Indeed the Madīnah of Allaah’s Messenger is the most pleasant of places, it is Taybah, it is the returning place and sanctuary of Imān, it is the home of the Muhājirūn and the Ansār, it is the place where the trustworthy Angel Jibrīl descended upon the Prophet (ﷺ) with the Revelation.
Allāh has honoured the blessed city of Madīnah, He has given it excellence over all of the cities after Makkah. There are many narrations that mention its excellence, its virtues, its sanctity and its status – and how the Messenger (ﷺ) would supplicate for it and inform his Companions regarding it.
From its virtues:
1- Allāh, the Most High, made it a sacred sanctuary. Imām Muslim reports in his Sahīh (no. 1374) from Abu Sa`īd al-Khudrī that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَرَّمَ مَكَّةَ فَجَعَلَهَا حَرَمًا وَإِنِّي حَرَّمْتُ الْمَدِينَةَ حَرَامًا مَا بَيْنَ مَأْزِمَيْهَا أَنْ لَا يُهْرَاقَ فِيهَا دَمٌ وَلَا يُحْمَلَ فِيهَا سِلَاحٌ لِقِتَالٍ وَلَا تُخْبَطَ فِيهَا شَجَرَةٌ إِلَّا لِعَلْفٍ
“O Allāh! Indeed Ibrāhīm designated Makkah sacred and made it a sanctuary. I declare Madīnah sacred – the area between its two mountains is a sanctuary. No blood is to be shed therein, and no weapon is to be carried therein for the purpose of fighting – and the leaves are not to be shaken from their trees, except for fodder.”
The sanctity of Madīnah runs between the two lava plains from east to west, and between Mount `Ayr (to the south) to Mount Thawr (to the north). Imaam Muslim reports in his Sahīh (no. 1370) from `Alī Ibn Abī Tālib (radiyallāhu `anhu) that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
الْمَدِينَةُ حَرَامٌ مَا بَيْنَ عَيْرٍ إِلَى ثَوْرٍ فَمَنْ أَحْدَثَ فِيهَا حَدَثًا أَوْ آوَى مُحْدِثًا فَعَلَيْهِ لَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ
“Madīnah is sacred and a sanctuary between `Ayr and Thawr, so whoever introduces an innovation or gives refuge to an innovator, then upon him is the curse of Allāh, the Angels and the whole of mankind.”
And from Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu `anhu) that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
مَا بَيْنَ لَابَتَيْهَاحَرَامٌ
“Whatever is between its two lava plains is a sanctuary.” (no. 1372)
The lava plains refers to the place where there are black rocks in the east and west of the city.
2- The Prophet (ﷺ) named the city as Taibah and Tābah. Imām Muslim reports (no. 2942) from Fātimah Bint Qays (radiyallāhu `anhā) in the Hadīth of Al-Jassāsah wherein the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
هَذِهِ طَيْبَةُ هَذِهِ طَيْبَةُهَذِهِ طَيْبَةُ يَعْنِي الْمَدِينَةَ
“This is Taibah, this is Taibah, meaning al-Madīnah.”
And in the narration of Al-Bukhārī (no. 1872):
“This is Tābah.”
Ibn Hajr stated that it is said by the scholars that it (i.e. Taibah and Tābah) means that its soil is fine, and its air is good – indeed there emanates from its soil and walls a pleasant fragrance that is not found elsewhere. (Fat-thul-Bārī 4/89)
3- Īmān will return and gather back into Madīnah. Bukhārī (no. 1876) and Muslim (no. 147) report from Abu Hurairah that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
إِنَّ الْإِيمَانَ لَيَأْرِزُ إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ كَمَا تَأْرِزُ الْحَيَّةُ إِلَى جُحْرِهَا
“Surely Īmān will return to Madīnah just as a snake returns back to its hole.”
4- The one who bears some of the harsh and difficult conditions of Madīnah, then such a person is promised a tremendous reward. Imām Muslim reports (no. 1374) from Abu Sa`īd, the freed slave of Al-Mahrī, that he experienced distress and hardship in Madīnah and well as high prices. So he came to Abu Sa`īd al-Khudrī and he said to him: “I have many dependants and we are feeling the hardships, so I wish to move my family to a rural farming area.” Abu Sa`īd said: Woe to you! I advise you not to do that. I heard Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) say:
لَا يَصْبِرُ أَحَدٌ عَلَى لَأْوَائِهَا فَيَمُوتَ إِلَّا كُنْتُ لَهُ شَفِيعًا أَوْ شَهِيدًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِذَا كَانَ مُسْلِمًا
“No one bears its hardships with patience and then dies except that I will be an intercessor for him (or a witness) on the Day of Resurrection so long as he was a Muslim.”
