The Prophet said, “I have made Medina a sanctuary between its two (Harrat) mountains.”’ – Sahih al-Bukhari
Sitting proudly in the western landscapes of Saudi Arabia, Al’Madinah, on the outskirts of dormant volcanic lava fields, is the second-holiest city in Islam. Each year, thousands of pilgrims visit the city as part of the annual Haj to the holy city of Makkah, and this year, 383,000 visited the ancient destination during the pilgrimage. The city itself is beautiful and boasts a diverse landscape, carpeted in date farms and with coastal plains, volcanic plateaus, mountains and valleys. The city is intrinsically linked with the life of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and witnessed first-hand the birth of Islam. Because of its beauty and significance, a magnificent new travel book showing the city through a luxurious new lens has been released.
Releases by global travel publishing giant Assouline, Al’Madinah: The City of the Prophet showcases the city in a way never seen before. The mammoth coffee table book takes readers on a tour of Madinah’s greatest landmarks, both in its past and presence, and familiarises readers with its cultural identity and place in Islam. The ode to one of Saudi Arabia’s greatest cities is carefully written and explained by Dr Tunaideb Al-Faidi – a well-known historian and author specialising in Al’Madinah’s history – and accompanied by Ameen Qaisaran’s evocative original photography.
Historically known as Yathrib, Madina was first established in the 6th century BC and became the first Islamic capital and an important place of revelation for the Prophet. He immigrated to the city in 622 AS and built the holy sites of Al-Masjid and Nabawi. While steeped in Islamic history, Yathrib was always an important city, a key trading spot with unique and fertile lands of mountains, oases, and gold, silver and copper mines.
In the glossy new Assouline homage, readers will be able to explore the city’s iconic Green Dome, Al-Masjid an-Nabawi and the Prophet’s Mosque, exploring its significance, historical importance, meaning and legendary tales.
‘With openness and acceptance, it has cemented its place in history as the cradle of the final message of peace and unity delivered more than 1,400 years ago by Prophet Muhammed, the last messenger,’ reads the opening page.
Outside of Haj, Madinah is also a popular city with visitors, attracting over 1 million a year. They come to explore its culture and sights and feel closer to the Prophet Muhammed, as his former home, the place he spent his final days and his final resting place. Madinah is rich in Islamic heritage, and its sights include the Quba Mosque and the Jannat-al-Baqi gardens. Madinah is also just a 3.5-hour drive from the ancient desert kingdom turned cultural and hospitality hub, AlUla.
‘Nowadays is home to the curious and the faithful, as it is the final resting place of the Chosen One, Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, a location the city’s inhabitants call Taybat Al-Tayyiba, derived from the Arabic word “Taba”, which roughly translates to goodness – the city of goodness and purity.’
While the Prophet’s sanctuary is open to Muslims only, the rest of the city of Madinah welcomes Muslims and non-Muslims, inviting them to explore its heritage and history and enjoy its cultural sights, gardens and entertainment destinations.
Assouline’s Al’Madinah: The City of the Prophet is authored by Dr Tunaideb Al-Faidi, a well-known historian and writer who specialises in the history of Al’Madinah and the Prophet Muhammed, and is available from Assouline.com for about AED4,750.