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Medina

MEDINA

city in saudi arabia, second to mecca as a holy site to muslims.

Located in Hijaz, about 100 miles from the Red Sea and 215 miles north of Mecca, Medina is revered by Muslims as the prophet Muhammad's destination after his emigration (hijra in Arabic) from Mecca in 622 c.e., and as the site of his tomb. Although it is not mandatory, many pilgrims to Mecca also visit Medina. The city became the southern terminus of the Ottomans' Hijaz Railway upon its completion in 1908. The site of a major Ottoman garrison during World War I, Medina and the rest of Hijaz came under Hashimite rule after the empire's defeat. The city's high walls were the last refuge of the Hashimites, and Medina was the last city in Hijaz to fall to the attacking forces of Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd alRahman Al Saʿud in 1926, after which many of the city's historical monuments and tombs were destroyed because the conservative religious allies of Abd al-Aziz found them offensive.


Relatively abundant water has enabled Medina to have an important agricultural hinterland, with dates the main crop. However, the growth of the city during the oil era and diversion of water to other uses has caused agriculture to suffer. The annual pilgrimage provides an important source of income, as do trade and the provision of services. Long a center of Islamic learning, the city now hosts the Islamic University of Medina. A 2000 estimate put the city's population at 891,000.

see also islam; mecca; muhammad.

Bibliography


Makki, Mohamed S. Medina, Saudi Arabia: A Geographic Analysis of the City and the Region. New York: Prometheus Books, 1984; Aversham, U.K.: Avebury, 1982.

Watt, W. M., and Winder, R. B. "Al-Madina." In Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, vol. 5, edited by C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, B. Lewis, and C. Pellat. Leiden, Neth.: Brill, 1986.

anthony b. toth

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Medina (city, Saudi Arabia)

Medina (mĬdē´nə), Arabic Medinat an-Nabi [city of the Prophet] or Madinat Rasul Allah [city of the apostle of Allah], city (1993 pop. 608,226), Hejaz, W Saudi Arabia. It is situated c.110 mi (180 km) inland from the Red Sea in a well-watered oasis where fruit, dates, vegetables, and grain are raised. Before the flight (Hegira) of Muhammad from Mecca to the city in 622, Medina was called Yathrib. Muhammad quickly gained control of Medina, successfully defended it against attacks from Mecca, and used it as the base for converting and conquering Arabia. Medina grew rapidly until 661, when the Umayyad dynasty transferred the capital of the caliphate to Damascus. Thereafter Medina was reduced to the rank of a provincial town, ruled by governors appointed by the distant caliphs. Local warfare drained the city's prosperity. It came under the sway of the Ottoman Turks in 1517. The Wahhabis captured it in 1804, but it was retaken for the Turks by Muhammad Ali in 1812. In World War I the forces of Husayn ibn Ali, who revolted against Turkey, captured Medina. In 1924 it fell to Ibn Saud, Husayn's rival, after a 15-month siege. The city is surrounded by double walls flanked by bastions and pierced by nine gates. The chief building is the Prophet's Mosque, which contains the tombs of Muhammad, his daughter Fatima, and the caliphs Umar and Abu Bakr. The pilgrimage to Mecca (see hajj) usually includes a side trip to Medina. Medina is the seat of Islamic Univ. (1962).

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).

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Medina

Medina a city in western Saudi Arabia, which was the refuge of Muhammad's infant Muslim community from its removal from Mecca in ad 622 until its return there in 630. It was renamed Medina, meaning ‘city’, by Muhammad and made the capital of the new Islamic state until it was superseded by Damascus in 661. It is Muhammad's burial place and the site of the first Islamic mosque, constructed around his tomb. It is considered by Muslims to be the second most holy city after Mecca, and a visit to the prophet's tomb at Medina often forms a sequel to the formal pilgrimage to Mecca.

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Medina

Medina City in Saudi Arabia, n of Mecca. Originally called Yathrib, it was renamed Medinat an-Nabi (‘Prophet's city’) after Muhammad fled Mecca and settled here in 622. Medina became his capital. In 661, the Umayyad caliphs moved their capital to Damascus, and Medina's importance declined. It came under Turkish rule (1517–1916), before briefly forming part of the independent Arab kingdom of the Hejaz. In 1932, it became part of Saudi Arabia. Pop. (2002) 818,800.

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Medina (city, United States)

Medina (mədī´nə), city (1990 pop. 19,231), seat of Medina co., N Ohio; laid out 1818, inc. as a city 1950. It is a processing point in a farm area. Paints, roofing, and industrial products are manufactured and aluminum and lumber are processed.

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Medīna

Medīna: see MADĪNA, AL-.

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Medina

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