Also in Sahīh Muslim (no. 1381) from Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu `anhu) that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
“A time will come when a man will call to his paternal cousin and his relatives saying: ‘Come to a life of ease! Come to a life of ease!’ But Madīnah is better for them, if only they but knew! By the One in whose Hand is my soul, no one departs from Madīnah out of dislike for it except that Allāh will replace him with one who is better than him.”
The scholars such as Ibn Hajr (rahimahullāh) explained that living in Madīnah is better for them because the Messenger made it a sacred sanctuary, and it is the place of Revelation, a place where blessings descend – so if only they knew what it means to settle in Madīnah due to its religious benefits that are underestimated by people in exchange for immediate hidden good fortune that is found by living in other cities.
5- Al-Bukhārī (no. 1871) and Muslim (no. 1382) report that Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu `anhu) said that the Prophet (ﷺ) stated:
أُمِرْتُ بِقَرْيَةٍ تَأْكُلُ الْقُرَى يَقُولُونَ يَثْرِبَ وَهِيَ الْمَدِينَةُ تَنْفِي النَّاسَ كَمَا يَنْفِي الْكِيرُ خَبَثَ الْحَدِيدِ
“I have been commanded to go to a town which supersedes all other towns. They say: ‘It is [called] Yathrib’ but is Madīnah. It purifies the people just as the bellows eliminate the impurities of iron.”
The scholars such as Al-Baghawee in Sharhus-Sunnah have stated that it supersedes [or consumes] means that Allāh will aid Islām by way of the people of Madīnah and that the townships are conquered by them and the bounties are brought back and consumed by them.
6- From the virtues of Madīnah is the supplication of the Prophet (ﷺ) for it to be blessed. Muslim reports (no. 1374) from Abu Sa`īd al-Khudrī that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي مَدِينَتِنَا اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي صَاعِنَا اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي مُدِّنَا اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ مَعَ الْبَرَكَةِ بَرَكَتَيْنِ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ مَا مِنْ الْمَدِينَةِ شِعْبٌ وَلَا نَقْبٌ إِلَّا عَلَيْهِ مَلَكَانِ يَحْرُسَانِهَا حَتَّى تَقْدَمُوا إِلَيْهَا
“O Allāh, bless us in our Madīnah. O Allāh, bless us in our Sā` (a measure of four cupped handfuls). O Allāh, bless us in our Mudd (a measure of single cupped handful). And to each blessing add two more. By the One in whose Hand is my soul, there is no mountain pass nor road around Madīnah but there are two Angels standing guard over it until you return back to it.”
7- Neither plague nor the Dajjāl will enter Madīnah. Bukhārī (no. 1880) and Muslim (no. 1379) report from Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu `anhu) that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
عَلَى أَنْقَابِ الْمَدِينَةِ مَلَائِكَةٌ لَا يَدْخُلُهَا الطَّاعُونُ وَلَا الدَّجَّالُ
“On the roads into Madīnah there are Angels so that neither plague nor the Dajjāl can enter it.”
8- In Madīnah there is the Prophet’s Masjid – it is from those Mosques to which one is permitted to travel. Bukhārī (no. 1189) and Muslim (no. 1397) report from Abu Hurairah that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
لَا تُشَدُّ الرِّحَالُ إِلَّا إِلَى ثَلَاثَةِ مَسَاجِدَ مَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَسْجِدِي هَذَاوَمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى
“No journey should be undertaken to visit any Masjid except three: The Masjid Al-Harām [in Makkah], this Masjid of mine, and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsā.”
Prayer in the Prophet’s Mosque receives a manifold increase in reward. Bukhārī (no. 1190) and Muslim (no. 1394) report from Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu `anhu) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
صَلَاةٌ فِي مَسْجِدِي هَذَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ صَلَاةٍ فِيمَا سِوَاهُ إِلَّا الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ
“The prayer in this Masjid of mine is better than a thousand prayers in any other Masjid except for the Masjid Al-Harām [in Makkah].”
