TOPIC: SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HIJRAH
Audhu billah minash shaytanir rajeem Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem. Alhamdu lil laahi Rabbil aalameen. Was salatu was salamu ala nabiyyillah Muhammad al Mab’uthi rahmatan lil aalameen
This Friday is the last Friday of the Islamic lunar year and it gives us an opportunity to remind ourselves about the importance of the prophet’s migration from Makkah to Madinah.
The Prophet and his followers migrated, after thirteen years of campaign in Makkah arriving in Yathrib. The commemoration of the Hijri calendar was instituted, however, seventeen years later by the second caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (RTA). The new calendar dates from the first day of the first lunar month of the year, that is, Awwal Muharram. Although ‘Umar instituted the official era, the custom of referring to events and happenings to before or after the Hijrah originated with the Prophet himself.
When Prophet Muhammad (SAW) immigrated from Makkah to Madinah, he did not just transfer his residence or take shelter in another city, but as soon as he arrived in Madinah he began the transformation of that city in every aspect. Some of the things he did are:
– Masjid (Mosque): The Prophet first established a Mosque to worship God. He himself worked in carrying the stones and building that small, humble but most powerful structure.
– Brotherhood: He established brotherly relations between the Muslims who migrated from Makkah and the residents of Madinah who helped the Prophet and his companions. What was important was to have good relations between Muslims. They should have their brotherhood on the basis of faith, not on the basis of tribes as they used to have prior to Islam.
– Inter-community and Interfaith Relations: Prophet Muhammad also established good relations with other communities living in Madinah. There was a large Jewish community as well as some other Arab tribes who had not accepted Islam. The Prophet prepared a covenant for relations between these communities.
– Water System in the City: The Prophet asked the companions to dig wells in different parts of the city. It is mentioned that more than 50 wells were opened in the city of Madinah and there was enough clean water for everyone.
– Agriculture and Gardening: The Prophet encouraged the companions to cultivate the land and make gardens. He told them that anyone who would cultivate any dead land, would own it. Many people started working and cultivating and soon there was enough food for everyone.
– Poverty Eradication: In a short period of time it happened that there were no poor people in Madinah. Everyone had enough food and shelter and the Prophet used to give gifts to coming delegations.
– Safety, Security, Law and Order: Madinah became the safest city in the world. There were very few incidents of theft, rape, drunkenness or murder and they were immediately taken care of.
In short, the hijrah teaches that wherever Muslims go, they should bring goodness to that land. Muslims should work for both moral and material goodness of the society.
The emigrants are given the highest honor and praise for having made a great sacrifice in the cause of God. He says, “And those who emigrated for [the cause of] God after they had been wronged – We will surely settle them in this world in a good place; but the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if only they could know” (Q 16:41).
God the Almighty promises those who leave their homes for His sake a mercy specially from Himself, His good pleasure, gardens of eternal delight and the ultimate reward of Divine propinquity. It is due to sacrificing one’s own kith and kin, wealth and property, businesses and homeland as well as everything that proves to be a hindrance in God’s cause that one earns the ultimate reward. God says, “The ones who have believed, emigrated and striven in the cause of God with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of God. And it is those who are the attainers [of success]. Their Lord gives them good tidings of mercy from Him and approval and of gardens for them wherein is enduring pleasure. [They will be] abiding therein forever. Indeed, God has with Him a great reward. O you who have believed, do not take your fathers or your brothers as allies if they have preferred disbelief over belief. And whoever does so among you – then it is those who are the wrongdoers” (Quran 9:20-22).
God also promises mercy and forgiveness to those who suffered hardships and exile and fought in His cause with patience and constancy. He says, “Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of God,- they have the hope of the Mercy of God. And God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful “ (Quran 2:218) and, “Then, indeed your Lord, to those who emigrated after they had been compelled [to renounce their religion] and thereafter fought [for the cause of God] and were patient – indeed, your Lord, after that, is Forgiving and Merciful” (Quran 16:110).
The command to embark on a hijra did not end with the Prophet’s migration to Medinah. It is true that the Prophet (SAW) said after he arrived in Medinah, “There is no hijra after the Conquest (of Mecca)” i.e. there is no need for people to leave Mecca after it has become an abode of Islam since Muslims are no longer persecuted in it for their religion. However, migration continues to be part of man’s life. We are not entirely deprived of its benefits and rewards as it will continue to be an obligation in its metaphorical sense, the hijra of the heart, until the Last Day as attested to in the following hadiths:
“Hijra will never come to an end until repentance comes to an end” (Ahmad).
The idea of the spiritual dimension of hijra is encapsulated in the hadith which states:
“The migrator is the one who avoids what God the Almighty has prohibited” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
“A Muslim is someone who spares people the harm of his tongue and hand, and a migrator is someone who migrates from what God has forbidden” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).