In Arabic Yathrib means a place that hunts man or a place where man becomes ill. This name was chosen by the Bedouins. The desert Bedouins considered it a city of unfavourable climate and called it "Yathrib". The original inhabitants of the city had named it "Tayyabah", that is, a pure and a loveable city. Whenever one left the scorching sands of Arabia and entered the city one felt as if one had entered the heavens. The Bedouins, who were brought up in the dry and barren climate of the desert, could not bear the damp climate of the city and were soon taken ill. However in due course of time they were used to the climate and later were not perturbed by it.

Majority of those who migrated from Makkah to Yathrib became ill. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), Abu BakrR.A and his freed slave Aamir bin Fahira also became ill on reaching Madinah.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) on reaching Yathrib changed its name to Madinah. He did this to avoid the name (Yathrib) becoming a cause of conflict between the Mohajir and Ansaar. Madinah, at that time covered an area of about thirty kilometres. Besides the common houses, there were present seventy-two forts, fifty-nine of which belonged to the Jews and the remaining thirteen to Arabs. The city of Madinah is situated at a height and there are two peaks in its north and south. On it’s three sides i.e. east, west and south is spread solidified lava.

Those days, the climate of Madinah

was temperate, as it is today. It received more rainfall as compared to other Arab areas. At the edge of the city there was a pond filled with rainwater that seldom dried out. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had learnt swimming in this pond when he was a child.

The residents of Madinah, like the Makkans, were also divided into various tribes -- each person was affiliated with a tribe. There was no police, no prison or any court of law, hence, whosoever was aggrieved, referred to his tribe for the restoration of his rights.

Like Makkah, taking a human life was not considered a sin. The murderer would lose all blame by paying the blood-money to the murdered person’s tribe. Minimum blood-money was one hundred camels, but more was demanded from the wealthier folk. Half of the Medinites population was Arab and Jews.

There were three tribes of Arabs in Madinah. They lived by cultivation and rearing of animals. Some of them were traders or merchants. The Jews also had three tribes; each was named according to its occupation. They dealt in gold, precious stones and earned through orchards.

Occasionally the Arabs of Madinah went for battles. One such battle was fought before Islam on the cause of land dispute. Neither tribe benefited from the battle; one person who did benefit was ‘Abdullah bin Obei’. He profited himself so effectively that some of the Medinites began considering him their king. The goldsmiths of Madinah in anticipation of his coronation took measurement of his forehead to cast a crown for him. When they heard about the Prophet’s arrival, they discarded the idea of coronation.

A person named "Ashnaq", used to limit fixations on blood-money and define punishment for a crime in Madinah.

Abu BakrR.A also worked at such an appointment before Hijrah. Whenever any murder took place, or someone’s eye was gouged out or teeth broken one used to put up the complaint before Abu BakrR.A, to fix blood money or ratio of Diyyah. This ratio was no more different in Madinah than in Makkah. One hundred camels were taken for a human life, fifty camels for the eye, whereas breaking a tooth was paid back in the same coin.

In addition to the joy of the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) arrival in Madinah, the Jews reared an expectation that he would accept their religion.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) adopted (according to Allah’s Decree) a reconciliation attitude that further raised their expectations.

When the Jews observed the Arch of Quba and Qibla directing towards Bayt-al-Muqqaddis, they were convinced that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would accept the religion of MosesR.A soon. In the Holy Qur’an also there were names of the earlier Prophets, including IbrahimR.A, MosesR.A and ChristR.A, which further strengthened their expectations. The Jews believed that if any nation could have a prophet, only the Jews deserved the true entitlement. When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was busy in the construction of the Mosque,

some Jewish sages met him to know when he was going to accept the religion of MosesR.A.

The replies given by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to those sages made it clear that he would not do so. They said, "O Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), if you intend to be a Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), be a Jew first. Each and every prophet till this day has belonged to the Jews because it is only the sages of the Jew nation who could be entitled to converse with Allah. It is probable that Allah may reach other nations as well, but it will only be the Jews to establish the link, as all the other nations in the world rate inferior to us".

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) answered, "I have not proclaimed a Prophethood by myself, but have been chosen by Allah for the Apostleship. All nations are equal before Allah, and it is His will to communicate with any, whenever or wherever He doth intend! And this distinction is not for the Jews alone".

Friday as a Special Day for Collective Prayers

Friday was the first day when the Muslims offered prayers in the Mosque of Quba. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) declared this day for the Muslims for collective worship. This again went contrary to the Jewish expectancy, who were expecting it to be Saturday.

