The Arab leaders (of Jahilliyah) rushed to convene, conducting their revered protocol. Dispute intensified between them, conflict raged, debate erupted and conversation became heated. What are they to do now regarding Muhammad (saw), whilst they are afflicted by his (saw) affair? They now turned attention to his (saw) affair, after the dark shadow of their misguidance was eradicated by the light of his (saw) guidance. They sensed the incineration of their falsehood in the fiery blaze of his (saw) Truth. They were certain of the demise of their affairs, if his (saw) affair were to remain. They were certain of the loss of their authority, if they were to turn a blind eye to him (saw).
So their tongues extended to utter the evilest of evils, filling their mouths with the lava of Hell. They competed in extending proposals of damnation. They deliberated over slaughter, in order to escape from his (saw) nightmare. The quickest of them to race towards assassination was Abu Jahl, because of the intensity of the rage in his soul and the quivering of his heart, for fear of the collapse of his might.
So with bloated mouth, Abu Jahl said that there is no way to quell the revolution by this soul, after his matter has overwhelmed us, except by stamping it out, so send from each tribe a cavalier to await him at his door, in order that when he emerges amongst them, they would strike at him with their swords, at once, as one man, so they kill him in way that his blood-wit was dispersed amongst all the tribes, unable to be exacted.
As soon as the tongue of this wretched disbeliever stilled, a cry erupted from within the assembly, proclaiming, “Invoke Hubal. By Allah, you have pierced the (fortified) gap with the sharp arrows of your opinion.” So the crowd assembled and the heavily armed cavaliers stomped to where Muhammad (saw) slept, his eyelids filled with that of the sleeper, whilst he awakes and stirs.
It was then that a wondrous revelation was sent down, ordering him to make Hijrah to the Madinah of the believing Ansaar (ra), wherein would arise the fortress of Islam and from where the light of his guidance would illuminate. So he (saw) arose from the comfort of his bed in the last pale of the night, taking a handful of dirt and casting it over the faces of those cavaliers, whilst invoking a barrier. Thus, their eyelids were made heavy, as if a year of sleep overtook them and they were enveloped in their first spell of death. He (saw) made his way out from in between their ranks, whilst they surrounded him, and he advanced to his Siddiq, Abu Bakr (ra), and then onwards to Al-Madinah, as two guides, secured and protected.
Where is Muhammad (saw)?
And as soon as the depths of darkness were overcome, with the bright dawn folding up the garb of night, as the gazelle stirred, the cavaliers were lit up by dawn’s flare, such that they were startled from their slumber in terror, crying, where is Muhammad?! They stormed through his (saw) door, whereupon they found Ali (ra) in his place, covered in his (saw) blanket. So they were assailed by despondency, news spreading of their failure amongst the people stubborn in kufr, provoking even the brave amongst the Arabs to cry out in terror, stirring them into a frenzy. So they dispersed far and wide, ascending the hills and plunging into valleys, hunting their escaped prey. They strove for the head of their assailant, until their faces reddened, their ideas were exhausted and their deeds were wasted and spent. They then stood at the mouth of the cave (ath-Thawr), wringing their hands in despondency, casting their gaze into the very sanctuary of their prey, at times considering that their prey is in the cave-mouth besides them or in the cavern, beyond and beneath their feet, until Allah (swt) blinded both their sight and insight. So they turned back steeped in regret and burning with rage. Little did they know that he (saw) was closer to them than even some of their own party. They did not even know that he (saw) was within the gaze of their eyes, for he (saw) was a refugee in that very cave, resting from the stress of travel, hidden from the eyes of the people of kufr.
And as soon as their voices receded to inaudibility, with their forms disappearing from his (saw) sight, he (saw) arose to stand, beseeching his Companion (ra), advance with me, did I not tell you, do not worry for Allah (swt) is with us? As they walked purposefully, their hearts neither quivered from fear, nor did their emotions shake from despair, until they arrived at the stronghold of their Companions (ra), the abode of their Ansaar. The crowds gathered in celebration, songs of joy were heard, people swarmed with smiles on their faces, foreheads alit with happiness, tambourines striking beats of welcome and hearts bursting with the joy at the meeting with the guiding Prophet (saw), whilst tongues chanted the nasheed of joy: ‘Tala’a al-badru ‘alayna; min thaniyyaatil-wadaa’ “The full moon rose upon us from the valleys.”
Thus the travel-ware was planted and an epic voyage finally laid its anchor. The master of the world (saw) came to reside there, beginning to erect for the Arabs stupendous status, establishing for them a lofty glory, until he (saw) erected it as a towering edifice, with a solid foundation, huge form, high status and sound construction. The tree of the Deen was firmly planted and the garden of truth was cultivated for the world in general and the Arabs in particular. It yielded fruit that continues over the ages, increasing in goodness and increasing in size, whilst becoming richer in taste as it ripened over time.
The Great Reformer (saw)
Yes, the perfect man and the greatest reformer (saw) began to save humanity from the dark abyss of misguidance, extricating it from the travesty of falsehood, ridding it of the arid desert of backwardness, reviving it from the death of barbarism and brutality and extinguishing the thirst of ignorance. He (saw) steered humanity from the embrace of corruption to the exaltation of righteousness, the illumination of truth, the path of progress, the life of true civilization, the path of knowledge and the repose in righteousness. He (saw) treated every ailment and mapped out every trail, path and means. So he (saw) fought the Quraysh because of the severity of their misguidance, whilst the disease of misguidance worsened in them until they themselves succumbed to his (saw) authority. It is then that they came to believe in the Quran, called others to his (saw) guidance, enthralled in his (saw) light and submitting willingly to his (saw) command.
That is the Hijrah (migration) and that is its impact. Thus Hijrah is a day that we commemorate, an anniversary that we rejoice upon, a day that we celebrate its memory and an event by which we dated the very calendar of our glorious history. It is a most joyful anniversary through which our knowledge increases, a most cherished memory that warms our hearts, because it reminds us of how the banner of Islam was raised and how Islam assumed greatness. It also enlightens as to how the glory of Islam was etched into the annals of time, shining amongst all that which is prided. It reminds of us of how Islam builds the edifice of glory, raises the banner of truth and perpetuates the legacy of honor.
So Hijrah has a right upon us, to commemorate its occurrence every year, with our celebrating its day because it is the day on which the dawn of our place in history began. It is the day on which our happiness shone brightly and we had a stable abode of pride. It is a day whose origin was firmly rooted under great peaks, marking the branches to the tips and establishing greatness. The greatness and the glory overwhelmed all the coldness of the world, embracing the Arabs throughout their lives with its warmth, reviving their corpse after it had fallen still, as if they had fallen from the heavens, suddenly wrenched from their previous legacy.
Yes, we have the right to celebrate the memory of the Hijrah for all of this. We do so because we want our affairs to be reformed today, restoring our glorious legacy and emulating our predecessors. Indeed, we know that the affairs of the Arabs cannot be reformed except by that which reformed the first of them. So let us advance on the path of uprightness.
Written by Eminent Scholar and Sheikh Taqi ud-Din Al-Nabhani (rh)
Founder of Hizb ut Tahrir
1 Muharram 1353 AH corresponding to 15 April 1934 CE
The Islamic University Newspaper, Issue 515
Republished in Ar-Rayah Newspaper Issue No. 351 on the occasion of the new Hijri year