Things to Do in Medina
Thick with religion and history, Media invites many visitors and pilgrims to explore its heritage. If you’re heading here to see some of its most popular sites, here are things to do in Medina Saudi Arabia that other travelers recommend.
The Quba Mosque
The Quba mosque is one of the three historically important mosques left in Madinah. It is the site of the oldest mosque in Islam, having been founded by Muhammad upon his flight from Mecca to Madinah. Nevertheless, the current structure is not of particular historical interest, as it was constructed after the original mosque was torn down (it could not, evidently be incorporated into the new structure). The new mosque is spacious with a sort of cramped forward area and spacious back area, often used for pilgrims who are reading the Quran or napping.
Masjid Al-Qiblatayn’s uniqueness is famous amongst mosques. All mosques contain what is known as a qibla, an architectural feature that points the faithful in the direction of Mecca, the direction of prayer. In the early era of Islam, however, the qibla pointed to Jerusalem, as this was the direction in which Muhammad instructed his followers to devote their prayers. After a revelation from Allah (and a dispute with the local Jewish community), followers were instructed to direct their prayers south to Mecca and the Kaaba, the black stone that is supposed to have served as the altar for Abraham when God told him to sacrifice Isaac. Mosques had to change their qiblas, andthis shrine in Madinah is the only remaining structure in which two of these features are still present. Architecturally, this mosque is not particularly impressive or notable, and it follows a very austere pattern. Nevertheless, as a 1400 year old mosque, it is certainly one of the few remaining structures of historical interest left in the city.
The Prophet’s Mosque
The interior of the Prophet’s Mosque is remarkable, first and foremost, for it’s sheer crush of humanity. The crowds are noticeable, but not claustrophobia-inducing in the main hallways of the men’s section of the prayer hall. The crowd becomes exponentially denser as you proceed into the Riyad al-Jannah, the part of the mosque between Ar-Rawdah and the Minbar or pulpit. Tradition has it that any prayer uttered in this area cannot be refused. The crush continues past Ar-Rawdah, which is the central part of the mosque in which Muhammad is buried. Despite Wahhabi issues with photography and modernity in general, the number of people means that it is nearly impossible for the guards to prohibit pilgrims from snapping pictures.
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