9- In Madīnah there is Masjid Qubā’ and praying in it equates to an `Umrah! Imām Ahmad (rahimahullāh) narrated in his Musnad (no. 15981) from Sahl Ibn Hanīf that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
مَنْ خَرَجَ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ هَذَا الْمَسْجِدَ يَعْنِي مَسْجِدَ قُبَاء فَيُصَلِّيَ فِيهِ كَانَ كَعَدْلِ عُمْرَةٍ
“Whoever leaves out until he reaches this Masjid, meaning Masjid Qubā’, and he prayers inside it, then it is like performing an `Umrah.”
10- In the Prophet’s Masjid there is the honourable Garden (Ar-Rawdah). Bukhārī (no. 1196) and Muslim (no. 1391) report from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
مَا بَيْنَ بَيْتِي وَمِنْبَرِي رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ وَمِنْبَرِي عَلَى حَوْضِي
“Whatever is between my house and my pulpit is a garden from the Gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit is over my lake.”
Ibn Hajr stated that this is yet another encouragement to live in Madīnah – and his (ﷺ) saying: “A garden from the Gardens of Paradise” means that there descends upon it mercy, and happiness, and if one was to pray there it is as if he has prayed in a Garden of Paradise. Or it could mean that it is a real garden that will be transferred in the Hereafter into Paradise.
11- In Madīnah there is the Mountain of Uhud. Bukhārī (no. 4422) and Muslim (no. 1391) report from Abu Humaid (radiyallāhu `anhu) that he said: We returned with the Prophet (ﷺ) from the Battle of Tabook until we reached Madīnah, and the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
هَذِهِ طَابَةُ وَهَذَا أُحُدٌ وَهُوَ جَبَلٌ يُحِبُّنَا وَنُحِبُّهُ
“This is Tābah and this is Uhud – It is a mountain that loves us, and we love it.”
12- There is in Madīnah the Valley of Al-`Aqeeq. Bukhārī (1534) reports from `Umar Ibn al-Khattāb (radiyallāhu `anhu) that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
“Tonight there came to me a messenger Angel from my Lord. He said: ‘Pray in this blessed valley, and say: `Umratan fi Hajjatin (i.e. the talbiyah for `Umrah and Hajj).'”
13- From Madīnah we get the `Ajwah date. Bukhārī (5445) and Muslim (2047) report from Sa`d that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
“Whoever eats seven `Ajwah dates in the morning, then he will not be harmed by poison or magic on that day.”
14- Madīnah purifies itself from filth. Bukhārī (721) and Muslim (1383) report from Jābir Ibn Abdillāh that a Bedouin pledged allegiance to the Prophet (ﷺ) then the Bedouin suffered a severe fever in Madīnah. He came to the Prophet and said: “O Muhammad cancel my oath of allegiance.” But the Prophet refused. He went away, came back and repeated his request and the Prophet refused again. He did that three or four times. After that the Bedouin himself left Madīnah on his own accord. So the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“Madīnah is like bellows, it eliminates its filth and impurities and it purifies what is good.”
15- Whoever wishes harm and evil upon the people of Madīnah, Allāh destroys him. Bukhārī (1877) and Muslim (1387) report from S`ad Ibn Abī Waqqās (radiyallahu `anhu) that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
“Whoever intends to do harm [or wishes ill] to the people of Madīnah, Allāh will cause him to melt like salt dissolving in water.”
And in a narration (Muslim, no. 1363):
“..except that Allāh will melt him in the Fire like lead, or like salt dissolving in water.”
And in a narration reported by Ahmad in the Musnad (16557):
“Whoever scares the people of Madīnah oppressively, then Allāh scares him – upon him is the curse of Allāh, the Angels and all of humankind – and on the Day of Resurrection, Allāh will not accept from him any payment nor compensation.”
16- Our Prophet (ﷺ) lived there and died there as did many of his wives and Companions. Buried next to him in the residence of Ā`ishah (radiyallāhu `anhā) are his two closest and trusted Companions, the two Caliphs, Abu Bakr and `Umar (radiyallāhu anhumā). It is NOT legislated for anyone to embark upon a journey to visit the graves of Prophets nor the righteous – this is proven by the Hadīth already stated above:“No journey should be undertaken to visit any Masjid except three: The Masjid Al-Harām [in Makkah], this Masjid of mine, and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsā.” Visiting the Prophet’s Mosque is not from the obligations of Hajj or `Umrah. However, if one is in Madīnah, then it is legislated to attend the funerals and to visit the graveyards so that one is reminded of death and may supplicate for the deceased. In this regard, one may also visit the grave of the Prophet and his two Companions to give them salutations, just as Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu `anhumā) would do: “Assalāmu `alaika Yā Rasūlallāh. Assalāmu `alaika Yā Abā Bakr. Assalāmu `alaika Yā Abati (O my father).” Then he would leave.
