The Hijrah Of The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
When the Quraish saw that many people were being attracted to Islam and becoming Muslims and that the methods they were using to combat the call (da‛wah) of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) were not working, they agreed to boycott the Prophet’s entire tribe. The Quraish never expected Islam to flourish. A group of Muslims initially migrated (performed Hijrah) to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), and they found peace there with the Christian king who was called Najāshī (The Negus), about whom the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “There is a king there who does not oppress anyone.”
Najāshī was so impressed with the monotheistic message of Islam and eloquence and beauty of the Qur’an that he eventually became Muslim himself. Islam was further strengthened by the embracing of two noblemen of Quraish who were renowned for their courage: Hamza Ibn Abdul-Muttalib and Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with them both). The Quraish boycotted the clans of Banu Haashim and Banu Abdul-Muttalib. The rest of Quraish entered into a contract between themselves to the effect that these two tribes are not to be traded with, in any form, nor are they to be married until they willingly hand over Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to the idolaters of Quraish. However, both clans stood firm with Abu Taalib throughout, except Abu Lahab (the Prophet’s uncle) who sided with the rest of Quraish. The Muslims (men, women and children) were forced to isolate themselves in a valley and suffered immensely to the point of starvation at times. They would survive on leaves of trees and shrubs. Yet Abu Taalib kept his protection over his beloved nephew. Abu Taalib had looked after the Prophet since he was a young boy – after the death of the grandfather of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), ‛Abdul-Muttalib. The young Muhammad would sleep next to his uncle, he would go everywhere with him – in fact he wouldn’t eat unless the young Muhammad had joined him, and then he would give him the best of the food. He maintained this love for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) until his death, three years before the Hijrah to Madinah. Historians report that the boycott began in the seventh year after the messengership and lasted between two and three years.
The Death of Abu Tālib and Khadeejah: 619CE
Abu Taalib died as a polytheist (despite his love for Muhammad) a short while after the boycott came to an end in the tenth year after the messengership – and that was approximately three years before the Hijrah to Madinah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sat at his deathbed imploring his uncle to become a Muslim so that Allah would save him, but there were two leaders of Quraish (Abu Jahl and Abdullaah Ibn Abee Umayyah) also sitting encouraging him to remain upon the religion of his forefathers. In the end Abu Taalib said to the Prophet,
“If it were not for the fear of Quraish taunting me by them saying about me: ‘He didn’t say that except out of fear of death, I would have surely settled your heart (and testified to what you call me to).’” (Reported by Muslim).
Then Allah revealed:
إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
“Verily! You guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.” 28:56
مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَىٰ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ
“It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire.” 9:113
After the death of Abu Taalib, the leadership of the clan of Banu Haashim went by default to Abu Lahab, who was the arch-enemy of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Even so, initially, he abided by the wishes of the clan in protecting Muhammad (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) but quickly reverted to his former enmity. Some historians say this was because he heard that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had said that even Abdul-Muttalib and anyone else that worshipped idols would enter Hell. This further proves that Muhammad was not prone to nationalist or tribal sentiments – he merely wanted from the people to unite together upon the worship of one God (Allah) regardless of colour, tribe, nationality or social status. There is no doubt that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was greatly saddened by the death of Abu Taalib. This proves that it is permitted to have love for non-Muslims based upon one’s natural feelings, such as love for a non-Muslim family member. Alongside this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was clear in saying: “The lightest punishment in Hell is for Abu Taalib.” So his relationship with Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was not enough to save him from Hell after the commission of idolatry.
Very shortly after Abu Taalib’s death, the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Khadeejah (may Allah be pleased with her) passed away – that was in the month of Ramadaan three years before Hijrah. Abu Taalib was a protector whilst Khadeejah was a pillar of support and the one who would console him. The Quraish started to behave with the Prophet in manner they wouldn’t have dared during the life of Abu Taalib. This was possibly the most difficult period of the life of the Prophet – though there is no proof that it was actually called the “year of sorrow” by the Prophet himself. Alongside all of this, the Prophet continued calling the people to Tawheed and away from idolatry – he sought the support of the people of the town of Taa’if near Makkah and many other tribes hoping that they would help him to spread the message of Islam. One by one, they all refused him and continued with their persecution of the Muslims.
