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Merits of Medina
Medina holds a huge number of merits. Allah and the Prophet have accorded Medina an exalted place in their eyes. We should remember, that it is the city where the Prophet (PBUH) migrated to, lived in and rests there even today. Islam flourished here and reached to the far off corners of the world. Medina is also called ‘Taiba’ and ‘Taba’ which translates as ‘the pure place’. The reward for all the acts of worship increases to manifold in Medina. Let’s see how the Prophet himself praised the city:
- Ayesha (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, ‘O Allah, make us love Medina more than we love Makkah.’ (Sahih Bukhari)
- Anas (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, ‘O Allah! Bestow on Medina twice the blessings You bestowed on Makkah.’ (Sahin Bukhari)
- Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, ‘If a person patiently bears the trouble he has (during his stay in Medina), I will intercede for him on the Day of Judgment”, or said, ‘I will bear witness for him.” (Sahih Muslim)
- Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “If a person from my people remains patient while facing the hunger and harshness in Medina and on the troubles there, I will intercede for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Sahih Bukhari)
- Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “There are angels guarding the roads of Medina; neither plague nor Dajjal will be able to enter it.” (Sahih Bukhari)
- Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “Whoever has the means to die in Medina, let him die there for I shall intercede on behalf of everyone who dies there.” (Tirmidhi)
- Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: “Belief (Iman) will return to Medina (near the Last Day) as a snake returns to its hole.” (Sahih Bukhari)
- Sa’ad (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “None plots against the people of Medina but that he will be dissolved (destroyed) like the salt is dissolved in water.” (Sahih Bukhari &Sahih Muslim)
- Sa’ad (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “Medina expels bad people as the bellows remove the impurities of iron.” (Sahih Muslim)
The Virtues of Visiting the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque
- Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “Do not set out on a journey except for three mosques: Al-Masjid al-Haram, my Mosque, and the al-Masjid al-Aqsa.” (Sahih Bukhari)
- Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “One prayer in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers in any other mosque except al-Masjid-al-Haram.” (Sahih Muslim) A hadith in Ibne Majah mentions the reward equal to 50,000 (fifty thousand) prayers. The rewards should depend on the sincerity and composure of the prayer.
- Anas (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, whoever prays forty consecutive prayers in my Mosque, missing no prayer, it will be recorded that he is safe from the Fire, is saved from punishment and is free from hypocrisy. (Tirmidhi, Tabrani & Musnad Ahmad) A few scholars have declared this Hadith as weak (non-reliable) while the others declared it good to argue with. Therefore, make it a point to offer all your prayers in the Masjid of the Prophet during your stay in Medina because it multiplies the reward 1000 times and according to the Hadith recorded by Ibne Majah 50,000 times. Additionally, the abovementioned merit of the consecutive forty prayers will also be achieved.
Clarification: The visit to the grave of the Prophet (PBUH) and offering salutations there are not categorically an essential part of Hajj. However, the visit to the grave of the Prophet (PBUH) and offering salutations and tributes is always fortunate and rewarding. A few scholars decreed it mandatory for those with means.
