The Prophet's Hijrah in the Spotlight By Dr/ Ragheb Elsergany

Introduction Success of the Second "Aqabah Pledge" resulted in a considerably increase of the number of Ansar (Supporters), who accepted to host Allah's messenger and to protect him like they would protect their women, children and property. After such great events that took place within a very brief period, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was ordered through Divine Revelation to permit his Companions to emigrate to Madinah. The command was to the effect that all those who can emigrate must do so. The command applies to both the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, men and women, free persons and slaves. Everyone must emigrate to Madinah, for there is a great project to be established there, a project that needs all Muslims' energy, i.e. the project of establishing the Muslim community. No true believer was allowed not to take part in the establishment of the great enterprise. Now, read the following Qur'anic verses dealing with the subject of Hijrah:

"Verily! As for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (angels) say (to them): "In what (condition) were you?" They reply: "We were weak and oppressed on earth." They (angels) say: "Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?" Such men will find their abode in Hell - What an evil destination! Except the weak ones among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way. For these there is hope that Allah will forgive them, and Allah is Ever Oft Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving. He who emigrates (from his home) in the Cause of Allah, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by. And whosoever leaves his home as an emigrant unto Allah and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward is then surely incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Al-Nisa', 97-99] In fact, the way to Hijrah (emigration) was not that paved with gold. Actually, emigrants did not leave a given country to another country of better facilities and capacities (it was not an emigration for a work contract of a higher salary). Hijrah, on the other hand, meant leaving homeland, properties, business, and memories. Hijrah meant a journey to the unknown, to a new life, which is, undoubtedly, hard.. very hard. Hijrah meant preparation for a fierce war, a comprehensive war against all the polytheists . The Hijrah was not an escape or flight; rather, it was a preparation for a great day or great days. Therefore, Allah promised Muhajirs (emigrants) with a great reward. "Those who emigrated in the Cause of

Allah and after that were killed or died, surely, Allah will provide a good provision for them. And verily, it is Allah Who indeed is the Best of those who make provision. Truly, He will make them enter an entrance with which they shall be well-pleased, and verily, Allah indeed is All-Knowing, Most Forbearing." [Al-Hajj, 58, 59] All Muslims who can emigrate were commanded by the Prophet to emigrate. However, he was the last to emigrate to Madinah. In fact, he did not aim at only saving and rescuing himself or safeguarding his own property. Rather, his sole concern was to be reassured regarding emigrating Muslims. He behaved in a captain-like manner refusing to leave the ship until all passengers are safe. Leadership from a Prophetic perspective was that of responsibility, sacrifice and self-accountability rather than that of luxury or comfort. Some characteristics of Hijrah (1) A special attention paid to intention: Why emigrate? Al-Bukhari related on the authority of 'Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "(The rewards of) deeds depend upon the intention and every person will get the reward according to what he (or she) has intended. So, whoever emigrated for the sake of Allah and His Messenger, then his (or her) emigration was for Allah and His Messenger; and whoever emigrated for the sake of worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, then his emigration was for what he emigrated for."

Although emigrating for marriage or for a worldly purpose is not unlawful, such emigration will not be equal in weight to the one undertaken for the purpose of establishing the Muslim community. What a difference between some person who forsook all what he has seeking Allah's satisfaction and the establishment of the new Muslim community and another who lived only for himself although adopting lawful means! (2) The Hijrah project including all Muslims was ordained only after all gates of propagating Islam in Makkah were blocked. Actually, all ways of propagating Islam in Makkah were blocked by the death of Abu Talib and Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her). Since then, the Prophet (peace be upon him) started planning for the Hijrah. In fact, the Hijrah destination could have been a place other than Madinah had any other hajj delegation whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) called to Islam, such as Banu Shayban, Banu Hanifah or Banu 'Amir, adopted Islam. However, it is Allah's will that decided the Hijrah destination, for important is not the place. It is important here to notice that Hirah was not at all a result of laziness or being fed up with practicing Da'wah (call to Islam) in Makkah. In fact, practicing Da'wah in Makkah was difficult from the first encounter, and Muslims did not leave the country as a whole until the gates of Da'wah were completely blocked. It is better, in general, to stay and practice your sentry duty in case gates of Da'wah are open even if with hardships. (3) The Hijrah command included all Muslims. This is in contrary to the emigration to Abyssinia, whose command was to only a group of Muslims. The reason is the difference between the nature and circumstances of

