In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
The holy flight of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) from Makkah to Madinah on Friday, September 24, 622 AD (13th Rabiul-Awwal, 1) is usually referred to as Hijrah. This is because it was a unique day when Islam was saved from extinction. It was the day when Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was saved from being killed by the idolaters in Makkah who regarded his mission as a threat to their idol worshipping. It was a special day when the seal of all prophets had to submit in humility to the hostility of the desperate idolaters who were determined to kill him. It was a day of sadness and joy where the rejected Prophet (SAW) in Makkah was received with ovation and pump in Madinah, the City of Light.
Indeed, the Hijrah Day was a trying period for the Prophet (SAW) when he was commanded by Almighty Allah to leave his ancestral home, Makkah, for Madinah. The idolaters actually pursued him after gaining consciousness after Almighty Allah made them sleep for the great Prophet (SAW) sent as a mercy to mankind to escape the expedition of the disbelievers. The Holy Qur’an, Yasin, 36:8-9 testifies: “We have put yokes round their necks right up to their chins so that their heads are forced up and they cannot see. And we have put a bar in front of them and a bar behind them, and further, we have covered them so that they cannot see.”
The Hijrah episode truly put to shame the fetish consultation of the idolaters to fish out the vehicle for the universal message to the whole world from his hideous trench with his companion, Abu-Bakr. It, in fact, led to the killing of Suraqa, the oracle diviner for the idolaters. Muhammad (SAW) and Abu Bakr had left the city and taken shelter in a cave atop the Thawr mountain south of Makkah before continuing their journey to elude the Quraysh party pursuing them led by Suraqa bin Malik. They stayed in the cave for three days before resuming their journey. During the journey, whenever Suraqa neared Muhammad (SAW) and Abu Bakr, Suraqa’s horse stumbled until he finally gave up on the desire of capturing Muhammad (SAW). Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Abu Bakr turned to the Red Sea, following the coastline up to Madinah, arriving at Quba’. He stopped at Quba’ near Madinah and established a mosque there. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) waited there for 14 days for Ali (his cousin whom he left on his bed as camouflage to escape) and his family to join him. Thereafter, he continued to Medina, participated in their first Friday prayer on the way. Upon reaching the city, they were greeted cordially by its people in Madinah Munawara (The Enlightened City).
Truly, the Hijrah story was the climax, the pinnacle, the central theme and the deciding factor for Islam to remain, thrive and spread around the globe. It gives the everlasting hope that Islam will continue to surmount all obstacles till eternity (Qur’an 3:110; 42:15; 6:14, 163; 39:12).
The Hijrah no doubt demonstrates Islam as a religion of Peace, that spreads to the entire world peacefully, and never through terrorism. The religion spread through Knowledge of Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (Practice) of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), in the Age of Reason and Knowledge. After all, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) left the city of Makkah in the face of hostilities, without fighting the idolaters who persecuted him (Qur’an 2:256; 5:45; 5:3; 13:19-22; 22:78; 30:30; 42:13-15; 45:18).
Thus, the best Hijrah (holy flight) is for humanity to eschew what God Almighty forbids and to embrace His commandments. Qur’an 3:110 enjoins Muslims: “Ye are the best of peoples evolved for mankind enjoining what is right forbidding what is wrong and believing in God. If only the People of the Book had faith it was best for them; among them are some who have faith but most of them are perverted transgressors”.
Meanwhile, Hijrah i.e., emigration from one place to the other did not start with the Holy Prophet Muhammed (SAW). It actually started with the first human creation and the first Prophet, Adam (AS) (Qur’an 2:30). The father of mankind, Adam, and his wife, Hawau were made to live in peace, harmony and total bliss in the Garden of Eden (Qur’an 2:35).
But just as Hijrah for all the 124,000 Prophet and Messengers of God in history are prompted by crises, Prophet Adam and his wife transgressed by taking the forbidden fruit in Paradise, after being misled by Satan.
Hence, Almighty Allah directed Adam and Hawau to leave for earth where they shall live with toil and hardship and happiness and die. Qur’an 2:36 says: “Then did Satan make them slip from the Garden, and get them out of the state of felicity in which they had been. The Almighty God said: “Get ye down, all (ye people) with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time.”
The emigration (Hijrah) of Prophet Adam and his wife from Paradise to the earth was symbolical as the basis of man’s place on earth. It confirms the historical antecedence of man that he shall dwell on earth for a while and shall return to the earth from where he was created and then made to answer for his deeds on earth on the Day of Judgment (Qur’an 7:25).
Qur’an 7:19-25 says: “O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the garden and enjoy (its good things) as ye wish but approach not this tree or ye run into harm and transgression. Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before). He said, ‘Your Lord only forbade you this tree lest ye should become angels or such beings as live forever’. And he swore to them both that he was their sincere adviser. So, by deceit he brought about their fall. When they tasted of the tree their shame became manifest to them and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: ‘Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?’ They said: ‘Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls. If Thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy mercy we shall certainly be lost’. (God) said: ‘Get ye down with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time. Therein shall ye live and therein shall ye die; but from it shall ye be taken out (at last).’”
But there is no permanency of sin on Adam and his wife, as they were pardoned on Mount Arafat near Makkah where they met after several years of wanderings of earth seeking for the forgiveness of Almighty Allah (Qur’an 2:37). So, Muslim pilgrims assemble on the plain of the mountain every 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah to seek for Allah’s forgiveness for their sins (Qur’an 3:97).
Also, Prophet Nuh (AS) went on emigration (Hijrah) in the Ark with those who believed in his mission of the oneness of God, and pairs of all animals (Qur’an 21:76-77). His people were given to unbelief, oppression of the poor, and vain disputations. They disputed his mission for nine hundred and fifty years including his son.
They were all consumed in a terrible flood that flowed from earth and sky, while Prophet Nuh (AS) and his people were saved in the Ark and landed safely on Mount Judi in modern Turkey which extends to Iraq, Syria and Persia (Qur’an 11:25-49). It was revealed to Noah: “None of thy people will believe except those who have believed already! So, grieve no longer over their (evil) deeds. But construct on Ark under our eyes and our inspiration, and address Me no further) on behalf of those whom are in sin: for they are about to be overwhelmed (in the flood)” (Qur’an 11:36-37).
Besides, Prophet Hud (AS) who was sent to the ‘Ad people went on emigration (Hijrah) with those who believed in him. His people had rejected the truthful message of the oneness of God. They were consumed with torrent of hot pellets (Qur’an 11:50-60). Qur’an 11:58 says: “So when our Decree issued, we saved Hud and those who believed with him, by (special) grace from Ourselves. We saved them from severe penalty.”