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Al Madinah, Saudi Arabia



Medina 42312 Saudi Arabia

  • Solo Umrah: Is It Possible?

    The Umrah is one of the most personal and memorable journeys you will ever take, which is why you must organize it around your own needs and preferences. Visited by millions or more throughout the year for Umrah and Hajj, the teeming city, Mecca, is bustling with pilgrims from all over the globe and all walks of life, come together for the purpose of their faithful duties to their Lord. One of the most common questions people have is whether to travel alone or in a group. It could be that your family and friends are not in a position to go with you or you really don’t want to wait any longer, or perhaps going by yourself is your choice. Traveling solo is not a big hassle if you know the language (Arabic and English). When going for Umrah on your own and knowing how to plan it, going solo can actually save you money as well as more flexibility and exploring places. Apply for Umrah Visa If you are planning to travel solo for Umrah, the first process is to arrange for a visa and then book flight and hotel. The best bet is to check with the travel agencies for the needed documents. Umrah visas are offered from the 1st of Muharram to the 15th of Ramadhan. Most pilgrims opt to use a specialized travel agency, which will handle all the paperwork for them. Book your Flight and Hotel Planning a Solo Umrah can really help you keep the cost under budget and make it a memorable experience as well. If you want to save money, just get the Umrah visa through them (travel agencies) and take care of the rest on your own. For solo travel, you may prefer a single room. You can also opt for a hotel that suits your own interests and preferences; perhaps somewhere quieter, in a more peaceful location, or hotels that put you at the heart of Mecca. Depending on your needs, you can go for a budget accommodation or a more luxury accommodation for less. For flights and hotels, you can simply go on to any travel websites and book your tickets and rooms just like with any other destination. Few recommendations for hotels in Makkah: For the Budget Wary Picture Credit: M Hotel Makkah Facebook M Hotel Makkah by Millennium: It is a 4-star property about 2.5 km away from Masjid al-Haram. You have a free shuttle to take you there 24hrs. Mid-Range Picture Credit: Swissotel Hotels Swissotel Al Maqam Makkah: This hotel gets you closer to the Masjid al-Haram without paying a fortune. You’ll still have to walk 5-10 minutes to the mosque. The Luxurious Travelers Picture Credit: Hilton Suites Hilton Suites or any hotel in Abraj Al baith: This hotel has the best reviews at a reasonable price right in front of the Masjid al-Haram. Few recommendations for hotels in Madinah: For the Budget Wary Picture Credit: Elaf Group Meshal Al Madina: Nothing fancy, just a place to sleep and shower that’s about 5 minutes to Masjid an-Nabawi. Mid-Range Picture Credit: Pullman Hotels Pullman ZamZam Madinah: Not too pricey and within a 5-minute walk to Masjid an-Nabawi. The Luxurious Travelers Picture Credit: Intercontinental Hotels Intercontinental Madinah: Literally right next to Masjid an-Nabawi. Ultimate convenience and luxury for the most reasonable price. There is no need to be self-conscious or concerned, either – the minute you arrive at your hotel, you will see that this is an experience that offers no boundaries for age or background. Everyone mingles together in a way that breaks down all perceived barriers, leaving you free to carry out your Umrah in a relaxed and immersive way. Arriving You will land in either Medina or Jeddah. During busy times such as Ramadan and peak holidays, it is best to arrive in Medina first. The airport is smaller and not many airlines fly into Medina, therefore, it is less congested. You can be done with immigration and collect your luggage within an hour where in Jeddah it can be up to 2 to 3 hours or even longer. If you are doing Solo Umrah you can manage and find flights that can arrive in Medina which would be more manageable. Arrive at the hotel and rest since the distance from Medina airport to your hotel wouldn’t exceed a 25 min drive. Then travel Medina to Mecca by SAPTCO buses or by an Uber or taxis. Upon your return, all you need to do is to get from Mecca to Jeddah. This way you can save a 5-hour journey by a coach since only you need to travel from Medina to Mecca. Prices for flights arriving in Medina and leaving from Jeddah are not too expensive either and it is less of a hassle compared to the 10-hour return journey to Medina by coach. Jeddah airport is a busier airport so queues and delays are more prevalent. I would recommend to try not to fly into Jeddah if you can. Of course, if you cannot avoid it then brace yourself with patience, plenty of it too. It is an hour journey (1 hr) to get from Jeddah to Mecca. Taxi drivers may give you high prices which you need to negotiate. It is better to book an Uber and pay a base rate of 250 SAR to get to Mecca, no negotiating needed. Use Uber to get to Medina as well. The approximate rates are as follows: Jeddah to Makkah – 250 SARJeddah to Madinah – 900 SAR SIM Card You can buy location sim card from the airport from 35 Sr onwards on STC, Mobily or Zain networks. Money The Saudi currency is the Saudi riyal (ريال, SAR), which has traded at a fixed 3.75 to the US dollar. Saudi Arabia is still largely a cash society, but credit card and debit card acceptance are surprisingly good everywhere. ATMs are ubiquitous, especially in gas stations and malls. All banks accept foreign cards. Food and Drink Picture Credit: AlBaik You are safely going to the cheapest country for food. You can indulge in some great tongue tickling delicacies in Mecca and Medina. From splurge restaurants to pocket-friendly street food, there is a vast variety of food available nearby to both mosques. If you are a fast food lover do not forget to have Albaik, which is well known as a budget-friendly restaurant with 12 SR for a 4-piece chicken breast. The middle eastern staple, Shawarma, is widely available at 4 to 5 SR being the standard price for a sandwich. Traveling alone can be daunting, what more traveling solo with a purpose to perform Umrah. Sometimes you need that extra push to do something beyond ordinary and In Shaa Allah it will bring the best of experiences to you and your soul....

