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It feels blessed to be here.
Indeed, having the chance to live in Mecca and/or Madhinah (alternative spelling for Medina) is a great blessing from Allah. There are millions of people all over the world hoping for a chance to live here, to pray a single prayer in al-Madjid-ul-Haraam and al-Masjid-uh-Nabawi, and and if being blessed with the chance to pray in one of them is not a blessing, then I don’t know what is.
I have been living in Medina since 2012, travelling in the summer vacations to my home country.
The people here pretty awesome, friendly and amiable. But, like most other places, you occasionally get the ‘a**holes’. They shout at people, curse and insult you, especially if you are not a Saudi or an Arab. And some of the younger generations are like this too. Some of them have no respect for others. Calling someone a ‘dog’ is normal. The city being Medina, you would think they would be a bit more religious, but no.
And most of the Arab employees are horrible too. You get the feeling that they do not care about you at all, as if they want you out of their sight as soon as possible. They send you from one person to another as if it is none of their business (they tell you to go to so-and-so, and that person says the same thing, and then you are on a roll). ‘Come back tomorrow’ is like a catchphrase for them.
Of course, this might not always be the case, but this is what I have faced mostly.
And then there are others:
Philanthropists, whom you might not meet except occasionally, but you hear of them, you see their influence on the society in the form of charity organizations, food distributing agents, etc.
Scholars: Medina is a ‘breeding ground’ for scholars. There are many scholars in the city, with the most prominent of them teaching in the Prophet’s Mosque. Many of them also teach at Islamic University of Madhinah, which has students from all over the world (and is free–no tuition fee, plus they give you a monthly stipend and free accommodation).
Students of Knowledge: The Islamic University is full of them. You would see them at the Prophet’s Mosque very often, mostly after Asr till Isha.
Women: I am mentioning women in this list because I want to mention something that I like about them. Unlike most other Islamic countries where most women do not cover properly, here they cover more. And I say more because I still do not think that most of them cover because of anything religious, rather they do it because of something cultural.
Because of them covering themselves, it is very easy to live here, away from temptations.
Foreign Workers: There are a lot of foreign workers, mostly from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Most of them are like us, whom most of these Arab idiots hate.
Medina is a big city. With mostly urban areas, you see pretty modern standard buildings. One of the things that is most notably different when compared to my home country is that the houses here have big water tanks (under the house, as in basement) that need to be filled every few weeks depending on the water usage of the household. You cannot get water easily from under then ground in every area, so you have to get water from other places (where there are big wells, etc.) in big water trucks.
On the other hand, if you wander around you cannot miss old or small buildings or rather the homes of the poor. If you come to Umrah and visit Madhinah and do not walk around enough, you might just leave without seeing the whole picture. (edit: The following are some images I took a couple of weeks ago while walking to the Prophet’s Mosque)
The area around the Prophet’s Mosque, which is where most of the Pilgrims hang around when they come, is pretty developed (with 4-star, 5-star hotels, etc), very much unlike areas in the photos above.
Also, there are relatively very low amount of crime, which is something you always appreciate. This does not mean that you are gonna love everything you see here.
The weather becomes very hot here in the summer (thankfully I get to travel during summer), reaching nearly 50 degrees celcius. During winter, it might drop less than 10. Rain is very rare.
When you compare the pros and cons, the fact that you get the chance to pray in the Prophet’s Mosque makes every little difficulty you face here seem, well, little.
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