Prof. Abdulrazaq KIlani: Hijrah: A turning point


All praises are due to Allah the Lord of the worlds who has created twelve months for the counting of a year for humankind. In these months, Allah has made some months sacred and injustice committed in them are considered as great sins.

Q 3:102-O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.

Q 4:1-O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.

Q 33:70-1- O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right:

That He may make your conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins: He that obeys Allah and His Messenger, has already attained the highest achievement.

Verily, the best speech is Allah’s speech; the best guidance is Muhammad’s (saw) guidance: and the worst matters (in creed or worship) are those innovated (by the people), for every innovated matter is bid’ah ( prohibited innovation), and every bid’ah is an act of misguidance that(whoever initiated it) will reside in the Fire.


Hijrah means to leave, avoid something. It means to move from one thing to something else. In Shareeah, it means leaving the lands of disbelievers to the land of Islam in order to implement or practise Islam. During the life time of the Prophet(saw), there were two famous emigrations/hijrahs. The first was the hijrah from Makkah to Abyssinia in the fifth year of his mission. The second hijrah took place in 622 C.E and marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. It is the hijrah from Makkah to Madinah. The hijrah from Makkah to Madinah according to al-Suddi and Al-Shanqeeti was a condition for the validity of one’s Islam. It means that a person was not considered a true Muslim if he had the means to  migrate from Makkah to Madinah but he did not migrate. After the conquest of Makkah, this type of hijrah was no longer required since Makkah had become part of the Islamic state. This is the meaning of this Hadith: There is no hijrah after the conquest of Makkah but there remains jihad and intentions[Bukhari and Muslim]. However, there will always be a form of hijrah as long as non-Islamic regions or countries exist. There will always be a reason for jihad and a cause for Muslims to move from those lands to the lands of Islam. The Prophet (saw) said: Hijrah will not be discontinued as long as there is jihad[Ahmad]. He also said: Hijrah will not be discontinued as long as repentance is not discontinue. And repentance will not be discontinued until the sun rises from its West[Abu Dawood and Sahih according al-Albani in Sunan Abi Dawood, vol 2,p.470].


The purpose of hijrah is to move from one locale to the place where one can better or best practice his religion. There are types   of hijrah:

i. Making hijrah from the land of kufr(unbelief) to the land of Islam. 

ii. Making hijrah from the land of bid’ah(innovation).

iii. Making hijrah from a land that is dominated by haram(forbidden) to a land that is less so dominated by them.

iv. Making hijrah from a land in which one fears bodily harm.

v. Making hijrah from a land in which one fears bodily disease or one has become ill. The Prophet(saw) allowed those who became ill in  Madinah to leave the city.

vi. Making hijrah due to fear of harm to one’s property and wealth.

vii. Hijrah could be physical or spiritual. The spiritual hijrah is compulsory on all Muslims all the time.

viii. The Prophet (saw) mentioned this type of hijrah thus:

(one makes hijrah) is the one who avoids what Allaah has prohibited[Bukhari].


The migration of the Muslims to Madinah under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad(saw) was a turning point in the history and development of Islam. The first assignment that carried out by the Prophet (saw) was the establishment of Masjid Qubaa. This mosque is very important in the development of Islam and the Prophet (saw) said, ‘  One prayer in Masjid Quba' is just like an `Umrah’.  It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah used to visit Masjid Quba' while riding and walking. It demonstrates that the masjid is the heart of the Muslim ummah. Allah says in Q 72.18, "And the places of worship are for Allah (alone): So invoke not any one along with Allah”. The mosque is the  centre of learning of the deen(religion), a place of adoration and a place of consultation. It is the community centre visited by all at all times ( not in Ramadaan alone!). Allah says in Q22.77, “O ye who believe! bow down, prostrate yourselves, and adore your Lord; and do good; that ye may prosper”.

 Also in Madinah, the establishment of the Ummah was consolidated as a group of believers with divine mandates from Allah as encapsulated in Qur’an  22.41 thus: 

 (They are) those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah  rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs.

 3.104 Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.

 9: 71 The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.

The establishment of the Muslim Ummah also consolidated the  bond of brotherhood between the Muslims which the Ansars(Helpers) hosted the Muhajirun (emigrants) Muslims as brothers and shared their possessions with them without any discrimination. These were people meeting themselves for the first time in their lives. It was the bond of blood being replaced by the bond of faith. Our country is bedevilled by ethnic division and we have agitations between the indigenes versus settlers or indigenes versus migrants, north versus south among others. Islam removes the barriers of race, language, colour and tribe and replaced it with one brotherhood.


