Sacred Journeys: Reflections upon the Abyssinian and Madinan Migrations (Hijrah)

Sacred journey

The first migration of Muslims began at the infancy of Islam in Makkah. At that time, there were about 100 believers in Makkah, and they were building their strength and solidarity. However, the Prophet Muhammad was at the same time concerned over their safety. The Prophet had heard of Negus, the King of Abyssinia, who also followed a monotheistic religion (Christianity) and he was well known for his religious tolerance. Thus for the believers’ safety, he advised those who felt threatened to migrate to Abyssinia. Obviously, the journey would not be easy. Among the migrants were men and women, and included people like Uthman bin Affan, his wife Ruqayyah (the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad), and others. In total, about 100 Muslims migrated to Abyssinia in waves of small groups over a period of time. The Prophet said that Uthman had revived a great tradition of the Prophets of the past, and that he was the first to migrate with his family for the sake of his faith since Prophet Lut (AS). While some had believed in accusations that those who emigrated were weaker than those who remained behind in Makkah, there is absolutely no credibility to such accusations. In fact, there are many lessons that can be learnt from the first migration of the early Muslims to Abyssinia.

The major migration of Muslims came later, almost 10 years later, this time to the city of Yathrib, later renamed as Al-Madinah (The City). After being warned of a plot to assassinate him, Prophet Muhammad secretly left his home in Makkah to emigrate to Yathrib, about 300 km north of Makkah, along with his companion Abu Bakr, who later became Islam’s first Caliphate. The year was 622 CE, and later identified as the start of the Islamic Hijri calendar. The Muslims in Makkah has been facing serious oppression in Makkah, and after a period of politico-religious maneouvres by Prophet Muhammad and his Companions, the Prophet migrated to Madinah after receiving divine direction to leave Makkah. While Prophet Muhammad and his Companions faced poverty and difficulty after fleeing Makkah, they persevered through the difficult years. And through the hardship, maneouvres and negotiations involved in the major migration in 622 CE, there are many beautiful and deep reflections that can be derived.

Shaykh Mus’ab will share his thoughts on the various lessons and reflections on the two migrations of Muslims in the early years of Islam, backed by Qur’anic verses and traditions of the Prophet Muh...