Al-Hamdu Lillaahi Rabbil 'Aalameen was Salaatu was Salaamu 'alaa Ashrafil Anbiyaa'e wal Mursaleen.
Ma'a Sheral Muslimeen! Alhumdoelillah! We will soon be entering the new Hijri year. As we all know, Muharram is the first month of the Muslim calendar. In fact, the Hijrah which is associated in our mind with the month of Muharram neither took place in Muharram nor did it take place at the beginning of Islam. It happened thirteen years after the beginning of Islam. This raises the question in our minds as to why the Muslims took the Hijrah to be the starting point of dating the beginning of Islamic history. Why did we not do as others did, by taking the birthday of their prophet or founder as the beginning of their calendar?
Ummatal Islam! During the Khilafah of Sayyiddina Umar bin al-Khattab the Sahaba Ridwanullahi Ta'ala Alayhim Ajma'een agreed to start the Islamic calendar from when the Nabee Sallalahoo Alayhi Wasallam made Hijrah to Madinah al-Munawwarra and established the first Islamic State. As we enter the blessed month of Muharram and the year 1432 we should remind ourselves of the Hijrah and dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding it. Very often when the Hijrah is discussed, we tend to limit ourselves to the details describing how the Nabee Sallalahoo Alayhi Wasallam hid in a cave or who slept in his bed. This process inevitably diverts us from discussing the true substance of the event.
An account of such events should serve only to remind us that the Nabee while relying on the revelation as the source of the Islamic Message, had to carry the Islamic Da'wah as a human being, and through the means accessible to a human being. Why did we not take the very first revelation received by our Beloved Nabee as the beginning of our calendar? We all know, that when the Muslims got together 15 or 17 years after the Hijrah to decide on the starting point of our history, they were guided in their decision to mark the event of the emigration as the beginning of our history.
The Hijrah to Madinah did not take place because the Muslims in Makkah wanted to avoid the persecution there, or because they wanted to find a safe haven for themselves, or to run away from the hardships they faced in that city. Rather, it was an event that took history in a new direction, and this can only be seen if we look at the Seerah in the correct manner.
Ummatal Islam! The Seerah of the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم is an integral part of the Sunnah, and is just as much a part of the revelation as is the Holy Qur'an. After a careful study of it,
we can extract a very specific method for carrying out the Da'wah, and if our aim is to please Almighty Allah سبحانه وتعالى, then it is our obligation to adhere to this method step by step, through each and every phase. Not because it was a difficult trip between Makkah and Madinah - especially in those days it was an extremely difficult journey. Three hundred miles between Makkah and Madinah in the heat of Arabia, on the back of a camel and on foot, in
the month of June was very arduous indeed. It was not decided upon because it was a difficult journey.
Ih'watal Imaan! The Hijrah was undertaken because it embodied many of the principles of Islam and of Muslim values. We know of the great suffering and persecution of the Muslims - and through the intense hatred of the Quraish towards them, the plot was hatched to murder our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. According to the Seerah, the Hijrah marks the transition from the phase in the Da'wah known as "Seeking the Nusrah" to the phase where Islam is implemented in the form of a state. The Nusrah is the transfer of authority to a person via the material support or allegiance from the powerful elements of a society.
The Hijrah is a direct result of seeking, and subsequently receiving, the Nusrah. When Mus'ab ibn Umair (R.A.) was sent to Madinah to spread the Message of Islam, it took him one year of tireless work in that city before its leaders journeyed to Makkah to transfer their authority to the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم by giving him the Ba'yah. This Ba'yah was called Bayat-ul Harb (Allegiance of War). Although there was no war, it was called Bayat-ul Harb because it indicated the willingness of the Muslims to fight, when necessary, to protect the Da'wah and the newly established Islamic State. The Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم had invested four years of Da'wah, towards most of the tribes in Najd (the large area between Makkah and Madinah) before he received the Nusrah.
Ya Ummatal Qur'an! It is important to note that until this time in the Seerah, even with all the pressure the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم placed upon the Kufr society of Makkah, all the persecution that the Quraysh inflicted on the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Muslims was comparatively trivial to the persecution that came after the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم received the Nusrah from the leaders of Madinah. From this point onward it was the plot of the Kuffar to assassinate the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم. Indeed, it is true that Shaitan and his followers are most afraid of the implementation of Almighty Allah's rules Keeping these elements in mind, whenever we discuss the Hijrah, which many people will try to reduce to a spiritual journey the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم took over some terrain, we should discuss the overall ideological significance of this event in terms of Islam and the Da'wah mission.