The Hijrah to Madinah: 622 CE
Madinah, which was previously known as Yathrib, is a city about 250 miles north of Makkah. In the 12th year after receiving revelation, twelve Muslims from Yathrib (Madinah) came for Hajj. Some of them were those who had met the Prophet in the previous year and had embraced Islam. They met the Prophet at a place called ‘Aqabah in Mina. He asked them to pledge: “That you will not associate anything in worship with Allah. You will not steal, nor commit fornication, you will not kill your children, you will not slander (women) and you will not disobey me…” (Bukhaaree) He sent Mus‛ab Ibn ‛Umair along with them to teach them the Qur’an and the religion. In the 13th year, a larger group came from Madinah for Hajj as Islam began to flourish there. This time there were 73 of them. These were known as the first and second pledges of ‛Aqabah (at Mina). They promised to protect him if he migrated to Madinah as they protect their own women and children. They understood that by taking him in as their leader, they would incur the anger and enmity of all the Arabs, leading to declarations of war against the people of Madinah. They understood that loyalty to Islam is greater than loyalty to race, family, clan or country – and that Islam was a complete way of life not only a set of beliefs in one’s heart. This religion was going to change the way they lived and worshipped. After this second pledge of ‛Aqabah, the Muslims began to migrate individually and in groups to Madinah. The Quraish became very apprehensive and feared that Muhammad would leave and become strong in Madinah. On Thursday 26th Safar in the 14th year (12th September 622CE), two and half months after the ‛Aqabah pledge, the Quraish assembled in Nadwah House to plot the assassination or imprisonment of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Finally, they agreed unanimously that every tribe would nominate a young man of noble lineage – they would head off towards the Prophet and each one would strike him with a sharp sword and thus each tribe would share the responsibility of killing him. The angel Jibreel informed the Prophet of their plots. Shortly after that, the Prophet and his closest friend and trusted Companion, Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (Allah be please with him) secretly left Makkah by heading to Mount Thawr in the south-west (in order to mislead Quraish if they pursued them), spending three days in the cave at Thawr, and then moved on to Madinah. Despite repeated attempts, the Quraish were not able to capture the Prophet or Abu Bakr.
Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in Madinah
On the 12th of Rabee’ al-Awwal (a Monday) in the 14th year after receiving Prophethood (23rd September 622CE), the Prophet and his Companion arrived in Madinah whilst the Ansaar (the Muslims of Madinah) eagerly awaited his arrival. It was a Jewish man who spotted him first and called upon the Muslims “O Arabs! Here is your awaited man.” The journey took approximately 11 days. The people of Madinah were overjoyed with the arrival of the Prophet. The Islamic calendar is dated to this journey of the Prophet from Makkah to Madinah, which shows the immense importance of this event. The Muslims, however, do not take the Hijrah itself or the Prophet’s arrival into Madinah as a day of celebration. In Madinah (which means “The City”) Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was both a Prophet and head of state. He led the believers in daily Prayers, and continued to pass on the revelation as and when events took place – and Allah gave him answers to questions he was asked. He was sent verses in the Qur’an that changed the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to the Ka‛bah in Makkah which further proved the great status Makkah held to the believers then and in the future. He ruled Madinah in accordance to the Law of Allah. For Muslims, Madinah is the model of what an Islamic society should be. Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) ruled with justice and was loved by the people of Madinah. He lived in peace with the Jews and made contracts of peace with them which he never violated. He traded with the Jews and other non-Muslims and forbade that the rights of the non-Muslims be transgressed. This teaches us that a Muslim can live alongside non-Muslims without compromising one’s Islamic belief. It was in Madinah that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was informed that Muslims can eat the slaughtered meat of the Jews and Christians and permitted the marriage of Muslim men to chaste and modest Jewish or Christian women. This was not permitted with other non-Muslims.
