The Hijrah of the Prophet r
Description: A detailed account of the migration of the Prophet r from Makkah to Madinah.
The Hijrah (23 September, 622 C.E.)
Meanwhile, the Prophet r, with a few close companions, had been awaiting the divine command to join the other Muslims in Yathrib. He was not free to emigrate until this command came to him. At last the command came. He r gave his cloak to Ali t, bidding him to lie down on the bed so that anyone looking in might think Muhammad r lay there. The slayers were to strike him as he came out of the house, whether in the night or early morning. He r knew they would not injure Ali y. The assassins were already surrounding his house when the Prophet r slipped out unseen. He went to Abu Bakr’s house and called to him, and they both went together to a cavern in a desert hill, hiding there until the hue and cry had past. Abu Bakr’s son and daughter and his herdsman brought them food and tidings after nightfall. Once, a search party came so near to them in their hiding-place that they could hear their words. Abu Bakr t was afraid and said, “O Messenger of God, Were one of them to look down towards his feet, he would see us!” The Prophet e replied:
“What do you think of two people with whom God is the Third? Do not be sad, for indeed God is with us.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhári)
When the search party had departed, Abu Bakr t had the riding-camels and the guide brought to the cave at night, and they set out on the long ride to Yathrib.
After travelling for many days on unfrequented paths, the fugitives reached a suburb of Yathrib called Quba, where, for weeks past, the people of the city heard that the Prophet r had left Makkah, and hence had been setting out to the local hills every morning, watching and waiting for the Prophet r arrival. The travellers arrived in the heat of the day, after the watchers had retired. A Jew who was out and about, saw them approaching and called out to the Muslims that, he whom they expected had at last arrived, and the Muslims set out to the hills before Quba to greet him.
The Prophet r stayed in Quba for some days, and there he built the first mosque of Islam. By that time, Ali t, who had left Makkah by foot three days after the Prophet r, has also arrived. The Prophet r, his companions from Makkah, and the “Helpers” of Quba led him to Madinah, where they had been eagerly anticipating his arrival.
The inhabitants of Madinah never saw a brighter day in their history. Anas t, a close companion of the Prophet r, said:
I was present the day he r entered Madinah and I have never seen a better or brighter day than the day on which he came to us in Madinah, and I was present on the day he died, and I have never seen a day worse or darker than the day on which he died” (Ahmed)
Every house in Madinah wished that the Prophet r would stay with them, and some tried to lead his camel to their home. The Prophet r stopped them and said:
“Leave her, for she is under (Divine) Command.”
It passed many houses until it came to a halt and knelt at the land of Banu Najjar. The Prophet r did not descend until the camel had risen and gone on a little, then it turned and went back to its original place and knelt again. Upon that, the Prophet r descended from it. He r was pleased with its choice, for Banu Najjar were his maternal uncles, and he also desired to honour them. When individuals from the family were soliciting him to enter their houses, a certain Abu Ayyub t stepped forward to his saddle and took it into his house. The Prophet r said:
“A man goes with his saddle.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhári, Saheeh Muslim)
The first task he r undertook in Madinah was to build a Mosque. The Prophet r, sent for the two boys who owned the date-store and asked them to name the price for the yard. They answered, “Nay, but we shall give it to you as a gift, O Prophet r !” The Prophet r however, refused their offer, paid them its price and built a mosque there, he himself taking part in its erection. While working, he r was heard saying:
“O God! There is no goodness except that of the Hereafter, so please forgive the Helpers and the Emigrants.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhári)
The mosque served as a place of worship for Muslims. The prayer which was previously an individual act performed in secret now became a public affair, one which epitomizes a Muslim society. The period in which Muslims and Islam was subordinate and oppressed was over, now the adhan, the call to prayer, would be called aloud, booming and penetrating the walls of every house, calling and reminding Muslims to fulfil their obligation to their Creator. The mosque was a symbol of the Islamic society. It was a place of worship, a school where Muslims would enlighten themselves about the truths of the religion, a meeting place whether the differences of various warring parties would be resolved, and an administration building from which all matters concerning the society would emanate, a true example of how Islam incorporates all aspects of life into the religion. All these tasks were undertaken in a place built upon the trunks of date-palm trunks roofed with its leaves.
When the first and most important task was complete, he r also made houses on both sides of the mosque for his family, also from the same materials. The Prophet’s Mosque and house in Madinah stands today in that very place.
The Hijrah had been completed. It was the 23rd of September 622 C.E, and the Islamic era, the Muslim calendar, begins the day on which this event took place. And from this day on Yathrib had a new name, a name of glory: Madinat-un-Nabi, the City of the Prophet r, or in brief, Madinah.
Such was the Hijrah, the emigration from Makkah to Yathrib. The thirteen years of humiliation, of persecution, of limited success, and of prophecy still unfulfilled were over.
The ten years of success, the fullest that has ever crowned one man’s endeavour, had begun. The Hijrah makes a clear division in the story of the Prophet’s Mission, which is evident from the Qur'an. Till then he had only been a preacher. Thenceforth he was the ruler of a State, at first a very small one, but which grew in ten years to become the empire of Arabia. The kind of guidance which he and his people needed after the Hijrah was not the same as that which they had needed before. The Madinah chapters differ, therefore, from the Makkan chapters. The latter give guidance to the individual soul and to the Prophet as Warner: the former give guidance to a growing social and political community and to the Prophet as an example, lawgiver, and reformer.
Edited by the Prophet of Mercy team