By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

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The New Year of Hijrah 1436: Some Lessons from the Hijrah

 

(Khutbah at ISOC – Dhul Hijjah 30, 1435/ October 24, 2014)

 

Tomorrow by the grace of Allah we shall begin our new year of Hijrah, the year 1436. I pray to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to make the coming year the year of many blessings for us, for our families and our communities, here and around the world. May He protect us and keep us on the right path. May He remove the difficulties of all people. May He continue to guide us and guide the humanity to the ways of justice and peace.

Muslims count their calendar from the Hijrah of the Prophet –peace be upon him- from Makkah to Madinah. It took place in the year 622 CE. This date was chosen later by the consensus of the Sahabah during the Caliphate of Sayyidna ‘Umar (634-644 CE). Hijrah was a very significant event. Before the Hijrah, Islam was preached as a message, after Hijrah it became a community, a society, a government and a civilization.

The word ‘hijrah’ has two meanings: it means to emigrate, to move from one location to another location. It also means to leave and renounce. Sometime we have to move from one place to another place to protect our faith, our lives, our families, etc. But the Hijrah that we need all the time is to leave everything that Allah has forbidden and to do what Allah has commanded and allowed. The Prophet –peace be upon him- said in his sermon during his Farewell Hajj:

روى الإمام أحمد في مسنده عن فضالة بن عبيد رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في حجة الوداع : ألا أخبركم بالمؤمن؟ من أمنه الناس على أموالهم وأنفسهم، والمسلم من سلم المسلمون من لسانه ويده، والمجاهد من جاهد نفسه في طاعة الله، والمهاجر من هجر الخطايا والذنوب.

Should I tell you about the Mu’min (believer)? He is a person whom people can trust with their money and their lives. Muslim is a person from whose tongue and hand others are safe. Mujahid is a person who struggles with his self to obey Allah. Muhajir is the person who leaves the wrong things and sins. (Musnad of Imam Ahmad)

The Hijrah of the Prophet and his companions was a very humble moment. It began under a lot of difficulties, but it was the mercy of Allah as well as the faith and righteous conduct of the Prophet and his followers that made it a historic moment, a moment of universal significance. We should study the Hijrah of the Prophet and learn lessons from it. The story of Hijrah strengthens faith, revives the spirit, inspires hope and gives courage and confidence in the Islamic message and mission. It reminds us that we must remain steadfast and must always do right things for the right objectives. No one can achieve Islamic objectives by doing wrong things. In Islam the ends do not justify the means. The ends must be good and the means must be good. This requires a lot of patience, even suffering and hardship. Let us look at some of the events of Hijrah:

The enemies of the Prophet in Makkah did not like his message of Tawhid and righteousness. They opposed him for 13 years and finally they decided to kill him. They sent a group of people to surround his home during the night and assassinate him in the morning. The Prophet learnt about their plot and saw their movements around his home. He decided to leave the house quietly when he saw that his assassins were in deep sleep. He did not care much about his house and his property, but he had in his possession few things that belonged to some people of Makkah. The Prophet’s concern was that those valuables must be returned to their owners. Before leaving the Prophet asked his cousin ‘Ali to stay in his home, take care of those valuables and return them to their owners. The Prophet told him that he should not worry because the enemies were not after him. This is a beautiful example of the honesty and trustworthiness at a most difficult time. The Prophet always emphasized that Iman (faith) is not just beliefs; it is also honesty and trustworthiness.

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ ، قَالَ : قَلَّ مَا خَطَبَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِلا قَالَ : " لا إِيمَانَ لِمَنْ لا أَمَانَةَ لَهُ ، وَلا دِينَ لِمَنْ لا عَهْدَ لَهُ " (مسند أحمد12324 )

Anas ibn Malik says that whenever the Prophet gave a speech he said, ‘He has no faith who has no quality of honesty; and there is no religion in a person who does not keep his words. (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal 12324)

The Prophet –peace be upon him- then went to his fried Abu Bakr’s home and told him that Allah granted him permission to leave Makkah. Abu Bakr requested to be his companion in this blessed journey. They both left Makkah during the night and hid themselves in a cave outside the city of Makkah for a few days, before proceeding to Madinah. The enemies announced a big reward for anyone who would capture him alive or dead. Many parties went to different directions of the city of Makkah to pursue him. One party came all the way to the Mountain of Thaur where the Prophet and his companion were in a cave. Abu Bakr –may Allah be pleased with him- was worried. He himself reported:

عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ قُلْتُ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَأَنَا فِي الْغَارِ لَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَهُمْ نَظَرَ تَحْتَ قَدَمَيْهِ لَأَبْصَرَنَا فَقَالَ مَا ظَنُّكَ يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ بِاثْنَيْنِ اللَّهُ ثَالِثُهُمَا (البخاري 3380)

“I said to the Prophet and I was in the cave (with him), ‘If any one of them looks down toward his feet, he will see us.’ The Prophet said, ‘Abu Bakr, what do you think about the two with whom the third is Allah?’ ” (Al-Bukhari, 3380)

Allah Himself has described that moment in the Qur’an,

إِلَّا تَنْصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَى وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ(التوبة 40)

If you help him (the Prophet) not, (know that) Allah did indeed help him, when the Unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion: they two were in the Cave, and he said to his companion, "Grieve not, indeed Allah is with us.” Then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which you saw not, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers. But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights: for Allah is Mighty and Wise.

(Al-Tawbah 9:40)

As humans we do have our worries and anxieties, but we must have faith and confidence in Allah. “Allah is with us.” This assurance comes from the ‘sakinah’ (calm and tranquility) in the hearts of the believers. Allah bestows it on those who are righteous and do good deeds. Allah already told His Prophet in the last two verse of Surah al-Nahl:

وَاصْبِرْ وَمَا صَبْرُكَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ ۚ وَلَا تَحْزَنْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا تَكُ فِي ضَيْقٍ مِمَّا يَمْكُرُونَ {127} إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ مُحْسِنُونَ {النحل 127-128}

So be steadfast: your steadfastness comes only from Allah. Do not grieve over them; do not be distressed by their scheming. Indeed Allah is with those who are mindful of Him and who do good deeds. (Al-Nahl 16:127-128)

As soon as the Prophet –peace be upon him- arrived in Madinah, he started working on three projects:

  • Promoting brotherhood between the Muhajirun (migrants of Makkah) and the Ansar

(Muslims of Madinah) to foster community harmony and peace.

  • Building a Masjid for daily prayers, meeting and learning. From this institution came the greatest leaders of Islam.
  • Prepared a covenant of peace and good relations between Muslims and non-Muslims of Madinah known as Mithaq al-Madinah. This became the Constitution of the new state and a guide for generations to come.

The Islamic life in Madinah began with these three main programs: Internal Unity, Devotion to Allah and external peace. These were the main ingredients for the progress of early Islamic community.

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