See E. Esin, Mecca, the Blessed; Madinah, the Radiant (1963); M. S. Makki, Medina, Saudi Arabia: A Geographic Analysis of the City and Region (1982).
City (pop., 1992: 608,295), western Saudi Arabia, north of Mecca. It developed from an oasis settled by Jews circa AD 135. In 622 the Prophet Muhammad fled from Mecca to Medina (see Hijrah). It served as capital of the Islamic state until 661. Held by the Ottoman Empire (1517–1804), it then was seized by the Wahhābiyyah. An Ottoman-Egyptian force retook it in 1812. Ottoman rule ceased during World War I (1914–18), and in 1925 it fell to the forces
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Medina (المدينة المنورة or المدينة ælmæˈdiːnæ; also transliterated into English as Madinah; officially al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah) is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of Muhammad. It is historically significant for being Muhammad's home after the Hijrah.
The city forms an oval, surrounded by a strong wall, 30 to 40 feet (9 to 12 metres) high, that dates from the 12th century C.E., and is flanked with towers, while on a rock, stands a castle. Of its four gates, the Bab-al-Salam, or Egyptian gate, is remarkable for its beauty. Beyond the walls of the city, west and south are suburbs consisting of low houses, yards, gardens and plantations. These suburbs have also walls and gates.
Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Mosque of the prophet) stands at the east of the city and resembles the mosque at Mecca on a smaller scale. Its courtyard is almost 500 ft (152 m) in length, the dome is high with three picturesque minarets. The tomb of Muhammad, who wafat (passed away) and was buried here in 632 C.E., is enclosed with a screen of iron filigree, at the south side of which the hajji goes through his devotions, for all of which he pays, but is consoled with the assurance that one prayer here is as good as a thousand elsewhere.
The tombs of Fatimah (Muhammad's daughter) 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 burned and reconstructed.
Medina's importance as a religious site derives from the presence of the 'Tomb of Prophet Muhammad' inside 'Al-Masjid(u) 'n-Nabawiy' or 'The Mosque of The Prophet'. The mosque was built on a site adjacent to Muhammad's home, and as Muslims believe that prophets must be buried at the very same place they leave this mortal world, Muhammad was thus buried in his house. The tomb later became part of the mosque when it was expanded by the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I. The first mosque of Islam is also located in Medina and is known as Masjid Qubaʼ (the Quba Mosque). It was destroyed by lightning, probably about 850 C.E., and the graves were almost forgotten. In 892 the place was cleared up, the tombs located and a fine mosque built, which was destroyed by fire in 1257 C.E. and almost immediately rebuilt. It was restored by Qaitbay, the Egyptian ruler, in 1487.
Like Mecca, the city of Medina only permits Muslims to enter, although the haram (area closed to non-Muslims) of Medina is much smaller than that of Mecca, with the result that many facilities on the outskirts of Medina are open to non-Muslims, whereas in Mecca the area closed to non-Muslims extends well beyond the limits of the built-up area. Both cities' numerous mosques are the destination for large numbers of Muslims on their Hajj (annual pilgrimage). Hundreds of thousands of Muslims come to Medina annually to visit the 'Tomb of Prophet' and to worship at mosques in a unified celebration. Muslims believe that praying once in the Mosque of the Prophet is equal to praying at least 1000 times in any other mosque.
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. According to William Montgomery Watt, the clientship of the Jewish tribes is not borne out by the historical accounts of the period prior to 627, and maintained that the Jews retained a measure of political independence.
Ibn Ishaq tells of a 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, 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 Kaaba 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.
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.
According to Ibn Ishaq, the Muslims and Jews of the area signed an agreement, the Constitution of Medina, which committed Jewish and Muslim tribes to mutual cooperation. The nature of this document as recorded by Ibn Ishaq and transmitted by ibn Hisham is the subject of dispute among modern historians many of whom maintain that this "treaty" is possibly a collage of agreements, oral rather than written, of different dates, and that it is not clear when they were made or with whom.
Throughout the winter and spring of 623 other raiding parties were sent by Muhammad from Medina Muhammad's agreement with the Jewish tribes soon broke down, as the Jews would not accept Muhammad's claims to prophethood or his growing influence. After his victory at Badr, Muhammad besieged and conquered the tribe of the Banu Qaynuqa, that had been involved in a tribal feud and adamantly refused to convert to Islam or keep peace with the Muslims. Because of the intercession of Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy and because it was the first incident with the tribes, Muhammad spared the tribe's lives and expelled them from the city.
Meanwhile, conflict with the Jews arose again: one of the Banu Nadir's chiefs, the poet Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf, was killed for breaching the Constitution of Medina and after the battle of Uhud, Muhammad accused the tribe of treachery and plotting against his life and expelled them from the city after a short fight.
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 Jews 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 that all male members of the tribe were killed and the women and children taken prisoner. 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.
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.