Lessons from ar-Rasul’s ﷺ Hijra: The Elements We Missed

Learn one more significant lesson of the hijra for our ummah that we should not miss in the first place.

What you should expect:

• Ar-Rasul’s ﷺ trials and tribulations during this phase

• What were the driving factors of hijra

• Practical lessons for today’s Leaders and Dai’es


1. Increasing tribulations in da’wah after Abu Talib

2. Opportunity to preserve and expand da’wah

3. Hijra: For Muslim Leaders and Dai’es

How often do we view ar-Rasul’s ﷺ hijra from the angle of tarbiyyah, da’wah and jihad?

Every Muharram, our ummah discusses the event of hijra, but only for our personal lives. As if our hijra is only to become a better Muslim for our own selves, and that’s it.

Such a narrative is not wrong. But it leaves out some critical angles, and it confines how the ummah should understand ar-Rasul’s ﷺ mission, and hence our obligation and approach to Islamic Revival.

To grasp the comprehensive meaning of hijra, we need to understand that term from its several concepts and definitions.

From the literal definition, hijra means physically leaving or moving from one place to another. Additionally, hijra also carries the substantial meaning of avoiding, leaving and staying away from something through actions, words or feeling.

hijra is mentioned 28 times in the Quran using different arrangements and carrying various meanings. Of course, in the seerah, hijra refers specifically to the emigration of ar-Rasul ﷺ and the Sahaba from Makkah to Madinah.

In this case, hijra also connotes leaving the disbelievers and the world of taghut to move and establish an Islamic state and its systems.

What drove ar-Rasul ﷺ and the believers to hijra? Beyond their personal improvement, it was none other than for the sake of da’wah and the establishment of Islam. Shouldn’t we consider hijra with such significance too?

1. Increasing tribulations in da’wah after Abu Talib

During the 10th year of prophethood, ar-Rasul’s ﷺ uncle and protector, Abu Talib, passed away.

In the same year, ar-Rasul’s ﷺ beloved wife, who stood by him through thick and thin, also passed away.

The Mushrikun of Makkah realised that ar-Rasul ﷺ no longer enjoyed the previous privileges to do da’wah with the absence of Abu Talib.

For so long, Abu Talib has been shielding ar-Rasul ﷺ from the threats of the Mushrikun. Abu Talib was also the person whom the Mushrikun negotiated with to stop ar-Rasul ﷺ from doing da’wah.

As a result, ar-Rasul ﷺ had to relentlessly accept more blemishes, insults and painful acts from the Mushrikun of Makkah. Yet ar-Rasul ﷺ no longer had a soul partner to support and cheer him up internally.

Historians marked that year as ‘the year of sorrow’. It was the year ar-Rasul ﷺ had to face increasing opposition against da’wah without two of his beloved family members by his side.

This situation was one of the significant events that led to the hijra. As we discuss our work of tarbiyyah, da’wah and jihad today, what are the external and the internal tribulations we face?

If we are enjoying comfort in our da’wah, are we actually doing it against taghut? Do you think taghut can let us off easily if we are a threat to them?

2. Opportunity to preserve and expand da’wah

With the increasing trials and tribulations after the passing away of Abu Talib, ar-Rasul ﷺ and the believers were under significant pressure.

At that time, the believers were small in number and relatively weak. They had to find the workarounds to make sure this critical mission perseveres and lasts.

Ar-Rasul ﷺ recalled a person from among the Tsaqif descendants who were his close family and holding power in Ta’if. He ﷺ decided to emigrate there to seek protection, and so that da’wah can go on with less persecution.

The trip was on foot, together with Zaid ibn Harithah. They lived among the residents of Ta’if for ten days and invited them to Islam. Yet, what they got in return was provocation and physical persecution.

They were thrown with pebbles until ar-Rasul’s ﷺ head was wounded.

As they escaped out, ar-Rasul ﷺ prayed a very famous du’a groaning about what he faced in Ta’if and pledging for strength from Allah.

“O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources, and the humiliation I have been subjected to by the people.

O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too.

To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affairs? 

So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favour is of a more expansive relief to me.”

Similarly when some of the believers emigrated to Ethiopia to seek protection, they were driven by the need to protect their lives while staying true to their faith and spread the Word of Allah further.

Before the hijra to Madinah, ar-Rasul ﷺ established the Treaty of Aqaba with some people from Madinah. He ﷺ sent Mus’ab ibn Umair and Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum there to invite them to Islam.

As the people of Madinah accepted Islam, they invited ar-Rasul ﷺ to emigrate there and became their leader.

Through the event of hijra, ar-Rasul ﷺ and the believers managed to preserve da’wah from being terminated by the disbelievers of Makkah. Hijra opened up the opportunity to expand da’wah to a new territory in Madinah.

More significantly, they moved to the next phase of da’wah and jihad: establishing Islam as a way of live and a governing system in the new state.

There, the believers gathered and built their strength, which led to the subsequent events of Fath al-Makkah and the establishment of the Caliphates.

Hijra: For the Muslim Leaders and Dai’es

Islamic Prayer

Ar-Rasul’s ﷺ hijra was consequential from the increasing difficulties they were facing in Makkah. They were facing difficulties from the opposition and persecution, and  from the limited opportunity to establish Islam there.

Hijra is not only about ‘becoming a better version of oneself’.

Hijra marked a new phase of da’wah against the taghut through the establishment of the Islamic State of Madinah.

Hijra was driven by the external threats of taghut and the internal challenges towards ar-Rasul’s ﷺ da’wah against the taghut.

Hijra was established on the fundamental core of da’wah, of its opportunities and against its threats.

Today, we Muslims are large in number compared to the believers during the hijra. With that, we could offer a bigger challenge towards the taghut in the world today.

Therefore, how could we, as Muslim Leaders and Dai’es, undermine our ummah by providing them with an apologetic, simple-minded narrative of hijra?

Further reading

Ibnu Hisham, Abu Muhammad Abdul Malik. 1990. Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah Li Ibnu Hisham.Beirut. Dar al-Kitab al arabi. 

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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