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THE SUPERIORITY OF AL-MADINAH

Praise be to Allāh, the Creator of the Universe. Peace and blessings, upon
the liegelord of all messengers, the seal of prophets, our master Muhammad
s; and upon his descendants and his Companions.
qur’an
Allāh u himself affirmed the superiority of the Prophet’s s mosque in the Qur’an,ِِ

يهَن تَُق َوم فحُّق أَّوِل يَ ْوٍم أ ْن أَ َّ ى الت ْقَوى مس َس َ علُْس ِجٌد أل

“A Mosque that was founded on taqwā from the first day is better for
you to stand in.”

When the Prophet s was once asked which mosque the Qur’ān was referring to in
this verse, he replied ‘My mosque’.1
The scholars have suggested it could also be Qubā’ Mosque, but like Ibn Ḥajar
(d. 852) explains,

“Both mosques are built on taqwā from the very first day. Hāfiz Ibn
Kathīr (d. 774) indicates this when he said, ‘If Qubā’ Mosque finds its
foundation on taqwā from its onset, then the mosque of Allāh’s Messenger
certainly shall too.’”
ḥadīth 1

1 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim.
In an authentic saying narrated by Abū Hurayra and recorded by Muslim (d. 261)
in his Ṣaḥīḥ, the Prophet s said,
“One prayer in this mosque2
is better than a thousand prayers in any
other mosque, except for al-Masjid al-Ḥarām3
.”4
Al-Nawawī (d. 676) reminds us that the ḥadīth states that one ṣalāh is better than
a thousand prayers elsewhere, not equal to.

It is mentioned in the Iḥyā’ (1:243) in which al-Ghazzālī (d. 505) said, “Deeds
in al-Madīna are multiplied; the Prophet s said: ‘A prayer in this, my mosque, is
better than a thousand prayers in any other mosque.’ Then he said, ‘Likewise,
every deed in al-Madīna is multiplied by a thousand.’”

Al-Ghazzālī’s ruling that all deeds are multiplied was reiterated by al-Ṣālihī in
his Faḍā’il al-Madīna (pg. 120) and al-Zabīdī in Itḥāf al-Sādat al-Muttaqīn (4:285),
his massive commentary on the Iḥyā’.5
ḥadīth 2

Abū Hurayra reports from the Prophet s that he said,
“Travel is not undertaken except for the sake of three mosques; al-Masjid
al-Ḥarām, the Mosque of the Messenger s and al-Aqṣā Mosque.”
ḥadīth 3

In a famous saying recorded by both Muslim and al-Bukhārī (d. 256), the Prophet
s said,
“What is between my house and my minbar (“pulpit”) is a garden from
among the gardens of paradise.”

‘My house’ refers to the blessed rawḍa of the Prophet Muhammad s as it is today;
at the time it was the room of Lady ʿĀ’isha. Today the entire area is clearly marked
with a different (lighter) carpet and pillars.
2 al-Masjid al-Nabawī, the Prophet’s s Mosque in Madīna al-Munawwara.
3 al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (“The Sacred Mosque”), in Makka al-Mukarrama.
4 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim.
5 Access at: https://www.livingislam.org/k/vm_e.html.

Al-Nawawī states that there are two opinions regarding this ḥadīth. One is that
this place itself will be transferred to paradise. Though the entire world is nothing
compared to the hereafter, Allāh u deemed it valuable and worthwhile to transfer
this place to the next life. The second opinion is that performing worship here
leads to paradise.

