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How To Visit Madinah/Medina as a Non-Muslim! Is It Possible??

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Now non-muslims have free travel within Saudi Arabia, can non-muslims go to Madinah and can non-Muslims go to Mecca??

With Saudi Arabia opening its doors to tourism in late 2019, there’s no wonder that there is confusion on where tourists can and can’t visit. Mainly when it comes to Mecca and Medina (Makkah and Madinah), the 2 most important places in Islam.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had intrigued me for years, as well as the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, so it isn’t surprising that I first visited Saudi Arabia in January 2020, just a few months after the tourism e-visa was launched.

Later in 2020, I actually became Muslim! Did visiting Madinah as a non-Muslim help me revert to Islam? Keep reading to find out!

Can Non-Muslims visit Medina/Madinah?

non muslim in Madinah
Keep Reading to see how it was as one of the a non-Muslims in Madinah.

Related Post: Are you visiting Jeddah before Madinah? If so, read my post on how to get from Jeddah to Madinah via bus, train & flight.

Before visiting Medina I had watched a few youtube videos (here’s my YouTube video!) from tourists and non-muslims who had visited Medina.

This really sparked my interest because I had seen the huge Mosque in photos, and an incredible replica in the National Museum of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, and I wanted to see it for myself! 

Plus, after spending a month in Saudi Arabia meeting a lot of Muslims I was feeling more interested in Islam and wanted to learn more.

Can non-muslims visit Madinah?, Al-Masjid a Nabawi
Al-Masjid a Nabawi | Can non-muslims visit Medina?

Related Posts: Places To Visit in Madinah and Buying a SIM card at Medina Airport as a tourist.

Can non-Muslims visit Mecca?

Let’s touch on this first…

‘Can Non-Muslims visit Mecca?’ Is a popular question and the answer is very clear – No!

Mecca is the holiest site in Islam and it is where Muslims visit to do Umrah and Hajj, and in my opinion, this is a good thing, I think Mecca and the holy Kaaba should be kept for Muslims only.

Can non-Muslims visit Madinah?

I knew I wanted to visit Jeddah on my second visit to Saudi Arabia and I knew how close Medina and Jeddah are.

I did a bit of research and although some websites stated that non-muslims cannot go to Medina, these websites seemed pretty old and many more said that non-muslims CAN visit.

I’d also seen the youtube videos of non-Muslims in Medina who didn’t face any issues.

So, I decided to travel 6 hours from Jeddah to Medina by bus and see for myself what it was like.

My Experience Visiting Madinah as a Non-Muslim.

Firstly, a few blog posts and websites I read said that documentation would be required to enter Madinah and this is needed to show you are a Muslim.

Firstly, there is no way you can really prove you are a Muslim apart from proving it in words by reciting the prayer.

And there is no ‘Muslim identity card’ (although I did have to reconfirm that with a friend of mine in Saudi when I had a sudden state of panic), and I can confirm that at no point was I asked to show documentation like my passport apart from when I checked into my Madinah Hotel which is standard procedure.

By the way, I stayed at Mawaddah Altaqwa Hotel which I highly recommend as it’s in a great location and at a good price! (It’s no longer on for some reason but is bookable on Agoda here!)

I shared the below screenshots from my Google search on my Instagram as I was getting a lot of questions as to how and why I could visit Medina.

I had a few replies back from people, mainly who lived in Medina who confirmed that no, documentation is not checked!

Can non-muslims visit Madinah?

This google snippet came up first on my Google Search result from Wikipedia without me even clicking on a link!

Can non-muslims visit Madinah?

Twice I was asked by people I met if I was Muslim, once in a shop and once out sightseeing, they were obviously curious and this was a fair enough question, to them I said no, but I am very interested in Islam and want to learn more.

They did seem a little baffled as it is understandably strange for a British Woman to be in one of the holiest sites in Islam on her own and not even be a Muslim, but they didn’t question me further and there was no need to.

Can non-muslims visit Madinah?, Al-Masjid a Nabawi

Related Post: How to Get from Jeddah to Madinah via Bus, Train & Flight.

