“O Abode of the Best of the Messengers! For you (Madinah) I have intense love, passionate love, and yearning which kindles the embers of my heart.”
The Beloved Messenger of Allah prayed,
“O Allah! Bestow on Madinah twice the blessings You bestowed on Makkah.”
[Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 109]
“O Allah, Ibrahim was Your servant, Your friend, and Your apostle; and I am Your servant and Your apostle. He (Ibrahim) made supplication to You for (the showering of blessings upon) Makkah, and I am making supplication to You for Madinah just as he made supplication to You for Makkah, and the like of it in addition.”
[Muslim, Book 7, Hadith no. 3170]
The Beloved Messenger of Allah often made supplication for the beloved city of Madinah, affectionately named Madinatul Munawwarah or ‘the City of Illumination’.
Love and Respect for Madinatul Munawwarah
The Beloved Messenger of Allah had such love for Madinah that, Sayyidina Anas b. Malik narrates, “Whenever the Prophet returned from a journey and observed the walls of Madinah, he would make his mount go fast, and if he was on an animal (i.e. a horse), he would make it gallop because of his love for Madinah.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 110]
The virtues of Madinah are many and its beauty is magnificent; all this owing to the fact that it honours upon its sacred soil the beloved and most revered grave (rawdha) of the Noble Messenger of Allah. For this reason, the Companions, the Tabi’een and the Tab-e-Tabi’een have throughout the ages held an immense attachment and love within their hearts for the blessed City of the Prophet.
Qadi Iyaad reports that Imam Malik would never ride an animal or mount in Madinah and he’d say, “I am too shy before Allah to trample with an animal’s hoof on the earth where Allah’s Messenger is buried.” [al-Shifa, Vol. 2, page 63]
Thus came the answer to our Beloved Messenger’s prayer when he said, “O Allah! Make us love Madinah as much as we love Makkah or even more.” [Muwatta of Imam Malik, Hadith no. 4]
Qadi Iyaad also reports the sentiments of Khwaja Abu Fadl al-Jawhari, who said as he approached the blessed City, “The veil has been lifted from us and a moon shines out to those who look on, banishing all illusions. As our mounts reach Muhammad, may Allah’s eternal peace and blessings be upon him; it is forbidden for us to be found in our saddles.
We are drawing near to the best man to have ever walked upon the earth; so we hold this ground with respect and honour.” [al-Shifa, Vol. 2, page 64]
Qadi Iyaad adds, “One must respect the place… whose soil contains the body of the Master of mankind and from which the deen of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger spread out… and the first earth that the skin of the Prophet touched after death. Its fragrance should be inhaled, and its residences and walls should be kissed.”
From this, we can establish the true honour and devotion which is owed to the beloved City of Madinah for the connection it holds to our Sayyid (Master), Sayyidina Muhammad, may Allah’s eternal peace and blessings be upon him.
One of the attributes of true lovers is how they treasure everything associated with the Beloved, out of reverence and from the yearning in their hearts.
Such longing shines forth from the words of Imam Busayri when he speaks of painful reminders of the Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, in his famous Qasida: “Or is it because of the breeze blowing from Kaazimah, or is it the lightning struck in the darkness of the night from Idam…”
Kaazimah is a village in Madinah, and Idam is a mountain in Madinah. The significance of these places lies in the fact that they are on the soil of the City of the Messenger, thus calling to the hearts which love and yearn for him.
Imam Ahmad Raza Khan writes in his famous poetry:
Madine ki khitte Khuda tujh ko rakkhe,
Ghareebon faqeeron ke tehraane waale!
O areas of Madinah, may Allah keep (safeguard) you,
For the destitute, [you are] a refuge!
Madinah: the Sanctuary
Madinah is a sanctuary between its two mountains, Mount Ayr and Mount Thawr, which are approximately 15 kilometers apart, and are its boundaries in the northern & southern directions. Within its bounds, the pure air is protected from evils, safeguarded from all ills. Anyone who tries to pollute that sacred air is punished by the Curse of Allah and His Angels, for honoring the blessed City is compulsory upon every believer.
The Beloved Messenger of Allahsaid, “Madinah is a sanctuary from that place to that. Its trees should not be cut, and no heresy should be innovated, nor any sin should be committed in it, and whoever innovates in it a heresy, or commits sins (bad deeds), he will incur the Curse of Allah, the Angels, and all the people.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 91]
The Beloved Messenger of Allah also said, “I have made Madinah a sanctuary between its two [Harrah] mountains.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 93]
For this reason, Sayyidina Abu Huraira said, “If I saw deers grazing in Madinah, I would not chase them, for Allah’s Messenger said, ‘(Madinah) is a sanctuary between its two mountains.’” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 97]
Madinah is also guarded by angels from evils such as the plague, and from the terror of the Accursed Dajjal, as the Beloved Messenger of Allah said, “There are angels guarding the entrances (or roads) of Madinah, neither plague nor Dajjal will be able to enter it.”
[Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 104]
Names of Madinah
Madinah is often referred to as Madinatul Munawwarah or ‘the City of Light’, Madinatun Nabi or ‘the City of the Prophet’, Madinatun Noor or ‘the City of Light’, or Tayba/Taba meaning ‘pure, pleasant’.
The name Taba is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an [59:9] and the name Tayba is mentioned in several Hadith.
Sayyidina Abu Humaid narrates that upon approaching Madinah from Tabuk, the Beloved Messenger of Allah said, “This is Taba.” [Bukhari, Book 30, Hadith no. 96]
The Beloved Messenger of Allah said, “They call it Yathrib but it is Madinah.” [Bukhari, Book 1, Hadith no. 252]
It is not permissible and is forbidden to call Madinah by the name of Yathrib. This is a sin and a major disrespect to the sacred City.
This view is supported by Ala Hazrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan, who also quotes a Hadith from Imam Ahmad’s Musnad [Vol. 4, page 285] in which the Beloved Messenger of Allah said,“Whoever calls Madinah Yathrib, it is necessary for him to repent. Madinah is Tayba, Madinah is Tayba.”
Tayba and Taba both are derived from one root word; Tayb, meaning pure and pleasant. Madinah was named as such for its pleasantness, and for the fact that a beautiful fragrance is found in its sacred air which is not found elsewhere.
The City which Purifies
The City of Madinah is pure and sacred to such an extent that it has the ability to purify its inhabitants. This makes clear the level of sanctity that the blessed City was raised to when the Beloved Messenger set foot upon its earth.
It is reported in Bukhari that a bedouin went to the Beloved Messenger and pledged allegiance for embracing Islam. The next day, he arrived with fever and said (to the Messenger), “Please cancel my pledge (of embracing Islam and of emigrating to Madinah).” The Prophet refused that request three times and said, “Madinah is like a furnace, it expels out the impurities (bad persons) and selects the good ones and makes them perfect.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 107]
This clear and strong refusal by the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, perhaps emphasizes the importance of migration to Madinah, and the strength of its unique quality to influence and purify those who reside within its sacred boundaries.
In this manner, the beloved City is home to the believers, as it casts away all evil and elevates all goodness even in regards to its people.
In another Hadith reported by Sayyidina Abu Huraira, the Beloved Messenger of Allah said, “I was ordered to migrate to a town which will swallow (conquer) other towns and is called Yathrib but it is Madinah, and it turns out (bad) persons as a furnace removes the impurities of iron.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 95]
To Live and Die in the City of Light
The sacred and revered City of Light, al-Madinatul Munawwarah, is greater than any other residence and its hardship bears the most cherished reward of the Beloved Messenger’s intercession on the Day of Judgement. The blessed City thus holds greater status and preference over even the noblest cities through the Islamic world.
The Beloved Messenger said, “Madinah is best for them if they knew. No one leaves it through dislike of it, without Allah putting in it someone better than he in place of him; and no one will stay there in spite of its hardships and distress, without my being an intercessor or witness on behalf of him on the Day of Resurrection.”[Muslim, Book 7, Hadith no. 3154]
The Beloved Messenger also said, “Yemen will be conquered and some people will migrate (from Madinah) and will urge their families, and those who will obey them to migrate (to Yemen) – although Madinah will be better for them, if they but knew. Sham (Syria) will also be conquered and some people will migrate (from Madinah) and will urge their families and those who will obey them, to migrate (to Sham) – although Madinah will be better for them, if they but knew. Iraq will be conquered and some people will migrate (from Madinah) and will urge their families and those who will obey them to migrate (to Iraq) – although Madinah will be better for them, if they but knew.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 99]
The blessings and virtues of Madinah are not limited for those residing within its borders, nor are the benefits of the beautiful City limited to the life of this temporary world. Lucky are those who are called upon by the Angel of Death whilst they are within its sacred boundary!
Imam Malik relates in his Muwatta that the Messenger of Allah himself said, “There is nothing like dying in the way of God, but there is not, on the face of this earth, a piece of land more beloved to me that my grave should be in, than this [Madinah].” (He repeated that three times.)