The virtues of visiting the Holy Grave
- Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “If someone offers salutations and sends blessings on me standing by my grave, I hear it myself. And if a person offers salutations and sends blessings from somewhere else then all his needs of the world and of the Hereafter are fulfilled and on the Day of Judgment, I will intercede and witness for him.” (Baihaqi)
- Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “Whoever offers greetings on me by my grave, Allah communicates it to me and I return the greetings.” (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Dawood)
- Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “If someone visits my grave, my intercession for him becomes mandatory.” (Dar Qutni, Bazzar)
- Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “If a person comes to visit me (grave) with no other intention, It becomes my duty to intercede for him.” (Tabrani)
- Anas (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “The one who visits my grave with the hope of reward, he will be next to me and I will intercede for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Baihaqi)
- Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “Do not take my grave as an idol (deity). Allah cursed those who took the graves of the Prophets as idols (deity).” (Musnad Ahmad)
During the entire journey to Medina, recite Durood and Salam profusely. Allah says, “Surely, Allah and His angels send blessings to the Prophet. O you who believe, do pray Allah to bless him, and send your Salam (prayer for his being in peace) to him in abundance.”(Surah Al-Ahzab,56) The Prophet (PBUH) said, “If a man sends Salat on me once, Allah bestows him with mercy ten times and ten virtues are recorded for him.” (Tirmidhi)
Visiting the Masjid of the Prophet (PBUH)
On arrival in Medina, set your luggage in the residence, clean yourself through bath or ablution (Wudhu), put on a decent dress and head out to the Masjid with all respectful excitement. Enter the Masjid with the right foot first and say the dua of entry. First of all, come to the place between the tomb and the pulpit (Mimber). The Prophet (PBUH) said about this place, “What is between my home and pulpit is a flowerbed from the garden of the Paradise.” Offer two Rak’ah of the greetings to the Masjid (Tahiyyatal- Masjid) If this place is already full then pray wherever you find the space. And if Imam has already started the obligatory prayer, join the congregation.
Salat & Salam (Salutation and Prayers)
Having performed two rak’ah of Tahiyyatal-Masjid (greeting to the Masjid), with all respect and reverence, walk to the grave of the Prophet (PBUH). The moment you get to the second screen, you should be able to see three holes. The first hole lets you have a glance at the grave of the Prophet, see through and respectfully present the following salutation;
Prayer and peace be upon you, O the Messenger of Allah
Prayer and peace be upon you, O the Prophet of Allah
Prayer and peace be upon you, O the Beloved of Allah
Prayer and peace be upon you, O the Best of Allah’s creation
Prayer and peace be upon you, O the Leader of the Messengers
Prayer and peace be upon you, O the Seal of the Prophets
It is perfectly okay to recite the salat (Darood) recited in the daily prayers. Having presented salutation and blessings on the Prophet (PBUH), move to the next hole which gives you a glimpse of the grave of Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) and recite the following salam:
Peace be on you, O Abubakr Siddique
Peace be on you, O the Successor of the Prophet
Peace be on you, O the Companion of the Prophet in the cave
Peace be on you, O the first Caliph of Muslims
Thereafter, move forward to the third hole in the wall and offer greetings on the grave of Umar Farooq (RA) recite the following Salam;
Peace be on you, O Umar ibn Khattab
Peace be on you, O Ameer al-Momineen
Peace be on you, O the Second Caliph
Peace be on you, O the martyr under the niche
Note: Salam is exactly what is mentioned above. Hence, whenever you wish to offer Salam again, just repeat the entire process.
Sometimes pilgrims do not get to stay even for a minute in front of the grave of the Prophet (PBUH) when it is overcrowded. In such circumstances, patiently walk with the queue reciting Salat and when you approach in front of the first hole which gives you a glimpse of the grave of the Prophet (PBUH), briefly offer Salam on the go and then proceed to the second and third whole offering Salam in the same manner to Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) and Umar Farooq (RA) respectively.
Activities to perform in Medina
The pilgrims should consider every second of their stay in Medina incredibly valuable and spend most of the time in the acts of worship. It would be absolutely fortunate to spend time in the Masjid of the Prophet (PBUH). Who knows if another visit would be possible for him or not. Efforts should be made to make sure to offer all the five prayers in the Masjid of the Prophet (PBUH) as it multiplies the reward by 1000 or 50,000. Salat and Salam should be offered as many times as possible. Offering plenty of nafl (optional prayer) will add more reward to the credit. The avoidance of worthless discussions and quarrels is highly recommended. It is better for pilgrims not to waste their precious time in shopping. No one knows if they will return to the city of the Prophet (PBUH) ever again.
