Medina, anciently Yathrib. Position. The Ditch and Wall. Fertility of its lands. Traditions; and Verses. The Governors of Medina. The Tomb of the Prophet. The Mosque and Colleges. Attempt to carry off bodies of Abū Bakr and `Omar. The Muṣallā. The Cemetery of Baqī` and those buried there. Villages and towns round Medina. Ḥijr and the Thamūd. Khaybarand Fadak. The Tīh, or Desert of the Wanderings. Jerusalem, the Aqṣā Mosque. Position. Story of Isaac, and the promise of God to him. The building of Jerusalem and the Mosque. David and Solomon. Destroyed by Nebuchad- nezzar. Rebuilding in days of Ezra. Cyrus the Persian. Days of Islam: `Omar restores the Qiblah. Frank conquest: restoration under Saladin. The Rock. Hebron and Nazareth

The Sanctuary of the Noble Tomb (of the Prophet, at Medina)—may God ever sanctify it. The Garden (which is the grave) of the Prophet—the blessing of God be upon him and his family—is in the city of Medina, and that city originally was named Yathrib; but the Prophet changed its name to Medina (meaning ‘the City’) as he (in the Tradition) testified saying Verily God called the City (Medina) Ṭābah (the good city). It stands in the Second Clime, its longitude from the Fortunate Isles being 65° 20', and its latitude north of the equator 25°. Some say that this land is of the Tihāmah province, but in the Ṣuwar-al-Aqālīm* it is stated that the Tihāmah is of the kingdom of Yaman, and that both Medina and Mecca are of the Ḥijāz province. Medina stands at the foot of Mount Uhud. On the eastern* side of the town is the `Aqīq river-bed a league and a half distant, in the direction by which the road from Mecca comes up. On the western side lies Mount Sal`, [<Arabic>] while on its northern side is Mount Uhud, this last being two leagues distant and there are no hills nearer than this to Medina. During the War of the Confederates (when the people of Mecca laid siege to Medina) the Prophet, under the advice of Salmān the Persian, caused a ditch to be dug round the city, which same ditch was twenty yards deep; and (at a later date) `Aḍud-ad-Dawlah Fanā Khusraw, the Daylamite prince, built a wall round Medina.

Medina is but a small town, being less than half the size of Mecca, its lands however are far more fruitful, and the climate is very warm. There are running streams here, and it possesses cultivated fields and gardens and date groves, also the dates of the kind called Bardī and `Ajwah are better here than in any other country. The inhabitants are for the most part dark- skinned, and the men have their occupation in commerce.

In honour of Medina many Traditions have been recorded. Among the rest in the Maṣābīḥ it is reported that the Prophet said Verily Abraham sanctified Mecca and made it a Sanctuary, but I have sanctified Medina making a Sanctuary all that lies between (the limits of) its calcined rocks. It is incumbent that no blood shall be shed there, and none shall wear weapons of war, and no place shall be enclosed there, except indeed for forage*. Further the Prophet said At the gates of Medina are angels, so that the plague cannot enter the city, nor Ad-Dajjāl (Antichrist): and again he said He who can compass to die in Medina, let him die there, for verily I will intercede for any who shall die there. And again he said The last place of the places of Islām to come to ruin will be Medina. Faḍl son of `Abbās—may God receive them both* — wrote this line in reference to Medina:

(But weep) for Ṭaybah (a surname of Medina) which God did bless,
By reason (of the coming) of the Seal in the Prophets.

Also Ṣirmah the Anṣārī wrote:

And when (the Prophet) came to us God made manifest his religion,
And forthwith he became in Ṭaybah (Medina) happy and content.

Before the arrival of the Prophet in Medina the city was ruled by governors placed here by the Warden of the Desert, or by the Princes of Yaman: and for the most part the governor was a man either of the Banī Qurayẓah or of the Banī Naḍīr; and one of the Anṣārī wrote the following lines:

We shall still pay (for Medina) the tax, even after the tribute that is paid to Chosroes,
And the tribute to the tribes of Qurayẓah and Naḍīr. [<Arabic>]

Among the peculiarities of Medina is this, that he who goes to and fro therein, his sweat is even as a perfumed odour.

