When the Prophet ﷺ migrated to the city of Yathrib, he changed its name to Madinah instead. Why would one do that to a city that already had a perfectly good name?
Turns out that Yathrib wasn’t a good name at all. Yathrib literally meant “Cursed.” Due to previous outbreaks of malaria and other diseases, people suspected that the city was cursed and referred to it as such.
The Prophet ﷺ always changed names of places – and even people – who were unfairly or negatively labeled. So the “cursed” city instead became known as Taibah – The Pure City, Taaba – The Beautiful City, and Madina-tul-Munawwara – The Illuminated City.
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