Hijrah of The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was eventually granted permission through Divine revelation (through angel Jibra`il) to leave Makkah al-Mukarramah and emigrate to the city of Yathrib. At noon, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) visited Abu Bakr (RA) to make arrangements for the intended migration.
The chiefs of all the prominent tribes in Makkah assembled in Dar al-Nadwah and chalked out a plan. They chose eleven men, one from each tribe, to participate jointly in striking and murdering the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) simultaneously, so that no one assassin would be exposed to the vengeance of blood. It was assumed that, therefore, Banu Hashim, would ask for a mind-based recourse for settlement, and the blood-money would be spread over them all, and his family, .
As night advanced, the band of young assassins besieged the Prophet`s (PBUH) house and kept vigil all night long, waiting to assassinate the Prophet (PBUH) he left his house early in the morning.
However, as Allah Ta`ala later revealed to His Prophet (PBUH), “And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you (O Muhammad PBUH) to imprison you, or to kill you, or to banish you (from your home in Makkah). And they were plotting and Allah too was planning. And Allah is the best of planners.” [8: 30]
The Prophet (PBUH) was then fully apprised of their sinister plot and he was commanded not to sleep in his bed that night and to emigrate to Yathrib. The Prophet (PBUH) was also advised to recite the following, “And say: My Lord, Let my entry [into Yathrib/ Madinah] be good and let my exit [from Makkah] be good. And grant me from Your side a dominion and assistance.” [17: 80]
Thus, the Prophet (PBUH) gave all of his trusts in the charge of `Ali (RA) and requested `Ali (RA) to stay behind in Makkah and sleep in his bed. Ali (RA) wrapped himself in the green mantle of the Prophet (PBUH) and slept in his bed to make it appear that the Prophet himself was lying in bed. Ali (RA) also had to return the consignments (entrusted to the Prophet) to their rightful owners the next day. The Prophet (PBUH) then left his house and casted a handful dust at the assassins surrounding the house. He walked pass them, without being recognised or noticed, while reciting the verses of the Holy Qur`an, “And We have put a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them. And We have covered them up, so that they cannot see.” [36: 9]
After leaving his house, the Prophet (PBUH) proceeded to the house of Abu Bakr (RA) and they both immediately left Makkah setting out southwards mounted on two she-camels (prepared from before by Abu Bakr). The Prophet insisted on paying the price for the riding camel reserved for him. The daughters of Abu Bakr (RA) prepared the food for this journey and the eldest daughter, Asma, tore her waist-wrapper and used a piece of it to tie up the vessel of food. The Prophet (PBUH) left Makkah on Thursday, 27th Safar, the 14th year of Prophethood (i.e. 12/ 13 September 622 A.D.).
The eyes of the assassins were blinded by Allah and they did not notice the Prophet (PBUH) has passed them. They rushed in the house at dawn and found that the Prophet was not inside but `Ali (RA) was lying in the Prophets bed.
The Prophet (PBUH) had already left Makkah and treaded for about 5 miles along a path least expected (lying south of Makkah, heading to Yemen) until he reached the Mount Thawr upon the lofty peak of which he had clambered and took refuge in a cave there. Abu Bakr (RA) alternated between going in front of and falling behind the Prophet in order to protect the Prophet from any hidden or sudden attack from anyone. Abu Bakr (RA) preceded the Prophet (PBUH) in the cave to search it to ensure no predatory animal or snake was there to endanger the Prophet. As the Prophet and his companion took refuge in this cave, a tree miraculously sprouted in front of them, a pair of wild doves laid some eggs in the nests on the tree and a spider spun its web over the mouth of the cave. They remained hid in this cave for 3 long days and nights, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The frustrated and disheartened chiefs of Makkah blocked all roads leading out of Makkah, imposed heavy armed surveillance on the pathways, sent out infantry, horsemen and tracers of tracks in vigorous search for the Prophet, and proclaimed an award of 100 camels for his capture. The people of Makkah combed every dale and hill.
Abu Bakr (RA) noticed one of the parties had reached the cave and became worried on account of the Prophet`s safety. The Prophet (PBUH) consoled him, “Do not grieve. Certainly Allah is with us.” [9:40]
Abdullah, the son of Abu Bakr, stayed with the Prophet and his father at the cave and would leave for Makkah before dawn and return in the evening with daily report on the activities of the people of Makkah. Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, was tasked with providing them with food in the evening. `Amir bin Fuhayrah, the servant of Abu Bakr, moved his herds of cattle over their tracks to cover their footprints and would come to the cave in the evening to provide them with goat`s milk.
