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The Cities of the Two Holy Mosques

The Cities of the Two Holy Mosques

Mecca

Muslims believe that Mecca and Madina hold a special religious significance. Mecca is the home of Prophet Ibrahim, and the birth place of Prophet Mohammed. Mecca is a focal point that all Muslims will face toward that direction in their prayers. Kabbah is located in the center of Mecca and it's the first house of worship, originally built by prophet Ibrahim and his son. Mecca is the largest mosque in the world and it is called Al Masjid Al Haram.

Madina

Originally was named Yathrib, Madina is the second holiest city in Islam. This is the city to which the Prophet Mohammed migrated when he left Mecca and where he was buried. Madina is also called as Al-Madīnah Al-Munawarah, and it means enlightened city as it was the location of the first Muslim community. Relatively abundant water has enabled Medina to have an important agricultural hinterland, with dates the main crop. However, the growth of the city during the oil era and diversion of water to other uses has caused agriculture to suffer. The annual pilgrimage provides an important source of income, as do trade and the provision of services. Long a center of Islamic learning, the city now hosts the Islamic University of Medina. A 2000 estimate put the city's population at 891,000.