Why is this place special? It is because of the prolonged period the Prophet s
spent in this particular area. On the same analogy, we respect and visit Cave Hira
(where the Prophet s would seclude himself) and the birthplace of the Prophet s
in Makka.
ḥadīth 4

Anas b. Mālik reports from the Prophet s, who said,
“Whosoever performs forty prayers in my mosque without missing any,
then he will be decreed as free from the Fire, saved from the punishment
and immune from hypocrisy.”
ḥadīth 5

Abū Hurayra reports that the Messenger of Allāh s said,
“When one of you leaves from his house for my Mosque, every step
equates to one virtue (ḥasana) and every step removes one sin (sayyi’a).”
ḥadīth 6

The city is often referred to as al-Madīna al-Munawwara, or the Enlightened City.
The reason for this is the ḥadīth of Anas b. Mālik, who said,
“The very day the Messenger of Allāh s entered al-Madīna, every single
thing therein became enlightened.”
ḥadīth 7

Abū Hurayra reports that the Messenger of Allāh s said,
“This minbar of mine is on a gate (tur‘a) from the gates of Paradise.”
ḥadīth 8

Abū Hurayra reports that the Messenger of Allāh s said,
“Verily, faith returns to al-Madīna similar to how a snake returns to its
hole.”
ḥadīth 9

The Messenger of Allāh s would supplicate thus,
“O Allāh! Make al-Madīna beloved to us just like you have made Makka
beloved to us…”
ḥadīth 10
Abū Bakra reports from the Prophet s who said,
“The Dajjāl (“antichrist”) will not enter al-Madīna. On that day, there
will be two angels guarding the seven gates to the city.”
ḥadīth 11

The Prophet s warned,
“Whosoever intends evil upon the inhabitants of al-Madīna, Allāh u
will dissolve them similar to how salt dissolves in water.”
ḥadīth 12

Jābir b. Samura said, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allāh s say,
“Indeed Allāh Almighty has named al-Madīna, Ṭāba.”
Al-Nawawī writes in the commentary of this ḥadīth,
Ṭāba and Ṭayba comes from Ṭiyb which means a beautiful fragrance. AlṬāb and al-Ṭayyib are two readings. It is also said it comes from Ṭayyib,
meaning clean/purified. Al-Madīna is so called because it is clean/
purified from shirk (“polytheism”).
ḥadīth 13

Al-Barrā b. ʿĀzib reports in a marfū’ ḥadīth that,
“Whosoever refers to al-Madīna as Yathrib should seek forgiveness from
Allāh; it is Ṭāba, it is Ṭāba.”
ḥadīth 14

Even the people related to the city were given superiority by the Prophet s. Abū
Hurayra reports that the Messenger of Allāh s said,
“Soon people will embark on camels [in travel]. But they will not find a
scholar more learned than the scholar of al-Madīna.”
Al-Tirmidhī (d. 279) is of the opinion that this is referring to Imām Mālik (d.
179), who lived in al-Madīna. He was a great beloved of the Messenger s and his
sayings and actions reflected this fact; he was also the founder of the Mālikī School
of law. Once, he decreed the lashing of anyone thirty times who dared criticise
even the soil of al-Madīna.
ḥadīth 15

There is cure in al-Madīna, even in its soil. Lady Ā’isha reports,
“When any person fell ill with a disease or he had any ailment or he had
any injury, the Messenger of Allāh s would place his forefinger upon the
ground and would then lift it, and having recited the basmala, ‘The dust
of our ground with the spittle of any one of us, would serve as a means of
cure of illness, with the permission of Allāh u.’”
Al-Nawawī writes that it is said this is specific to the land of al-Madīna only.
ḥadīth 16

In short, al-Madīna is a beautiful place to not just live in, but it is also a perfect
place to die in. The Messenger of Allah s said,
“Whoever among you can die in Madīna, let him do so, for I will intercede
for those who die therein.”6
ḥadīth 17ʿ

Abdullah b. ʿUmar narrates that the Messenger of Allah s said,
“Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him.”7
This is just a small selection of tradition on the virtues of al-Madīna and the
Prophet’s s Mosque. The great scholars like al-Bukhārī have included separate
chapters on the city in their respective collections.
Ḥafiz Ather Ḥussain al-Azharī
6
Al-Tirmidhī, Aḥmad and others.
7
Al-Dāraquṭnī in his Sunan; Abu Dāwūd al-Ṭayālisī, Musnad; al-Dūlābī, al-Kunā wa al-Asmā’; alKhatīb, Talkhīs al-Mutashābih fī al-Rasm.

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