First of all the soul of the admiration of Madina al-Munawwarah is the blessed and august presence of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam. The merits of Madina Munawwarah, of prayer in Madina Munawwarah, of visiting the Masjid al-Nabawi Sharif, of living and residing in Madina Munawwarah, of not cutting its trees, etc. are all based on the fact that the Prophet Peace and Blessings be with Him is there. The fact that it is a sanctuary (haram) and a preserve (hima) is well documented in numerous ahadith. It is even strongly recommended not to enter Madina Munawwarah except on foot, and many Companions, Tabi`in, and Tabi` al-Tabi`in never entered it except on foot, in respect for the Holy Presence of the Prophet.
Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala says in the Holy Quran:
1. و لو انهم إذ ظلموا أنفسهم جاءوك فاستغفروا الله واستغفر لهم الرسول لوجدوا الله توابا الرحيما
"And when they impose on their lives (sin), they must come to your (the Nabi's) presence, then seek repentance from ALLAH and the Rasool (Peace be upon Him) also asks for their forgiveness. Then, they will indeed find ALLAH Most Forgiving and Compassionate." [An-Nisa:61]
2. Dawud ibn Salih says: " Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] one day saw a man placing his face on top of the grave of the Prophet. He said: "Do you know what you are doing?" When he came near him, he realized it was Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. The latter said: "Yes; I came to the Prophet, not to a stone."
3. Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Ahmad (5:422), Tabarani in his Mu`jam al-kabir (4:189) and his Awsat according to Haythami in al-Zawa'id (5:245), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:515); both the latter and al-Dhahabi said it was sahih. It is also cited by al-Subki in Shifa' al-siqam (p. 126), Ibn Taymiyya in al-Muntaqa (2:261f.), and Haythami in al-Zawa'id (4:2).
4. Narrated Abu Huraira (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho), The Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said, "I have made Madinah a sanctuary between its two (Harrat) mountains." The Prophet(Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) went to the tribe of Bani Haritha and said (to them), "I see that you have gone out of the sanctuary," but looking around, he added, "No, you are inside the sanctuary."
5. Narrated Abu Huraira (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho): Allah's Apostle said, "I was ordered to migrate to a town which will swallow (conquer) other towns and is called Yathrib and that is Madinah, and it turns out (bad) persons as a furnace removes the impurities of iron."
6. Jaabir bin Samurah (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho) says; "I heard Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) say: ' Verily Allah named Madinah, Taabah (meaning the good one) or Tayyibah (the pure)."
7. Sa'ad (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho) reports that Rasulullullah (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said: "I declare haraam that area between the rocky lands on both sides of Madinah, that it's vegetation be not cut down nor that animals be hunted within it's area." Rasullullah(Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) also said: " For the believer, Madinah is the best place. If only they could understand it's virtue fully, they would never leave it, and whoever departs from Madinah, having become disenchanted with it, Allah will send someone better to replace him. And whoever bears patiently the ordeals of Madinah, for him shall I be an intercessor(or witness) on the Day of Qiyaamah."
8. Narrated Abu Huraira (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho): Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said, "Verily, Belief returns and goes back to Madinah as a snake returns and goes back to its hole (when in danger)."
9. Narrated Sa'ad (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho): I heard the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) saying, "None plots against the people of Madinah but that he will be dissolved (destroyed) like the salt is dissolved in water."
10. Narrated Abu Bakr (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho): The Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said, "The terror caused by Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal will not enter Madinah and at that time Madinah will have seven gates and there will be two angels at each gate guarding them."
11. Narrated Abu Huraira (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho): Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said, "There are angels guarding the entrances (or roads) of Madinah, neither plague nor Ad-Dajjal will be able to enter it."
12. Narrated Anas (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho): The Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said, "O Allah! Bestow on Madinah twice the blessings You bestowed on Makkah."
13. Narrated Abu Huraira (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho): The Prophet(Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said, "There is a garden from the gardens of Paradise between my house andand my pulpit is on my Pool of water (Al-Kauthar)."
14. Narrated Zaid bin Aslam from his father: Umar (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho) said, O Allah! Grant me martyrdom in Your cause, and let my death be in the city of Your Apostle."