It is critical for Muslims to realize that this event not only marks the beginning of our calendar, but more importantly it commemorates the establishment of the nucleus of the first Islamic state. For hundreds of years to come this nucleus would engulf neighboring lands, subsequently liberating one oppressed people after another and bringing them the Mercy from Almighty Allah سبحانه وتعالى called Islam. If we want to talk about the essential nature of the Hijrah, we have to realize that it marks the time when Islam as an Ideology was transformed from idea to practice.
Faya Ayyuhan Nas! Hitherto, the people of Madinah accepted the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم only as a Prophet. However, after the transfer of power (Nusrah), when the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم arrived in Madinah, they received him as a ruler and a Prophet. Before the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم made the Hijrah, he was a Prophet with the new laws revealed to him by Allah سبحانه وتعالى. After the Hijrah, he was the one who implemented this law. Islam had gone from addressing and pointing out the problems and issues to tackling the problems and issues and providing solutions for them. It was at this point that the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم was able to apply the rules and systems of Islam into real life.
The Hijrah, a part of the Seerah, is something that must be studied in depth to gain a full understanding of its implications and meaning. It is not simply a series of bedtime stories to be told and remembered like fairy tales of how the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم took Hazrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) with him and went on a journey, and at the end of it the people received them. According to the plan chalked out by the Quraish in a general meeting of their leaders in the “Dar-al-Nadwah” (the Council Chamber), it was agreed upon that the chiefs of all the prominent tribes had to participate jointly in the murder of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam so that the tribe of Banu Hashim would not be able to oppose or confront all of them together.
Ma'a Sheral Muslimeen! The perpetrators of this evil plot included some of the arch- enemies
of Islam and they consisted of Zam’ah bin Awad bin Mutallib; Hakim bin Hizam; Abu Jahl; Nubaih; Munabbih; Umayya bin Khalaf; Utbah; and Abu-al-Bakhtari. The very thought that our Beloved Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم may migrate made them desperate and the time had now come for them to act on their henious intention with the sole purpose of eradicating the new religion of Islam and killing the Beloved Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم. They sat their plan in motion but Allmighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala is indeed the best of planners for it was through Divine Providence that our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam was
informed about the plot when verse 30 of Surah Al-Anfal was revealed to him.
“And when those who disbelieve plot against thee (O Muhammad) to wound you fatally, or to kill you, or to drive thee forth; they plan but Allah (also) plans and Allah is the best of planners.”
Ih'watal Aqida! The plots against our Beloved Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم in Makkah aimed at three things. They were not only foiled, but Almighty Allah سبحانه وتعالى wonderful working turned the tables, and brought good out of evil in each case. These enemies of Allah tried to hold our Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم in subjection in Makkah by putting pressure on his uncles,relatives and friends. But the more they persecuted, the more the little Muslim community grew in faith and numbers.
They plotted and planned to injure or kill our Beloved Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم but the wonderful example of his kindness, humility, perseverance, and fearlessness furthered the cause of Islam. They tried to get him and his small band of followers out of their homes but Alhumdoelillah, they found a new home in Madinah from which they eventually reconquered not only Makkah but the whole of Arabia and the world. Since our Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم was now fully aware of the plot against his life, he was commanded to migrate as we learn from verse 41 of Surah An-Nahl:
“To those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, after suffering oppression, - We will assuredly give a goodly home in this world; But truly the reward of the Hereafter will be greater. If they only realised (this).”
Ya Ayyuhal Gafieloon! We are all aware of the persecution that took place against the Muslims and that many of them left behind all their possessions and went secretly to Madinah. The time had now come for our Beloved Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم together with his closest companion Sayyidina Abubaker Radhiallaho Anho to embark on their Divinely ordained Hijrah. As mentioned earlier, the Hijrah embodies the intrinsic principles of Islam. The principles which are essential for any nation to survive and for any message to flourish. By this I mean, the manifestation of complete commitment.
