Al-Madinah has been given many names. Historians have traced about 100 names given to Al-Madinah. It used to be part of early Arab culture that when they favoured and cherished something they would give it many names.
However, about 6 have been authentically traced back to the Prophet’s era salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam.
1. Yathrib (يَثْرِب)
This is the name of the city before the advent of Islam. The Prophet changed its name and directed the Muslims not to use the ancient name.
2. Al-Madinah (المَدِينَة – The City)
This is the name by which it became known after the Hijrah. This name is mentioned several times in the Qur’an and Hadith.
3-4. Tabah (طابَة – Pleasent) and Taybah (طَيْبَة – Good)
The Messenger of Allah made a reference to the city with these two names.
5-6. Al-Dar (الدَّار –Home) and Al-Eman (الإِيْمَان – Faith)
These are two names are mentioned in the Qur’an: “And (it is also for) those who, before them, had residence in the Home and the Faith…” (59:9)
As for Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah (المَدِينَة المُنَوَّرَة – The illuminated City) then this appeared in the third century and became popularised during the Ottoman Empire.