SAHL IBN ḤANÎF reported that Allah’s Messenger pointed towards Madinah and said, “That is a sacred territory and a place of safety.” (Muslim)
Abû Bakr narrated that the Prophet said, “Madinah will not be affected by the terror caused by Al-Masîḥ Al-Dajjâl (the False Christ). By then, the [city of] Madinah will have seven gates, and there will be two angels at each gate, guarding them.” (Bukhâri)
Located on the western coast of the Arabian Peninsula, in the region known as Hijaz, about 90 miles east of the Red Sea shores, and 290 miles north of Makkah, Madinah, the city of the Prophet Muhammad, has a very dear place in the heart of every Muslim. Al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, Al-Barrah, Al-Jâberah, and Ṭaiyybah, are just a few of the 100 or so names Muslims have given their beloved city that stands as the second most sacred, and significant place in Islam after Makkah. Its history is so rich, and its role, so central in Islam, that no other city or place could come close to it.
Madinah houses the Masjid of the Prophet and is the Prophet’s burial place. It also has the first masjid ever built in Islam, the Masjid of Qubâ’, which the Prophet personally helped design and erect. It is the city of the Anṣâr (the Helpers or Supporters), who gave everything they had in support of Allah’s Message; it is the capital of the first Islamic government of the Guided Khilâfa; it is the place that preserved Islam, and spread its message to the whole world, and still does the same today,
Indeed, faith retreats to (and take refuge in) Madinah just as the snake returns to take refuge in its hole. (Bukhâri and Muslim)
Madinah is the city of Hijrah, and is full of proud Islamic moments and memories, is the city whose dates cure from disease, and whose people have the softest hearts and are of the best characters. These are some of the reasons why Muslims love Madinah and dream of visiting it someday.
The main purpose of the visit would, of course, be to visit the Prophet’s Masjid. He said,
Do not set out for a journey to any masjid (intending to earn blessings or special reward of salaḥ) other than the three masajid: Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarâm, Al-Masjid Al-Aqṣa, and my masjid. (Bukhâri)
But once we are in Madinah, we should maximize our benefit by also visiting other important Islamic sites, gaining knowledge of our Dîn, and by strengthening our faith in Allah.
And even though most Muslims will visit Madinah as part of their Hajj trip, visiting it is not part of the rites either of Hajj or of ᶜUmrah. It is the special virtue and significance associated with this unique place, the ‘Lighted City,’ which beckons and motivates Muslims to take the time and come in droves from all corners of the globe to reap all the blessings they can.
Know Your History
It is necessary for all Muslims, especially those who are visiting Madinah, to learn certain aspect of its history, because this learning prepares them to further understand and appreciate the role and significance of the Lighted City of our beloved Messenger.
How could one visit the so many historical sites and places in the Madinah area if one did not know about them to begin with? How would one appreciate and love those places, the events that occurred in them, and the people associated with those events, without learning the available facts about them before arriving in Madinah? In fact, one may not even be able to gain the spiritual advantage of ‘being there’ without such knowledge. What guarantees one that he/she will not make a mistake, or even commit a sin while visiting some of these places if one is not sure: Which practices are permitted and which ones are not? What places you should give priority to, such that you do not leave Madinah without visiting them? What is the best place to make salaḥ when inside the Prophet’s masjid? What type of duʿâ’ one should say in the Baqîᶜ burial site? And so on and so forth.
It is true that most Muslims must have heard, sometime during their childhood, of some aspects, names and events that are part of Madinah’s rich, intriguing history. Perhaps that is why many of us grow up passionately connected to this beloved site. For example, we all know of the Prophet’s Masjid or the battle of Badr, and we get a strong feeling of belonging when we actually visit these places. But as many would testify based on personal experience, a good knowledge of the history associated with such places could definitely turn the visit into a life changing spiritual event.
Authentic sources and history references about Madinah, printed and digital, abound. It is recommended that those planning to visit Madinah, especially along with the Hajj trip, take time to read a few sources, choose the places to visit and familiarize themselves with what is needed for them to make the most of the visit, instead of spending the time there at the hotel waiting to go to Makkah on schedule for Hajj. If the experience of those who go to Hajj is of any value, reading a booklet while on the plane to Madinah would not be adequate preparation, even for a meaningful discussion with your guides to those places.
