The Meaning of Hijrah

Hijrah comes from the Arabic word, which means to leave, to stay away and move somewhere. In the context of the history of emigration, hijrah is migration activities performed by the Prophet Muhammad with his companions he was from Mecca to Medina, in order to defend and uphold Messages of Allah, in the form of faith and Islamic Shari’a. With reference to the hijrah of the Prophet done some scholars interpret that hijrah is out of the “Darul kufr” head “Darul Islam”. Out of disbelief toward faith.

Hijrah literally means “migration to other state” or “self migration from the origin state”. Technically, Hijrah means the movement of The Prophet Muhammad pbuh from Mecca to Yatsrib or known as Medina on 24 September, 622M.

Many Muslims define Hijrah as a story on which Prophet Muhammad and his companion being chased by the Mecca people in which from another view it seems like it was prevention for the incoming danger. Muslims historian define other Hijrah occasion which is the movement of the twelve men and four women Muslims from Mecca to Habasyah that began on 615M “5 years after the first revelation being revealed” and being followed by another hundred more people after few years past. Among them is the companion; Usman Ibn Affan, Ja’far Ibn  Abu Thalib and Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud.

It is true that the first Hijrah was a really important event but the second hijrah also can be considered as an important event. The reason is that the first hijrah was migrations to prevent from any upcoming danger so that they will be save. The second hijrah was a step further to the promotion of Islam and to change the world to create new history about it.

The meaning of Hijrah is not limited to only the history of the migration of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh and his companion only. But, it can be used as a metaphor to describe the religion and the moral of the religious believers. In other word, the Holy Qur’an used the word Hijrah so that the believers move or change from the worst; ignoring Allah’s command, ignoring the Holy Qur’an. Hijrah can be define as a step in which the believer started to change from evil to good.

Muslims must do yourself the hijrah when his family threatened to defend the faith and Islamic Shari’a

Order about Hijrah there in a few verses of the Qur’an:

Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah – those expect the mercy of Allah. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful (Al-Baqarah 2:218)

But those who have believed and emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah and those who gave shelter and aided – it is they who are the believers, truly. For them is forgiveness and noble provision (Al-An’fal, 8:74)

The ones who have believed, emigrated and striven in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allah. And it is those who are the attainers [of success] (At-Taubah, 9:20)

From the ayah above we can say that:

  1. That the hijra must be made on the basis of Allah intent and purpose for lead rahmat and pleasure of Allah
  2. That believers who emigrate and strive with Allah and motivation as goals to achieve grace and pleasure of Allah, that they are the true believers who will receive God’s forgiveness, obtain the blessing (Ni’mat) that start, and the victory of Allah
  3. Hijra and jihad that can be done at the expense of what we have, including possessions, even the soul
  4. The three ayah above are mentions three principles of life, which is faith, hijra and jihad. Faith means belief, hijrah meaningful change and jihad means the struggle to uphold Allah treatise

History of Hijrah

Hijrah as one of the principles of life, we must always interpret correctly. In language hijrah means to leave. Someone said if the move meets two requirements, namely, that there is something that the first and second left something intended (destination). Both must be met by a man who emigrated. Leaving all that bad, negative, immoral, conditions are not appropriate or ideal, more state sticks better, positive and conducive conditions to uphold the teachings of Islam.

In reality the history of hijrah always associated with leaving a place, namely the Prophet hijrah events and their friends left right which is not conducive to preach. Even events that are used as the basis hijrah Muslims as the beginning of Hijriyah year.

After Prophet Muhammad pbuh had preached publicly for more than a decade, the opposition to him reached such a high pitch that, fearful for their safety, he sent some of his followers to Ethiopia, where the Christian ruler extended protection to them, the memory of which has been cherished by Muslims ever since. But in Mecca the persecution worsened. Prophet Muhammad’s followers were harassed, abused, and even tortured. At last, therefore, Muhammad sent seventy of his followers off to the northern town of Yathrib, which was later to be renamed Medina (“The City”). Later, in the early fall of 622, he learned of a plot to murder him and, with his closest friend, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, set off to join the emigrants.

In Mecca the plotters arrived at Muhammad’s home to find that his cousin, ‘Ali, had taken his place in bed. Mad, the Meccans set a price on Muhammad’s head and set off in pursuit. Muhammad and Abu Bakr, however, had taken refuge in a cave where, as they hid from their pursuers, a spider spun its web across the cave’s mouth. When they saw that the web was unbroken, the Meccans passed by and Prophet Muhammad and Abu Bakr went on to Medina, where they were welcomed by a throng of Medinans as well as the Meccans who had gone ahead to prepare the way.

This was the Hijrah – anglicized as Hegira – usually, but inaccurately, translated as “Flight” – from which the Muslim era is dated. In fact, the Hijrah was not a flight but a carefully planned migration which marks not only a break in history – the beginning of the Islamic era- but also, for Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims, a new way of life. Henceforth, the organizational principle of the community was not to be mere blood kinship, but the greater brotherhood of all Muslims. The men who accompanied Prophet Muhammad on the Hijrah were called the Muhajirun – “those that made the Hijrah” or the “Emigrants” – while those in Medina who became Muslims were called the Ansar or “Helpers.”

