Muhammad in Islam Medina Islamic calendar

Islamic Hegira
DateThursday, 13 May – Friday, 28 May 622 Julian calendar[1]
LocationHijaz, Arabian peninsula[2][3][4]
Also known asThe Migration of Muhammad;[5] The Migration; Hijrah; Hijrath
ParticipantsMuhammad and his followers
OutcomeRenaming Yathrib as "the City (of the Prophet)" (Medina);
Enmity between the Aus tribe and Khazraj tribes ended;
Muhammad made political leader and united the new Muslims
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The Hegira (medieval Latin transliteration, also Arabic: هِجْرَة‎, Hijra or Hijrah,[6] meaning "departure" or "migration") is the journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib, later renamed by him Medina, in the year 622.[1][7] In May 622, after being warned of a plot to assassinate him, Muhammad secretly left his home in Mecca to emigrate to Yathrib, 320 km (200 mi) north of Mecca, along with his companion Abu Bakr.[8] Yathrib was soon renamed Madīnat an-Nabī (Arabic: مَدينة النّبي‎, literally "City of the Prophet"), but an-Nabī was soon dropped, so its name is "Medina", meaning "the city".[9]

The Hijrah is also identified with the start of the Islamic calendar, which was set to 16 July 622 in the Julian calendar or 19 July 622 in the Gregorian calendar.

First Hegira

The first Hijrah is dated to 615[10][11] or Rajab (September–October) 613[12] when a group of Muslims counseled by Muhammad to escape persecution in Mecca arrived at the court of the Christian monarch (Negus) of the Kingdom of Aksum located in modern day Ethiopia and Eritrea, Ashama ibn-Abjar. Muhammad himself did not join this emigration. In that year, his followers fled Mecca's leading tribe, the Quraysh, who sent emissaries to Ethiopia to bring them back to the Arabian peninsula. However, the Negus refused to send them back.[13]

Muhammad's hijra


In Mecca, at the pilgrimage season of 620, Muhammad met six men of the Banu Khazraj from Medina, propounded to them the doctrines of Islam, and recited portions of the Quran.[14][15] Impressed by this, the six embraced Islam,[16] and at the Pilgrimage of 621, five of them brought seven others with them. These twelve informed Muhammad of the beginning of gradual development of Islam in Medina, and took a formal pledge of allegiance at Muhammad's hand, promising to accept him as a prophet, to worship none but one God, and to renounce sins including theft, adultery, and murder. This is known as the "First Pledge of al-Aqaba".[17][18][19] At their request, Muhammad sent with them Mus‘ab ibn 'Umair to teach them the instructions of Islam. Biographers[who?] have recorded the considerable success of Mus`ab ibn `Umair in preaching the message of Islam and bringing people under the umbrella of Islam in Medina.

The next year, at the pilgrimage of 622, a delegation of around 75 Muslims of the Banu Aws and Khazraj from Medina came, and in addition to restating the formal promises, they also assured Muhammad of their full support and protection if the latter would migrate to their land. They invited him to come to Medina as an arbitrator to reconcile among the hostile tribes.[20] This is known as the "second pledge at al-Aqabah",[21][22] and was a 'politico-religious' success that paved the way for him and his followers' immigration to Medina.[23] Following the pledges, Muhammad encouraged his followers to migrate to Medina, and in a span of two months, nearly all the Muslims of Mecca migrated to Medina.

During the early seventh century, Medina was inhabited by two types of population: Jewish and pagan Arabs. The Jews there had three principal clans – Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nadir, and Banu Qurayza. The Arab pagans had two tribes – the Banu Aws and Khazraj. At that time, the Jews there had the upper hand with their large settlement and huge property.[16] Before the encounter between Muhammad and the six men from Medina in 620, there was a battle between Aws and Khazraj, known as the Battle of Buath, in which many leading people of both the sides died, leaving Yathrib in a disordered state.[24] Traditional rules for maintaining law and order became dysfunctional, and, without a neutral man with considerable authority over things, stability seemed unlikely.[25] As the pagan Arabs of Medina lived in close proximity to the Jews, they had gained some knowledge about their scriptures, and had heard the Jews awaiting the arrival of a future prophet. It is because of this knowledge, taken together with their need for an adjudicator, that the six men who met Muhammad at the pilgrimage season of 620 readily accepted his message, lest the Jews should steal a march over them.[16][21]

