Mecca and Medina

Mecca and Medina : The History of Islam's Holiest Cities

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*Includes pictures *Includes a history of the region and religion before Islam *Includes footnotes and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "There is no doubt in the sanctity of Mecca, but a donkey won't become a Hajj pilgrim by just going through the motions." - Rahman Baba "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." - Sahih Bukhari - Book 30: Hadith 110 The reason for the existence of most of the world's cities is obvious to the student of geography. New York and Shanghai control deep ports and straddle great rivers bringing trade from the interior; Paris and London are at the crossing points of major cross-country rivers; Johannesburg sits atop a great mountain of gold ore; and Moscow and Madrid are at the heart of their great nations, easily able to control even the more distant corners of the land. Mecca is quite different, as the city exists solely because it is holy. Even centuries before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, the leaders of Mecca established that their city was the pre-eminent holy site in western Arabia and established a truce for pilgrims to the city. In the process, one effect of this was that Mecca became a center for might today be described as tourism, as even ancient visitors needed places for food, water, and sleep. At the same time, they could make offerings in the temples and leave with mementos of their time in Mecca. Many also found it convenient to bring their trade goods to the markets of Mecca, where they could find visitors bringing interesting wares from across the region, and the city also enjoyed the status of a trade center. Of course, Mecca is now best known for being Islam's holiest city, revered as the birthplace of Muhammad and the site where Allah first revealed the Qu'ran to him. Within Mecca is the Ka'aba, a building housed within the Al-Masjid al-Haram (Great Mosque) that is considered the holiest site, and wherever they are in the world, Muslims face in the direction of the Ka'aba while praying. A pilgrimage to Mecca is considered a necessity for devout Muslims at some point in their lives, and the city itself is off limits to non-Muslims. Indeed, Mecca is so integral to Islam that the name of the city has entered the English lexicon and is a commonplace reference to any area closely associated with something (such as Paris often being called the mecca of fashion). Mecca has always been central to the faith, but it has had a somewhat turbulent geopolitical history, both because of conflicts within Islam and among neighboring nations in the Middle East. As a result, its history is often overlooked, even as most people are quite familiar with the city. Even centuries before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Jews settled in the area that became Medina to escape persecution at the hands of the Babylonians and Romans, meaning the area and its arid environment brought inhabitants precisely because it wasn't an attractive or resource rich area. In fact, the city fated to become the second holiest city in Islam earned that spot simply by straddling trade routes to the religious city of Mecca, which brought traders and pilgrims in large enough numbers to make it a trade center. While Mecca was Muhammad's birthplace, the Prophet spent a great deal of time in Medina, especially when he and his supporters found themselves in conflict with the Meccans. Using Medina as a base, Muhammad eventually took Mecca, and both cities became integral parts of the Caliphate that followed. This meant that even as history brought geopolitical changes, Medina remained a city of religious significance for all Muslims. Mecca and Medina: The History of Islam's Holiest Cities traces the history of the second most important cities in Islam.show more

Product details

  • Paperback
  • 152 x 224 x 8mm | 120g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508748403
  • 9781508748403