According to scholars and historians, before the Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad and his Companions, Madinah was not much of a developed or urbanized city, that is, in the demographic, construction and business sense.
It is said that the ᶜAmâlîq (the Amalekites), lead by their king, Yathrib Mahlaᶜîl, were the first to establish a settlement in the area of Madinah. It is believed that Madinah’s earliest name, Yathrib, mentioned in the Quran in Sûrat Al-Aḥzâb, 33:13, came from the first name of that Amalekite king. The ᶜAmâlîq were ancient nomadic Arab descendants of Sam (Shem), the son of Prophet Noah. The area’s current name, Al-Madinah, which means ‘the city,’ was mentioned twice in Sûrat Al-Tawbah, 9: 101,120, and once in Sûrat Al-Munâfiqûn, 63:8.
Because Madinah and the area surrounding it were fertile land, with abundant water, vegetables and fruits, later, it became a point of attraction for emigrants from neighboring areas. Ma’enian, Persian, Greek and Byzantine settlers were known to have crossed the area at different times. Then the two Qaḥṭâni Arab tribes, Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, emigrated from the Yemen area to al-Madinah and the surrounding vicinity. There is strong historical evidence that Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj emigrated to Madinah after the destruction of their Saba (Sheba) kingdom in Yemen. Descendants of these two tribes comprised the majority of the inhabitants of Madinah at the time of Hijrah, and it is they who helped Muslims emigrate and settle in it. Jews also settled in the area, bringing their religious culture, commerce and ways of life. They lived in fortresses—not previously known in the area—and had farms around their dwellings.
Thus, before Hijrah, Madinah consisted of a group of small residential communities, with much war and conflict and no ties among them.
Prophet Muhammad’s father, ᶜAbdullâh, died a few months before his son’s birth (in 570 CE), on his way back from a business trip to Al-Sham (now Syria). ᶜAbdullâh was buried in Madinah. In 575 CE, the Prophet’s mother, Âminah bint Wahb, died on her way back from a trip to Madinah where she and her child, Muhammad, were visiting with the Prophet’s maternal uncles from the Madinan clan of Banû Al-Najjâr. After Âminah’s death, ᶜAbd Al-Muṭṭalib, the Prophet’s loving and caring grandfather, brought his nephew, Muhammad, back to Makkah. In the year 622 CE, the Messenger of Allah performed Hijrah to Madinah. His coming ushered in an era of peace and prosperity for the enmity amongst its groups was removed once and for all. Then Madinah itself turned into an urbanized residential community led by one leader, and focused on one mission, that is, serving and spreading the message of Islam.
The Prophet at Madinah
Without the Anṣâr people of Madinah, not much could have been achieved in establishing Islam. Their assistance was a mercy from Allah, and their role, an infinite source of wisdom and learning. That is why there are many Qur’anic verses and aḥâdîth indicating that one cannot truly be a Muslim without loving and respecting the Anṣâr. In one ḥadîth, the Prophet said about the Anṣâr,
None loves them except a believer, and none hates them except a hypocrite. Whoever loves them, Allah loves him; and whoever hates them, Allah despises him. (Bukhâri and Muslim)
This can be appreciated by learning the history of Islam and the Sîrah of the Anṣâr of Madinah. They played a unique role in establishing the religion of Islam, not only in Arabia, but throughout the whole world. Learning about Madinah, in essence, is learning about the Anṣâr and vice versa. The two are inseparably connected.
This indivisibility is still evident today. When in Madinah, a visitor may still seem to see and experience the same Ansari spirit and dedication in its people. Some have attributed that to the environment created by the presence of Allah’s Messenger which seems to overshadow everything else in the minds and hearts of those who live in Madinah. Others relate it to the culture of îmân, which is always strongly present in Madinah, and tends to inspire its people to follow the example of their ancestors, the true Anṣâr of this Din. Imam Bukhari narrated that the Prophet indicated that Madinah has a way of cleaning itself from ‘bad’ people in the same way fire cleans iron ore from non-iron-bearing components.