15. Ibn Umar (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho) reports that Rasullullah (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said: "Whoever has the means to die in Madinah, let him die there for I shall intercede on behalf of everyone who dies there." [Musnad Ahmad, Sunan al-Tirmidhi]
16. Syyeduna Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam said: "One who visits my grave, my Shafa'at (Intersession) will be necessary (wajib) upon him". [Daar Qutni, Bazaz, Baheeqi, Ibn-e-Khuzaima]
17. The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) once said: "The person who comes solely for the purpose of paying a visit to my grave, has a right on me that I should intercede for him." [‘Ilm al-Fiqh, Vol 5]
18. Syyeduna Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam said: "One who performs Hajj after me and then visits my grave, that means he visits me in my life". [Daar Qutni, Bayhaqi, Mishkaat, Tibrani Fil Saghir al-Awsat, Majma' al-Zawaid]
19. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam said: "Piece of earth where I would like to have my grave is Madinatul Munawarah" [Mishkat al-Masabih, Page 426]
20. Syyeduna Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam said: "One who traveled to visit me he will be my neighbour in paradise and one who bears the difficulties in the stay of Madina Munawwarah; I will be His Intercessor on the day of judgment." [Sunan al-Bayhaqi, Mishkat Sharif]
21. Hadrat Ka'ab narrated, "70000 angles use to visit the Holy Court every morning and 7000 in evening and they recite Durud Shareef on Nabi Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam. One who visited will never visit again and this process will continue till Qayamat." [Mishkat al-Masabih, Bab al-Karamat]
22. Narrated Ali ibn Abu Talib (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho), The Prophet said: "Madina's fresh grass is not to be cut, its game is not to be driven away, and things dropped in it are to be picked up only by one who publicly announces it, and it is not permissible for any man to carry weapons in it for fighting, and it is not advisable that its trees are cut except what a man cuts for the fodder of his camel. [Abu Dawud, Vol. 10, Hadith 2030]
23. Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar, The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) said: (The standard) weight is the weight of the people of Mecca, and the (standard) measure is the measure of the people of Medina. [Sunan Abi Dawood, Book 22, Hadith 3334]
24. Imam Maalik (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho) says, "Its not lawful to say that I visited the grave of Syyeduna Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam. One must say I visited the august presence of Syyeduna Rasoolullah Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam"
25. Allama Alauddin says, "Consensus says that the part of earth contacted with body of Sarkar Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam is better then the whole universe, Ka'ba Shareef, Arsh-o-Kursi" [Durr-e-Mukhtar Ala Hamish ur Radaj, Vol2, Page 352]
26. Hadrat Shaykh Ziauddin Ahmed Madani said, "A person who's latter is read in Madina Munawwarah or his name is taken; he is surely blessed."
Unique Merit of the Prophet’s Mosque:
The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) himself participated in the construction of this mosque, called it "My Mosque" and led prayers in it for years. He has also said that a salah performed in the Prophet’s Mosque is better than a thousand salats in any other place except Masjid al-Haram in Makkah.
27. According to Hadrat Anas, the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) has said: "The person who offers 40 prayers consecutively in my Mosque, without missing a prayer in between, will secure immunity from the fire of Hell and other torments and also from hypocrisy."
28. Hadrat Usaid bin Huzair(Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho) reports that Rasullullah (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said that the merit of salaah in the Masjid of Quba is equal to performing one Umrah. [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]
29. Hadrat Abdullah bin Umar(Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho) reports that every Satrurday Rasullullah (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) would go to Masjid-e-Quba, sometimes walking and sometimes by conveyance, and he would perform two raka'at of salaah there." [Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim]
30. Hadrat Anas bin Malik(Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho) reports that Rasullullah (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) has said that the mountain of Uhud loved him and he loved it. (Muslim). In Tibraani, It is also described by Hadrat Sahal bin Sa'ad (Radi ALLAHu Ta'ala Anho) that Uhud is one of the pillars of Jannah.
Referring to Madina Sharif as Yathrib
31. Madinah Munawwarah was called Yathrib before Hijrah and came to be known as Taybah or Madinah. The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) had great love for this city. He once said that "There is a cure for every disease in the dust of Madinah" [Al-Targhib]
32. It is impermissible and forbidden to call Madina Tayyiba as Yathrib. It is a sin and the one who says it a sinner. RasulAllah Sallallaho Alahi wa Aalihi wa Sallamwasallam said: “Whoever calls Madina Yathrib, it is necessary for him to repent. Madina is Taabah, Madina is Taabah. [Narrated by Bara’ bin ‘Azin, Musnad Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, 4:285]
33. ‘Allama Manawi writes: From this hadith we learn that it is Haram to name Madina Tayyiba as Yathrib. We are told to repent after calling it so and repentance is only after a sin. [al-Taysir Sharh al-Jami’ al-Saghir, 2:424]
