The History of Medina

Islamic History

The History of Medina

Mawlana Muhammad Asif Iqbal Attari Madani

What differentiates one city from another is their select specialities. When it comes to Medina, Allah Almighty bestowed upon it excellences given to no other city on Earth. It stands unique amongst all others. Some of these distinguishing excellences shall be discussed herein.

1) The sanctified earth of Medina has the honour of being that from which the best of creation, the Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was created. Abū Bakr al-iddīq, the best of people after the prophets; ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb, and Companions رَضِیَ اللهُ عَنْهُم were also created from this earth, as were a host of Tābiīn. It also bears the honour of being the city in which the Greatest Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is laid to rest.

The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم once passed by a funeral bier placed adjacent to a grave and asked, “Whose grave is this?” The Companions رَضِیَ اللهُ عَنْهُم replied, “O Messenger of Allah صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, it is the grave of a abashī.”

The Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم then said:

لَا اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللهُ سِيقَ مِنْ اَرْضِهِ وَسَمَائِهِ اِلَى تُرْبَتِهِ الَّتِي خُلِقَ مِنْهَا

There is none worthy of worship except Allah! This (abashī) person has been brought from his earth and his sky to his soil from which he was created.[1]

The Companion Abdullāh b. Abbās رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا explained:

يُدْفَنُ كُلُّ اِنْسَانٍ فِي التُّرْبَةِ الَّتِي خُلِقَ مِنْهَا

Every person is buried in the soil he was created from.[2]

2) Medina is the city to which the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم made hijrah. It is also where he passed away. He says in a hadith:

اَلْمَدِينَةُ مُهَاجَرِي وَمَضْجَعِي فِي الْاَرْضِ

Al-Madinah is where I made hijrah to and my resting place in the earth.[3]

3) Medina is the favourite place of the Greatest Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.

لَا يُقْبَضُ النَّبِيُّ اِلَّا فِي اَحَبِّ الْاَمْكِنَةِ اِلَيْهِ

A Prophet does not pass away except in the most beloved of places to him.[4]

4) The earth of Medina will be cleft open first on the Day of Judgement. As per hadith, the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم will come forth from it first, then Sayyiduna Abū Bakr, followed by Sayyiduna Umar رَضِیَ اللهُ عَنْهُم. The inhabitants of Al-Baqī shall follow, and subsequently the people of Mecca.[5]

When did Medina become inhabited?

According to the research of the scholar Samhūdī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه, Medina was first inhabited following the flooding at the time of Sayyiduna Nū عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم.[6] The first nation to reside in it were the عمالقہ  or عمالیق (Amalekites), the descendants of Amlāq b. Arfakhshad b. Sām b. Nū. They were inspired by Allah Almighty to develop the Arabic language. They were the first to cultivate its land and plant date palm trees in it.[7]

After them, a group of the Banī Isrāˈīl took up residence in it.[8] These were descendants of Sayyiduna Hārūn عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم. Jews then began to reside around it; in Khaybar and other places. Mostly Jewish tribes took up residence on the outskirts of Medina. They also resided towards the north of where Masjid Qubā currently is, as well as in its surroundings.[9]

An individual called Amr b. Āmir departed with his progeny from the land of Sabā (Yemen). His 13 sons took up residence in different cities. From amongst them, Thalabah b. Amr preferred the land of ijāz. This individual is the progenitor of the Anārī tribes, Aws, and Khazraj. His offspring were numerous. They turned to Medina and took up residence there.[10] The Jewish tribes of Banū Naīr and Banū Qurayah oppressed them, and later, through their scheming, a historical war was ignited between the Aws and Khazraj that lasted 120 years. By the blessings of the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and Islam, Allah Almighty brought this war to a close. This has been mentioned in Surah Āl ʿImrān, verse 103.[11]

The names of Medina

If a person, place, or thing has many names, this highlights its importance and virtuosity. One can look at the multiplicity of the beautiful Names of Allah Almighty, the virtuous names of the Prophet   صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and the blessed names of the Holy Quran. Likewise, Medina has numerous delightful names and titles, which total around 100. No other city on the face of the earth has so many appellations. Some are mentioned below:

1. طابہ 2. طَیْبہ 3. طیبّہ 4. طایِبہ

These names are dear to the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Their meanings are: pure, cleansed, and fragrant. The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم also stated:

اِنَّ اللهَ اَمَرَنِي اَنْ اُسَمِّيَ الْمَدِينَةَ طَيْبَةَ

Indeed, Allah commanded me to name Madinah “aybah”.[12]

In another hadith:

اِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى سَمَّى الْمَدِينَةَ طَابَةَ

Indeed, Allah named Madinah “ābah.”[13]

These names are also mentioned in the Torah.[14]

5. ارض اللہ 6. ارض الهجرة

These names are mentioned in verse 97 of Surat al-Nisāˈ.