When Madinah was ready to receive the Muslims, the Prophet ordered his followers to emigrate to it. Most of our scholars are of the opinion that Hijrah (emigration to Madinah) was the main turning point in all of the history of Islam.
Historical Highlights in Madinah
A brief listing of the main events for the period starting with Hijrah until the death of the Prophet—622 C.E. to 632 C.E. /1 A.H. to 11 A.H. All events are listed in the correct chronological order but without specifying a corresponding date because some of these dates are difficult to establish accurately.
❃ Muṣaᶜb ibn ᶜUmayr arrives in Madinah as a special envoy from the Prophet.
❃ Hijrah and arrival of the Prophet in Madinah 622 C.E., first year of Hijrah.
❃ Building of the masjid of Qubâ’. The first Friday Khuṭbah and salaḥ established.
❃The Prophet’s Masjid was built.
❃ A brotherhood Pledge between the Mahâjirûn and Anṣâr was established. All supporters of the Prophet were included, poor, rich, Arabs, non-Arabs, slaves and free.
❃ Changing of the direction of Qiblah from Al-Masjid Al-Aqṣa in Jerusalem to Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarâm in Makkah.
❃ Fasting prescribed.
❃ Battle of Badr took place in Ramadan.
❃ Peace accords between the Muslims and local communities were signed.
❃ Alcohol Prohibited.
❃ Battle of Uḥud took place in Shawwal.
❃The Madinah covenant for cooperation, harmony and peaceful coexistence for all communities of the city signed by all parties.
❃ Incident of the Ifk, Qur’anic revelation testifies to Aisha’s innocence.
❃ Battle of the Trench.
❃ Intensive daᶜwah provided to neighboring tribes of Madinah.
❃ Tayammum (dry ablution) prescribed.
❃ Battle of Banû Qurayẓah.
❃ Death of Saᶜd ibn Muᶜâdh.
❃ Salaḥ of Khawf (fear) prescribed.
❃ Envoys to World leaders (Rome, Athens, Egypt, and Persia) dispatched.
❃ Hajj prescribed. Also, the rulings of taḥâra (purification).
❃ Treaty of Ḥudaibiya signed.
❃ Pledge of Riḍwân took place.
❃ Agreements signed with local tribes.
❃ Treaty signed with the People of the Book.
❃ Battle of Khaybar.
❃ Abu Hurairah accepted Islam.
❃ ʿUmrah performed for the first time.
❃ Peace accords signed with more neighboring tribes.
❃ Zainab, daughter of the Prophet, died.
❃ Makkah conquered, and Makkans accepted Islam.
❃ Battle of Ḥunayn.
❃ More envoys sent outside Arabia.
Ninth year: ❃ This year named the ‘Year of Delegations’ because of the many delegations sent to Madinah by the tribes that accepted Islam.
❃ Abu Bakr lead Muslims to Hajj.
❃ Battle of Tabûk.
❃ Abdullah ibn Salûl, chief of the hypocrites, died.
❃ Farewell Hajj and Khuṭbah.
❃ Riba prohibited.
❃ Justice for all emphasized.
❃ Lunar calendar corrected.
❃ Ibrâhîm, the Prophet’s son, died.
❃ Delegations continued to pour into Madinah.
❃ The Prophet died.
❃ Fatima, his daughter, died six months later.
❃ Abu Bakr was named a Khalîfah.
Significance of Madinah
Madinah is the land of Hijrah and home of the Muhâjirûn and Anṣâr. It is the first city, capital and country of Islam, and the place from which the light of guidance spread to all corners of the world. It is the place honored by the presence of the Prophet when he was living in it, and will be honored till the end of time as his burial place. Madinah is the only place on the face of earth that is known to be a burial place of a prophet, for no burial place is known for any other prophet. It is the place where faith reached its highest point, and it is going to be its abode till the end of time. Madinah, as shown in many ways in this article, is unique, among cities and places.
