Mecca and Medina: Two Most Visited Places in Saudi Arabia

the Masjid of Muhammed, the prophet of Islam - image via wikimedia commons by Noumenon
the Masjid of Muhammed, the prophet of Islam - image via wikimedia commons by Noumenon

Medina The City of Light

During Ramadan and Hajj, Mecca and Medina have become the most busiest cities in the Kingdom. Millions of our Muslim brothers and sisters from around the world crowd these Holy Places. According to its geographical history, Medina lies in the middle of an upland alluvial basin at an altitude of approximately of 2,100 feet, bounded to the south by the northernmost reaches of the Harrat Rabat's basaltic lavas and to the north by igneous intrusive mountainous outcrops.

Medina is known as the "City of Light" has the historical distinction of having provided asylum to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his early followers, when he had to flee from his opponents in Mecca - the event was known the "Hejira" that took place in 622 A.D., which represents the first year of the Muslim calendar. Medina, as seen from a distance while landing at the airport or from the roads through defiles in the mountains circling it, is dominated by the lofty minarets and cupolas of the Prophet's Mosque. Surrounding the city are green orchards and palm groves are fed by abundant, deliciously fresh groundwater. The most famous products of these gardens are dates of excellent quality and sugar-sweet grapes.

Medina is the home of one of the most renowned institutions of higher religious learning, the Islamic University, which its three colleges: Basic Religion, Missions and Sharia - the religious law of Islam as developed out of the teachings and example of the Prophet. Students of many different nationalities crowd this University. The University was established with truly international scope, to give Arabic-speaking students from all over the Muslim world the chance to widen their horizons of religious knowledge about Islam.

Mecca for farewell circumambulation of Kaaba by Omar Chatriwala of Al Jazeera English - image via wikimedia commons.
Mecca for farewell circumambulation of Kaaba by Omar Chatriwala of Al Jazeera English - image via wikimedia commons.

Mecca The Blessed

Mecca is lying in a long irregular hollow among naked hills at an altitude of about 2,000 feet. Mecca is the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the site of the most venerated Islamic shrine, the focus of the Pilgrimage and the place toward which all Muslims turn when at prayer.

Even before the times of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Mecca was a holy city and the goal of pilgrimages. When a polytheistic and pagan religion was followed, each group of believers had their favorite idols in addition to the widespread cult of the Sun and the Moon deities. However, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has shattered all the false gods but preserving the Kaaba with its Black Stone because of its significance in the relationship between Man and God.

The early history of Mecca recorded that the Black Stone which was once protruding from one of the corners of the Kaaba in a silver brace, has been only once removed from its original place. This was when the Qarmata or Carmathians - a fanatic and violent sect of Ismaili Shiites from Eastern Arabia, took control of large parts of the Peninsula and captured Mecca in 930, carrying off the sacred Black Stone to Bahrain island. And it was restored to the original place in 951 by Fatimid Caliph al-Mansur but had been broken into four pieces.

Today Mecca is a modern city with life, the object of renewed efforts to maintain its historical and spiritual role without overlooking the welfare of its inhabitants. The city is undergoing extensive public works while respecting the sanctity of the area. During the seasons of Ramadan and Hajj, Mecca is crowded with millions of devotees coming from around the world. This year 2012, Ramadan started on July 20 to August 18, 2012.

My Source of facts and other information: Colours of The Arab Fatherland published by Angelo Pesce - an Italian writer and was published in 1975.

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