The Noble Garden (Rawḍah-i-Sharīfah) which is the resting place of the Prophet—upon whom be peace—lies, as is well known, in this city, namely in the house of `Āishah, where his death took place. The shrine at the present time is included in the circuit of the Mosque, and lies to the left of the Qiblah (Niche), in the angle to the north-east*, for the Qiblah point in Medina is directed towards the south-east*. The Caliphs Abū Bakr and `Omar are also buried in the same spot. At the date when the Prophet first came to Medina, at the time of his Flight, this spot was unoccupied ground, and the Prophet having bought it built here a Mosque and a house for himself, using burnt bricks and palm beams. This building was enlarged by `Omar, and `Othmān again increased it greatly in area, giving it walls of cut stone, and the roof he made of teak wood. The Caliph Walīd son of `Abd-al-Malik further extended the size of these buildings, and the Abbasid Caliph Mahdī made them more spacious still, as also did Ma’mūn in his turn, and as he left them so they now remain. The length of the Mosque is 14 ells and its breadth is 12 ells*. All round stand many Colleges and Hostelries, also numberless fine buildings. Among the rest is a college and bath erected in the present time by the Amīr Chūpān*, for formerly there had been no bath-house in Medina. All round the Mosque lie the houses of the inhabitants, and these are very numerous. In praise of this Mosque it is reported in the Maṣābīḥ that the Prophet said What lies between my house and my pulpit is a garden of the gardens of Paradise, and there is a pulpit beside a tank.

In the book called Istiẓhār-al-Akhbār written by the Qāḍī Aḥmad of Dāmghān, and in the Majma`-Arbāb-al-Maslik* by Qāḍī Rukn-ad-Dīn Juvaynī it is reported that Ḥākim, who was the sixth of the Fatimite Caliphs of Egypt, seduced one of the Alids who were living at Medina, and persuaded him to dig by night a tunnel from his house to a place below the Tomb of the Prophet. Now this was done in order that the bodies of the Caliphs Abū Bakr and `Omar [<Arabic>] might be carried away from this holy Tomb, and then that they might do (any evil thing) with them, as they thought fit. But in the days when this work was going on, a whirlwind with thunderbolts and a mighty darkness fell on Medina, whereby people repenting of their sins were much afeared, and fled for succour to the Sanctuary of the Prophet. But the condition of terror did not cease until that certain Alid had (in great alarm) made a confession of his story, whereupon the governor of Medina seized on those who were digging the tunnel and brought them to justice. Then on that same day, the storm abated. All this happened in the year 411 (1020), and verily it was a miracle divinely vouchsafed in favour of Abū Bakr and `Omar near four centuries after their deaths; further the Caliph Ḥākim did not survive the completion of the year in which this attempt had been made.

The Muṣallā (Praying Station) of the Prophet where, on festivals and great days, he was wont to preach the sermon, lies on the west side of Medina, and within the city limits. The Cemetery of Medina, called Baqī`, lies to the westward of the town, and here is seen the grave of Ibrāhīm the Prophet’s (only) son, also the graves of his daughters. The Caliph `Othmān also was buried here, and the Commander of the Faithful Ḥasan, and `Abbās uncle of the Prophet, also the Imāms Zayn-al-`Ābidīn and Muḥammad Bāqir, and Ja`far Ṣādiq—the blessing of God be upon them one and all. The greater number of the glorious Companions of the Prophet—may God accept them—lie at rest here: as for instance As`ad ibn Zurārah*, who was the first of them to die, his death taking place in the very year of the Flight, when the Prophet came to Medina. Here also lies Sahl ibn Sa`d Sā`idī the last of the Companions to die, he having passed away in the year 91 (710). Further of the Followers of the Companions many too lie here sepulchred, as likewise of the celebrated Imāms and learned men, such as the Imām Mālik ibn Anas al-Aṣbaḥī, and Nāfi` the first of the Seven Readers of the Qurān; while the tombs of the Caliph `Othmān and of Mālik lie between the Baqī` Cemetery and the Jewish graveyard, which last is the House of Perdition.