The migration

According to Muslim tradition, after receiving divine direction to depart Mecca, Muhammad began taking preparation and informed Abu Bakr of his plan. On the night of his departure, Muhammad's house was besieged by men of the Quraysh who planned to kill him in the morning. At the time, Muhammad possessed various properties of the Quraysh given to him in trust; so he handed them over to 'Ali and directed him to return them to their owners, and asked him to lie down on his bed assuring him of God's protection. Ibn Kathīr narrates that when Muhammad emerged from his house, he recited the ninth verse of surah Ya Sin of the Quran and threw a handful of dust at the direction of the besiegers, rendering the besiegers unable to see him.[26][27] Soon, Muhammad joined Abu Bakr, left the city, and the two took shelter in a cave outside the city. Next morning, the besiegers were frustrated to find Ali on Muhammad's bed. Fooled and thwarted by Muhammad's plan, they searched the city for him,[28] and some of them eventually reached the threshold of the cave, but success eluded them. When the Quraysh came to know of Muhammad's escape, they announced heavy reward for bringing Muhammad back to them, alive or dead. Unable to resist this temptation, pursuers scattered in all directions. After staying for three days, Muhammad and Abu Bakr resumed their journey and were pursued by Suraqa bin Malik. But each time he neared Muhammad's party, his horse stumbled and he finally abandoned his desire of capturing Muhammad.[29] After eight days' journey, Muhammad entered the outskirts of Medina on 24 May 622,[1] but did not enter the city directly. He stopped at a place called Quba', a place some miles from the main city, and established a mosque there.

After a four-day stay at Quba', Muhammad along with Abu Bakr continued to Medina, participated in their first Friday prayer on the way, and upon reaching the city, were greeted cordially by its people.

Dates of events

The Muslim year during which the Hijrah occurred was designated the first year of the Islamic calendar by Umar in 638 or AH 17 (anno hegirae = "in the year of the Hijrah").[9] The following table lists the dates of various events of Muhammad's Hijrah as mentioned by Muhammad Hamidullah, F. A. Shamsi and Fazlur Rehman Shaikh in their works. Fazlur Rehman has listed other dates for the arrival of Muhammad in Quba' in his work, as proposed by modern scholars, ranging from 31 May 622 to 22 November 622.

Day Julian[30] and Islamic dates
by Muhammad Hamidullah[31]
Julian and Islamic dates
by F. A. Shamsi[9]
Julian and Islamic dates
by Fazlur Rehman Shaikh[1]
Not supported by sources - see commentary below
Day 1
13 May 622
26 Safar AH 1
9 September 622
26 Safar AH 1
17 June 622
1 Rabi' al-Awwal AH 1
Conference of the Quraysh leaders and Muhammad's departure from his house
Day 5
17 May 622
1 Rabi' al-Awwal
13 September 622
1 Rabi' al-Awwal
21 June 622
5 Rabi' al-Awwal
Departure from the Cave of Thawr
Day 12
24 May 622
8 Rabi' al-Awwal
20 September 622
8 Rabi' al-Awwal
28 June 622
12 Rabi' al-Awwal
Arrival in Quba'
Day 16
28 May 622
12 Rabi' al-Awwal
24 September
12 Rabi' al-Awwal
2 July
16 Rabi' al-Awwal
Entry into Yathrib (Medina)
Day 26
4 October
22 Rabi' al-Awwal
Settles in Medina

Burnaby[32] states that

Historians in general assert that Muhammad fled from Mecca at the commencement of the third month of the Arabian year, Rabi 'u-l-avval. They do not agree as to the precise day. According to Ibn-Ishak it was on the first or second day of the month;

A more precise determination can be made from the dates of the surrounding events. The meeting at which the Quraysh agreed to kill Muhammad occurred on Thursday, 26 Safar. Muhammad left his house the same night and spent three nights, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a cave. He left Mecca on Monday, 1 Rabi' I. The journey to Medina took a week and he arrived at Quba' on Monday, 8 Rabi' I. He stayed there for four days and entered Medina on Friday, 12 Rabi' I.

These dates are discussed by Al-Biruni, Alvi, Ibn Sa'd, Abu Ja'far and Ibn Hisham.[33] The hypothetical dates in the retro-calculated Islamic calendar extended back in time differ from the actual dates as they were on the Julian calendar. Annual celebration of the Hijrah has long been assigned to 1 Muharram, the first day of the Muslim year, causing many writers to confuse the first day of the year of the Hijrah with the Hijrah itself, erroneously stating that the Hijrah occurred on 1 Muharram AH 1[9] (which would be 19 April 622 in Fazlur Rehman Shaikh's system) or even the hypothetical Gregorian date from retro-calculating 26 Rabi' I in AH 1 to 16 July 622 (not to be confused with Julian 16 July 622, the retro-calculated start date for of the regular Hijri calendar system) even though the first visit to Medina for Friday prayers actually occurred on 12 Rabi' I (i.e., 28 May 622).

When the tabular Islamic calendar invented by Muslim astronomers is extended back in time it changes all these dates by about 118 days or four lunar months as the first day of the year during which the Hijrah occurred, 1 Muharram AH 1, would be mistaken from Friday 19 March 622 to Friday 16 July 622. The Muslim dates of the Hijrah are those recorded in an original lunisolar Arabic calendar that were never converted into the purely lunar calendar to account for the four intercalary months inserted during the next nine years until intercalary months were prohibited during the year of Muhammad's last Hajj (AH 10).


