The Permission for Hijra from Mekka to Medina and Important Advice from the Prophet
The Messenger of Allah spoke of a dream he had and said the following: “I saw myself leaving Mecca and going to a city covered with date trees; first I thought that this city must be Yamama or Hajar, but then I understood that it was Yathrib.”1 This meant that the oppression and violence in Mecca would end and he would continue his life in a healthier environment. The Companions were now relieved with this Prophetic news and were waiting for the order to leave. They would come to our noble Prophet’s presence now and then, and ask him when the journey would start.
Everything would go according to plan and no steps would be taken without Divine permission. The verse brought by Gabriel was addressing the same issues and wanted the Messenger to share it with his Companions:
I am no novelty (either in my person or in the message I have brought) among the Messengers, and (being human) I do not know (unless Allah informs me) what (will happen in the future in the world and therefore what will) be done to me and to you. I only follow what is revealed to me, and I am only a plain warner. (al-Ahkaf 46:9) This meant that even if he should have had the dream, there needed to be extra permission to leave for Medina; they were not supposed to take any steps without it and they could not decide on their own.2.
Then, Gabriel brought the message of permission to migrate. Now the Messenger of Allah would comfortably speak to his Companions about Medina, and tell all the Muslims in Mecca that their goal now was to reach Medina, that they should now immigrate there. That is why he addressed his gracious Companions as thus: “Verily Allah has given you other friends, and He has given you permission to migrate to another land; now you will go there and experience safety!”3.
The Companions would start one by one to set on the road and they would leave Mecca without provoking anyone. They knew that there was the Ansar and a blessed city waiting for them with open doors.
On the other hand the Quraysh had felt that something was afoot but had not been able to understand what was going on. They were experienced from previous years; Muhammad the Trustworthy, peace and blessings be upon him, would always go to speak to people who came from outside of town, and would invite them to his cause. But what had he done this year and with whom had he spoken? This was the question that was on the minds of the Quraysh. They knew this crowded group from Medina did not seem to be good news. They were asking everyone they came across and yet they couldn’t get the answers to their questions. At last they decided to send a number of people from among them to Medina. A group had also been set up to check the roads that went to Medina. The Meccans who had gone all the way to Medina would address them as thus: “O people of Khazraj! There is no doubt that you have visited this man of ours. We have heard that you invited him to your land and have sworn allegiance to him even if it should mean fighting a war with us! Do not forget that if you do that you will not find a sterner and fiercer tribe among the Arabs to fight against and you will be our sworn enemies!”
The people of Medina who had to listen to these threats were trying to understand what was going on and replied: “What do you mean? We do not know anything of what you speak! We have made pact with no one.”
They then came to Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul who was getting ready to assume leadership in Medina. He showed the same surprise: “This is false news! Had something like that happened I would have known! If something like that happens while I am still in Yathrib4. they will first have to fight me,” he was saying.
The believers who witnessed this conversation, on the other hand, stayed silent; they were looking at each other wondering what dimensions the issue would reach.
On the other hand the horsemen who were following the people from Medina had caught up with Sa’d ibn Ubada and Munzir ibn Amr who had been left a little behind and had arrested them as prisoners. But Munzir escaped making use of a negligent moment. They tied Sa’d up so that he wouldn’t escape like his friend and they dragged him into Mecca. Sa’d was the lord of Khazraj; and here he was with his hands and arms bound, and another rope round his neck, forcibly brought to Mecca. They were also throwing him insults, pulling at his hair. Before long Mut’im ibn Adiyy and Harith ibn Harb, heard of the situation and came to where Sa’d was to save him. Sa’d had helped Mut’im and Harith before by giving them protection as they were passing through Medina with their caravans, aiding them thus to reach their destination in safety. This favor done years ago was giving results today; at a time when he needed it most, Allah was protecting him through a polytheist, against polytheists.5.
Hijra was very important but it had to be done solely for the pleasure and contentment of Allah. In such an important business as this, the purity in intentions was of prime importance. If the intentions were for a more comfortable life, better trading opportunities, marriage with a believing spouse or any other thing, such hijra would involve merit at all, for when one set off with such intentions, they would only be able to meet these goals and nothing further.
There were rumors that one of the Companions was going to go to Medina in order to marry a woman named Umm Qays.6. The man in question was a believer and yet he had to keep his intentions pure on this journey; the pointer in the heart had to show Allah’s contentment, and there had to be no divergence from it, for this path was the path of all believing people, including previous Prophets. This was a branch of jihad itself because it was a physical and inner struggle, and no one could imagine the value of this good deed. So the people setting on this road had to be well-advised. The Messenger of Allah declared:
“Actions gain value only through one’s intentions. Whatever one intends, he will get it. Whoever does the hijra for the contentment of Allah and His Messenger, and then his hijra is directed towards Allah and His Messenger, and whoever is doing hijra in order to live in a better environment or to marry a woman, and then his hijra will be according to what he has set his heart on.”Bukhari, Sahih, 1/3 (1)