So a visitor today would say:
“Assalāmu `alaika Yā Rasūlallāh. Assalāmu `alaika Yā Abā Bakr. Assalāmu `alaika Yā `Umar.” And leave without lingering.
(See Manāsik al-Hajj wal-`Umrah of Ibn `Uthaimeen)
Ibn `Uthaimeen (rahimahullāh) said:
“It is not allowed to stand for a long time in front of the grave of the Prophet (ﷺ) making Du`ā (supplicating) or at the graves of his two Companions. Imām Mālik (rahimahullāh) used to hate for that to done saying: ‘It is a bid`ah that was not practiced by the Salaf – and the latter part of this Ummah will not be rectified except by that which which rectified its first part.'”
(See Manāsik al-Hajj wal-`Umrah of Ibn `Uthaimeen, p.144)
Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullāh) said:
“Imām Mālik would hate for the the people of Madīnah that every time anyone entered the Prophet’s Mosque that he would go to the grave of the Prophet (ﷺ), because the Salaf would not do that. Rather they would come to the Masjid and they would pray in it behind Abu Bakr,`Umar, `Uthmān and `Alī (radiyallāhu `anhum) – and each would utter in his prayer (in the Tashahhud): ‘Assalāmu `alaika ayyuhan-Nabiyy wa rahmatullāh wa barakātuhu,’ (i.e. peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the Mercy of Allāh and His Blessings). Then once the prayer had finished, they would stand or leave – and they would not head to the grave of the Prophet (ﷺ) to give him salutations of Salām. This was due to their knowledge that the salutations, peace, the mention and prayers upon him in their Daily Prayer [in the tashahhud] was better and more excellent.”
(See Manāsik al-Hajj wal-`Umrah of Ibn `Uthaimeen, p.144)
And if that is the case with the Salām and Salutations, then how much greater in travesty and calamity is the case of the one who stands by the grave of the Prophet (ﷺ) holding conversations with him, seeking his assistance and his succour! Seeking help, rescue, cure and other such matters from the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) is major polytheism that exits one from the fold of Islām.
It is also not permitted to go to any grave and supplicate to Allah for one’s own needs thinking that being in the presence of a grave is a nearness to Allah [even if it be the grave of the Prophet (ﷺ)] making it more likely for his supplication being accepted.
As for the oft-quoted fables and “Hadīth” such as:
1. “Whoever performs Hajj and does not visit me, then verily he has shunned me.” Then this Hadīth is weak at best, though in reality it is fabricated and a lie. In it there are narrators who are very weak, and others unknown as stated by Ad-Dāruqutnī, Al-Bazzār and Al-Bayhaqī. (See Fatawa tat`alaq bi-Ahkāmil-Hajj wal-`Umrah waz-Ziyārah min Ijābah of Ibn Bāz (rahimahullāh), pp. 147-149)
2. “Whoever visits me after my death, it is as if he has visited me during my lifetime.” Collected by Ad-Dāruqutnī, Abu Ya`lā in his Musnad, and Ibn `Adiyy in Al-Kāmil. There is in the chain of narration weak and unknown narrators. So the narration cannot be attributed to the Prophet (ﷺ). (See Fatawa tat`alaq bi-Ahkāmil-Hajj wal-`Umrah waz-Ziyārah min Ijābah of Ibn Bāz (rahimahullāh), pp. 147-149)
The Prophet (ﷺ) himself forbade rituals and ceremonies at his grave saying in an authentic Hadīth:
“Do not take my grave as a place of rituals or festivities, neither turn your homes into graves. And send upon me your Salutations of Salām, for it will be carried to me from wherever you may be.”
Reported by Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wāhid al-Maqdisī in Al-Mukhtārah
As for the Hadīth: “Whoever prays forty prayers [in the Prophet’s Mosque] then freedom from Hellfire will be written for him and freedom from hypocrisy.” Shaikh Ibn Bāz (rahimahullāh) said: “This narration is weak as far the scholars of Hadīth verification have stated, and thus it cannot be used as a proof or relied upon.”
And all praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.