One of the Jews accepted Islam in Quba. This Jew had announced the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) arrival in Madinah. Islamic historians have given his name as "Shalom".

On one Friday when the Muslims gathered for prayers, some Jews also joined them. In his "Khutbah", the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) addressed the Jews to explain to them the equality of all nations before Allah, negating the superiority of the Jews. However it is only the pious and the abstainers that are of more virtue before Him.

When the Jews came out of the Mosque, they were well aware that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was not going to accept their religion, therefore from that very day, they girdled up their loins against the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the Muslims. They started expressing their enmity by spreading rumours, "That according to a message by Allah, all the Muslim women will go sterile, any woman who accepts Islam will become issueless forever".

These rumours was spread at a time when the Muslim migrants were taken ill due to climatic changes. The Muslim women who were ill, became psychologically depressed and their illness. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) ordered the Muslims to gather in the Mosque and told them about the rumours regarding the Muslim women. He told them that the rumours were utterly unfounded and untrue. He ordered them to comfort their womenfolk, and added that the reward for their consolation rests with Allah.

Later Allah commanded His Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to change the direction of the Qibla for Muslims to Holy Ka’bah instead of Bayt-al-Muqqadas. Islamic historians have called the mosque where it happened as "the Mosque with two Qiblas".

The scholars of Islam have written that the injunctions of Islam were not revealed all of a sudden, but gradually over a span of twenty-three years.

The reason for gradual revelation of Islamic laws is quite apparent because if the previous laws were cancelled by a stroke of pen to replace with the new ones, it would have led the people to great confusion. The new laws would also not have been easily acted upon. It was therefore quite imperative and logical for the new laws to be implemented slowly and gradually to let the common man get used to them.

In the Western countries where knowledge and technology has progressed a great deal. The means of communication and mutual exchange of ideas like newspapers, magazines, books, radio, television and telephone etc. have also spread everywhere. Even today no government, how developed it may be, can implement or practise hundreds of laws in a single day. If it does so, it would paralyse the people and the management of life. Chaos will spread in the society to cause unsurmountable problems. One can easily understand the problems of implementation of hundreds of new laws in the dark ages.

After the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) Apostleship, the previous laws remained functional until they were cancelled later. On these grounds and on the basis of concessions made by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), the Jews had developed a misconception that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was going to accept their religion.

Before the Qibla of the Muslims was changed, the following Quranic verse of the second Surah, Al-Baqarah, was revealed;


To Allah belong the East
And the West: whithersoever
Ye turn, there is Allah’s
For Allah is All-pervading,
(Surah Al-Baqarah; V-115)

Allah ordered the Muslims through second Surah Baqarah, verse 142,144,148,149 and 150, to change their Qibla towards Holy Ka’bah.

In the verse 142 of Surah Baqarah is revealed:


The fools among the people
Will say: "What hath turned
Them from the Qibla to which
they were used?" Say: To Allah belong both East and West: He guideth whom He will to a Way that is straight.
(Surah Al-Baqarah; V-142)


We see the turning
Of thy face (for guidance)
To the heavens: now
Shall We turn thee
To a Qibla that shall
Please thee. Turn then
Thy face in the direction
Of the sacred Mosque:
Wherever ye are, turn
Your faces in that direction
(Surah Al-Baqarah; V-144)


To each is a goal
To which Allah turns him;
Then strive together (as in a race)
Towards all that is good.
Wheresoever ye are,
Allah will bring you
Together. For Allah
Hath power over all things
(Surah Al-Baqarah; V-148)


From whencesoever
Thou startest forth, turn
thy face in the direction
Of the Sacred Mosque;
That is indeed the truth
From thy Lord. And Allah
Is not unmindful
Of what ye do.
(Surah Al-Baqarah; V-149)


So from whencesoever
Thou startest forth, turn
Thy face in the direction
Of the Sacred Mosque;
And wheresoever ye are,
turn your face thither:
That there be no ground
Of dispute against you
Among the people,
Except those of them that are
Bent on wickedness; so fear
Them not, but fear Me;
and that I may complete
My favours on you, and ye
May (consent to) be guided;
(Surah Al-Baqarah; V-150)

Some Islamic mystics, in the light of the above verses, which do not differentiate between the East and West with respect to status, have derived that each and every place is same in the eyes of Allah: The Islamic saints and mystics were inspired from these verses and for them monastery or Harem, Holy Ka’bah or idolatry and church are the places where Allah is to be searched.