Muhammad's followers suffered from poverty after fleeing persecution in Mecca and migrating with Muhammad to Medina. Their Meccan persecutors seized their wealth and belongings left behind in Mecca.[34]

Beginning in January 623, some of the Muslims resorted to the tradition of raiding the Meccan caravans that traveled along the eastern coast of the Red Sea from Mecca to Syria.[citation needed] Communal life was essential for survival in desert conditions, as people needed support against the harsh environment and lifestyle. The tribal grouping was thus encouraged by the need to act as a unit. This unity was based on the bond of kinship by blood.[clarification needed].[35] People of Arabia were either nomadic or sedentary, the former constantly traveling from one place to another seeking water and pasture for their flocks, while the latter settled and focused on trade and agriculture. The survival of nomads was also partially dependent on raiding caravans or oases, thus they saw this as no crime.[34][36]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Shaikh, Fazlur Rehman (2001). Chronology of Prophetic Events. London: Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. pp. 51–52.
  2. ^ Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad (1955). Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad. Translated by Alfred Guillaume. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 88–89. ISBN 978-0196360331.
  3. ^ Karen Armstrong (2002). Islam: A Short History. p. 11. ISBN 081296618X.
  4. ^ Haykal, Husayn (1976), The Life of Muhammad, Islamic Book Trust, pp. 217–18, ISBN 978-9839154177
  5. ^ "Dates of Epoch-Making Events", The Nuttall Encyclopædia. (Gutenberg version)
  6. ^ Tesch, Noah; Afsaruddin, Asma (12 March 2018). Hijrah. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  7. ^ Marom, Roy (Fall 2017). "Approaches to the Research of Early Islam: The Hijrah in Western Historiography". Jama'a. 23: vii.
  8. ^ Moojan Momen (1985), An Introduction to Shi'i Islam: History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi'ism, Yale University Press, New edition 1987, p. 5.
  9. ^ a b c d F.A. Shamsi, "The Date of Hijrah", Islamic Studies 23 (1984): 189–224, 289–323 (JSTOR link 1 + JSTOR link 2).
  10. ^ Dale F. Eickelman (1990). Muslim Travellers: Pilgrimage, Migration and the Religious Imagination. University of California Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-520-07252-7.
  11. ^ Elaine Padilla, Peter C. Phan (editors) (2014). Theology of Migration in the Abrahamic Religions. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-137-00104-7.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Fazlur Rehman Shaikh (2001). Chronology of Prophetic Events. London: Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. pp. 91.
  13. ^ Ian Richard Netton (2011). Islam, Christianity and the Mystic Journey: A Comparative Exploration. Edinburgh University Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7486-4082-9.
  14. ^ Sell, Edward (1913). The Life of Muhammad (PDF). Madras: The Christian Literary Society for India. p. 70. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  15. ^ Holt, P. M.; Lambton, Ann K. S.; Lewis, Bernard (2000). The Cambridge History of Islam. Cambridge University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0521219464.
  16. ^ a b c Shibli Nomani. Sirat-un-Nabi. Vol 1. Lahore.
  17. ^ Khan, Muhammad Zafra (1980). Muhammad, seal of the prophets. London. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-85525-992-1.
  18. ^ Peter Malcolm Holt, Ann K S Lambton, and Bernard Lewis, The Cambridge History of Islam, Volume 1, The Central Islamic Lands, Cambridge, 2000, p. 40. ISBN 978-0-85525-992-1
  19. ^ Sell (1913), p. 71.
  20. ^ Hitti, Philip Khuri (1946). History of the Arabs. London: Macmillan and Co. p. 116.
  21. ^ a b Holt, et al (2000), p. 40.
  22. ^ Khan (1980), p. 73.
  23. ^ Sell (1913), p. 76.
  24. ^ Holt, et al. (2000), p. 39.
  25. ^ Holt, et al (2000), pp. 39–40.
  26. ^ Ibn Kathir (2001). Stories of the Prophet: From Adam to Muhammad. Mansoura, Egypt: Dar Al-Manarah. p. 389. ISBN 9776005179.
  27. ^ "Ya-Seen Ninth Verse". Retrieved 4 February 2014., Quran Surah Yaseen (Verse 9)
  28. ^ Muir, William (1861). The life of Mahomet Volume 2. pp. 258–59.
  29. ^ Al Mubarakpuri, Safi ur Rahman (2002). "On the Road to Madina". Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum – The Sealed Nectar: Biography of the Noble Prophet. Darussalam. ISBN 9960899551. Retrieved 11 November 2011.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  30. ^ Hamidullah's dates are Gregorian. For the purposes of this table they have been converted to Julian.
  31. ^ Hamidullah, Muhammad (February 1969). "The Nasiʾ, the Hijrah calendar and the need of preparing a new concordance for the Hijrah and Gregorian eras" (PDF). Islamic Review. London. 57 (2): 6.
  32. ^ Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby, Elements of the Jewish and Muhammadan calendars (1901).
  33. ^ Caussin de Perceval writing in 1847 as reported in 1901 by Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby, Elements of the Jewish and Muhammadan calendars (London: 1901) 374–75.
  34. ^ a b John Esposito, Islam, Expanded edition, Oxford University Press, pp. 4–5.
  35. ^ William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, Oxford, 1953, pp. 16–18.
  36. ^ Rue, Loyal D. (2005). Religion is Not about God: How Spiritual Traditions Nurture Our Biological Nature and what to Expect when They Fail. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0813535111.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) p. 224.