The hijrah made the Muslims to understand on the need to be united in a common endeavour as mentioned in Q 21.92, “"This, your community," says God in the Qur'an, "is a single community and I am your Lord and Sustainer; therefore worship Me" The victory of  the Muslims at the battle of Badr, the near defeat at Uhud and the success  at Khandaq (Trench) explain this coherently. Allah says in  Q 22:78 thus:

  And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help!

  Also in Q 49:10 thus:

 The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy.


Governance – the act of governing – refers to the relationship between the governors and the governed  or  between the government and the people, and has at its basis the decision-making powers ceded by individuals to those in authority so that the common interests of society can be served. In  Madinah, the Prophet exemplified what is  called good leadership and good governance. He (saw) owned no car, no body guards and  no palace. What of his successors too?

Abubakr, the first caliph of Islam  changed neither his residence nor his mode of living when he became a ruler. He refused to take a salary until his companions forced him. On his deathbed he commanded that all he had received from the treasury during his tenure should be counted up and repaid out of his property and his lands.

Umar, the second caliph of Islam   was asked what his entitlement from the treasury should be, Umar replied:  clothing, one for the summer, and one for the winter, enough to perform the Hajj and sufficient to provide me with food for myself and my household on the level of a man of Quraish who is neither over rich nor over poor`. Beyond that I am an ordinary Muslim, and I share the lot of all Muslims"    (Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa, ). Our predecessors demonstrated that leadership indeed was a TRUST in Medinah. Allah says, ‘ I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth[Q2:30]. In the same vein:

And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely, your Lord is Swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful[Q6:165]

The leaders  in Islam must guarantee  five basic rights and values which  are: religion, life, intellect, family or honour, and property.   


There is a lesson to be learnt from Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz. The Caliph sat up one night to study the daily report of the government under a lamp light. At that time one of his household employees entered the room to discuss some domestic issues. Umar ordered, “ put out the lamp! And then speak for this oil belongs to the public funds and the people’s property ought not to be used except for their business.”(Al-Ghazali, Nazihat al-Muluk). Today, all family members have access to state resources and they use them without control, our leaders use their sirens to traumatise the citizens they claim to lead, they live in palaces while the citizens are homeless, they collected million of Naira as wardrobe allowances while the citizens are naked and they use state resources for medical tourism while our hospitals are in shambles.


We have to pre-empt stagnation by constant renewal and strengthening of Iman(faith). Allah says in Q.18:13, “We narrate unto you their story with truth: Truly, they were young men who believed in their Lord (Allah), and We increased them in guidance.”  As Muslims we need to join hands in the restoration of the Islamic order in our homes, offices and society.


When the son of Adam dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: knowledge which is beneficial to others, a righteous child who prays for him, or ongoing charity which he leaves behind. 

The scourge of ignorance is ravaging the Ummah from various sides and it is apposite to state the need for  us embrace true Islamic knowledge  as no true islah (reform)  come about without 'ilm (knowledge).  The connection between knowledge (ilm) and reform (islah), has led to the  obvious conclusion that the mujaddid must be a scholar ('alim) of some renown.  He is not the one who is Governor’s Office scholar! There is a serious struggle between the ulama al-Dunya (worldly scholars) or ulama al-sultan (palace scholars). Scholarship in Islam is synonymous with activism and not quietism or Any Government in Power (AGIP). A scholar in Islam cannot stay aloof from his community he must fully identify with its problems as well as its aspirations and he must symbolize the conscience of the community, warning it when it goes astray and setting its affairs right when they go wrong. 

There is misinformation, propaganda, outright falsehood and stereotypes against Muslims globally but as Muslims we must be resolute and be Proud to act, proclaim and identify with Islam. Umar (RA) once  said, “ I fear  the  day when the disbelievers are proud of their falsehood, and the Muslims are shy of their faith”.  The well to do among the Muslims are good in using their resources to disobey Allah as if they control the blessings of Allah in their custody. Ibn Qayyim said in this regard, “beware if Allaah showers you  with blessings whilst you disobey Him, He intends to punish you”. 

The hijrah of 1439 is another opportunity to turn to Allaah (swt) before you return to Him!

Prof. Abdulrazaq KIlani

University of Port Harcourt.

Email: [email protected]

Contact: +234-803 702 9180

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2018-01-22 07:55