Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah is the second holy city to Moslems after Makkah Al-Mukkaramah. It has also got many other names such as Taibah, Yathrib, the City of the Messenger, and Dar Al-Higra (i.e. Home of Immigration). It is the city whose people supported Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) when he immigrated to it from Makkah,and it joined him in fighting decisive battles which were instrumental in the victory of Islam and its subsequent spread. This is the city of the "Ansar" (Supporters) and their brothers the "Muhajireen" (Emigrants), who together formed the first Islamic army which entered Makkah in triumph eight years after the Prophet's "Hijrah
(Migration). On its soil he (peace be upon him) built his sacred mosque, and it was here that he was buried.
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 metres (2,046 ft) above sea level. Its western and southwestern parts have many volcanic rocks. Madinah lies at the meeting-point of longitude 39 and 36 degree east and latitude 24 to 28' north. It covers an area of about 50 square kilometers (19 square miles).
Madinah is very hot in summer, but its weather is moderate in autumn and spring and mild in winter.
Places to Visit in and around Madinah Al-Munawara
Jannat-ul-Baqi is the graveyard lying in the east of Madinah. Innumerable companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and saints are buried there.
The plain of Badr is 20 miles south west of Madinah where the first battle between 313 Muslims and 1000 Qureish of Makkah took place in 624 A.D. The Muslims had seventy camels and two horses whereas the Qureish had a cavalry of 200 Horses and 700 camels. They were superior in weapons too, but Muslims were victorious because they were strong in morale and strategy due to the leadership of the Holy Prophet.
Martyrs of Uhad
Three miles to the north of Madinah is the mountain about which the Mesenger of Allah said "Uhad is a mountain that loves us and we love it." The "Ghazwah Uhud" (war) took place here in the year 3 A.H. The grave of Hazrat Hamzah lies here.
Mosques in and around Madinah Al-Munawara
THE PROPHET'S MOSQUE
The Prophet's Mosque in Madinah is the second most revered place of worship for Muslims around the world. Millions of Muslims visit the Mosque each year, to worship, to visit the Prophet's grave, and to see the city that gave birth to Islam. This pilgrimage is not mandatory as is the one to Makkah, but nevertheless popular. The Prophet's Mosque was the first institution to be built following Prophet Muhammad's migration in 622 AD from Makkah, where he was born, to the town of Yathrib, which became known as 'Al-Madinah an-Nabi", or 'City of the Prophet', and is today simply Madinah.
It is about two miles south-west from Masjid-an Nabawi. This is the very first mosque of the muslims. The Prophet Muhammad and his companions built it with their own hands. This is the first mosque in the history of Islam whose foundation stone was laid down by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself on his migration to Madinah.
It is near Bustan al Jaza in the valley Zanuna to the east on the new road to Quba. The Messenger of Allah prayed the first Friday there.
Masjid Ahzab / Masjid Fath
It is on the western corner of Jabl Sala'. When the unbelievers had united together in the Ghazwah Ahzab and attacked Madinah and the trench was dug, the Messenger of Allah made a supplication for three days.
Masjid Musallah / Masjid Ghumana
The Messenger of Allah offered Eid prayers here.
Al Madinah before the Prophet
Sources and references agree that Al-Madinah before the Prophetic emigration was not an integrated urbanized city from either the population structure point of view or architectural point of view. The first inhabitation in the area was by Yathrib Bin Mahlaeil, the Amaliqide, whose pedigree is tracked back to Shem son of Noah, as mentioned by AI Zajahi. The first aggregation was in Adham area as mantioned in Wafa Al Wafa, which is an area known by the name AlUyun (springs). As this area is a fertile land with abundant water, vegetables and fruits, it became a center of attraction for the emigrants from the neighboring areas. About 455 B.C. some Arabic tribes from the North had emigrated to Al Madinah. Al Madinah was mentioned in the Maeinian inscriptions, books of Ptolemists and Geography of Byzantines especially the books of Ptolemy as it was also mentioned In the Holy Quran. It is shown from what have been mentioned in historical sources that Al Madinah before Al Hijrah was a group of small residential communities with no tie, specially after the arrival of the Jewish settlers and their dependence on special communities, their Monopoly of gold trade, building of trade markets, building of forts and residential communities around the forts, as mentioned in the book of "Wafa Al Wafa".
On Monday, 8th Rabia I, corresponding to 20th September of the year 622 A.D. the Messenger arrived at Al Madinah, and people welcomed him with songs. That was a distinct day in the history of Al Madinah, when the noble Messenger familiarized between the hated hearts and fraternized between Emigrants and supporters, and he built his Mosque, which became the center of the Capital of the Islamic state and the center of command for the armies of conquest. Since then, the residential communities changed into an urbanized residential unit . The Mosque was the first unit in the Islamic Urbanization structure, hence, the Holy Prophetic Mosque has become the center of Al Madinah Al Munawarah.