To die in the City of the Beloved Messenger is a great blessing and a true honour for any devoted believer. It is reported that Ameerul Mu’mineen (Leader of the Faithful), Sayyidina Umar ibn al-Khattab would pray, “O Allah! Grant me martyrdom in Your Cause, and let my death be in the city of Your Messenger.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 114]
Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Umar narrated that the Beloved Messenger also said, “Whoever has the means to die in Madinah, let him die there; for I shall intercede on behalf of everyone who dies there.” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi]
Protected People of Madinatul Munawwarah
The people of Madinah are also safeguarded from the plots and schemes of enemies, as the Beloved Messenger of Allah said, “None plots against the people of Madinah but that he will be dissolved (destroyed) like the salt is dissolved in water.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 101]
Blessed Soil of the Holy City
Such is the sacredness of the beautiful City of Madinah that even its dust and soil is pure, and can provide cure from illness.
It is reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “The dust of Madinah is a cure from leprosy.” [Imam Abu Nu’aym, al-Tibb al-Nabawi]
Reverence and love for this blessed soil is witnessed in a report concerning Imam Malik, who ordered a man to be lashed and jailed because he said, “The soil of Madinah is bad.” This disrespectful statement outraged Imam Malik greatly, and although the man had connections to the authorities of Madinah, the Imam refused to reconsider his verdict. He said in much displeasure, “He claims the soil in which the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, is buried is not good!” [Qadi Iyaad’s al-Shifa, Vol. 2, page 63]
Ajwa Dates of the City of Light
The dates of Madinatul Munawwarah are not only a beautifully rich and sweet delight, but also contain great benefits as described by the Messenger of Allah. These dates are called Ajwa, exclusive to the sacred City of Madinah and grown from its blessed soil.
Sayyidina Saud narrated that the Beloved Messenger said, “If somebody takes some Ajwa dates every morning, he will not be affected by poison or magic on that day till night.” (Another narrator said seven dates). [Bukhari, Book 71, Hadith no. 663]
Angels Protect Madinatun Nabi from Dajjal
As Madinah is a sanctuary from all evils, it is also protected by the Allah from the Accursed Dajjal. When the terror of the Dajjal establishes upon the earth, the angels will guard Madinah at each of its seven gates and it will not be able to enter.
The Messenger of Allah said, “The terror caused by al-Masih ad-Dajjal will not enter Madinah, and at that time Madinah will have seven gates and there will be two angels at each gate guarding them.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 103]
Sayyidina Abu Huraira reported that the Beloved Messenger of Allah said, “There are angels guarding the entrances (or roads) of Madinah, neither plague nor Dajjal will be able to enter it.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 104]
Elaborating further about the protection of Madinah from Dajjal, Sayyidina Anas b. Malik reported that the Beloved Messenger said, “There will be no town which ad-Dajjal will not enter except Makkah and Madinah, and there will be no entrance/road (of both Makkah and Madinah) but the angels will be standing in rows guarding it against him, and then Madinah will shake with its inhabitants thrice (i.e. three earthquakes will take place) and Allah will expel all the non-believers and the hypocrites from it.” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 105]
Sayyidina Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reports, “The Messenger of Allah told us a long narrative about ad-Dajjal, and among the many things he mentioned, was his saying, ‘ad-Dajjal will come and it will be forbidden for him to pass through the entrances of Madinah. He will land in some of the salty barren areas (outside) Madinah; on that day the best man or one of the best men will come up to him and say, ‘I testify that you are the same Dajjal whose description was given to us by Allah’s Messenger.’ ad-Dajjal will say to the people, ‘If I kill this man and bring him back to life again, will you doubt my claim?’ They will say, ‘No.’ Then ad-Dajjal will kill that man and bring him back to life. That man will say, ‘Now I know your reality better than before.’ ad-Dajjal will say, ‘I want to kill him but I cannot.’” [Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 106]
O abode of the Best of all Messengers;
The one by whom people are guided, and who was chosen to receive the Verses,
For you (o Madinah) I have intense, ardent love,
And a yearning which kindles the embers of my heart.
I have a vow – if I fill my eyes with those walls and the places where you walked,
then my turbaned grey head will be covered with dust from so much kissing!
Had it not been for obstacles and enemies, I would always visit them,
even if I were to be dragged upon my feet.
But I will be guided, in my eagerness, to greet the inhabitants of those houses and rooms,
By a scent purer than the most splendid musk, which covers him each morning and evening.
Pure and ever-increasing blessings bestowed upon him,
through the prayers of peace and blessings upon him!
[Qadi Iyaad’s al-Shifa, Vol. 2]