Where can Non-Muslims Visit in Madinah?

This is the main thing that non-muslims need to keep in mind, from what I read and understood, is that non-muslims cannot enter the main mosque of Al-Masjid a Nabawi, also known as Al-Haram, and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Although this also comes down to the fact that unless you get questioned, no one will know you are not Muslim if you go inside.

However, for me, I did not feel confident in going inside Al-Masjid a Nabawi even though I was in Medina with a huge amount of interest and respect for Islam.

And in all honesty, I didn’t know what to do inside so I felt like it was best for me to stay around the outer edge of the Mosque complex outside, which is stunning and such a serene and interesting place, and not go inside.

I was pleased and content with this decision.

Important point – In early 2021, a friend of mine living in Saudi as an ex-pat went to Madina and was questioned by guards near the Masjid about where she is from. She and her friend replied ‘the UK’ and they were asked to leave the Masjid area even though they weren’t inside, just outside.

They assumed the guard knew they weren’t Muslim and they didn’t want to lie and say they were. This was also whilst Saudi was still closed for international tourism so I guess the guards spotted them more easily.

In 2022 my friend Travel Tom Tom went to Madinah and so did Drew Binsky and neither of them had an issue.

Can non-muslims visit Madinah?, Al-Masjid a Nabawi

As for the rest of the city, I felt much more relaxed away from the Mosque and there are plenty of places to visit in Medina in one day there.

I did the Madinah Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus booked through Get Your Guide which I really enjoyed and really recommend to you, no matter if you are Non-Muslim or Muslim.

This is my full blog post on where I visited on the Medina Tourist Bus and here is a link to book the bus on Get Your Guide, and here is the link to book the bus on Viator. They were the same price.

Can non-muslims visit Madinah?, Uhud Mountain and Mosque

What To Wear in Madinah?

As a Female

This is very important, even if you are not a Muslim, you need to respect the dress code that all other women in Madinah follow.

I wore a black Abaya which I wear all the time in Saudi Arabia anyway. I also wore a black headscarf. Usually, I do not cover my hair and wear a hijab elsewhere in Saudi, but in Madinah, there was no way I wasn’t going to cover my hair.

Related Post: What to Wear in Saudi Arabia as a Foreign Female Tourist.

I do not own a Niqab to and I didn’t feel like I needed to cover my face in Medina as the majority of women that I saw in Madinah had their faces showing.

This is because women from all around the world are in Madinah, not just Saudi women and Muslim women dress differently around the world.

As a Male

I did hear from a male traveller on my Instagram who is not a Muslim and visited Madinah.

He said he felt out of place in his normal clothes because the men in Madinah were all wearing their traditional clothes like thobes etc and in jeans and a t-shirt, he definitely looked like a tourist and a non-muslim, in fact, the guards around the mosque went up to him and asked a few questions as to why he was there.

Whereas for me, in an Abaya and Headscarf, I would have looked more like a Muslim than him so that’s positive to dressing like a local and like a Muslim in Madinah!

Can non-muslims visit Madinah?, Ellie quinn in Medina Saudi Arabia

Where Can Non-Muslims Stay in Medina?

As I mentioned, I didn’t have any issues with being asked for documentation at any time and I was welcomed into my Madinah Hotel without any questions which was in a great location right next to Al-Masjid a Nabawi.

I stayed at Mawaddah Altaqwa Hotel which I really recommend.

I had an amazing view of Al-Masjid a Nabawi from my room, the room was clean and comfy with welcoming staff. It definitely gets used as a hotel for big groups visiting Medina on their Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina but that was not a problem for me!

For more Medina Hotels for your trip, have a look at here as there is a huge selection!

Can non-muslims visit Madinah?, Mawaddah Altaqwa Hote Medina Bedroom Window View
The view from my room! Incredible isn’t it!

Did I Enjoy Visiting Medina as a Non-Muslim??

Yes, I did!

From the practical side, I really loved Medina because it was so easy to get around on the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus and it was easy to walk around too. There were so many places to eat and a range of good accommodation.

Whereas the rest of Saudi Arabia is still building up to this level of tourism infrastructure, even in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Related Post: My Detailed Guide to Riyadh as a Tourist!

