Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hijrah thoughts

Hijrah literally means migration. Although most migrations are life-changing events in people's lives, there was one migration that changed human history forever: the migration of Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his companions from Makkah to Medina. This event was the biggest turning point in the history of Islam and so was chosen as the starting date of the Islamic calender (hence referred to as Hijri calender).

Why was hijrah so life changing? Like all migrations, it provided the opportunity for a new beginning. There was no way for the dawah (call to Islam) to continue from Makkah because thirteen years after it had started, the arrogant Makkans were still determined not to give our beloved Prophet and his followers the chance to practise their faith and call to the truth. The only option therefore was to leave Makkah, the holiest city on earth, to a new land in hope of finding a supportive community and a chance to practise and call to Islam freely.

Just because the hijrah of the Prophet happened 1429 years ago doesn't mean the need for hijrah is over.

The journey in itself has a wealth of practical and spiritual lessons to be learnt.

If you are going on a hijrah (whether it's a physical migration or a migration away from sin and towards Allah), make sure you have trustworthy friends to support you through this journey.

Tawwakul: do your absolute best to plan your hijrah and take all necessary precautions and provisions. Then put your trust in Allah and rest assured that He will protect you.

Why didn't Allah (swt) just send the Buraq to take our beloved Prophet from Makkah to Medina, like it had taken him from Makkah to Jerusalem? It would have saved everyone a lot of trouble. Then again, whose example would we have followed on our hijrahs? The Prophets journeys for dawah (to Taif, to Medina, and to battle fields) had to be practical examples for humanity. His Isra and Miraj trip was a different story - a journey for the greatest human being only.

What did the Prophet first do when he got to Medina? i) Build a masjid- a house of Allah and a corner stone and focal point for the Muslim community. ii) Build the brotherhood amongst the first Muslim community- the traders and slaves of Makkah and the farmers of Medina. iii) Sign a peace treaty with the non-Muslim inhabitants of Medina assuring them of mutual support and protection.

The sacrifices of the Prophet's companions who left Makkah were endless. Not only leaving their homes but their wealth and loved ones behind, they obediently followed the Prophet's orders. Home was where the Prophet was. They were Muslims before they were Makkans.

My favourite hijrah story is that of Suraqah ibn Malik(may Allah be pleased with him)which happened before he accepted Islam. Hearing that there were two travellers that looked like the Prophet and Abu Baker on the long route to Medina, he followed them in hope of getting the reward from Quraysh. Everytime he got close to the Prophet and Abu Baker his horse would stumble and fall.

Finally he realized that this truely was the Prophet, protected by Allah, and that he would triumph over his enemies. He called out to the Prophet asking for a letter to guarantee his security and in return he would conceal what he knew of the location of the Prophet. The messenger of Allah not only gave him the letter he asked, but also promised him the bracelets of Chosroes, the Emperor of Persia. This man who is secretly fleeing from the persecution of his people is promising the bracelets of Chosroes! What faith he must have in the promise of Allah!

Many years laters, after the death of the Prophet and during the time of Umar ibn Al Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), upon the return of the Muslim army which conquered Persia, Suraqah was summoned and given what he was promised. Umar and the rest of the companions of the Prophet who witnessed this occassion wept...another promise of their beloved comes true. He was no longer physically with them but he was still there showing them the way.

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