Medina(redirected from Al Madînah)
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Medina, city, Saudi Arabia
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).
Medina, city, United States
(full Arabic name, Medinat-Rasul-Allah), a city in northwestern Saudi Arabia. Situated in an oasis, it is linked by highway with the Red Sea ports of Yanbu and Jidda and with Mecca. Population, about 72,000.
The date of the city’s founding is unknown. It was called Yathrib in ancient times and Medina (from the Arabic madina, “city”) from the early Middle Ages. In 622, Muhammad, the founder of Islam, fled from Mecca to Medina, where he established a Muslim community (umma). Together with Mecca it has been a holy city of Islam since the seventh century. Medina was the capital of the Arabian Caliphate from 632 to 656, and in the tenth century it became a vassal of the dynasties ruling in Egypt. From the time of Egypt’s conquest by the Turks in 1517 until January 1919, it belonged to the Ottoman empire. It was part of the Kingdom of the Hejaz from 1919 to 1924, when it was incorporated into Saudi Arabia (known as the Kingdom of the Hejaz and Nejd until 1932).
Originally, the city had a polygonal, almost round, layout and was enclosed by a stone wall with four gates; two intersecting main streets led to the gates. It was later enlarged and the number of gates increased to eight. In the center is the Great Mosque, built in 656 on the site of Muhammad’s house and subsequently rebuilt many times. The present mosque dates from 1853-54. The houses, built in the 19th and 20th centuries, are traditional buildings of one to three stories.
The principal sources of income are commerce, services for pilgrims, the production of prayer beads and rugs, and the making of special clothing for pilgrims. Fruit, vegetables, and dates are grown. An important industry is the processing of dates, exported through Yanbu.