However, for Muslims, and for the reasons discussed here, Madinah is truly special. Their love for it will always be strong, whether they could or couldn’t visit it. Following are some famous Prophetic aḥadîth concerning the special characteristics and qualities of Madinah:
- Abdullah Ibn Zaid reported that Allah’s Messenger said,Verily Ibrâhîm declared Makkah sacred and supplicated (for blessings to be showered) upon its inhabitants, and I declare Madinah to be sacred as Ibrâhîm had declared Makkah to be sacred. I have asked Allah (for His blessings to be showered) in its Sâᶜ and its mudd (weight measurements) twice as did Ibrâhîm for the inhabitants of Makkah. (Muslim)
- Sahl ibn Ḥanîf reported that Allah’s Messenger pointed towards Madinah and said,That is a sacred territory and a place of safety. (Muslim)
- Saᶜd ibn Abi Waqqâṣ reported that Allah’s Messenger said,He who intends to do harm to the people of Madinah, Allah would efface him just as water dissolves salt. (Muslim)
- It should be clear that Allah alone is the one who sanctifies places; a fact implied in the aforementioned aḥadîth and their likes. In addition, the Haram, or the Madinah’s Sanctuary, like that of Makkah, is not limited to the area of the Prophet’s masjid as some might think. The Madinah’s Sanctuary includes all that between the two mountains, ᶜAyr and Thawr, and what is between the Ḥarratayn (two areas of wastelands). Madinah today has expanded beyond these borders. Though the Sanctuary is limited to these borders, places beyond them are still part of Madinah.The Harratayn are two areas of wastelands situated in plains of volcanic rocks. The road to Madinah passes through them. They represent a dramatic reminder of the region’s volcanic past. Muslim historians recorded several eruptions in the area, the most violent of which were those of the year 1257 C.E.
- ᶜAbdullâh ibn ᶜUmar narrated that the Messenger of Allah observed,Verily Islam started as something strange, and it would again revert (to its old position) of being strange just as it started, and it would recede between the two masajid just as the snake crawls back into its hole. (Muslim)
- Abû Hurairah reported that Allah’s Messenger said, “A time will come for the people (of Madinah) when a man will invite his cousin and any other close relative saying: Come (and settle) at (a place) where living is cheap, come to where there is plenty, but Madinah will be better for them; would they know it! By Allah, none amongst them would go out (of Madinah) out of dislike for it, but Allah would make his successor in it someone better than him. Behold, Madinah is like a furnace, it eliminates worthless materials. The Last Hour will not come until Madinah casts out the evil ones among its people just as fire purges the iron ore from foreign materials.” (Muslim)
- Abu Bakr narrated that the Prophet said,Madinah will not be affected by the terror caused by Al-Masîḥ Al-Dajjâl (the False Christ). By then, the Madinah will have seven gates, and there will be two angels at each gate, guarding them. (Bukhâri)
- Saᶜd ibn Abi Waqqâṣ reported that Allah’s Messenger said,He who eats seven dates (of the land) situated between these two lava plains in the morning, no poison will harm him until it is evening. (Muslim)
- ᶜAbdullâh ibn ᶜUmar narrated, “I heard the Prophet say,…And truly, I will intercede for one who dies in Madinah. (Tirmidhi)
- Abu Saᶜîd Al-Khudri said, “I once asked Allah’s Messenger:O Allah’s Messenger, Which of the two masajid are founded on taqwa (Piety)” So, he took a handful of pebbles and threw them on the ground and said, “This masjid of yours (the Masjid of Madinah). (Muslim)
- ᶜAbdullâh ibn Zayd Al-Mâzini narrated that Allah’s Messenger said,Between my house and the pulpit there is a meadow of the gardens of Paradise. (Bukhâri)
Places to See
When in Madinah, it is Sunnah mu’akkada (highly recommended Sunnah) to visit two masajid (the Prophet’s Masjid and the Qubâ’ Masjid); and three graves (the grave of Prophet, Abu Bakr and Umar; the Baqîᶜ cemetery; and the Uhud burial ground). Beyond that one may visit any of the historic sites in or around Madinah to learn history, and to appreciate the role of Madinah even more. One must make sure not to act, while visiting any site, in a way that has no basis in the Sunnah of the Prophet. It is unfortunate that there are many who practice un-Islamic and unfounded rites at these sites. I wonder, how could one be in the city of the Prophet and act in a way that is contrary to his teachings? The following is a short list of the sites that are worth visiting and learning about:
Jannat Al-Baqîᶜ is the graveyard located east of Madinah. Overtime, thousands of Companions of the Prophet and many good Muslims were buried there.
