by their religion.
In 622, Medina became the
seat of Muhammad's growing movement after the Hijra. In the same year
Muhammad was invited to come and live in Yathrib (and act as a sort of
governor). Islamic sources such as the hadith state that Medina had a
population of two pagan tribes (the Aus and Khazraj) as well as three
Jewish tribes (Banu Qainuka'a, Banu Nadhir and Banu Qurayza).
to Islamic tradition, the two tribes got word of a new, self-styled
prophet in Mecca whose people were being persecuted by the Meccans, and
decided to see if he could help them resolve their conflict. Muhammad
and his followers thus agreed to move (known as the Hijra migration) to
Yathrib, which eventually became known as al-Madinah al-Nabi, the city
of the Messenger, where Muhammad drafted the Madinah or Medina Charter
 which made him the leader of the city. According to tradition, the
text - the Medina Charter - that was passed down was agreed to by all
tribes in the city. In 627, the army of Mecca attacked Medina underthe
command of Abu Sufyan. Abu Sufyan asked the Banu Qurayza tribe to help
them conquer Medina, by attacking the Muslims from behind the lines or
letting them into the town.
According to the Hadith Bukhari, the Banu
Qurayza's assistance of Abu Sufyan constituted a breach of the treaty
and the males of the tribe were executed per the judgement of Sa'ad ibn
Mua'dh. Since the Islamic hadith written 2 centuries after is the only
source there is about this event, it is impossible to know the exact
circumstances surrounding the execution and expulsion of the various
tribes. Muhammad urged all people in the city to follow the new religion
of Islam, and the Medina Charter refers to Muhammad as a prophet of God.
However, he had trouble convincing the majority of the Jewish population
(which was actually quite large) and the Christian population that Islam
was the true version of Judaism or the true religion of Jesus.
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 de facto capital of the Caliphate.
Under the first four Caliphs, known as the Rightly Guided Caliphs, the
Islamic empire expanded rapidly and came to include historical centres
of learning such as Jerusalem and Damascus, and Baghdad. After the death
of Ali, the fourth caliph, Mu'awiyya transferred the capital to Damascus
and the importance of Medina dwindled and became of a religious more
than a political nature.
In 1924 the city, which had been in Ottoman hands for centuries, fell to
Ibn Saud, who later became the first King of Saudi Arabia.
Gallery / / Mosque Stamps / Al Madinah Al Munawwarah, Medinah, Saudi Arabia
Medina Mosque 2
Medina Mosque 1
Medina MS 1
Holy Medina 3
Holy Medina 2
Holy Medina 1
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