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The Prophetic Hijrah: A Turning Point in History

The Arabic noun Hijrah literally refers to the act of abandoning or relinquishing. Hence, the derived word Muhaajir, as mentioned in a Hadeeth, is a person who renounces what Allah The Almighty prohibited. This is not confined to a certain time or place; anyone who abides by the commands of Allah the Almighty and abandons sins, is considered a Muhaajir.

However, the Hijrah of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, has a different dimension to it; it refers to his emigration, seeking the satisfaction of Allah The Almighty, despite his attachment to his homeland and affinity to its natural and social environment. That longing for Makkah was also fervently expressed by the Muhaajiroon – those who emigrated with him, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – particularly during the first melancholy days.

That was so, because Hijrah required adapting to the new atmosphere of Madeenah, in terms of a differing climate, which caused some of the Muhaajiroon to suffer from fever; as well as economy, since it was agriculture-based here, whereas it was commerce-based back home in Makkah, where they had left behind property and wealth.

However, Hijrah was a Divine obligation to be obeyed and all difficulties endured in its undertaking. When it began, processions of the Muhaajiroon successively set out to the new land – the abode of emigration. Women also took part in this blessed event, such as Umm Salamah Hind bint Abu Umayyah, may Allaah be pleased with her, who was exposed to great harm at the hands of the disbelievers in Makkah. In an effort to prevent her from Hijrah, they had pulled her newborn from her until his hand was dislocated; but she persisted and succeeded in emigrating, despite the danger and hardship.

Another woman was Asmaa’ bint Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with her, who immortalized her name in history, earning the title, Thaat An-Nitaaqayn (the one with two waistbands), because she tore her waistband in half, in order to carry provisions for the two pursued emigrants, i.e., the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him. Later, the sporadic Hijrah of women continued until it became an obligation; Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {O you who have believed, when the believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them.} [Quran 60:10]

The commandment was general for all believers, as Quranic verses were intermittently revealed, pointing out the merits for performing the Hijrah; this occurred since the beginning of emigration,well until the year 8 AH, when it was revoked after the conquest of Makkah. This was in accordance with the declaration of the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “There is no Hijrah after the conquest of Makkah; but, [there is] Jihaad and good intention [to perform good deeds]. So, when you are commanded to set forth [for Jihad], you must immediately.”

As for Madeenah being the destination of Hijrah, Allah The Almighty Himself had specified it, revealing it to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who said: “I have seen in my vision that I am migrating from Makkah to a land with palm-trees. At first, I thought it was Al-Yamaamah or Hajar, but it was Madeenah (Yathrib).”

It would later become clear that this city, already burgeoning with faith, had required the mass arrival of Muslims, to safeguard it from the lurking enemies among Quraysh, the Jews and the Bedouins, against whom Jihaad was ordained. Thus, Allah The Almighty revealed motivational verses for emigrants, Saying (what means):

{Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah – those expect the mercy of Allah.} [Quran 2:218] • {And those who emigrated for [the cause of] Allah after they had been wronged – We will surely settle them in this world in a good place.} [Quran 16:41] • {And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many [alternative] locations and abundance.} [Quran 4:100]

True to His noble Promise, the Muhaajiroon attained great honor in this life, apart from reward from Him. By being the first people to establish a Muslim state, they gained the Pleasure of Allah The Almighty and closeness to Him, as He Says (what means): {And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them.} [Quran 9:100]

Thus, Allah The Almighty memorialized them in the Quran, which is, and will be, recited by Muslims as worship to Him until the end of time.

Hijrah: a norm of the Prophets, may Allah exalt their mention

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was not the first to emigrate for the cause of Allah The Almighty. Many prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, underwent such a trial. Allah The Almighty informed us that Ibraaheem (Abraham) emigrated from his homeland to Egypt and other countries, preaching Tawheed (monotheism); Ya‘qoob (Jacob) and Yoosuf (Joseph), may Allaah exalt their mention, went from Palestine to Egypt; Loote, may Allaah exalt his mention, abandoned his valley because of its corruption and disregard of his message; and Moosa (Moses), may Allaah exalt his mention, emigrated with his people from Egypt to Sinai in order to escape with their religion from the tyranny of Fir‘awn (Pharaoh).

Thus, Hijrah is a custom of the prophets, with the emigration of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, being the last and most significant in its impact.

Hijrah: A Turning Point in History

The Hijrah brought about the establishment of a Muslim state in Madeenah, that consolidated the society on the basis of solidarity, love, brotherhood, freedom, equality and guaranteeing of rights.

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was the head of government, the commander in chief, the supreme judge and the foremost mentor. He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, gradually implemented the Islamic Sharee’ah, as it was revealed to him, verse by verse. The Companions would study it and apply it to themselves, after learning its interpretation from the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Hence, they formed a God-conscious generation that was able to merge the worship of Allah The Almighty with inhabiting this worldly life. They worked under the motto: work for your life as if you will live forever and for your Hereafter as if you will die tomorrow.

Within a decade, most of the Arabian Peninsula united under this banner of Islam that swathed large areas of land, extending from As-Sind in the east, to the Atlantic in the west, with most of the people embracing Islam and its Sharee‘ah. They formed a flourishing civilization that produced its fruit for many centuries in the fields of legislation, education, cosmography and physics.

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