Battle of Badr Site
The plain of Badr is about 20 miles south west of Madinah where the first battle between Muslims and the Quraysh of Makkah took place in year 2 AH.
Mountain of Uhud
The Messenger of Allah said about this mountain which is located three miles to the north of Madinah,
Uḥud is a mountain that loves us and we love it. (Tirmidhi)
The battle of Uḥud took place at the foot of Uḥud in the year 3 AH. Ḥamzah, the Prophet’s uncle, as well as other Companions, were buried there.
It is about two miles south-west from the Prophet’s masjid. This is the first masjid established by Muslims ever. It stands out because of the fact that its foundation stone was laid down by Prophet Muhammad on his arrival in Madinah.
It is situated to the north-west, near the valley of Al-ᶜAqîq. In this masjid, revelation came down directing Muslims to change the qibla from Bayt Al-Maqdis (Al-Masjid Al-Aqṣa in Jerusalem) to the Kaᶜbah in Makkah. It is because of this incident that this masjid was named the masjid of the two qiblas (Masjid Al-Qiblatayn).
Al-Ghamâmah is Arabic for ‘cloud.’ This masjid is located nearby the Prophet’s masjid. The Prophet used to offer Eid salaḥ in it. One day, the Prophet was leading a salaḥ of Istisqâ’ (prayer for rain) in it, when suddenly clouds appeared and it started to rain, hence the name Al-Ghamâmah, or ‘The Clouds,’ was coined.
Masjid Al-Aḥzâb or Masjid Al-Fatḥ
It is on the western corner of Jabal Salᶜ. When a confederation (aḥzab) of enemies attacked and besieged Madinah, the Muslims dug a trench to defend Al-Madinah. Today, there are six masajid at this place.
Masjid Banû Qurayẓah
This one is not far from Masjid al-Fath; it is located to the east of it. The Messenger of Allah had camped there during the siege of the Jewish tribe of Banû Qurayẓah.
The Masjid of the Prophet
The first thing a visitor of Madinah sees upon entering the city is the Masjid of the Prophet with its ten towering minarets. It is the second most sacred masjid in Islam, and one of only three masajid around the world to which a Muslim may undertake a journey to visit. The Prophet said,
Do not set out for a journey to any masjid (intending to earn blessings or special reward of salaḥ) other than the three masajid: Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarâm, Al-Masjid Al-Aqṣa, and my masjid. (Bukhâri)
Imam Bukhari also narrated that the Prophet indicated that the reward for making a single salaḥ in it is more than the reward of a thousand salaḥ performed in any other masjid except for the Sacred Masjid of Makkah. If you happen to be attending salaḥ during the month of Ramadhan or the season of Hajj (and many other times as well), each time the adhan for salaḥ is called, you will see about half a million men and women rise up to stand in straight lines, facing the Qibla; and at that time, you realize that the calculations are not an over statement.
After arriving from Makkah and spending a few weeks in the Masajid of Qubâ’, at the Al-Aliyah outskirts of Madinah, the Prophet decided to find a more suitable place to build a larger masjid, as well as a place where he and his family could live. And since all tribes wanted to provide free land for that purpose, and so that he would not appear like he was favoring any one over another, the Prophet told them that he would ride his she-camel and wherever she would sit down, it would be the place he would choose for the masjid. The she-camel stopped and sat down in a piece of land that was owned by two orphans. The Prophet asked Abu Bakr to buy that piece of land from them. Right after the purchase of the land, the Prophet designed the masjid and participated in its erection along with all of the Muslims there. While the masjid and the Prophet’s residence were under construction, which took more than a month, the Prophet was hosted by the Madinan native, the Companion Abû Ayyûb Al-Anṣâri.
