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Medina

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Medina

    Second holiest city of Islam, to which Muhammad and early followers emigrated (hijrah) in 622 when persecuted by Meccans, and Muhammad's burial site. Originally known as Yathrib, it changed its name to “City of the Prophet” (madinat al-nabi). Place where Muhammad began to set the course for Islam to develop into a religious and political society; first he regulated the political problems of Medina by gaining assent to the Constitution of Medina, making all inhabitants into a single community. The early caliphs (successors to Muhammad) remained in Medina, making it the capital of the new Islamic empire until 661 . A pilgrimage to Medina is often made in conjunction with the pilgrimage to Mecca in order to visit the tombs and shrines of Muhammad, his family, and the first three caliphs. Enjoyed little political importance in medieval times. Recovered political importance in the nineteenth century with the British occupation of Egypt and channeling of communication from Istanbul to Mecca via Medina. The Turks constructed a telegraph line to Medina and completed the Hejaz Railway through there in 1908 . Medina thus became the chief communication center and chief garrison town of Ottoman Arabia. In the twentieth century, Muhammad's tomb and mosque were made larger and more ornate.

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