Many acts of worship, rules and regulations were revealed to the Prophet in Madinah: Fasting, Zakaah, Hijaab (veiling) for the Muslim woman, the Friday sermon, inheritance law, Hajj and Umrah rites, regulations of Jihaad, funeral rites, the call to prayer, marriage, divorce, hygiene and so on. This actually shows the great importance of the Prophet’s work in the Makkan period which revolved around the most important obligation: Calling the people to worship Allah alone, and to stay away from idolatry, superstitious beliefs and false notions of faith. The Prophet knew that the rest of the regulations of Islam could not be applied unless the fundamental belief of Tawheed is first established.
Uniting The Community
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had to unite all the Muslims in Madinah under a bond of brotherhood based upon faith. Those that migrated from Makkah (known as the Muhaajiroon or Migrants) were paired off with the “Helpers” (or Ansaar) from the residents of Madinah, wherein the poor Migrants would be given shelter, clothing and food. The Helpers embraced their brethren with such generosity and kindness that it laid down the best example of what it means to help those in faith who are in need. The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) however did not limit his kindness and generosity only between Muslims. He would encourage with kind treatment regardless of faith. A poor non-Muslim neighbor would be fed just as a Muslim neighbor would be. It was these notions of Tawheed, kindness, good character and excellent moral behaviour that led many people in Madinah, including many Jews to embrace Islam. It is that very same message that continues to open the hearts of millions to the beauty of Islam.
Defending the Community (Ummah)
As the head of state, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was also a military leader and many battles ensued during the Madinan period. Whilst in Makkah, the Muslims were forbidden from fighting or raising the sword against those who oppressed them because they had no Islamic state or a head of state – and priority then was to call the people to worship Allah alone. In Madinah, they were given the right to fight. The Makkans still had not left off the idea of finishing off Muhammad and his followers – so battles ensued: The battle of Badr in 624CE, the battle of Uhud in 625CE and the battle of the trench in 627CE. At the battle of the trench in 627CE the Prophet avoided bloodshed by ordering his Companions to dig a large trench around a portion of the city. When the army of Makkah arrived with other Arab and Jewish tribes who joined them against the Prophet, they found their efforts thwarted and realised they had been outsmarted and so they left. The city of Madinah now felt safer but any Muslim found outside of the city was likely to be captured and killed.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made Madinah a sacred sanctuary. He stated:
“O Allāh! Indeed Ibrāhīm designated Makkah sacred and made it a sanctuary. I declare Madīnah sacred – the area between its two mountains is a sanctuary. No blood is to be shed therein, and no weapon is to be carried therein for the purpose of fighting – and the leaves are not to be shaken from their trees, except for fodder.” (Muslim)
He built the Sacred Mosque known simply as The Prophet’s Mosque. He said:
“The prayer in this Masjid of mine is better than a thousand prayers in any other Masjid except for the Masjid Al-Harām [in Makkah].” (Bukhaaree and Muslim).
Eventually, he and his closest Companions died in this beloved city and were buried there. Madinah remains special to the Muslims till this day.
- Write down the Hijrah months in order.
- Add the dates from this worksheet to your dateline.
- Muhammad migrated from Makkah to ___________ in the year ________. This event is known as the ________. Muhammad was not only a Prophet in Madinah but also a ______________. Whilst in Madinah, Jihaad on the battlefield was made lawful, the first battle was called _________________.
- Suggest why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) approved the use of force on these occasions and why he would avoid bloodshed as much as possible.
- Can you list some of the rules of Jihaad in Islam? (Refer to the isis/terrorism worksheet)
- How would Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) treat the non-Muslims in Madinah?
You should know the events of Hijrah and its significance in Islam. You need to know that in Madinah, the role of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was now greater as a Prophet, head of state and military leader.
I initially compiled these worksheets for my students at the Redstone Academy (aged between 13 and 16 years), Moseley Road, Birmingham, UK who are working towards their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). I felt that others who do not attend the school can also benefit from these topics since they are presented in simple bitesize chapters. I have relied upon GCSE text books and adapted them for my classes.