Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum.
Many get the impression that Madinah is a small heaven on earth. They imagine that it is a beautiful city filled with Muslims brimming with emaan, taqwa, and exemplary ibadah. They believe that, with so much opportunity for learning and Islamic growth, that those living here are well grounded in their Islam and all are pursuing learning. They think that there is little or no crime.
None of these things are true, Qadr Allah. Madinah is polluted, with public places strewn with rubbish. Not Masjid an Nabawi with it's extensive staff to clean and maintain, but the streets and parks are always heavily littered. A large proportion of the Muslims here have very poor manners - a bleary reflection of weak taqwa - and many have even less Islamic knowledge than those of us from the West. Many are simply living and working here, without attending any Quran or Islamic classes. There is crime: theft, attempts to bring in drugs, and vandalism.
Our family vehicle, a Chrysler Town and Country, had a mechanical problem that rendered it immovable and sitting parked in front of our apartment building. Literally, on the day my husband intended to go down and see about getting it fixed, he went to find the windshield and two of the rear passenger windows smashed in by big rocks. We were shocked.
We learned that it was some local teenage boys, but nobody will identify them. The police came to take a report of the incident, but offered no words of hope regarding them looking for the vandals. There is no insurance coverage for such things. Insurance here is to pay for you damaging someone else's car, not for repairs to your own car. Basically, when something like this happens, you say Qadr Allah, mashaa fa'al, and you have to find the money to fix the damage yourself. In our case, as it will cost thousands to fix the vandalism and have the van up and running again, we have had to rent a car for the past three months.
These truths are not told to devalue Madinah in any way. They are told to remind you and ourselves that there is no heaven on earth and that even the most blessed of places will have great fitan and injustices. Why? Because we are not meant to love this dunya and we need reminders and tests to make us yearn for Jennah. Such things are blessings from Allah, reminders that nowhere on this earth can compare an iota with our ultimate goal.
May we all strive for Jennah al Firdaus and keep it as our primary goal when we face the trials of this dunya - ameen.