500px-Masjid_al-Nabawi_Medina_SaudiThe burial place of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, it is the second holiest city in Islam after Mecca, a very sacred place. Medina is critically significant in Islamic History as Muhammad’s final religious base after the Hijrah and the location of his death in 632 AD/11 AH. Medina was the power base of Islam in its first century, being where the early Muslim community (ummah) developed, first under Muhammad’s leadership and then under the first four caliphs of Islam: Abu Bakr, `Omar, `Othman and `Ali.

Medina is reportedly home to the three oldest mosques in Islam which were built in the days of Muhammad, namely Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (The Prophet’s Mosque), Quba Masjid (the first mosque in Islam’s history), and Masjid al-Qiblatain (The Mosque of the Two Qiblahs – the mosque where the direction of Muslim prayer, or qiblah, was switched from Jerusalem to Mecca).

Similarly to Mecca, entrance to the sacred core of Medina (but not the entire city) is restricted to Muslims only; non-Muslims are not permitted to enter nor are they allowed to cross through the city center.

Muslims believe that the final chapters (surahs) of the Qur’an chronologically were revealed to the Prophet in Medina and are called Medinan surahs in contrast to earlier Meccan surahs.