I also loved seeing so many people from different countries. I recognised people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Eygpt, African Countries and many more. I kept thinking about how special this visit is for them, a once in a lifetime visit for most, and that made me appreciate that I was there even more.

I also loved seeing what people were wearing and the clothes they wore traditionally to their own countries and culture and there was a lot more colour than in other places in Saudi Arabia.

Even as a Non-Muslim I could feel and appreciate the peacefulness of the streets and the Al-Haram. I went to Medina in the hope of learning more about Islam and I definitely did.

I researched a lot more whilst I was there and felt I understood more too because it really is an inspiring and special place.

Overall, I don’t think that Madinah should be visited by every person who decides to travel through Saudi Arabia.

I think if you are a Non-Muslim and you feel pulled to visit, you have respect for Islam and want to learn more then yes, like me, you should visit and based on my experience you will be ok and enjoy it as I did.

Despite the huge number of people who visit Medina it really is such a peaceful place. Many people told me this on my Instagram when I said I was going and I could see exactly what they meant when I was there.

If you are practising another religion then perhaps it is not a good idea to go, because this is the second holiest place in Islam after all!

Update: I actually became Muslim 5 months after visiting Madinah. Visiting Saudi Arabia but Madinah especially really sparked my interest in Islam and with Covid happening afterwards I was able to spend time learning more about Islam before becoming Muslim in August!

To SEE what it was like in Madinah as a Non-Muslim, have a watch of my YouTube video here!


Wednesday 10th of January 2024

This is what the purity of Madina's a city of the Prophet Muahmmad SAWW and no wonder you were chosen by Allah to see yourself the peace and calmness in the path of Allah...congrats and I wish u remain steadfast in the path of Allah


Sunday 2nd of April 2023

Mecca and Medina are classified as a holy places stated in Quran. As like a corner inside our house there is a quite area to perform the prayer and shall not be used as something else accept worship. These also meant to be Mecca and Madina which non Muslim are prohibited to enter just because in Quran has stated it. Islam didn't say which race prohibited. You could be any race because Islam is not racist. You could be from any race or ethnic community who accepted Islam to be your religion. Islam is for all servant of Allah Al Mighty.

Rai Naveed Sultan

Tuesday 28th of March 2023

MashaAllah sister first of all mubarik on becoming a muslim. Islam in its core is such a peaceful way of living its totally divine and Madinah is a place which is out of this world I was recently there and the city has so much positive energy. The city is so calm and once you enter the prophet's mosque the energy keeps on increasing till you reach the peak of it in Riyazul Jannah.


Friday 10th of February 2023

Dear Sister in Islam

As a born Muslim, my heart yearns to visit Medinah, even though I have been there.

Pls do NOT think that you duped the Police / Security and that is how you got to Medinah. Or, your visit was by chance If Allah SWT did not want you there, there was no way that you could even come as close to the Haram in Medinah, as you did.

Moreover, you will only set foot in Medinah, if the beloved Prophet of Islam SAW calls You. There are many Muslims with loads of money, but it's not your money that takes you to Medinah, but the Prophet calling / inviting you to his city.

As someone who lives in crime ridden South Africa, I now of the serenity of Medinah, as you speak of. Just seeing the Green Dome of the Prophets Mosque gives my heart so much peace.

Medinah can NEVER become a tourist attraction for Non Muslims to visit.

As Ahmed Deedat of South Africa said, "Every place has a Visa or Entry requirement and the Visa for Medinah is the Shahadah.


Monday 10th of October 2022

Hi. I am from Italy. Christian, not muslim. I have tried to book a room in many hotels around the Haram, pointing not to be muslim, and every hotel says that not muslim are not allowed in the inner area of Madinah and not allowed inside the hotels too! How did you make the reservation? Via or on the spot?


Tuesday 11th of October 2022

I booked it on before I arrived and when I arrived I looked as if I was Muslim so I think that's why I didn't get questioned. When I went though, not as many non-muslims were going so things might have changed with the hotels so maybe look further out away from the mosque.