Abyssinia and Madinah. To clarify, Muslims who emigrated to Abyssinia wanted only to keep themselves safe so that Islam might not be completely eradicated in case genocide is committed against Muslims in Makkah. Thus, the purpose of this emigration was not to establish an Islamic government in Abyssinia; rather, Muslims were no more than refugees protected by a just king. However, the purpose of Hijrah to Madinah was to establish a Muslim state based in Madinah. The question is: why Madinah is more fit for the establishment of the Muslim state than Abyssinia? Actually, this is not only due to the factors of remoteness from Makkah and language and tradition difference, although they are important factors. The main factor, in my opinion, is that reliance on one man, the Negus – a king in whose land no one is wronged - in the case of Abyssinia, will greatly endanger Muslims in case he dies or is deposed. In fact, the peril was about to materialize when a civil war was about to outbreak and would cause the Negus to lose his throne. However, he could then only make an easy way out for emigrant Muslims to escape, which was the only solution within his capacity. As for Madinah, Hijrah did not depend on one man; rather, it depended on the people of Madinah as a whole, bearing in mind that the general atmosphere therein was pro-Islam or at least prepared to co-exist with the Islamic ideology. Therefore, emigration to Madinah was a collective one. (4) Hijrah was not random. Actually, the Muslim leadership specified the destination, which led to the success of the Hijrah and the establishment of the community. However, emigration to different destinations could have temporarily ensured safety of individuals but

could have never established a community. In general, Muslims who flee with their religion from persecution should keep this lesson in mind. No doubt, Hijrah to Madinah was well-organized and planned. The Hijrah was patiently, wisely, systematically and consciously prepared for, which indicates that Islam does not recognize haphazard change. (5) Undoubtedly, this successful Hijrah marked the end of a very important stage of the Prophet's Sirah (biography), i.e. the Makkan era. By then, the Makkan stage with all its events, pains and problems came to an end. In fact, this stage was of very distinctive nature, during which Islam started as a strange ideology. Strangeness of Islam lasted by the Ansar's conversion to Islam near the end of the Makkan era (may Allah be pleased with Ansar, Muhajirs and all the Prophet's Companions). During this stage, the Prophet's main concern was to reinforce the faith-related aspect in the hearts of his Companions. Thus, they should believe in no deities other than Allah, worship none but Him and obey nobody breaking His Commands. Moreover, they should rely on Him, repent to Him, fear His chastisement and hope for His mercy. Such is a deep faith in Allah, His honorable Prophet (peace be upon him) and all other prophets and messengers. Moreover, it is to be decisively believed that there is a day

on which all creatures will be resurrected and will gathered before the Lord of the Worlds to be reckoned their deeds. No one will be wronged on this day by much as an atom's weight and people will be admitted either Paradise or Hellfire to abide eternally therein.

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Besides the deep-rooted faith, believers were taught in this stage good morals and sublime characteristics. Their souls were purified and exalted and rose far above materialistic desires to adopt the supreme heavenly and spiritual values and morals. The balance of truth, based on which people can correctly judge their deeds, was indeed sent down. During this stage also, Muslims came to know that the way to Paradise is so hard and full of calamities and trials; a trial after trial, the life is full of hardships. However, Allah is fully aware of whether His servants will endure patience, forbearance and struggle. In fact, all people unexceptionally will be put to trials, each in accordance with the power of his/her faith. Dear brothers, the Makkan era constituted the strong basis for the great Islamic establishment. It was really impossible for Muslims to succeed in such difficult encounters as the battles of Badr, the Troops, Khaybar, and Tabuk had not they been well-prepared during the Makkan stage. It is also impossible to build a good powerful nation or state, to practice jihad successfully or to be firm-footed in a fierce battle unless we live the Makkan period with all its dimensions. Moreover, sincere Du'ah (callers to

Islam/Islamic preachers) has to deeply examine this stage inferring lessons from every single event no matter how short or brief it may be. Actually, this is the inevitable start. Without the Makkan stage, there will be no Madinan stage. In other words, without Muhajirs, there will be no Ansar and without faith, morality and patience, there will be no community, sovereign state or authority to practice religion. (6) Hijrah is a historic event that took place hundreds of years ago, which no other generation after the generation of Muhajirs can achieve. This is stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the Haith related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) that reads, "There is no Hijrah after the conquest of Mecca (but there is jihad and intention of jihad)." Nevertheless, the Prophet (peace be upon him) left the door wide open for later Muslims generations to work hard. In the same Hadith, he said, "… and when you are called for Jihad, you should immediately respond to the call." Accordingly, practicing jihad and participating in the Islamic activity will never come to an end. In fact, real happiness can be found when one's actions are louder than sayings, when reforming one's shortcomings distracts one from the defects of others and when the Hereafter is paid more attention than worldly affairs. (7) The first stage of Hijrah is abandoning sins and

keeping oneself away from doubtful matters. In fact, people who indulge in desires from top to toe will never be able to support the religion. It is an intuitive that abandoning sins is given priority over doing good deeds. In other words, one may have an excuse for not performing Qiyam (night prayer), supererogatory fast or charity, but can have no excuse for doing a sin. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), on the authority of Abu Hurairah, to have said, "If I command you to do something, then do as much of it as you can. If I prohibit you from something, then abstain from it." Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave the following accurate and eloquent definition of a true emigrant. He said, in the Hadith related by Ahmad on the authority of Abdullah bin 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both), "A Muhajir (emigrant) is the one who gives up (abandons) all what Allah has forbidden." Dr. Ragheb ElSergany

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