Dr. Mohsen Haredy
The early Muslims suffered a lot before they were ordered to leave Makkah and go to Madinah.
The persecution exercised against Muslims increased especially after the death of Prophet Muhammad’s beloved wife, lady Khadijah and his uncle, Abu Talib.
At a certain point, it was necessary to look for a new soil to plant the seed of Islam, to spread the word of God, and to practice Islam in a secure and receptive environment.
I am not going to give a detailed account of the events of the Prophet’s emigration to Madinah.
Such details can be found in the Hadith Collection of Al-Bukhari (hadith no. 245). However, I am going to mention some lessons that new Muslims can learn from this great event in the history of Islam.
The first lesson is patience. By patience, I mean enduring the hardships put forward by the people of Quraish to check the tide of Islam.
Muslims were boycotted; they were not allowed to buy and sell in the open market or engage in any business. However, they persevered and accepted the tribulation.
After the command of Hijrah to Madinah, Muslims left behind everything they loved, their families, friends, their country, etc. Why did they do that?
Because they put their trust in God and cherished hope in His mercy that He will make a way out for them.
In Madinah, Muslims were free to practice their religion and they were able to establish a new state.
New Muslims can learn from this lesson that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
You might be treated badly or ridiculed by your families, neighbors and friends. Therefore, do like what the early Muslims did; endure the hardships with patience.
Do not lose hope. Rest assured that your decision to take Islam your way of life will not let you down.
Put Your Trust in God
Nothing on earth should make you give up. See how the Prophet behaved when he was in the cave and the people of Quraish were following him.
His friend Abu Bakr reported that:
“I was in the company of the Prophet in the cave, and on seeing the traces of the pagans, I said:
“O Allah’s messenger if one of them (pagans) should lift up his foot, he will see us.”
What do you think of two, the third of whom is Allah? (Al-Bukhari)
Put your trust in God and be sure that He is always there to help you.
Although the people of Quraish were hostile towards the Prophet and wanted to put an end to his life and message, they used to call him the truthful and the trustworthy.
They used also to entrust him with their valuables. What a contradiction!
His honesty was put to test when he was ordered to emigrate. What would he do with the valuables entrusted with him?
Would he use it to make his emigration plan successful?
Would he give it to his followers?
On the contrary, the Prophet asked his cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib to delay his emigration for three days so that he can return to people their valuables.
We learn from this situation that when you are put to test, do not forget your principles.
Do not forget what your religion asks you to do. Islam urges you to be honest with all people, Muslims and non-Muslims.
If a colleague or friend entrusts you with something and it happens that you are not in good terms with him, do not give yourself excuses misusing the trust. You have to return it to him immediately.
By this you will be teaching him something about Muslim’s ethical code.
A Professional Guide
When the Prophet and Abu Bakr decided to leave Makkah, they wanted to get the job done professionally. Therefore, they hired Abdullah ibn Urayqit, a non-Muslim who was a professional guide in Makkah, to act as their guide.
Lady Aishah reported that:
Allah’s Messenger and Abu Bakr had hired a man from the tribe of Bani Al-Dil from the family of Bani Abd ibn Adi as an expert guide, and he was in alliance with the family of Al-As bin Wa’il Al-Sahmi and he was on the religion of the people of Quraish.
The Prophet and Abu Bakr trusted him and gave him their two she-camels and took his promise to bring their two she-camels to the cave of the mountain of “Thawr” in the morning three nights later.
And (when they set out), `Amir ibn Fuhairah and the guide went along with them and the guide led them along the sea-shore. (Al-Bukhari)
We learn from this situation that there is no problem to seek the help of people of other faiths as long as they are qualified enough and have more experience than Muslims.
If it happens that a new Muslim is in trouble and the solution to his trouble is in the hand of someone who belongs to another religion, he should seek his help as long as he is a trustworthy person.
If there is a vacant job for which two persons apply, Islam teaches that proficiency comes before piety. Take the professional even he is not Muslim.
By this, you are doing the Muslim who is not qualified enough a favor. He will learn more and gain more experience so that next time he will be accepted.
Muslims in Madinah
After the Prophet arrived to Madinah, the people of Madinah welcomed him and protected him as they would protect themselves and their families.
The Prophet ordered that each Helper (one of the Ansar) would have an Emigrant (Muhajir) brother.
In their new life after conversion, new Muslims should interact with their Muslim community and they have to adapt to the customs of their community.
New Muslims are the emigrants and Muslim communities are the helpers (Ansar). Muslim communities should welcome new Muslims and help them.
Another important lesson of the Hijrah is how the Prophet approached those who showed interest in Islam.
When he met the first delegation of the Khazraj he just told them about Islam and only urged them to read the Quran.
Next year he told them about the acts of worship, manners and virtues. In the second Aqabah pledge, the Ansar accepted to protect the Prophet and his followers as mentioned above.
This is how new Muslims should be approached. First, they have to be convinced of God’s Oneness. In later stages, they can learn how to perform the Prayer, pay the zakah, observe fasting, etc.
It is noteworthy that what we celebrate on the month of Muharram is the beginning of applying the Islamic calendar because the emigration took place in the month of Rabi` Al-Awwal not in Muharram.
So, let’s make the new Hijri year a new start for all of us.
Let’s make it a turning point in our life.
Let’s apply the actual meaning of Hijrah as the Prophet is reported to have said:
“An emigrant is the one who abandons what Allah has made unlawful.” (Al-Bukhari)