The manifestation of loyalty, a manifestation of Muhabbat a manifestation of truth and a preference for the public interest rather than self-interest. In actual fact all the Sahaba R.A. stand as shining examples for all these ideals for Allmighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala speaks of them in verse 42 of Surah An-Nahl:
“(They are) those who persevere in patience, and place their trust only in Allah.”
Aina Izzatul Islam! They were motivated by the Pleasure of Almighty Allah سبحانه وتعالى . They were zealous for the sake of Islam and for our Beloved Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم. Like I said, all of them stand out as shining examples, but I would like to highlight for our attention just two, Sayyidina Abubaker Radhiallahoo Anho and Sayyidina Ali Radhiallahoo Anho.There is a reason why I have chosen these two illustrious companions of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam.
It is a well known fact that some sections of our community profess an affinity with Sayyidina Ali R.A; and the other sections profess affinity with Sayyidina Abubaker R.A. Unfortunately both sections forget or misconstrue what these two men stood for. Sayyidina Ali R.A. when he was quite young knew that the enemies of Islam were standing outside our Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم door ready to kill him. Yet he spent the night in the Nabee bed, to give the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم a chance to leave undetected. He didn’t do this because he was his cousin, or because he was the first young child to believe in the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم . It was not a matter of kinship.
O you who believe! After all the Abu Lahab was also a cousin of the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم and an avowed bitter enemy.It was not a question of family relationship, but one of conviction. Sayyidina Ali R.A. voluntarily agreed to subject his young life to the great danger which the ocassion demanded. As for Sayyidina Abubaker R.A; we know that the Holy Qura’n records the moment when he was with the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم in the cave of mount Thawr situated about three miles from Makkah. It is from this incident that he was also known as the “Companion of the cave.” For three days and three nights they hid in the cave of mount Thawr while the Quraish combed every hill and valley in the area.
Ayyuhal Muslimoon! The frustrated and disappointed leaders of the Quraish proclaimed a reward of one hundred camels for their capture. It is said that no sooner had they entered the cave when once again through Divine Providence - a spider spinned a web at the mouth of the entrance and a turtle dove laid an egg in front of the cave where they were hiding. One of the search parties even reached the cave and on hearing their footsteps Sayyidina Abubaker R.A. was overwhelmed with anxiety because if the pursuers had but looked through the spiders web, at the entrance of the cave, they would have found them. Our Beloved Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم consoled him by reciting part of verse 40 of Surah At-Taubah:
“Have no fear for Allah is with us.”
Alhumdoelillah! can any of us imagine the pride and the might of Makkah could be defeated by a web woven by a spider and an egg of a dove? It is Only Almighty Allah سبحانه وتعالى Who plans, Who gives victory, Who gives the aid, and Who enlightens the people who place all their trust in Him and in Him Alone. My dear brothers and sisters, we must by now realise that the Hijrah was actually a concept before it was embarked upon. It was a manifestation of ideas and principles before it was a changing of the place of abode. In one of his statements the Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم advises all of us not to look superficially at the significant events of our history or of any action undertaken.
Alal Muslimeena Jami'a! We should not be content with the outward expression and forget about the substance and the spirit of what we do and why we do it. In one of the ahadith when he was asked to define who a Muslim is, it is reported that he said: “A Muslim is he who does not harm others, neither by his hand nor his tongue.” Unfortunately, with regard the Hijrah - we have forgotten even about the physical side of it. If we ask anybody what the Hijri date is today, very few of us will be able to give a correct answer. No Muslim country in the world pay their workers wages according to the Hijri year. No Muslim country in the world arrange their time-table of events or of anything else apart from the obvious religious festivals according to the Hijri year.
Faya Ayyuhan nas! Furthermore, every year - like clockwork, we have a quarrel about the beginning of Ramadhan, or the beginning of Hajj and so on and so forth. We live in a state of chaos. When will the Muslims of the world emerge from it. Only, and only, when we rise above those little things whether they are of national interest or factional or, should one say fictional understanding and interpretation, or personal promotion. May Almighty Allah سبحانه وتعالى guide us all to the path trod by those who first paid allegiance to His Beloved Nabee صلى الله عليه وسلم, and may He guide us to renew our allegiance to Islam.
And Almighty Allah knows best.