Medina is the city of the Prophet Muhammad. Highly venerated by the global Muslims, it earns greater attention, specially during the Haj. The Prophet was born in Mecca but he chose to migrate to Medina after he faced religious persecution at the hands of the Meccan pagans. Medina, also known as Medina Shareef, has great significance and sanctity in cultural Islamic heritage. After the completion of the manasik-e-haj (rituals of Haj), it is highly recommended to perform ziyarat (visitation) of the magnificent Islamic heritage in Medina, most notably the shrine of the holy Prophet, the mosque of the Prophet (Al-Masjid an-Nabawi) and Jannat ul-Baqee Ś the graveyard of the Prophetĺs companions and many other spiritual masters.
Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, or the mosque of the Prophet, is the second holiest site in Islam after the Kaaba (the Qibla which Muslims around the world face during their prayers). Medina is also the scared city where Masjid-e-Quba, the first mosque in the Islamic history, is situated. Notably, the first seminary of Sufism or Islamic mysticism ôDar ul-Suffaö is also located in Medina attached with the Masjid ul-Nabi. The mystically inclined companions of the Prophet began to engage in the formal learning of Sufism in Dar ul-Suffa.
The story of the construction of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is truly moving. As the Prophet and his companions were migrants from Mecca, they were called ômuhajirinö. And the local inhabitants of Medina who welcomed the muhajirin and greatly helped them were known as ansar (the helpers). The ansar belonged to the two main tribes of Medina, the Banu Khazraj and the Banu Aus, who had an age-old rivalry. But the Prophet established brotherhood (muwakhat) and mutual sympathy (muwasat) between the two adversary tribes. These were the prophetic ideals which ushered in an era of spiritual bond between the two different tribes in MedinaŚ both helping each other out, in every way possible.
Inevitably, the inhabitants of Medina (ansar or the helpers) were vying with each other to assist the muhajirin hosting them in their homes and providing for their financial and materials necessities. The ansar happily offered an equal share of their property, wealth, and gardens to the muhajirin brothers and sisters. Remarkably, both the ansar and muhajirin took active part in the construction of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in particular and the entire city of Medina. This bond of brotherhood among the two different tribes was inspired by the Prophetĺs spiritual training and instructions like: ôAct together in your daily efforts and then share the fruits of your labour among yourselves.ö
While the ansar and muhajirin were labouring hard in the construction of the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the Prophet invoked Allah: ôO God! Help the ansar and the muhajirin in strengthening a strong relationship between them.ö The Prophet built the brotherly ties not only between the ansar and muhajirin, but also among the different religious tribes of Medina. Consequently, the ansar and muhajirin were strengthened by a third group Ś the Jews of Medina. The Prophet, thus, built a cohesive society in Medina where Muslims and Jews peacefully coexisted and shared their joy and grief. They professed and practised different faiths and were given citizenship status. There was such an amicable relationship between Muslims and Jews that if anyone harmed a Jew, the first aid came from the Muslims Ś both ansar and muhajirin. This is how a harmonious, affectionate and cohesive society was built in the city of the Prophet Ś Medina.