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Hijra in Islam

Hijra in Islam: Meaning, Background, Significance, and Lessons

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).


Causes of the Hijra:

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.


Execution of the Hijra:

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.

Quranic References:

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


Significance of the Hijra:

Hijra stands as a cornerstone in Islamic history, a pivotal moment with enduring impact. The subsequent points underscore its profound and lasting significance.

  1. Preservation of Islam: The Hijra played a crucial role in preserving the nascent Islamic community. The migration to Medina provided a safer and more conducive environment for Muslims to practice and propagate their faith without the severe persecution they faced in Mecca. This strategic move ensured the survival and growth of Islam.
  2. Establishment of the First Islamic State: The migration to Medina marked the establishment of the first Islamic state. The Constitution of Medina, also known as the Charter of Medina, formalized the rights and responsibilities of the Muslim and non-Muslim communities, providing a model for peaceful coexistence. This document set the precedent for governance based on justice, tolerance, and mutual respect.
  3. Formation of a Unified Muslim Ummah: The Hijra brought together the Muhajirun (migrants from Mecca) and the Ansar (residents of Medina who supported the migrants), forming a unified Muslim community (Ummah). This unity and cooperation were instrumental in facing challenges and building a strong foundation for the growth of Islam.
  4. Commencement of the Islamic Calendar: The Hijra is so significant in Islamic history that it marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. The decision to start the calendar from this event emphasizes its importance and serves as a reminder for Muslims to reflect on the lessons learned from the migration.


Lessons from the Hijra:

  1. Trust in Allah’s Plan: The Hijra teaches Muslims the importance of trusting in Allah’s plan, even in the face of adversity. Despite the risks and challenges, Prophet Muhammad and his companions trusted in Allah’s guidance and protection, leading to the successful execution of the migration.
  2. Strategic Planning and Foresight: The careful planning and execution of the Hijra demonstrate the importance of strategic thinking and foresight in navigating challenges. Prophet Muhammad’s decision to migrate to a more supportive environment was not impulsive but a well-thought-out strategy to ensure the survival and growth of the Muslim community.
  3. Perseverance in the Face of Adversity: The hardships faced by the early Muslims in Mecca, leading up to the Hijra, highlight the virtue of perseverance. Despite persecution, the believers remained steadfast in their faith and committed to the principles of Islam. The Hijra itself was a testament to the resilience of the Muslim community.
  4. Unity and Community Building: The collaboration between the Muhajirun and Ansar in Medina emphasizes the importance of unity and community building in Islam. The strength of the Muslim Ummah lies in the solidarity among its members, transcending tribal, racial, and social divisions.
  5. Religious Freedom and Coexistence: The migration to Medina allowed Muslims to practice their faith freely and peacefully. The Constitution of Medina guaranteed religious freedom for all communities, setting a precedent for coexistence and tolerance. This lesson remains relevant in fostering harmony in diverse societies.
  6. Migration for the Sake of Faith: The Hijra serves as a reminder that migration for the sake of preserving one’s faith and seeking a more conducive environment is a legitimate course of action in Islam. It underscores the principle of self-preservation and protection of religious freedoms.



In summary, the Hijra in Islam is a seminal event that carries profound historical, religious, and social significance. It symbolizes the triumph of faith, the establishment of a just society, and the enduring lessons of trust, strategic planning, perseverance, and community building for Muslims around the world.


Hafiz Ikram Ullah

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