When finished, the masjid was in the shape of a rectangle, whose length runs from north to south, and its width, east to west; with a total area of about 1050 square meters. The front of the building was sixty meters in length. Today, we see above this section of the masjid, in the eastern area, the famous green dome and a square minaret of medium height. Over the western section of this part of the building, is a cylindrical minaret, also of medium height and many other small, silver colored domes. The two minarets mentioned, are of less height than the others, and their shapes and design are different, as they were erected in past eras.
The first masjid did not have any minarets because the adhan had not been prescribed then, and the call for salaḥ was done from various places. The masjid had three doors, and one section of it had a simple roof made of palm tree branches under which there was Al-Ṣuffah which served as residence for those Companions alien to Madinah and who had nowhere else to live. As the number of Companions housed in Al-Ṣuffah increased, they were relocated to many guesthouses around Madinah.
The masjid became the center of life in Madinah, and the place where all public affairs were managed.
The first change in the size of the masjid took place in the seventh year of Hijrah. After the Battle of Khaybar, the masjid was expanded causing its area to exceed 2500 square meters. Renewals and additions to the masjid continued to take place throughout time; with the last and most important one beginning about twenty years ago and is ongoing.
Special Virtues of Salaḥ in the Prophet’s Masjid
As one enters from the door of Gabriel, one is led to the Al-Rawḍah Al-Sharifah (literally, the honored and purified meadow) which is the area between the room housing the grave of the Prophet and his Companions, Abu Bakr and Umar, and the Prophet’s pulpit. Closer to the right side of Al-Rawḍah, one would encounter the miḥrâb or the niche in which the Prophet had prostrated himself before Allah throughout his life in Madinah. Salaḥ in Al-Rawḍah is highly recommended. The Prophet said,
In the space between my house and my pulpit is a Meadow of Paradise. (Bukhâri and Muslim)
But other forms of worship, like recitation of the Qur’an and dhikr, are also highly recommended there. One must always bear in mind, however, that the space is limited and one should, therefore, be courteous to allow others opportunity to enjoy the blessing.
In Al-Rawḍah, listening to the splendid, solemn recitation of the Qur’an; the soft murmuring of words of dhikr; and watching people in a deep state of wordless contemplation, is overwhelming. This—along with the realization that for over 1400 years, so many Companions, as well as countless thousands of scholars and good Muslims, have flocked to the Prophet’s Masjid eager to be in that same spot—forces many to feel the intensity of the Prophetic presence, so much they sit in awe at a respectful distance. It is a moment when one feels truly humble, and finds it really hard to resist crying.
I ask Allah to bless us with the opportunity to visit the Prophet’s Masjid and perform salaḥ at Al-Rawḍah Al-Sharifah. Ameen!
Things to Keep in Mind
Before leaving to Madinah, it is good to learn and keep in mind a few points that will help you maximize your benefits during your stay at the Prophet’s Masjid:
- To keep one’s focus on the spiritual aspect of the experience, one must remember that the intensity of the feelings people experience may cause some to become emotional; and some may commit mistakes in behavior.
- Multiplication of rewards of salaḥ applies to both obligatory and voluntary salaḥ, because the ḥadîth explicitly stated, “salaḥ,” without any particularization. Therefore, any salaḥ, be it obligatory or voluntary, will be multiplied a thousand times.
- Multiplication of rewards of salaḥ is not limited to the original area of the first masjid of the Prophet. This is supported by the fact that both Caliphs, ʿUmar and ᶜUthmân, expanded the front side of the original masjid Were this not appropriate that the additional sections of the masjid has the same ḥukm, or ‘ruling,’ as the original building, they would not have done it. Thus, the reward multiplication applies to the first addition made by the Prophet as well as all to the additions that took place after that, including the present, ongoing one.
- This reward multiplication does not, however, apply to places around the masjid but not part of it. For example, if one were to come late to salaḥ and find out that the masjid is so full and had to make salaḥ in the street, he would not be getting the one thousand-reward multiplication for that salaḥ. This should be clearly evident since the Prophet mentioned only the “masjid” in his ḥadîth. Multiplication of reward applies only to areas that constitute the Prophet’s Masjid (at any time). As for the virtues associated with Al-Rawḍah Al-Sharifah, scholars are in agreement that achieving this reward is limited to Al-Rawḍah itself.
