In Islam, the term “Hijra” refers to the migration or emigration of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Mecca (Makkah) to Medina (Madinah) in 622 CE. The Islamic calendar begins with this event and marks it as the year 1 A.H. (After Hijra). The Hijra holds immense significance in Islamic history and serves as a pivotal moment in the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The migration (Hijra) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Makkah to Madinah was prompted by the escalating persecution and opposition faced by the early Muslim community in Makkah. The Quraysh, the dominant tribe in Makkah, vehemently opposed the message of Islam, viewing it as a threat to their religious and economic interests. The Muslims, who were a minority at that time, endured severe hardships, including social boycotts, economic sanctions, and physical torture.
The Quraysh intensified their efforts to suppress Islam. It reached a critical point where the lives of Prophet Muhammad and his followers were in imminent danger. Despite the constant hardships, the Muslims remained steadfast in their faith, but the need for a more secure environment became increasingly apparent.
The Hijra took place in the year 622 CE and unfolded in a carefully planned manner. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) chose Medina, then known as Yathrib, as the destination due to the presence of several supportive tribes, including the Aus and Khazraj. The migration was kept confidential to avoid interference from the Quraysh.
Prophet Muhammad, accompanied by his close companion Abu Bakr, left his home in Mecca under the cover of darkness. They took refuge in the Cave of Thawr, southwest of Mecca, for three days to elude the Quraysh’s pursuit. During this period, divine protection and guidance were evident, as a spider spun a web at the cave’s entrance and a dove laid eggs, giving the impression that the cave was undisturbed.
After leaving the cave, the Prophet and Abu Bakr embarked on a challenging journey through the desert, facing potential threats from Meccan authorities. They eventually reached Quba, a suburb of Medina, where the first mosque of Islam, the Quba Mosque, was established. The subsequent entry of Prophet Muhammad into Medina marked the beginning of a new chapter for the Muslim community.
While the Quran does not explicitly mention the Hijra, the concept of migration and the challenges faced by the early Muslim community in Mecca are addressed in various verses. One notable example is the verse from Surah Al-Anfal (Chapter 8, Verse 30), where Allah consoles and encourages the Prophet:
“And (remember) when those who disbelieve plotted against you (O Muhammad) to imprison you, or to kill you, or to get you out (from your home); they were plotting and Allah too was planning, and Allah is the best of planners.”
This verse acknowledges the difficulties faced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Mecca and reassures him of Allah’s ultimate plan. The Quran also emphasizes the importance of patience, perseverance, and reliance on Allah during challenging times.
Additionally, Surah Al-Hajj (22:39-40) alludes to the permission granted to the oppressed Muslims to defend themselves:
“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought because they were wronged, and indeed Allah is competent to give them victory. Those who have been evicted from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him.”
These verses reflect the broader context of the struggles faced by the Muslim community in Mecca and the divine permission to migrate and defend themselves against oppression.
You also might want to read: Tawhid: Meaning, Types, Significance, Quranic References