After his sojourn of 3 days in the Cave of Thawr, the Prophet (PBUH), accompanied by Abu Bakr (RA) (and his slave and a guide), travelled on the coastal route (i.e. the coast of the Red Sea) towards Yathrib on Monday, 1st of Rabi` al-Awwal. The Prophet had employed a reliable non-Muslim man called Abdullah bin Uraiqit as a guide. They travelled by night and rested during the day and avoided the usual way to Yathrib.
During their journey they were once caught up by Suraqah bin Malik. Each time Suraqah tried to come closer to the Prophet and shoot an arrow at him to gain the big reward, his horse stumbled and he fell down. This happened three times and Suraqah eventually gave up and sought forgiveness. The Prophet forgave him, had a warrant of pardon written on behalf of him and prophesised, “You will wear one day the gold bangles of the Ruler of Persia” (this came to be true during the time of `Umar (RA) when the Persian Empire fell). Suraqah returned to Makkah and pretended to not have found anyone.
Furthermore, on the route, the Prophet (PBUH) met a woman called Umm Ma`bad who offered food and drink to passer-by. The Prophet requested to milk her lean nanny goat. She explained that unfortunately nothing else available and that he would not find even a drop in its udder. The Prophet stroked the goat, rubbed its udder, took the name of Allah and milk the lean goat. The Prophet miraculously milked the goat until the vessel was full and their thirst was completely quenched.
They travelled continuously until they arrived at Quba (about 2 or 3 miles to the south of Yathrib) on Monday afternoon, 8th Rabi` al-Awwal (20th September 622 A.D.), the fourteenth year of Prophethood (i.e. 23rd September 622). The Prophet laid foundation of the first mosque in Islam here at Quba. He spent 4 days here, and then on Friday Morning, 12th Rabi` al-Awwal (24th September 622 A.D.), his maternal uncles, Banu al-Najjar, escorted him and Abu Bakr to Yathrib. The first Jumu`ah (Friday) salah in Islamic history was led by the Prophet on his way from Quba to Yathrib. The whole journey from Makkah to Yathrib lasted about 15 days.
In the 17th year of Hijrah, it was proposed by `Umar (RA) that the inception of the Islamic Calendar should be from this migration (hijrah) from Makkah to Madinah since it was `the differentiating factor between truth and falsehood`, and he proposed to start the Calendar with the month of Muharram since `people generally return from Hajj in the month of Muharram`. All the companions subsequently agreed to this proposal.
The people of Yathrib were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Last Prophet of Allah (PBUH). There was emphatic and enthusiastic atmosphere in Madinah and the girls clambered upon the roofs of their houses and, unable to control their delight, sang, “The full moon rose over us, from the Valley of Wada`. And it is incumbent upon us to show thankfulness, for as long as there remains a caller to Allah. O you who has been sent amongst us, You have come to us with something to be obeyed. You have brought to this city nobleness. Welcome, O caller to goodness”. As the Prophet drew closer to the quarter of Banu al-Najjar, the young girls chanted with joy, “We are the girls of Banu al-Najjar. O what a wonderful neighbour is Muhammad [PBUH] … Here comes the Nabi (Prophet) of Allah. Here comes the Rasul (Messenger) of Allah.”
His camel advanced onward with slackened rein until it reached the spot of the Prophetic Mosque and knelt down, rose up again, went on forward, turned back and then retreated back to kneel down in the same place again. The camel sank down just in front of the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (RA) on the vacant land belonging to two orphans. The Prophet was hosted by Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (RA) and a mosque was constructed on this vacant land [purchased from these two orphans].
The name of the city was changed from Yathrib to `Madinat al-Nabi`, `al-Madinah al-Munawwarah` and Taibah from the moment the Prophet began to reside there.
The climate of Madinah was different to that of Makkah and subsequently some companions fell ill and yearned to return to their hometown Makkah. The Prophet supplicated, “O Allah, we beseech You to establish in our hearts a strong love for Madinah equal to that we used to have for Makkah, or even more. O Allah, bless and increase the wealth of Madinah and we beseech You to transform its rotten mud into wholesome edible fat.” [al-Bukhari]