The well called Arīs, where the Caliph `Othmān dropped the ring of the Prophet from off his finger, and there lost it, lies near the palmgrove of Qubā which is two miles from Medina towards the Qiblah point (south), and at Qubā are seen a number of the houses of the Anṣārs forming as might be a village apart. All round Medina there are many important villages that are as large as country towns, and these are famous, though most are now in ruins. Thus there is Khaybar lying 27 leagues from Medina, which is a very large village with seven castles belonging to it, and near one of these was the house of Ziyād*. Then there are the villages of Wādī-al-Qurā two leagues distant, and these occupy ground more spacious than [<Arabic>] Ṭāif (near Mecca). The village of Ḥijr is of the dependencies of Wādī-al-Qurā, being one day’s march distant therefrom. This was the abode of the people of Thamūd: of whom God Almighty has said in the Qurān (ch. LXXXIX. v. 8) Also Thamūd who hewed out the rocks in the valley; for here in the mountain side they dug out caves for habitations, as farther He has said (Qurān, ch. XXVI. v. 149) And, insolent that ye are, will ye hew out your dwellings in the mountains? In this place was the well where the dispute took place between the (men of Thamūd) concerning the she-camel of the prophet Ṣāliḥ, and whether or not she should be allowed to get to the watering-place, even as God Almighty, referring to the matter (in the Qurān, ch. XXVI. v. 155), has said For her (the she- camel) drink shall there be, and drink shall there be for you, on a several day for each.

Further there is the fort of Yanbu` which was given in mort- main to the Commander of the Faithful `Alī, and his sons after him, to hold for their use. Also the village of Fadak, which when the Prophet came into possession of the same by conquest, was decreed to be of his own private property; hence after his death the Commander of the Faithful `Alī, and (the Prophet’s daughter) Fāṭimah, sought to take Fadak for their possession by right of heritage, but `Omar forbade them to hold or take the same to their own use, asserting that prophets had no heirs, even as Muḥammad had himself affirmed when he said, as the Tradition reported, We of the company of Prophets, none is our heir, and the inheritance that we leave shall be for alms.

Then there is the village of Samīrah 30 leagues distant from Medina, with the Castle of Fayd in the Ṭayy country, of which `Āishah asserted that the Prophet had assigned it to her for her dowry, and which the Commander of the Faithful `Alī was never able to get into his possession (in spite of his being by right heir of the Prophet). Lastly there are the following* together with many others which are villages near Medina: `Arabiyyah, Waḥīdah, Namirah, Ḥadīqah, `Ādī, Khaḍirah, Sāirah, Raḥbah, Sayālah, Sāyah, Ruhāṭ, Ghurāb, Akḥal and Ḥamiyah.

The village of Jār is the port of the people of Medina, and it lies three marches distant from the city. The Mountain of Raḍwā, from which their millstones are brought, is also three marches distant from Medina on the high-road towards the Banī Ṭayy country. The village of Abwā, where the mother of the Prophet lies buried, stands on the Mecca road at a distance of 44 leagues from Medina; and two leagues further in the direction of Mecca is the halting-place of Juḥfah which (as already said) is the Mīqāt (where the Pilgrims don the Pilgrim dress). The Tīh (which is the Desert of the Wanderings) of Moses—peace be on him—lies along the road into Syria and Egypt from Medina. This accord- ing to the Ṣuwar-al-Aqālīm is a country measuring 40 leagues square, but other authorities give its dimensions as less than this.

[<Arabic>] The Farther Mosque (Masjid-i-Aqṣā). This Mosque stands in the city of Jerusalem, which city the Arabs call Bayt- al-Muqaddas (the Holy House) and the Jews Ælia; being of the province of Syria, and of the country of Palestine lying in the Third Clime. Its longitude from the Fortunate Isles is 56° 30', and its latitude north of the equator is 31° 50'. It stands on a height and from all sides you have to go up to it. In the Kitāb- al-Ma`ārif, Ibn Qutaybah, quoting the words of Wahb ibn Mu- nabbih, relates how it came to pass that Isaac commanded his son Jacob that he should take to wife the daughters of his uncle Laban the son of Nahor. Jacob therefore set out purposing to go to the house of his uncle, and he rested on the way at the stage which was Jerusalem. In the night he saw in his sleep a door open in the heavens above him, with warders there beside, and angels descending therefrom and ascending thereto. Then God Almighty made a revelation to him and spoke saying Verily I am the Lord, there is no God but me, I who am thy God and the God of thy fathers. Verily this Blessed Land thou shalt inherit, and thy children after thee, for I have blessed thee and them also, and I have given thee the Book and Wisdom and Prophecy, for I am with thee, and I will guard thee; until I have brought thee back to this same place, which I have established as a House, in which thou and thy children shall worship me, and that same is Bayt-al-Muqaddas (the Holy House). For this reason the place was named Quds (Holy), and Jacob, after his marriage in the land of Canaan, came and settled here, for Canaan is but three leagues distant therefrom.

