The Madinah Region (Arabic: المدينة المنورة Al-Madīnah al-Munawarah) is a region of Saudi Arabia, located on the country's west side, along the Red Sea coast. It has an area of 151,990 km² and a population of 1,777,973 (2010 Census), subdivided into seven governorates (muḥafaẓat):
Medina (/məˈdiːnə/; Arabic: المدينة المنورة, al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah, "the radiant city"; or المدينة, al-Madīnah (Hejazi pronunciation: [almaˈdiːna]), "the city"), also transliterated as Madīnah, is a city in the Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula and administrative headquarters of the Al-Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia. At the city's heart is al-Masjid an-Nabawi ('The Prophet's Mosque'), which is the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and it is the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca.
Medina was Muhammad's destination of his Hijrah (migration) from Mecca, and became the capital of a rapidly increasing Muslim Empire, under Muhammad's leadership. It served as the power base of Islam in its first century where the early Muslim community developed. Medina is home to the three oldest mosques, namely the Quba Mosque, al-Masjid an-Nabawi, and Masjid al-Qiblatayn ('The mosque of the two Qiblas'). Muslims believe that the chronologically final surahs of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad in Medina, and are called Medinan surahs in contrast to the earlier Meccan surahs.
Just like Mecca, the city center of Medina is closed to anyone who is considered a non-Muslim, including members of the Ahmadiyya movement, by the national government; however, other parts of the city are not closed.
The situation changed after the arrival from Yemen of two new Arab tribes named Banu Aus (or Banu 'Aws) and Banu Khazraj. At first, these tribes were allied with Jewish rulers, but later they revolted and became independent. Toward the end of the 5th century, the Jewish rulers lost control of the city to Banu Aus and Banu Khazraj. The Jewish Encyclopedia states that "by calling in outside assistance and treacherously massacring at a banquet the principal Jews", Banu Aus and Banu Khazraj finally gained the upper hand at Medina.
Most modern historians accept the claim of the Muslim sources that after the revolt, the Jewish tribes became clients of the Aus and the Khazraj. However, according to scholar of Islam William Montgomery Watt, the clientship of the Jewish tribes is not borne out by the historical accounts of the period prior to 627, and he maintained that the Jewish populace retained a measure of political independence.
Early Muslim chronicler Ibn Ishaq tells of a pre-Islamic conflict between the last Yemenite king of the Himyarite Kingdom and the residents of Yathrib. When the king was passing by the oasis, the residents killed his son, and the Yemenite ruler threatened to exterminate the people and cut down the palms. According to Ibn Ishaq, he was stopped from doing so by two rabbis from the Banu Qurayza tribe, who implored the king to spare the oasis because it was the place "to which a prophet of the Quraysh would migrate in time to come, and it would be his home and resting-place." The Yemenite king thus did not destroy the town and converted to Judaism. He took the rabbis with him, and in Mecca, they reportedly recognised the Ka'ba as a temple built by Abraham and advised the king "to do what the people of Mecca did: to circumambulate the temple, to venerate and honour it, to shave his head and to behave with all humility until he had left its precincts." On approaching Yemen, tells ibn Ishaq, the rabbis demonstrated to the local people a miracle by coming out of a fire unscathed and the Yemenites accepted Judaism.
Eventually the Banu Aus and the Banu Khazraj became hostile to each other and by the time of Muhammad's Hijra (emigration) to Medina in 622 AD/1 AH, they had been fighting for 120 years and were the sworn enemies of each other. The Banu Nadir and the Banu Qurayza were allied with the Aus, while the Banu Qaynuqa sided with the Khazraj. They fought a total of four wars.
Yathrib was renamed Medina from Madinat al-Nabi ("city of the Prophet" in Arabic) in honour of Muhammad's prophethood and death there. (Alternatively, Lucien Gubbay suggests the name Medina could also have been a derivative from the Aramaic word Medinta, which the Jewish inhabitants could have used for the city. )
Under the first three caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman, Medina was the capital of a rapidly increasing Muslim Empire. During the period of Uthman, the third caliph, a party of Arabs from Egypt, disgruntled at his political decisions, attacked Medina in 656 AD/35 AH and murdered him in his own home. Ali, the fourth caliph, changed the capital of the caliphate from Medina to Kufa in Iraq. After that, Medina's importance dwindled, becoming more a place of religious importance than of political power.
In 1256 AD Medina was threatened by a lava flow from the Harrat Rahat volcanic area.
Saudi Arabia is hostile to any reverence given to historical or religious places of significance for fear that it may give rise to shirk (idolatry). As a consequence, under Saudi rule, Medina has suffered from considerable destruction of its physical heritage including the loss of many buildings over a thousand years old. Critics have described this as "Saudi vandalism" and claim that in Medina and Mecca over the last 50 years, 300 historic sites linked to Muhammad, his family or companions have been lost. In Medina, examples of historic sites which have been destroyed include the Salman al-Farsi Mosque, the Raj'at ash-Shams Mosque, the Jannatul Baqee cemetery, and the house of Muhammed.
The North Yemen Civil War was fought in North Yemen between royalists of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen and factions of the Yemen Arab Republic from 1962 to 1970. The war began with a coup d'état carried out by the republican leader, Abdullah as-Sallal, which dethroned the newly crowned Muhammad al-Badr and declared Yemen a republic under his presidency. The Imam escaped to the Saudi Arabian border and rallied popular support.
The royalist side received support from Saudi Arabia, while the republicans were supported by Egypt and the Soviet Union. Both foreign irregular and conventional forces were also involved. The Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, supported the republicans with as many as 70,000 troops. Despite several military moves and peace conferences, the war sank into a stalemate. Egypt's commitment to the war is considered to have been detrimental to its performance in the Six-Day War of June 1967, after which Nasser found it increasingly difficult to maintain his army's involvement and began to pull his forces out of Yemen.
By 1970, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia recognized the republic and a truce was signed. Egyptian military historians refer to the war in Yemen as their Vietnam.
Saudi Arabia: Al'Madinah