al-Madinah al-Munawwarah (the radiant city)

Originally named Yathrib, the ancient oasis town sits about 120 miles from the Red Sea coast in the fertile Hejaz valley.  It was later settled by Jewish refugees, fleeing the Roman-Jewish wars in the second century AD.  A couple of arab tribes came out of Yemen a couple of centuries later to gain political control of Yathrib.  Another century or so passes and those two tribes are fighting between themselves for control.

In 622AD, the Prophet Muhammad and some early Muslims arrived in Yathrib from Mecca.  Gradually Yathrib became known as Madinah, which literally means ‘city.’   The Prophet settled in Madinah and is buried there.  Across the Muslim world, the city is also known as Madinat al-Nabi (the city of the Prophet.)

The center of the city is the Prophet’s Mosque – Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi.  This is a massive mosque built upon the site of the original mosque that the Prophet built and used daily.  Madinah is also home to the first mosque in Islamic History – Masjid Quba, and the mosque where the qibla (the direction of Muslim prayer) was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca – Masjid al-Qiblatain.  The religious leadership in the Saudi Kingdom was concerned that historic sites may become the focus of idoltry and so much of the physical heritage of Madinah has been removed and built over.

We visited the Prophet’s Mosque and left Madinah just after Eid prayers.  The streets were packed with triple and quadruple parking!

The plaza area around the mosque is filled with families, particularly in the cooler evenings.  You have to walk around the myriad of families sitting on blankets or rugs sharing a meal or tea and snacks.  There are even kids with roller blades or ‘wheelies’ chasing one another.

There are these massive and beautiful umbrellas that collapse at night, but in the morning . . .

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4 Responses to al-Madinah al-Munawwarah (the radiant city)

  1. Ron and Saundra Worsham Mom and Dad says:

    You are so lucky to get to see so much!! This is part of our world and you get to see it. I can just imagine the BLACK STALLION there! I read all the books and it is soooooo familiar.

  2. K. Dieng says:

    Thanks for sharing your photos Charity!! Love seeing it all from your perspective.

  3. Pingback: Umrah – Mecca, two years ago | a middling life

  4. jatzio says:

    That is an amazing journey!

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