The Children of Israel after his days built in this spot the city of Jerusalem, and this was made their capital. When the time came to the days of David, God Almighty gave him the vice- gerency, even as is said in the words of the Qurān (ch. XXXVIII. v. 25) O David verily we have made thee our vicegerent upon earth; judge therefore between men with truth. He therefore had his abode in Bayt-al-Muqaddas (which is Jerusalem), and laid the foundations of the Aqṣā Mosque, which same after his day his son Solomon brought to completion. It is commonly said that, from the date of its completion to this present day (in A.H. 730 which is A.D. 1330) 2583 years have passed. Further they relate that Solomon on a certain day went to view the building of the Mosque, and there as he was leaning on his staff Azrail (the Angel of Death) by command of the Lord Almighty took posses- sion of his soul. So (being dead) he stood there, quite still, lean- ing on his staff while a whole year passed, and the building of the walls of the Mosque reached completion. Meanwhile an ant [<Arabic>] had eaten through the wood of the staff, which forthwith broke, so that he fell down, and the news of his death was spread abroad.

In a later day Nebuchadnezzar, in wrath against the prophet John (the Baptist)* laid the city of Jerusalem in ruins, laying waste that Mosque also. Then it came about that the prophet Ezra passed by that place and found it all a ruin, and the matter lay heavy on his heart. Therefore he cried aloud, saying, ‘O God, thou who art all mighty, do Thou quickly restore to habitable- ness this Mosque and City.’ Then God Almighty gave command (concerning Ezra) that his soul should be taken from him, and that he should sleep for one hundred years, until the time when there should arise a king of the Kings of the Persians, whom the Israelites call Kūshak (Cyrus), and the Persians name Gūdarz the Ashghāniyān, and he it was who brought the city back to its former state of habitation. Then Ezra came back to life again, and became the guide (of the Children of Israel) to show them the way to revive the religion of Moses. Now the Tawrāt (the Books of the Law), which the Prophet Isaiah had written, and had hidden under the foot of one of the columns of the Mosque at Jerusalem, no one knowing which of the columns it was, this same being now discovered they were brought forth, thus giving testi- mony as to the truth of the religion of Ezra. So the Children of Israel accepted in all points his teaching, and they made all progress in the ceremonies of their religion, and in the perfecting of the building of that Mosque.

Then afterwards in the days of Islam, the Caliph `Omar re- stored the Qiblah of this Mosque to its true direction, and its Miḥrāb (Niche) was made to face the Ka`bah as of right. In later times the Omayyad and the Abbasid Caliphs, and the Sultans who governed in turn this land, elaborated and added greatly to these buildings, till (Jerusalem) became a paragon beyond all com- pare and reached such perfection that, according to the histories of Syria and Maghrib, except for the Two Sacred Cities, there was no building greater than (the Aqṣā Mosque) in this quarter of the habitable world. But in the year 490 of the Hijrah (A.D. 1097) the Franks wrenched this kingdom from the grasp of the Moslems, and they laid in ruin the Oratories of Islam, which same remained thus ravaged during ninety and five years, until in the year 585 (1189) the Ayyubid (Sultan Saladin) by the grace of God brought the land back into the path of Islam, and re-established the customs of the Moslems. Then over the gate of (the Aqṣā Mosque) they wrote (the words from the Qurān, ch. XXI. v. 105) where God Al- mighty says And now, since the Law was given, have we written in the Psalms that my servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth.

Also in this Mosque is the Rock from which the Prophet, on the Night of his Journey into Heaven, made his ascent. Now this same stone, to conform itself to the convenience of the Prophet, raised one side of itself up to a height of ten ells from [<Arabic>] the ground; and when the Prophet commanded it to stay still, it halted, remaining thus half rising up, where to this day it may be seen, and it is a holy place of visitation that is held in much vene ration. Further of all the famous prophets who ever were here (in Jerusalem), there is for each one an oratory, but the oratory of David is the most venerated of them all, both by reason of its fine building, and by reason of its superior sanctity.

Ibn Khurdādbih records that the Station of Abraham, the Friend of God (at Hebron), lies at a distance of thirteen miles, which amounts to four leagues and a mile, from the Aqṣā Mosque, and at the present day this is a small town the circuit of which measures 3000 paces. Further in the book of the Ṣuwar-al-Aqālīm it is stated that two leagues* from Jerusalem lies a village which is called Nazareth the Illustrious (or of Galilee), which same is the birthplace of Jesus, and it is for this cause that the Christians go by the name of the Nazarenes, but God alone is all knowing in these matters.