Women should maintain proper Hijab as no Ihram is prescribed for the visit to Medina. If a woman is having her periods, she should not enter the Masjid of the Prophet (PBUH) to offer Salam. However, she is allowed to offer Salam from outside the Bab Jibreel, Bab-al-Nisa or Bab- al-Baqi. Once her periods are over, she can visit the grave of the Prophet (PBUH) and offer Salam in the proper manner. Since, separate areas are allocated for men and women in the Masjid of the Prophet (PBUH), at the time of the entry, everyone should plan their exit and meeting point in the group.
Return from Medina
The return from the city of the Prophet (PBUH) must be heavy and tearful, but console yourself that even from the thousands of miles, Allah communicates your Salam to the Prophet (PBUH) through angels. At the departing moment, pledge to never digress from the path of Allah, pledge to keep Him happy and pleased, pledge to stick to the way of life of the Prophet (PBUH) throughout the rest of your life and make a promise to preach Allah’s religion in the world.
Historical Places in Medina
The Masjid of the Prophet
Soon after the Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Medina, he along with his Companions took up the construction of Masjid of the Prophet had already completed the construction of Masjid Quba.
On completion, the Prophet’s Masjid stood 105 feet long and 95 feet wide. However, after the conquest of Khaiber in the 7th year of the Hijri calendar, the Prophet (PBUH) further extended it. That extension increased the size of the Masjid to 150 feet both in length and width. The Masjid was extended again in the 17th AH (17 years after Hijra) as the number of Muslims had incredibly grown and the Masjid could not accommodate a sufficient number of the Muslims. In the 29th year of Hijri, Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) further extended the Masjid. After that, a caliph from the Umayyah dynasty, Walid ibn Abdul Malik, made another sizable extension. When this extension was carried out, Umar ibn Abdul Aziz was serving his tenure as the governor of Medina.
Later on, the Turks reconstructed the entire Masjid and they used red stone to add solidity and beauty to the architecture. (The remnants of this beauty and solidity still exist to this day).
With the passage of time, the inflow of pilgrims dramatically increased and the space in the Masjid became insufficient in accommodating all the pilgrims. Eventually, the government of Saudi Arabia initiated another project to further extend the boundaries of the Masjid. The government purchased all the buildings and settlements in the neighborhood, demolished them and added them to the vicinity of the Masjid, making this the greatest expansion to date.
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Do not set out on a journey except for three mosques: Al-Masjid al-Haram, my Mosque, and al-Masjid al-Aqsa.” In another Hadith, the Prophet is reported to have said, “One prayer in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers in any other mosque except al-Masjid-al-Haram.” Another narration mentions the reward equal to 50,000 (fifty thousand) prayers. The rewards should depend on the sincerity and composure of the prayer.
The chamber of the Prophet (PBUH)
The Prophet (PBUH) lived a decade of his life in Medina. Even after the conquest of Makkah in the 8th year of Hijri, he continued to reside in Medina. After he passed away, he was laid to rest in a grave as instructed by him in the chamber of Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her). He had breathed his last in the same chamber. Abu Bakr al- Siddique and Umer al-Farooq (may Allah be pleased with them) were put buried there. While visiting the Prophet’s Masjid, pilgrims offer Salat and Salam standing outside this chamber. The side of the chamber that faces the direction of the Ka’ba has three windows with screens. There are three holes in the second window. The first hole, which is the largest, overlooks the heavenly abode of the Prophet (PBUH). The second overlooks the final abode of Abu Bakr al-Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him) and the final hole shows the grave of Umer al-Farooq (may Allah be pleased with him).
Riyadh al-Jannah (Flowerbed from Paradise)
In the old part of the Prophet’s Masjid, the place between the pulpit and the tomb is called Riyadh al-Jannah (the flowerbed from Paradise). There are marble pillars erected to mark Riyadh al-Jannah. All the pillars are named. Performing prayers in Riyadh al-Jannah entails extra reward and the place is known for the quick acceptance of prayers made in there.
