One of the most interesting challenges that faced Muslims in Madinah under the leadership of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the big wave of migration.
The immigrants from Makkah left everything behind. They came to this new land with almost nothing but their Islam and their commitment to it. They were passionate about the move and they were sure they made the right decision.
However, they will soon be hit by the reality of life: it is a new city, no one knows them and they know no one. Immigrants will soon face life and its responsibilities, they will need to make money, and they will need to have a future for their families.
They will soon miss Makkah and they may think of going back when it is almost impossible. They will soon be under physical and psychological pressure that may even touch their faith and commitment to this faith.
The hosts too, the people of Madinah, were also very passionate about receiving the prophet and the other immigrants. They were ready to host more and more. They were truthful to their commitment and were ready to sacrifice for it.
However, they will soon realize that those immigrants are strangers and they will realize that they will compete with them in their future. Maybe their love to the Prophet and the benefit they get from him would allow them to keep hosting him but how about the other immigrants? The people of Madinah, too, will soon be under psychological and financial pressure.
If you add to this the challenge that this mix of people was from different tribes and held different backgrounds and experienced different culture, the problem becomes more difficult to deal with.
The outcome, the final product
Before discussing how the Prophet dealt with these challenges, let’s see the following outcome:
1. The immigrant group lived in Madinah as natural citizens of it. The majority of them did not leave even after Makkah had become a Muslim city and they had got back the right to their houses. They loved living in Madinah. That included the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) despite the huge love they had for their home town and the most sacred place on earth, Makkah.
2. The immigrants were given huge rights to live and be part of decision making in the new society. They were part of the highest level leadership and they were the top leadership after the Prophet died.
3. None of the attempts to create tribal or financial problems between the immigrants and the hosts were successful. All attempts were killed in the very early moments.
4.The economy of Madinah strengthened. The army of Madinah became the strongest army. And the political leadership of Madinah among the whole peninsula was well recognized.
5. Love between the two groups grew massively and the stories of support were unbelievable.
The naturalization process
The effort to achieve this outcome was also unprecedented. It was a combination of the revelation of Allah in the Quran, plans from the Prophet also guided with the revelation, and pure hearts, ones full of faith. Here are a few components of this recipe of success:
1. The Quran comes down during and after the immigration telling people how valuable and how rewarding it is to migrate for the sake of Allah. People were marking their personal calendar with the date they migrated and good deeds were evaluated by how much they compare to Hijrah.
A lot of reward is placed on those who experience hardship, sickness, death, or murder during their Hijrah, a reward that no one can comprehend [check Al-Hajj 22:58-59 for example].
2. Verses about Hajj, its rulings, and its origin were revealed during that time, giving the strong promise and the strong hint that Muslims will be victorious and they will have the chance to go for Hajj and even control the rulings of Hajj in Makkah, a town they just got driven out of. Promises to come back make it easy to withstand the hardship of migration.
3. A magnificent system of brotherhood was established between the immigrants and the hosts (Al-Ansar). It wasn’t a general direction by the Prophet.
Rather, it was a specific assignment to couples by name. The words of the Quran and the Prophet that admire this concept and effort related to it were so effective. Brotherhood at that time, as it always should be, was considered as an integral part of the Muslims’ faith.
4. The constitution of Madinah stated that the believers from Makkah and from Madinah are one community supporting one another and helping one another. This made the immigrants feel the ownership of Madinah and made them feel the sense of belonging.
5. Rejecting the generous offers made by the hosts. Such offers were rejected collectively and individually. In one incident, the People of Madinah made a very generous offer; that is to divide the palm trees of Madinah, which constituted their wealth, into two halves: one stays with them and one goes to “their brothers from the immigrants,” as they stated.
The Prophet said NO, a strong no. They then changed the offer to employing the immigrants to work in their lands and dividing the outcome between them. The Prophet and the immigrants agreed.
This transformed a large group of the immigrants into farmers, made them learn a new profession they did not know before, increased the working power of Madinah, and made the hosts rest assured that those immigrants are not after their money. It is a win-win situation in nowadays terms.
This effort reminds me with the effort done by America, my new country, to attract the finest of the world population and to naturally involve them in the society creating one of the largest world powers. However, two important things need to be mentioned:
– This effort of the Prophet was done more than 1400 years ago.
– The recent effort in America did not succeed in making the sense of community for all people. There is still a lot of social divides and justice challenges that need to be dealt with.
We ought to learn from the human aspect of the Prophet’s naturalization experience in order for us to help making America a better place for people, all people, including us Muslims.
Probably there were many other actions the Muslims did to overcome this challenge and that lead to this success. Please add your thoughts as well in the comments section to enrich the topic.