By the Editors of the Madain Project

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Yathrib was the pre-Islamic name of the city that later became known as Medina. The renaming of Yathib city to Madinat al-Nabi (meaning "The City of the Prophet") occurred circa 623-24 CE after the Prophet Muhammad's migration from Mecca to Yathrib a year earlier in 622 CE.


The ancient city of Yathrib was situated in the northwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It was known for its agricultural activities, particularly date cultivation, and it served as a trade center in the Arabian Peninsula. However, the continuous tribal conflicts in Yathrib had created an unstable and tense atmosphere. The city was divided into different quarters, each inhabited by various tribes, and these divisions often led to skirmishes and disputes.

Yathrib had no centralized authority, and leadership was often based on tribal alliances and this absence of a unified leadership structure contributed to the city's internal divisions. During antiquity ancient Yathrib was home to various religious beliefs and practices, including polytheism and had a mix of Arab paganism, Judaism, and other local traditions. The social structure was tribal-centric, with a strong emphasis on kinship ties and alliances.

Brief History

circa 1700 BCE to 600 CE

The pre-Islamic Yathrib was characterized by a complex social and political landscape. Yathrib was originally settled by various Arab tribes, with the two main tribes being the Aws and the Khazraj. These tribes had a history of longstanding conflicts and rivalries.

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