  • A Guide to al-Masjid an-Nabawi, Medina

    Al-Masjid an-Nabawi or the Prophet's Mosque, the second-holiest site in Islam, is one of the world’s oldest mosques, as well as one of its largest. Located in the sacred city of Madinah (also spelled Medina), in Saudi Arabia, the stunning mosque is the most important in the city and one of the most significant of sites in Islamic history as it was built by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in 622 CE, and today is home to his final resting place. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is not just a mosque, but the location of inspiring historical birthplace of Islam and its traditions. It plays an important role during the Hajj season, and is visited by millions of pilgrims each year. Outside of Hajj season, the masjid still sees countless worshippers from around the world each day, due to its undeniable importance. Visiting the mosque is a dream for every believer, and, thus being given the chance to do so is a blessing. The masjid and its upkeep are the responsibility of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. An interesting fact about Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is that it is open throughout the year. Find a Mosque near you in Saudi Arabia Explore Halal Restaurants near you in Saudi Arabia Where to pray in Madinah shouldn’t even be a question for any Muslim visiting the city, and even though there are numerous other mosques in Madinah, praying at the Prophet’s Mosque is a tremendous blessing. Our brief guide to the mosque takes you through its incredible history, from its foundation all the way to its beautiful present state.   Al-Masjid an-Nabawi - History and Present Picture Credit - Ibrahim Basha, On the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) leaving of the city of Makkah, and following his arrival in the city of Madinah, Al-Masjid an-Nabawi was originally built by his own hands in 622, and over and above being a prayer place, functioned as a court, community center, as well as a religious school. The mosque’s construction took seven months, and it was enlarged and expanded over the years, with surrounding houses being demolished by the second caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), in order to facilitate the new constructions, and eventually demolished and rebuilt in 649 by the third caliph Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him), with prayer halls facing the Kaaba in Al-Masjid al-Ḥaram in the city of Makkah. In the years since, the mosque’s floor area was further expanded, with more demolitions made around the mosque, minarets were built in, as well as its iconic “Green Dome,” Qur’anic verses were inscribed in beautiful Islamic calligraphy on its walls, more columns were erected, and further changes made to its interior and exterior. In 1992, after a number of changes made by Saudi Kings; King Faisal and King Fahd, the mosque covered an area of 1.7 million square feet, with 27 new courtyards and elevators to accommodate the rising number of worshippers visiting the holy Mosque. To this day, with the number of Muslim worshippers visiting al-Masjid an-Nabawi is consistently rising, the Mosque is constantly being expanded and made more accessible for the millions that visit it. It is in fact now known to be 100 times the size of the original building that was initially built. During Hajj season, many pilgrims visit the mosque because of its connection to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), hence the ground floor of the Mosque, as well as its roof, and the squares surrounding the Prophet’s Mosque, are packed to the brim, with worshippers even spilling on to the streets during this time. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi’s exterior is impeccably beautiful and awe-inspiring. The building itself is huge, with numerous minarets, a large Green Dome and a smaller inner dome. The courtyard that wraps around the masjid can accommodate thousands of worshippers, and is equipped with electronic umbrellas that expand during the day to give much-needed shelter and shade to those praying outdoors. There are a number of washrooms and wudhu facilities, and the courtyard is generally divided so that men and women have separate areas to offer their prayers. Surrounding the mosque are countless hotels which have been built to accommodate all of the worshippers visiting the city, in addition to restaurants and shops selling a variety of succulent dates, traditional prayer garbs and other Islamic clothing, food items and more. Many businesses remain open throughout the day and night, making it known as a city that doesn’t sleep.   Inside al-Masjid an-Nabawi The interior of al-Masjid an-Nabawi is equally as stunning and spectacular as its exterior. Floors covered in lush carpets for as far as the eye can see, gigantic chandeliers, extravagant arches, large pillars, marble-covered walls with Qur’anic verses, racks of Islamic books and Qur'ans, large water coolers and thousands and thousands of individuals worshipping are some of the things you are bound to see upon entering the masjid. The mosque has numerous large prayer halls, for both men and women and countless washroom and areas for wudhu can be found throughout the mosque. It is illuminated during all hours, day and night, and has an energy that has the ability to make worshippers even forget the time of day while inside. Picture credit - One of the most important places in the mosque, is Ar-Rawdhah an-Nabawiyah. Worshippers visiting the mosque will make it a point to visit the Raudhah and offer a few nawafil prayers here before departing, as it is the place between the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s minbar, or pulpit, and the Prophet’s burial tomb. Distinguished by a green carpet, the area is so sacred that prayers or dua made here are said to be answered. The small space cannot however accommodate the number of worshippers visiting the mosque, so access at most times is restricted. Picture Credit - The mosque’s iconic Green Dome marks the place where Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) burial chamber can be found, and buried next to the Prophet are the first two Caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar. It is also the exact spot where his house with his wife Aisha (R.A) once was. The chamber is protected by a gold grill, which prevents worshippers from directly seeing the graves. There are also numerous other areas, and rooms, the minarets, the minbar, the mihrabs within the masjid that carry with them incredible stories from the Prophet’s time. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi’s serenity is indescribable. The feelings and emotions that it evokes in the worshippers cannot be explained. The mosque exudes calmness and peace even while packed with thousands, and is a destination that cannot be properly put into words due to its magnificence. Its energy is magnetic and the reward of a prayer exceptional. May Allah (SWT) grant us all the ability to visit and offer our prayers at both of the Holy Mosques. Ameen. Address: Al Haram, Medina 42311, Saudi ArabiaOpening Hours: 24 hoursWebsite:  Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram   Check out our Saudi Arabia city guides Attractions to visit in Saudi Arabia...

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