by Guest Contributor Fatima Moolla of Timeless Teenz | 2014.11.12 | 18 Muharram 1436 H
As Muslims our religious calendar is the Hijri calendar. Each numbered year is designated either “H” for Hijra or “AH” for the Latin anno Hegirae (in the year of the Hijra). The Islamic calendar consists of approximately 354 days. That has twelve lunar months, whose beginning and endings are ordained by the sighting of the crescent moon. The month begins at sunset of the first day, when the crescent moon is sighted with the naked eye. Muharram is the first month with which we begin the year, and is referred to in the Quran among the four sacred months.
Many important events that hold great significance in Islam took place in Muharam. The tenth day of this month carries a lot of weight seeing that Musa (alay salam) and Bani Israeel attained victory over Firoun. That is why we fast in gratitude for the liberation of the Bani Israel on the day of Ashura. When Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) migrated to Medina, he observed this fast because we are the closest to Musa (alay salam) in terms of following his way, in order to oppose the Jews. It also marks the incident of the battle of Karbala where Husain bin Ali (radiallahu anho) reached the ranks of martyrdom.
A great warrior of Islam was also martyred on this day, one whom even Shaitaan ran away from - non other than Umar Al farooq (radiallahu anho). According to some commentators, Allah Ta’allah created the universe and blew life into Adam (Alay salam) on this day. In some narrations is it said that many events are yet to happen on this day, like the dawn of Qiyamah on a Friday during Muharam.
It was Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra) who established the Islamic calendar during his khilafat. He consulted with his advisers to come to a conclusion with a method of calculating time. An agreement was made to start the calendar from the hijra of Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam), which was a turning point for the Islamic empire.
Firstly, the underlying reason as to why Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) actually migrated to Medina was because of the Quraish who where conspiring against Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) when Islam began spreading far and wide. Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) was informed through divine revelation, via Jibraeel (Alay salam) about the evil plot of the opposition. Secondly, it is of great importance to know that the order of hijra was directed to Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) through a dream, where he was shown the location of migration that would have abundant date palms, but not the name of the place. Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) was therefore of the opinion that Medina is the place, and so it was.
Abu Jahal and his crew had surrounded the house of Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) trying to make it difficult for him to exit. Their plan did not succeed, because Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) read the opening verses of surah Yaseen until the verse “Fa Aghshaynahum Fa Hum La Yubsirun” over a handful of sand. This sand was thrown above their heads, casting a veil over their eyes. Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) then walked out without them even realising. Ali (radiallahu anho) narrates that Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) asked Jibraeel (Alay Salam) who would accompany him in the migration. He replied: “Abu Bakr (radiallahu anho) will emigrate with you.” The two faithful companions thus made their way through the darkness that enveloped the night toward the path leading to Mount Thoor, leaving Ali (radiallahu anho) lying in Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam)’s bed.
As Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) neared the outskirts of Makkah, he looked back one more time and said: “By Allah Ta’Allah Ta’allah! You are the best of lands. You are most dear to Allah Ta’allah. If I was not expelled from you, I would never have left you.” It is as though we can feel the pain that Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) felt, imagine being driven out of your homeland! Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) and Abu Bakr (radiallahu anho) camped out in the cave of Thoor for 3 days. In that time the Quraish sent out search parties to look for him in the towering mountains. Allah Ta’allah ordered a spider to spin a web and a bird to lay eggs at the mouth of the cave, therefore making it appear as though no one had entered the cave. When the rivals approached the cave, they turned back despondently seeing that it had not been accessed.
Relieved, Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) and Abu bakr (radiallahu anho) left the cave without any hindrance and departed to Medina. A Monday it was, where the inhabitants of Medina anxiously awaited the arrival of Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam), at a place called Harrah that was on the outskirts of Medina. The children joyfully sang: “tala al badru alayna”, and welcomed Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) into the blessed city amid hearty rejoicing. The people took hold of the reins of Al Kaswa - the camel, so that it may settle at there home because they were eager to host Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam). When it refused to stop, Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) intructed: “Let the reins of the camel loose and I shall get down and stay where it stops by itself.” Al Kaswa knelt by a land belonging to two orphans; Sahal and Suhail. This property was then purchased from them by Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam), where Masjid un Nabawi stands today.
And that is where the journey of hijrah ended. It proved to be the most important events in the history of Islam.
It was a venture between two cities about 200 miles apart, but in its grand significance it marked the beginning of an era, a culture and a record for all of mankind. It was taken seriously in all aspects and dimensions. The outcome of this journey resulted in the establishment of a great Islamic civilisation, which left an impact not only in the Arab Peninsula, but all four corners of the world.
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