- There is a well-known ḥadîth in which the Prophet is reported as having said,The person who offers 40 consecutive salaḥs in my masjid, without missing a salaḥ, will be spared the torment of Hellfire, and other torments, as well as hypocrisy. (Aḥmad)
This is a ḥadîth which was ranked as ḥasan (good and acceptable). However, the late muḥaddith, Al-Albani, ranked this ḥadîth as daᶜîf, or weak and unacceptable, because there is a weak narrator in its chain of transmitters. However, this narrator was declared a trustworthy by major scholars and masters of ḥadîth (huffâẓ), like Ibn Ḥajar and Bayhaqi. As such, this ḥadîth may be considered acceptable, and could therefore be deemed true and put to practice.
Yet, even if this ḥadîth were to be weak, it could still be practiced and acted upon. The reason for this opinion is the ḥukm or ruling that a weak ḥadîth may be applied if it satisfies specific conditions, such as: the ḥadîth is not to be too weak; its subject matter has to be “virtues of deeds”; and it should be assumed that there is doubt in its validity. This ruling is agreed upon by the majority of ḥadîth and fiqh scholars. However, Al-Albani believed that weak ḥadîth may not be acted upon under any circumstance.
The first two conditions do apply to this ḥadîth. Thus, according to the opinion of the majority of the scholars, if one satisfies the third condition, it would be perfectly acceptable for one to act upon it. When visiting the Prophet’s Masjid one may or may not act upon this ḥadîth, but also one may not object to anyone who chooses to act upon it.
Furthermore, there is so much reward to be gained from making forty salaḥs in the Prophet’s Masjid (requires eight days). These salaḥs will be equal in reward to forty thousand salaḥ, which, if one were to make them somewhere else, would take him/her more than twenty-two years. No one should miss such reward. One must do his/her best to make as many salaḥs as possible in the Prophet’s Masjid.
Visiting Qubâ’ Masjid and Al-Baqîᶜ Cemetery
It is highly recommended for those visiting Madinah to visit the Masjid Qubâ’ and to perform salaḥ in it. This has been reported in a few ḥadîth from the Prophet. Abdullah ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet used to visit the Masjid Qubâ’ and offer two rakᶜahs of salaḥ in it. Also, Sahl ibn Ḥanîf narrated that the Prophet said,
Whoever makes wudhu in his home then goes to the masjid of Qubâ and performs salaḥ in it, will attain a reward equal to that of making an ᶜUmrah. (Aḥmad and Nasâ’î)
Similarly, it is in accordance with the Sunnah to visit Al-Baqîᶜ graveyard. The Prophet used to visit Al-Baqîᶜ and pray for those buried there. He used to tell his Companions,
Visit the graveyards, for they remind you of the Hereafter. (Muslim)
He also taught them to recite the following duᶜâ’ when visiting the graves:
Assalamu alaikum ahl al-Diyari min al-muminîn wa al-muslimîn, wa inna insha’ Allahu bi-kum lahiqun. N-asʿal Allah la-na wa la-kum al-âfiyah, meaning: “O dwellers of those places of the believers and Muslims, Assalamu alaikum. We are, if Allah wills, about to meet you. We ask Allah to grant us and you peace and security.” (Muslim)
Visiting graves reminds us of the Hereafter. It also provides us with an opportunity to help the dead who can no longer help themselves, by invoking Allah’s mercy and forgiveness for them. This is the least we can do for them in return, especially if they are among the good and pious Muslims who did a lot of work to serve our Din.
Madinah has a distinguished place in the hearts of Muslims. They love to visit it often, but most of them, and mostly for financial reasons, would not be able to make the trip to Madinah more than once in their lifetime. It is so essential that everyone makes the most of his/her visit. The best preparation starts with learning authentic and correct knowledge ahead of the trip; staying focused on the purpose of the visit while in Madinah; feeling and strengthening our love for Allah and His Messenger; and by concentrating on our worship so that we return from the great trip as better Muslims.