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MEDINA. In pre-Islamic times called Yathrib, Medina (Madinah) became Muhammad's home after the Hijrah. An oasis 275 miles north of Mecca, it was originally an agricultural settlement, with widely scattered palm groves and armed farmsteads; among its inhabitants were both Arabs and Jews. The two groups lived in a complex political association, which began to unravel late in the sixth century CE, resulting in a grave civil war throughout the oasis. This condition led to Muhammad's invitation to le ...more

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