The Hijrah – or migration of the blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions from Makkah to Madinah (then Yathrib)- came after thirteen long years of persecution. The Makkan elite constantly pounced upon the small groups of Muslims in Makkah, depriving them of their freedom to worship, and persecuting those who dared to declare their acceptance of Muhammad’s call. Individual Muslims bore the brunt of these attacks. Some were beaten, tortured, and ridiculed; others were killed in brutal ways. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself was not spared from the attacks of the Quraysh; and when he resolved to undertake the journey to Taif in the hopes of a more attentive ear, he was further humiliated and driven out from the city.

Year of Grief

The death of his beloved wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib in the tenth year of his prophethood added immense grief to these difficult times. The specific year in which he suffered the loss of his two closest supporters became known as “the Year of Grief”. It was soon after this that the command came to emigrate. The Muhajiroon, those who left their homes, their wealth, and the familiar surroundings of their beloved city and ventured to Madina, were honored for their struggle. In several places in the Qur’an, Allah exalts their status and counts them among the “saabiqoon al-awwaloon” – those pioneers who led the way by giving them the honor of Allah’s pleasure.

A Different Kind of Hijrah

 Today, the Hijrah remains in our collective memories as a unique journey from Makkah to Madina; it is etched within our psyche as the seminal event of the Prophet’s life, a dividing line between truth and falsehood, between love and faith, between this world and the hereafter.

However, there is another aspect of Hijra that is equally important for us today. After the blessed prophet (peace be upon him) migrated, he redefined the concept of Hijrah and made it an accessible struggle for each believer. He said, “a Muslim is one from whose hands and tongues other Muslims are safe; and a Muhajir is one who flees from what Allah has prohibited.”

A Muhajir is One Who Flees From Sins

By redefining Hijrah and bringing it into the realm of the spiritual, he (SAW) has given every Muslim the opportunity to smell the fragrance of faith and to experience the struggle of the early emigrants without ever having to undertake a physical journey.

To indulge in what Allah has prohibited constitutes a sin against Allah and an oppression of the soul. Each sin committed affects the heart, to the extent that when a sin is committed, a black dot is placed on the heart. When such sins accumulate, the heart is covered with black dots, a veil is placed upon it, and only the Mercy of Allah can reconstitute it.

Fleeing from sins therefore becomes a Hijra, a struggle to move from a lower state of sinfulness to a higher state of submission. When such a victory is accomplished, oppression of the soul is rooted out and the heart becomes free of the burdens of sin – like the physical Hijrah which rooted out the oppression by the Makkans and established a state of freedom for the believers.

If Hijrah is such a spiritual voyage, then Hijrah today is a multifaceted one. It is a constant struggle to move from one level to another with the ultimate goal of attaining Ihsaan, the highest level of faith. It is a transformation of the soul.

Here are four types of Hirah that we need to make today:

From a superficial understanding of Allah to an intense knowledge of His nature, attributes and essence.

Every student would agree that a superficial knowledge of any subject matter cannot get him or her anywhere. In order to succeed and make a difference in one’s career, one must pursue an in-depth knowledge of the subject, whether it is anthropology, physics, civil engineering etc.

Likewise, true knowledge of Allah will allow one to understand His nature and His Will as He causes it to unfold in this earthly domain. Such a knowledge will clearly help one to establish one’s place in the scheme of things; and it will also enhance the relationship between ‘abd (servant) and ma’bud (object of worship).

From a purely intellectual grasp of faith to one that encompasses the heart. 

When our knowledge transcends our ‘Aql (intellect) and finds root in our Qalb (heart), then true faith becomes clear to us.

The Qalb is the locus of faith. When we can stand before Allah in the early morning, alone and trembling before Him, pouring our hearts out to Him, and weeping inwardly before the tears flow from our eyes, then truly we have allowed our hearts to become alive with His presence. This intimate “knowing” of Allah is predicated by an intellectual knowledge (‘ilm) and then by a spiritual knowledge (Ma’rifah). This kind of Hijrah is of paramount importance today because much confusion surrounds us and clarity of faith is difficult to grasp.

From the outward rituals to the inward meanings of our actions. 

For too long we have become obsessed with the rituals of Islam, the outward forms that are nevertheless important, yet have no relevance without the inward spirit that encompasses it. The example of the change in the Qiblah during the Prophet’s time established this concept very well. “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or West”, the Qur’an declares, answering the accusations against the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the change of the Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah. The Qur’an then established the principles upon which righteousness stands – the fundamental principles of faith, followed by acts of kindness, prayer, charity, upholding of covenants and patience in times of ease and in adversity.

Outward rituals, if done with the inward spirit, should create a transformation in ethics. Kindness and compassion are a necessary result of prayer, for example, because when one stands before the Creator with an understanding of the Creator’s Compassion towards all creatures, he is bound to internalize this quality.

From feelings of despair to one of affirmative action. 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) exemplified this essential strategy himself during the early days of Madina, just after the Hijrah. To the man who felt burdened by debt and felt he had no opportunity to earn, the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave him an axe and a rope and directed him to cut wood for sale. His affirmative action reversed his situation, and he was no more a victim of his social environment.

The eminent Companion, Abdur Rahman bin Awf, instead of complaining of his straitened economic circumstances, asked for directions to the market where he began trading in a small way. His affirmative action made him rise to become one of the most affluent men around the Prophet (peace be upon him).

A Journey Like No Other

Hijrah today is more than a journey of the heart. It is a journey and a struggle that encompass the spiritual, intellectual, and physical domains of life. When one embarks upon such a journey, one is bound to experience the expanding horizons and encounter another world that was hitherto unknown to him.

May Allah enable us to journey on, and may He make the struggle and the destination easy for us.


Br. Farhad Khadim

Farhad Khadim is a Guyanese – Canadian and an Information Management Professional with the City of Toronto. He is one of the founders of Masjid Toronto and a Founding Director of the Islamic Institute of Toronto. He the author of a poetry anthology “Whispers of Faith” and a Children’s Picture Book “Oh, The Things I See!” Both are available on Amazon. He lives in Toronto.

Farhad Khadim

More articles you might like

Don't stop now! Try these other articles too, you just might like them.

  • Complicity & Impunity: The Two Most Powerful Enablers of Israel’s

    The barbarism that Israel has been unleashing on the Palestinians since October 8 of 2023 stuns even people who have never empathized with the sufferings…

    Sh. Sheik M Ayube

    Gaza Strip

    Forests cover nearly a third of the Earth’s land surface, and healthy forests are therefore huge reservoirs for the absorption and storage of carbon. The…
    S. Imtiaz Zaman

    S. Imtiaz Zaman

    Greenery in Guyana
  • An Era of Insanity: Palestinians in the Throes of Genocide

    It is worth noting that the siege of Gaza did not start with Hamas’ incursions into Palestinians’ lands that are currently occupied by Israel. On…

    Sh. Sheik M Ayube

  • Leave the first comment