Prophet Muhammad pbuh noticed with the situation in Medina. Earlier, before the Hijrah, the city had sent envoys to Mecca asking Prophet Muhammad to mediate a dispute between two powerful tribes. What the envoys saw and heard had impressed them and they had invited Prophet Muhammad to settle in Medina. After the Hijrah, Prophet Muhammad’s exceptional qualities so impressed the Medinans that the rival tribes and their allies temporarily closed ranks as, on March 15, 624, Prophet Muhammad and his supporters moved against the pagans of Mecca.

The first battle, which took place near Badr, now a small town southwest of Medina, had several important effects. In the first place, the Muslim forces, outnumbered three to one, routed the Meccans. Secondly, the discipline displayed by the Muslims brought home to the Meccans, perhaps for the first time, the abilities of the man they had driven from their city. Then, one of the allied tribes which had pledged support to the Muslims in the Battle of Badr, but had then proved lukewarm when the fighting started, was expelled from Medina one month after the battle. Those who claimed to be allies of the Muslims, but tacitly opposed them, were thus served warning: membership in the community imposed the obligation of total support.

A year later the Meccans strike back. Assembling an army of three thousand men, they met the Muslims at Uhud, a ridge outside Medina. After an initial success the Muslims were driven back and the Prophet himself was wounded. As the Muslims were not completely defeated, the Meccans, with an army of ten thousand, attacked Medina again two years later but with quite different results. At the Battle of the Trench, also known as the Battle of the Confederates, the Muslims scored a signal victory by introducing a new defence.

On the side of Medina from which attack was expected they dug a trench too deep for the Meccan cavalry to clear without exposing itself to the archers posted behind earthworks on the Medina side. After an inconclusive siege, the Meccans were forced to retire. Thereafter Medina was entirely in the hands of the Muslims.

The Constitution of Medina – under which the clans accepting Prophet Muhammad as the Prophet of God formed an alliance, or federation – dates from this period. It showed that the political consciousness of the Muslim community had reached an important point; its members defined themselves as a community separate from all others. The Constitution also defined the role of non-Muslims in the community. Jews, for example, were part of the community; they were dhimmis, that is, protected people, as long as they conformed to its laws. This established a precedent for the treatment of subject peoples during the later conquests. Christians and Jews, upon payment of a yearly tax, were allowed religious freedom and, while maintaining their status as non-Muslims, were associate members of the Muslim state. This status did not apply to polytheists, who could not be tolerated within a community that worshipped the One God.

Ibn Ishaq, one of the earliest biographers of the Prophet, says it was at about this time that Muhammad sent letters to the rulers of the earth – the King of Persia, the Emperor of Byzantium, the Negus of Abyssinia, and the Governor of Egypt among others – inviting them to submit to Islam. Nothing more fully illustrates the confidence of the small community, as its military power, despite the battle of the Trench, was still negligible. But its confidence was not misplaced. Prophet Muhammad so effectively built up a series of alliances among the tribes his early years with the Bedouins must have stood him in good stead here- that by 628 he and fifteen hundred followers were able to demand access to the Ka’bah during negotiations with the Meccans. This was a milestone in the history of the Muslims. Just a short time before, Prophet Muhammad had to leave the city of his birth in fear of his life.

Now Prophet Muhammad was being treated by his former enemies as a leader in his own right. A year later, in 629, he re-entered and, in effect, conquered Mecca without bloodshed and in a spirit of tolerance which established an ideal for future conquests. He also destroyed the idols in the Ka’bah, to put an end forever to pagan practices there. At the same time Prophet Muhammad won the allegiance of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, the future conqueror of Egypt, and Khalid ibn al-Walid, the future “Sword of God,” both of whom embraced Islam and joined Prophet Muhammad. Their conversion was especially noteworthy because these men had been among Prophet Muhammad’s bitterest opponents only a short time before.

In one sense Prophet Muhammad’s return to Mecca was the climax of his mission. In 632, just three years later, he was suddenly taken ill and on June 8 of that year, with his third wife ‘Aishah in attendance, the Messenger of God “died with the heat of noon.”

The Types ofhijrah

First Hijrah

Technically, the first Hijrah occurred in 615 when a group of Muslims was counselled by Muhammad to escape persecution in Mecca and travel to the court of Axum (Abyssinia at the time), which was ruled by a Christian king, the Negus. Muhammad himself did not join this emigration. In that year, his followers fled Mecca’s leading tribe, the Quraysh, who sent emissaries to Axum to bring them back to Arabia. The nascent movement faced growing opposition and persecution. When Muhammad and his followers received an invitation from the people of Yathrib, they decided to leave Mecca.

