Medina is the second-most important city in Islam and a major pilgrimage destination. “Medina” means the “City of the Prophet,” is in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia.
It was to Medina city that Muhammad fled when he was initially driven out of Mecca, and the place where he attracted his first followers. Medina currently has a population of about 600,000 people and is the home of “The Prophet’s Mosque.”
The long form of the Arabic name for Medina (Madinat Rasul Allah) means “City of the Prophet of Allah”, while the short form (al-Madina) just means “the City”. Muslims always add salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam (“peace be upon him”) after mentioning the Prophet Muhammad, so the full form of the name is commonly given as “Madinat Rasul Allah salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”
Medina is the second holy city of Islam, after Mecca. Its importance as a religious site derives from the presence there of the Masjid al Nabawi, the Mosque of the Prophet, which was built on the site of Muhammad’s home and is where he is buried. The first mosque of Islam is also located in Medinah and is known as Masjid al-Quba, the Quba Mosque
Why go to Mecca
Once a year Muslims from all over the world make a pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. This sacred act is called Hajj. Every Muslim is expected to make the journey at least once in their lifetime if they are able.
During Hajj social status is forgotten, and all pilgrims are expected to wear the same simple white clothing and perform the same acts of worship.
One of these acts of worship is particularly astonishing: thousands of people swirl counter-clockwise, seven times, around the most famous shrine in the Muslim world – the Kaaba.