The city of Medina, Minnesota is slowly growing and is experiencing an influx of diverse residents from a variety of backgrounds. I am one of those residents. I was attracted to Medina from only 10 miles north in Rogers. What mainly attracted me to Medina was the nearby Islamic Center (NWICC) I helped build in Plymouth at the site of the Post Office. My second attraction to Medina was that it is named after the most holy of cities in Islam, “Al Medina Al Munawarah” meaning, “The City of Light.” The Arabian city used to be called Yathrib until Prophet Muhammad and a small group of Muslims sought refuge there from their persecuting clansmen in Mecca. Shortly thereafter, as the influence of Islam spread throughout the region, people started referring to the city as “Al- Medina” which means “The City” in Arabic. This is similar to how Minnesotans refer to Minneapolis & St Paul or any other central urban area – as in “I work in the city.”
A number of Muslim families have moved to the area recently and soon, on December 1st, we will be marking the birth of the Prophet Muhammad called, “Eid Milad Un Nabi.” Muslim holidays are observed according to the Hijri Calendar which is based on the Lunar Cycle, and is 10-11 days shorter than the solar calendar. Hence, holidays move 10-11 days earlier in reference to the solar calendar every year. In Minnesota celebrations are limited to gatherings in the mosques where we recite prayers sending salutations to the Prophet, discussing his life and its implications on our lives today. The Prophet’s life is the explanation of the Quran, the Muslim Holy Book; one cannot be understood without reference to the other.