–          Hijarat to Abyssinia (613, 615)

The migration known as the first Hijarat was made in two groups totalling more than a hundred persons. According to Islamic tradition, eleven male and five female Sahabah, the Muslims who originally converged in Mecca, sought refuge from Quraysh persecution in the Kingdom of Aksum in the seventh Islamic month (Rajab) of 7 BH (614–615 CE) in the first batch. This act is known as the first migration to Abyssinia; Abyssinia in this incident because of the Arabic word, al-Habasha, whence “Abyssinia” is derived. They returned after three months to Arabia due to misinformation, only to find that the persecution had not halted. “The hardships and sufferings borne by the Muslims were ever on the increase. Muhammad at last permitted them to migrate to some other place. Abyssinia at that time was ruled by a Christian King, Aṣḥama ibn Abjar, (who according to Muslim tradition, later embraced Islam), famous for his mercy and equity. In Rajab of the fifth year of the mission, the first group immigrated to Axum.

The group comprised about eleven men and four women. The Qureysh pursued them to the port to capture them, but their vessels had left the shore. When the group reached Axum, they heard the rumour that the whole tribe of the Qureysh had accepted Islam. They were naturally very much pleased at the news and returned to their country. On approaching Mecca, they learnt that the rumour was false and the persecutions were going on unabated. Some of them decided to return to Axum and the rest entered Mecca, seeking the protection of a few influential people. This is known as the first migration to Axum. Later on, a bigger group of eighty-three men and eighteen women immigrated to Axum (separately). This is called the second immigration to that country. Some Sahabah took part in both the migrations

Five Important Areas for a True Hijrah

Faith: A weak faith is the first enemy of a prospect immigrant. The first immigrants would have never left all their possessions behind and migrated unless they had faith as solid as mountains in God’s words and His prophet’s leadership. Like them, we should work on strengthening our faith to be able to pull away from what God has forbidden.

Knowledge: Our second enemy on the path of Hijrah is ignorance. Only with good knowledge could our faith see us through the trials and tests of staying on the straight path. This knowledge should not be limited to religious information only, but should also include modern sciences and arts, history, philosophy, world news, other cultures and other religions. Muslims had a glorious civilization only when they knew the true meaning of knowledge.

Acts of worship: The lifeline of the soul is its connection to its Creator. Worship not only brings us closer to God and supplies us with essential strength, resolve and tranquillity, but also humbles us enough to see we’re only creatures like the rest of the creation, and that we have to maintain an ethical relationship with the universe and other people. While migrating away from what God has forbidden, we have to have a new destination to migrate to, and that destination is determined by the degree of our closeness to Him through worship.

Desire: The Quran describes eloquently the different types of human desire “nafs”, and it is the responsibility of each of us to discover which type they belong to and follow the Quranic wisdom on how to deal with its tricks. Controlling one’s urges and desires is detrimental to how much success in this life one achieves as a migrant to God.

Ethics: A person who is full of great concepts and no deeds to prove it is a loser. Unless we can “walk the talk” there would be no hope for us to strengthen our will to reach our goals and our resistance to distractions. And unless our Islamic ethical system is apparent through our everyday behaviours and manners, there is no hope for us to be true Muslims either according to the Prophet’s Hadith. For what good is it to veil, pray and fast then steal, lie and gossip? When the Prophet begins by describing a Muslim as someone who is well mannered, he is actually reminding us that Islam is a practical code of ethics not just a set of spiritual concepts.

How can we make hijrah for the sake of Allah nowadays?


Hijrah (migration) for the sake of Allah means moving from the land of shirk to the land of Islam, as the Muslims moved from Mecca – before its people became Muslim – to Mahdeenah, because it had become the city of Islam after its people had pledged their allegiance (bay’ah) to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and asked him to make hijrah to them. So Hijrah means migrating to join other Muslims. Hijrah may also take the form of moving from one land of shirk to another land of shirk where evil is less prevalent and there is less danger to the Muslims, as when some of the Muslims migrated from Makkah, at the command of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), to Abyssinia (Ethiopia).

And Allah is the Source of Strength. May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.

Fataawaa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 12/50


The Importance of Hijrah.

Hijrah is known as one of the most important event in Muslims history. As a Muslims, we need to honoured Prophets Muhammad pbuh effort in fighting for Islam. Hijrah has create a complex community with a complex punishment system being applied by the constitution makes the believers followed the exact guideline of Islam and avoiding themselves from doing the thing that has been prohibit by the religion.

Furthermore, hijrah makes Islam as a advance religion; from the law aspect, social aspect, economical aspect, politic and even its military constitution. Hijrah has created a nation in which hijrah was the source of strength and a state or nation in the world has big potential to develop a new world, make the human being more harmonious, ensured their freedom from any colonialism until they believed in justice.


Abdul Hamid Jaudah al-Sahhar. (1993). Hijrah. Malaysia. Percetakan Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

Ismail, R. Faruqi (1985). The Hijrah: The Necessity of Its Iqamat or Vergegenwartigung. Bandung. Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia.


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