It is important to mention the point that although east or west are the same before Allah, when he orders His people to pray towards Holy Ka’bah, no one can make it a pretext that east or west are the same before Him.

The changing of Qibla bears extreme significance in the Islamic history because it gave the Islamic Ummat its separate identity, which was quite different from the Jewish or Christian nations.

Islam is the religion, which was revealed to a prophet whose lineage roots emanated from IbrahimR.A. The Holy Ka’bah is also the same house whose foundation was laid by IbrahimR.A. When Allah commanded the Muslims to change their Qibla towards Holy Ka’bah, it meant the complete segregation of Islam from Judaism and Christianity.

All Muslims, especially those who had migrated from Makkah were much pleased on the changing of Qibla.

The Holy Ka’bah bore great reverence among all the Arabs. They could never forget Makkah which was their home town. When the decree of changing the Qibla was revealed, their hearts were much appeased.

In addition to building the Mosque, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also built houses in its neighbourhood to give shelter to the needy.

Some Muslims, including the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) himself, had left their families in Makkah while migrating. Those left in Makkah had to come to Madinah. The people in a family were like the branches of a tree, which had to keep themselves attached with the stem. Cutting off the branch was like amputating the hand from the body. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) who was considering to bring his family to Madinah from Makkah went to the market-place of Madinah, before the completion of the houses, and bought three dromedaries whose price was paid by Abu BakrR.A.

As the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and Abu BakrR.A already had two dromedaries when they came to Madinah, their number now increased to five.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) sent for his cousin AliR.A and said, "O AliR.A, as you know, my daughters and my wives SawdahR.A and A’ishahR.A are in Makkah, therefore you should bring them to Madinah on these dromedaries. Take ZaydR.A with you and also bring his wife Umm-e-Aiman". ZaydR.A was the freed slave whom the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had adopted as his son.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had four daughters named FatimaR.A, Umm-e-KalsoomR.A, ZaynabR.A and RuqayyahR.A. RuqayyahR.A along with her husband had reached Madinah whereas the rest of the three were still in Makkah.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also endowed five camels for the migration of the Muslim families from Makkah to Madinah. When these camels returned to Madinah, they were considered with reverence by the Muslims. Nobody obstructed them and they were free to graze and drink anywhere in and around the city.

When the Mosque was completed and the Makkan Muslims brought their families to Madinah, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in consultation with his companions composed the first constitution for the city of Madinah. In the Islamic history, this constitution is known as "Mithaq-e-Madinah". The constitution was composed in such a way that believers of all the religions could live together freely on the principles of equality.

Apart from Jews and the Believers there lived a third large group of people in Madinah. In Islam they have been called the hypocrites. All the Arabs living in Madinah were Muslims, except those who have been mentioned as ‘Pretenders’ in the Holy Qur’an.

By Pretenders is not meant the opponents of Islam, as is generally thought because these neither opposed Islam, nor supported it, they rather maintained the middle policy.

Mona’fiq or the Hypocrite or the Pretender is the one who segregates. In Arabic language, Mona’fiq means an animal like a fox in search of a hole to hide itself from danger. In the Fourth Surah of the Holy Qur’an, AL-Nisaa, verse 137, Allah has expressed about such people:


Those who believe,
Then reject Faith,
Then believe (again)
And (again) reject Faith,
And go on increasing
In Un-belief Allah
Will not forgive them
Nor guide them on the Way.
(Surah Al-Nisaa; V-137)

In the same Surah, verse 145 is mentioned:


The Hypocrites will be
In the lowest depths
Of the Fire; no helper
Will thou find for them:-
(Surah Al-Nisaa; V-145)

It is to be made clear here that Allah has sanctioned such a harsh punishment not even for the non-Believers, as is recommended for a Hypocrite.

Ancient Italy’s famous poet Alighieri Dante has taken reference from the Holy Qur’an in his famous book "La Divine Commedia", and following the incidents of "Maira’aj", has sketched purgatory, Heaven and Inferno. He also has placed those with hypocrisy or duality the ones who neither support openly nor oppose at the lowest section of Hell. However, the above mentioned verses reveal that being hypocrite in religion is an unforgivable crime in the eyes of Allah. It was these people who later joined with the Jews and helped the Quraysh in their continuous opposition to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).