34. Mulla ‘Ali Qari rahimahu’l Bari writes: It is reported from some of the predecessors that calling Madina as Yathrib is Haram. This is supported by the hadith which is recorded by Imam Ahmad . ‘Allama Tayyibi rahimahullah said that it is evident from this that whoever disrespects anything that Allah has honoured and has given the name Iman and this person talks about it in a way that is unbefitting, then he is worthy of being names ‘Aasi . [al-Mirqat Sharh Mishkat, 5:622]
35. When the Qur’an mentions the word Yathrib, it is to inform us what the hypocrites would say:
And when a party of them said: O folk of Yathrib! There is no stand (possible) for you, therefore turn back. [33:13]
The word Yathrib means fighting and censure. This is why these filthy people referred to it as such. Allah refuted them by naming it Taabah. RasulAllah Sallallaho Alahi wa Aalihi wa Sallamwasallam said: They call it Yathrib but it is Madina. [Sahih Bukhari, 1:252]
36. He Sallallaho Alahi wa Aalihi wa Sallamwasallam also said: Indeed Allah has named Madina as Taabah. [Narrated by Jabir bin Sumrah, Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, 5:89, Muslim, 1:445]
37. Mulla ‘Ali Qari writes: It means that Allah had names Madina Munawwara as Taabah on the preserved tablet or He ordered his beloved Prophet Sallallaho Alahi wa Aalihi wa Sallamwasallam to name it such. Allah has castigated the hypocrites for reverting to the disreputable name Yathrib. [al-Mirqat Sharh Mishkat, 5:622]
38. He also writes: Imam Nawawi rahimahullah states that it is reported regarding ‘Isa bin Dinar that whoever calls Madina as Yathrib, he is a sinner. When the Qur’an refers to Yathrib, it is only to let us know of the illness present in the hearts of the hypocrites. [al-Mirqat Sharh Mishkat, 5:622]
Some verses of poetry from the scholars contain this word. Our excuse for them is that they did not know of this hadith and ruling. He who knows the ruling and persists has no excuse, whether it is poetry or otherwise. The Shari’ah governs the poetry, not vice versa. Mawlana Shaykh Muhaqqiq ‘Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dihlawi quddassa sirrahu writes:
The Prophet Sallallaho Alahi wa Aalihi wa Sallamwasallam names it Madina. This is because people lived and gathered there and loved the city. He warned against calling it Yathrib because this is the name from the days of ignorance or because it is derived from either Tharb which means destruction and fighting or Tathrib which means reprimand and censure or because Yathrib was the name of an idol or an oppressive and rebellious person. Imam Bukhari narrates a hadith in his Tarikh that whoever says Yathrib once, he should say Madina ten times so that he compensates for it. When the Qur’an says, “Ya ahla yathrib”, it is from the tongues of the hypocrites and by saying Yathrib, they wanted to disrespect Madina. Another narration mentions that whoever says Yathrib should repent towards Allah and seek forgiveness. And some have said that he be punished. Amazing is the fact that some leading people have used Yathrib in their poems. And Allah knows well, the knowledge of the glorious is complete and strong. [Ashi'atul Lum'aat Sharh Mishkat, 2:393-394]
Makkah Mukarrama is more excellent or Madina Munawwara?
The consensus of the Ulama of the Hanafi School agrees that Makkah Mukarrama is more excellent than Madina Munawwara. But according to Imam Maalik, Madina Munawwara is more excellent and this is also the view of Ameer al-Mo'mineen Sayyiduna Umar al-Farooq. Once a companion said to the Noble Ameer, "Makkah Mu'azzama is more excellent." Sayyiduna Omar replied, "Do you say that Makkah Mukarrama is more excellent then Madina Munawwara?" The Sahabi replied, "By Allah! The House and Haram of Allah." Ameeril Moh'mineen then said, "I am not commenting and asking you about the Haram of Allah, but inquiring whether you say Makkah Mukarrama is more excellent than Madina Munawwara." He replied, "By Allah! The Haram of Allah." The illustrious Khalifa of Islam said, "I am not commenting on the Haram of Allah." The Sahabi and Ameeril Moh'mineen kept to their words.
Ala' Hadrat Imam Ahmad Rida states that his view on this matter is the same as Ameeril Mo'mineen Sayyiduna Omar Farooq. In a Sahih Hadith, it is mentioned,
39. المدينة خير لهم لو كانوا يعلمون
Madina is better for him who understands.
In another, Hadith Shareef it explicitly states,
40. المدينة افضل من مكة
Madina is more excellent than Makkah.
So far as the quantity of Thawaab and excellence are concerned, Sheikh-e-Muhaqqiq Abd al-Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi gave a most beautiful explanation. He said, "There is quantity and number in Makkah, but spiritual elevation in Madina." This means that, in Makkah the Thawaab is greater, but in Madina, the spirituality is great. The following example will assist in understanding the above reality. Which is greater in value, 100 000 bank notes or 50 000 gold sovereigns? In quantity, the former is double but in value, the latter is 10 times greater in value. In Makkah Mukarrama, as you receive 100 000 Thawaab for a single good deed, similarly, there are 100 000 sins recorded for every sin committed. As one is blessed with virtues for the thought of good, likewise penalized for every thought of sin.
On the contrary, in Madina Munawwara there is Thawaab for the thought of good and no penalty for the thought of sin. For every wrong committed, a single sin is recorded while 50000 Thawaab is blessed for every good deed done. It is not surprising that the words of the Hadith خير لهم "Better for you" points out to the fact that, "For you Madinah is better."
Taiba na sahi Afzal Makkah hi Barra Zahid;
Hum ISHQ kay Banday hain kyun Baat barhai hay