3 Key Highlights from the Phase of Madinah That Are Missing Today

Why was da’wah in Madinah a game-changer? Learn the key highlights that made all the difference, which isn’t applied today.

What you should expect:

• Ar-Rasul’s ﷺ trials and tribulations during hijra to Madinah

• The key highlights of da’wah in Madinah

• Significance of those key highlights


1. The mosque – where Allah’s sovereignty is established and the systems governing life are discussed

2. Establishing brotherhood – a concept of selfless unity before Allah

3. Translating Allah’ sovereignty into a practical state system

The believers’ hijra (emigration) to Madinah was not a convenient escape. Neither hijra was a small milestone for personal growth and betterment, as we understand today.

In fact, the taghut of that time, i.e. the Mushrikun (disbelievers) of Makkah considered hijra as a huge threat to them.

Why was that?

For so long, they tried to stop the da’wah and the influence of the believers from growing. Now that the believers were emigrating to seek more protection and strategic support from outside of Makkah, the Mushrikun figured themselves to be on the losing side.

The Mushrikun’s ‘emergency conference’ in Dar al-Nadwah to strategise against this move was recorded in the Quran:

“And (remember, O  Prophet,) when the disbelievers conspired to capture, kill, or exile you. They planned, but Allah also planned. And Allah is the best of planners.” (al-Quran 8:30)

Angel Jibril alayhissalam informed ar-Rasul ﷺ of the disbelievers’ scheming against them. With careful tactics, ar-Rasul ﷺ and the Sahaba managed to emigrate to Madinah, although they were continuously tracked by the assassins sent by the Mushrikun.

For a bigger purpose of the Islamic establishment, ar-Rasul ﷺ even got help from a good non-Muslim, Abdullah ibn Uraiqit as the path guider.

Of course, hijra to Madinah wasn’t a sudden move. The Ansar’s invitation to the believers to go there didn’t happen overnight. Ever since the treaty of Aqaba I and Aqaba II years before, and followed by sending a Dai’e there, ar-Rasul ﷺ already planned steps ahead to spread the message of Islam further.

In Madinah, ar-Rasul ﷺ actually turned the fear of the disbelievers of Makkah into a reality.

There, ar-Rasul ﷺ focused on the mission of establishing Allah’s sovereignty. There, the Islamic system based on the words of Allah was translated into practice.

The Mushrikun of Makkah was aware of this, and they acted by launching an attack on the believers and thus, the state of Madinah. We know about the Battle of Badr, Battle of Uhud and Battle of Ahzab. 

After a series of aggression against the believers in Madinah, an agreement called the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, which was more in favour of the disbelievers of Makkah, was ratified. Nevertheless, the disbelievers violated it anyway.

What are the three key highlights from the phase of da’wah in Madinah, that made the disbelievers all agitated and troubled?

1. The mosque – where Allah’s sovereignty is established and the systems governing life are discussed

Islamic Holy Place in high resolution of 36 megapixels

There is a mosque in Makkah where God-worshipping centred; the mosque of al-Haram. However, it was ‘contaminated’ with idols and the practice of jahiliyyah.

Therefore, the first step that ar-Rasul ﷺ did when he arrived in Madinah was to build a mosque. The first mosque he built was in Quba, and it was on a piece of land he purchased from two orphans, Sahl and Suhail bin ‘Amr. 

In Madinah, ar-Rasul ﷺ and the Sahaba established the mosque of the Prophet (Masjid al-Nabawi).

Beyond being a place to perform worship, that mosque was also used as a centre for religious education and teaching activities, adjudicating various things that appeared in the community, and a place for meetings and others. The mosque, thus, also served as a centre of political and government activities at the time.

The establishment of the mosque wasn’t only for a centre for spiritual upliftment, although that is an important aspect of tarbiyyah.

The mosque of ar-Rasul ﷺ was where Allah’s sovereignty was established, and where the systems governing life were discussed.

There was no secularisation and separation between both and from either side. The systems were guided based on Allah’s sovereignty, and on the other hand, the principle of Allah’s sovereignty wasn’t exploited to establish man-made systems.

2. Establishing brotherhood – a concept of selfless unity before Allah

Another important preliminary step taken by ar-Rasul ﷺ was to establish brotherhood between the believers from Makkah (the Muhajirin) and the believers of Madinah (the Ansar).

The brotherhood was for none other than for Allah’s sake. It ignored any differences in lineage, tribe, colour, social status or place of birth. It removed any prejudices and discrimination inherited from the practice of jahiliyyah.

Through this move, the Ansar displayed a high level of altruism, generosity, equality and selflessness for the Muhajirin, who had to leave home empty-handed to preserve their faith.

Both were from different tribes and origins. They had never encountered each other before. Yet, they became stronger together. Political and societal stability managed to be gained faster.

If only the believers of today could come together without prejudice and selfish political agenda. If only the ummah’s strong unity can be achieved without each Muslim nation taking different geopolitical sides for their nation’s interest.

3. Translating Allah’s sovereignty into a practical state system 

The new Madinah Charter agreed by the citizens of Madinah was the highest law there that dictated the revelation of Allah SWT as a reference policy in all aspects.

This can be seen from some of the general policies set in the Charter:

  • Allah’s revelations delivered to ar-Rasul ﷺ are the main sources of law. This is as in Clause 23 of the Madinah Charter;

وأنكم مهما اختلفتم فيه من شيء فإن مرده إلى الله عز وجل وإلى محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم

“And that whenever you differ about anything, refer it to Allah and to Prophet Muhammad

  • The obligation to observe and respect ar-Rasul ﷺ as the Head of State of Madinah, is as provided in Clause 23. All major problems between the Muslim community and the non-Muslim community must be referred to the head of state to be resolved. However, all the tribal leaders had the right to solve their tribal problems where they thought were reasonable.

Throughout the 10 years of tarbiyyah, da’wah and jihad in Madinah, this period was utilised to develop a great state in terms of politics, economics and social development and integration, all of which are based on the fundamentals of Allah’s sovereignty.

The leadership of ar-Rasul ﷺ was further expounded as the head of state of Madinah, where he ﷺ successfully resolved every single issue within the society and during the wars. 

If da’wah ilallah was a personal matter, confined to spiritual self-help or simply more prayers and zikr, it would be sufficient for ar-Rasul ﷺ to remain home in Makkah and focus on his ibadah. The seerah of Madinah taught us otherwise.

If we understand the need to emulate and scale-up ar-Rasul’s establishment of Madinah, how can we expect to achieve it today without similarly having proper tarbiyyah in the aspects of social development and integration, economics and politics, relevant to today’s context?

Further reading

Ibnu Kathir. 1990. Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah. Beirut, Maktabah al-Ma’arif

Muhammad Said Ramadhan al-Buti, 1999, Fiqh al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Kaherah: Dar al-Salam.

Safiy al-Rahman al-Mubarakfuri. 1988, Al-Rahiq al-Makhtum Bahs fi Sirah alNabawiyyah. Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah.

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