A noble caravan, a pair of men. A prayer that spans the sky. A purer moment there has never been to pierce the sands of time.
For over a decade in Makkah, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has called his people to believe in one God alone, to believe in the afterlife, and to be people who live with good character.
As the message of Islam was spreading and the resistance against that message was intensifying, Muslims started getting tortured and persecuted just because they were Muslims.
They were insulted, tortured, boycotted, and even killed.
The Prophet knew that he had to leave Makkah, he knew that they could no longer stay there. He would look for people that he could relate to and perhaps through that discussion, he could build a relationship to where those people would offer them sanctuary, stability, and a community that they could call home.
A delegation from the city of Yathrib (Madinah) in the north came to Makkah. They met the Prophet and embraced Islam.
They said: “If your faith can help us solve our problems, then we’ll be united under you.”
And this is how he begins to lay the foundations for this historic, monumental shift.
After thirteen years of hardship in Makkah, where the Muslims patiently endured all kinds of persecution, God granted them a way out. The Prophet instructed them to emigrate to Madinah.
If the Prophet (peace be upon him) arrived in Madinah, he would be beyond the reach of the people in Makkah. And now, Islam would be practiced without oppression and boundaries.
They were determined that Muhammad would not escape their hands, and at some point, they came to the conclusion that the only way they are going to prevent him, is to kill him.
The Journey Begins
They appointed a strong man from each tribe of Quraysh, and plotted to assassinate the Prophet Muhammad. And they asked them to stab the Prophet together as a group so that all tribes would be equally responsible for killing him.
The assassins gather around the Prophet’s house and they rush in to kill him. They reach his bed, throw off the blanket, and find that his cousin Ali stayed in his place.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had miraculously escaped to the home of Abu Bakr.
But rush they did in anger’s grip to tell their leaders how, despite the plots, the plans were foiled. The Prophet was not found.
The Prophet comes to Abu Bakr and says to him that:
You are going to be my companion on this journey (hijrah).
Abu Bakr was so overwhelmed by that, he started to cry tears of joy, and he started to say:
“As-Sohbah o messenger of Allah!” (Am I really going to have your companionship?)
And Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, said that:
“I’ve heard of people crying tears of joy, but I never really knew what it means to cry out of happiness until I saw my father on that day.”
In the Cave
They stay there for a while, and they go towards this Cave that is called Cave of Thawr.
Though the Prophet and Abu Bakr had been hiding out in this Cave, the Makkans were out searching for their target.
They were all scouting for him, hunting for him, and they had the city on lock down.
When they came upon this cave, you would think that they would explore the cave. However, right before they arrived, God miraculously caused a spider to spin a web at the mouth of the cave. And furthermore, a small bird had camped out and created a nest.
Of course, if someone were in this cave, the web would have been broken, the bird would have been disturbed.
One of them said: “There is no way Muhammad and his companion just came into this cave.”
After spending three nights in that cave, when things calmed down, the Prophet leaves the cave, looks at Makkah.
He stood, facing the sacred city, and said:
“I swear by God that you are the most beloved place to God, and the most beloved place to me. And if your people didn’t drive me out from you, I would have never left.”
So on their way again they went, the Prophet and his friend. A journey so momentous, it would make time begin again.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) took an unconventional path to Madinah. What typically takes a few days, he finished in nearly two weeks.
The Hijrah was very difficult. It was painful. His life on the line, literally, in several instances.
We’re not just talking about one, ten, fifteen, or even a hundred people. We’re talking about hundreds, all of whom had one thing in common: This collective intention.
These were people, who were leaving their homes, leaving where they were born and raised… they were leaving their entire lives behind.
They do whatever it takes to connect with the beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The Prophet was leaving a place that he loved. And sometimes we have to leave things, people, and situations that we love, and in that leaving is a migration.
This is the event that begins the Islamic calendar.
Literally, it is an event around which all of Muslim society, Muslim civilization, and the religion of Islam is revolving.
It is a period of time where great changes are about to occur.
Arrival to Madinah
The people of Madinah had been waiting for days for the arrival of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and that moment had come.
That exact day, when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) arrived in Madinah, people were overjoyed.
They were happy and excited.
Everybody left what they were doing, dropped everything to run to the outskirts of the city and give him the welcome that he deserved.
They gave assurance to the Prophet. They welcomed the Prophet.
There is now this release of spontaneous joy.
“The Prophet is here, the Prophet is here!” Ahmad the foretold. They beat their drums and there, they sung his praises from their soul.
Brothers and sisters, as you struggle with whatever you’re struggling with, understand that the opening will come, that the darkest part of the night is just before the dawn.
Allah is with us.
Those who struggle in our path, we guide them to our pathways. (Quran 29: 69)
Never despair, never lose hope, be patient, the opening will come just as it came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and for his community.
The beginnings manifest the ends. So the way that the Prophet works in coming to Madinah is the most marvelous beginning of the greatest story that was ever told.
The study of his life is that which changes our lives.
This is where faith becomes practical. This is where spirituality becomes practical.
What journey are we taking our families? What are we teaching our children in terms of connecting with Prophet Muhammad?