A city in Saudi Arabia with 870,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate), situated in Hijaz, in western Saudi Arabia.
The city was originally called Yathrib, but after Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and the Muslim community fled Makkah in 622, Yathrib was chosen as the new headquarter, 330 km north of Makkah. Soon the city was called ‘City of the Prophet’, ‘madūnatu n-nabiyy’. From this place Muhammad (PBUH)’s community grew in strength, size and importance. After 8 years they had grown strong enough to force Makkah to give in.
Muhammad (PBUH) did visit Makkah after this, but he departed from this world in 632 in Yathrib. Muhammad (PBUH) was buried here, and a mosque was built around his grave.
Medina was the capital of the Muslim community until 661, when Damascus became the capital of the Ummawiyys.
Soon after the departure of Muhammad (PBUH), people started coming to Medina, to pay respects at his grave. This tradition has grown in importance, and today all those who has the means, try to visit Medina after doing the hajj in Makkah.