The Shed of Ashab al-Suffah
Behind the chamber of the Prophet is a small shed. This portion was designated for the residence and education of the homeless Companions who would engage themselves in acquiring knowledge from the Prophet (PBUH) and remained busy in recitation and prayers. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) is one of the bright alumni of this school. The number of learners and residents of Suffah constantly kept changing. Sometimes, as many as 80 persons would live there. Verse 28 in Surat Al-Kahf has been revealed to praise the learners of Suffah which recommends the Prophet to sit with them.
Jannat al-Baqia (Baqi-al-Gharqad)
The cemetery of Medina, Jannat al-Baqia, is located just beside the Prophet’s Masjid. This cemetery is a heavenly abode to a significant number of the Companions and great spiritual personalities i.e. about 10,000. This cemetery holds great personalities including, third caliph Uthman Ghani, all four daughters of the Prophet, the wives of the Prophet, his uncle Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) and many others.
This mountain is located about 4-5 kilometers from Prophet’s Masjid to the north of Medina, and is the mountain that the Prophet (PBUH) expressed his love for, saying, “This mountain loves us and we love it too.” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim) The battle of Uhud took place in the 3rd year of Hijri right in front of this mountain where Rasulullah (PBUH) suffered a wound and 70 of his companions were martyred. All the martyrs were buried there. Fences are now set up around these graves. Within these fences, there rests the Prophet’s Uncle Hamza, with Abdullah ibn Jahash and Mus’ab ibn Umair (may Allah be pleased with them). The Prophet used to visit this to pray for the martyrs.
It is located about four kilometers from the Prophet’s Masjid. This is the first Masjid to be built in Islamic history. When the Prophet migrated from Makkah to Medina, he stayed with the tribe of Banu Auf. During this time, the Prophet laid the foundation of Masjid Quba. Allah (SWT) described this Masjid as ‘a Masjid built out of piety’. It is ranked fourth highest in merit after Masjid Haram, the Masjid of the Prophet and Masjid Al-Aqsa. Rasulullah (PBUH) used to walk or ride to Masjid Quba. Rasulullah (PBUH) gave the news that: “If someone comes out of his house into this Masjid to offer prayer, he will have a reward equal to the reward of an Umrah.”
This Masjid holds the honor of being the first Masjid in Islamic history where the Prophet (PBUH) conducted the Jumaa prayer. It is located near Masjid Quba.
Masjid Al-Fath (Masjid al-Ahzab)
This was originally built on a steep hillock on the west end of Jabal al-Sila’. In the Battle of Trench, when disbelievers collectively attacked Medina, the Prophet (PBUH) prayed to Allah in this masjid, and the Muslims emerged victorious finally. There were also many small mosques in Masjid al- Fathi’s neighborhood. Historically, these were the places where the Companions camped during the Battle of Trench. Umar ibn Abdul Aziz probably ordered to build the mosques there to preserve the history associated with the place and commemorate the bravery and courage of the Companions. This place also came to be known as Masajid Khamsa (the five masjids). Presently, there stands a magnificent Masjid known as Masjid al-Khandaq, and was built by the order of the Saudi Arabian government.
The command to change the direction of prayer came in the middle of Asr Salah. A Companion who had performed prayer with the Prophet (PBUH), thereafter, passed by a group of Ansar performing their Asr prayer facing Bait al- Maqdis. He informed them, while they were in prayer, that Allah reverted Ka’bah as the centre of the prayer. Hearing this, they turned to face Ka’bah while in the middle of their prayer. That is why it is named Masjid Al-Qiblatayn (The masjid with two centres). According to a few other sources, the command to change the direction of the prayer was revealed in this Masjid during Asr-prayer.
Masjid Ubayy ibn Ka’b
This Masjid stands next to Jannat al-Baqi. In this Masjid, Ubayy ibn Ka’b, who was famous for his melodious and soulful recitation of the Holy Qur’an, led the prayers there. Rasulullah (PBUH) used to come for prayers, as well as, to recite to Ubayy ibn Ka’b and to listen to his recitation of the Holy Quran.