7. ایمان

It has been referred to as ایمان in verse 9 of Surat al-ashr.  This city makes evident the rulings of faith and is its fountainhead.[15]

8. بیت رسول اللہ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم

This name is due to this city’s beautiful ascription to the Greatest Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.

9. حبیبہ and محبوبہ

These are further beautiful appellations. The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم once made dua:

اَللّٰهُمَّ حَبِّبْ اِلَيْنَا الْمَدِينَةَ كَحُبِّنَا مَكَّةَ اَوْ اَشَدَّ

O Allah! Make Medina as beloved to us as Mecca, or even more![16]

10.   حرم رسول اللہ

This name has been mentioned in hadith. The Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated, المدینۃ حرم – “Medina is a sanctuary.”[17]

11. حسنہ

It is referred to as such due to the perfect inward and outward beauty found in it. Its inward beauty is through the presence of the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, the Ahl al-Bayt, and Companions عَلَیْہِمُ الرِّضْوَان. Its outward beauty is displayed by its orchards, springs, wells, lofty mountains, vast plains, domes, and noble resting places found therein.[18]

12. خیر و خیرہ

This city brings together the good of the world and Hereafter. A hadith explains:

اَلْمَدِينَةُ خَيْرٌ لَهُمْ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ

Medina is better for them, if they knew.[19]

Apart from these, al-Madinah al-Munawwarah has many other names, such as:

اکالۃ القریٰ، البارہ، البحرہ، البلاط، الجابرہ، دار الابرار، دار السنۃ، دار السلام، ذات الحجر، ذات النخل، سید البلدان، الشافیہ، طائب، المطیبہ، ظِباب، العاصمہ، العذراء، الغراء، غلبہ، الفاضحہ، القاصمہ، قبۃ الاسلام، قریۃ الانصار، قلب الایمان، المؤمنہ، المبارکہ، مبین الحلال والحرام، المحرمہ، المحفوظہ، المدینہ، المختارہ، المرزوقہ، المقدسہ، الناجیہ

Each name carries a beautiful meaning. For further details, refer to Jadhb al-Qulūb of Shaykh Abd al-Haqq al-Dīhlawī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه and Mufti Faiz Amad Uwaysī’s رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه translation of Mabūb-i-Madīnah.

(to be continued in the next edition)

[1] Mustadrak, vol. 1, p. 696, hadith 1396

[2] Muannaf Abd al-Razzāq, vol. 3, p. 515, hadith 6531

[3] Al-Mujam al-Kabīr, vol. 20, p. 205, hadith 470

[4] Musnad Abī Yalā, vol. 1, p. 39, hadith 41

[5] Sunan al-Tirmidhī, vol. 5, p. 388, hadith 3712

[6] Madīnah al-Rasūl, p. 52

[7] Wafāˈ al-Wafāˈ, vol. 1, pp. 156-157

[8] Wafāˈ al-Wafāˈ, vol. 1, p. 157

[9] Khulāat al-Wafāˈ, vol. 1, p. 523

[10] Wafāˈ al-Wafāˈ, vol. 1, p. 172

[11] Khulāat al-Wafāˈ, vol. 1, pp. 576-580

[12] Al-Mujam al-Kabīr, vol. 2, p. 236, hadith 1987

[13] Saī Muslim, p. 550, hadith 3357

[14] Jadhb al-Qulūb, translated, p. 6

[15] Ibid, p. 8

[16] Saī al-Bukhārī, vol. 1, p. 621, hadith 1890

[17] Sahih Bukhari vol. 1, p. 616, hadith 1870

[18] Jadhb al-Qulūb Translated, p. 9

[19] Saī al-Bukhārī, vol. 1, p. 618, hadith 1875




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