Theme Week Saudi Arabia – Medina

Saturday, 29 April 2017 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Al-Masjid al-Nabawi - Mosque of the Prophet © Aymanzaid2/cc-by-sa-4.0

Al-Masjid al-Nabawi – Mosque of the Prophet © Aymanzaid2/cc-by-sa-4.0

Medina, also transliterated as Madīnah, is a city in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia that is also the capital of the Al Madinah Region. The city contains al-Masjid an-Nabawi (“the Prophet’s Mosque”), which is the burial place of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and is the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca. Medina was Muhammad’s destination after his Hijrah from 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 surahs of 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 centre by the national government. 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.

As of 2010, the city of Medina has a population of 1,183,205. In addition to its Arab inhabitants, during the pre-Islamic era Yathrib was inhabited by Jewish tribes. Later the city’s name was changed to al-Madīna-tu n-Nabī or al-Madīnatu ‘l-Munawwarah (“the enlightened city” or “the radiant city”). Medina is celebrated for containing al-Masjid an-Nabawi 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. Muhammad was buried in Medina, under the Green Dome, as were the first two Rashidun caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar, who were buried next to him in what used to be Muhammad’s house. Medina is 210 miles (340 km) north of Mecca and about 120 miles (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 historic city formed an oval, surrounded by a strong wall, 30 to 40 feet (9.1 to 12.2 m) high, dating from the 12th century CE, and was flanked with towers, while on a rock, stood a castle. Of its four gates, the Bab-al-Salam, or Egyptian gate, was remarkable for its beauty. Beyond the walls of the city, west and south were suburbs consisting of low houses, yards, gardens and plantations. These suburbs also had walls and gates. Almost all of the historic city has been demolished in the Saudi era. The rebuilt city is centred on the vastly expanded al-Masjid an-Nabawi. The graves of Fatimah (Muhammad’s daughter) and Hasan (Muhammad’s grandson), 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 reconstructed. Because of the Saudi government’s religious policy and concern that historic sites could become the focus for idolatry, much of Medina’s Islamic physical heritage has been altered.

Medina - Al-Masjid al-Nabawi - The Mosque of the Prophet © flickr.com - Omar Chatriwala/cc-by-2.0 Shaza Al Madina Hotel © Shazaalmadina/cc-by-sa-3.0 Modern Medina © Adiput Al-Masjid al-Nabawi - Mosque of the Prophet © Aymanzaid2/cc-by-sa-4.0 Al-Masjid al-Nabawi - Mosque of the Prophet © Aymanzaid2/cc-by-sa-4.0 Al-Masjid al-Nabawi - Mosque of the Prophet © flickr.com - Omar Chatriwala/cc-by-2.0 Al-Masjid al-Nabawi - Mosque of the Prophet © Mardetanha/cc-by-sa-3.0 Mount Uhud © Adiput Quba Mosque © Adiput
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Medina - Al-Masjid al-Nabawi - The Mosque of the Prophet © flickr.com - Omar Chatriwala/cc-by-2.0
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.

Saudi Arabia is hostile to any reverence given to historical or religious places of significance for fear that it may give rise to shirk (idolatry). As a consequence, under Saudi rule, Medina has suffered from considerable destruction of its physical heritage including the loss of many buildings over a thousand years old. Critics have described this as “Saudi vandalism” and claim that in Medina and Mecca over the last 50 years, 300 historic sites linked to Muhammad, his family or companions have been lost. In Medina, examples of historic sites which have been destroyed include the Salman al-Farsi Mosque, the Raj’at ash-Shams Mosque, the Jannat al-Baqi cemetery, and the house of Muhammed.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Shaza Makkah, Wikitravel Medina, Wikivoyage Medina and Wikipedia Medina. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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