By Sheik Hashim Olapade
In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. I bear witness that Almighty Allah is One and Unique. He has no partner and He is ever-living. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the noblest Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) his companions, his household and who follow his path sincerely till the Day of Resurrection.
Meaning of Hijrah
The word Hijrah is an Arabic word which means to move from one place to the other on one hand but in another hand, it is to eschew the forbidden things. More importantly, it signifies the flight of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and his followers from Makkah to Medinah in 622 A.D. It marks the beginning of Islamic Calendar.
When the non-Muslims of Mecca in Saudi Arabia were persecuting the Muslims due to their acceptance of Islam, the Prophet (S.A.W) asked the early Muslims to firstly migrate to Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) to seek asylum from Negus, the King of the country. That journey marked the first Hijrah.
The second Hijrah is the one that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and his followers embarked upon in 622 A.D. from Mecca to Medina. This is the one that marked the beginning of Hijrah, the popular Hijrah Calendar that is being used today. This Islamic dating system is based on the movement of moon. It is called Lunar Calendar. It was introduced by the second Caliph, Umar ibn Khattab, in 638 A.D.
Since then, the Muslims, all over the world, had been using this calendar for dating their records.
The months of the calendar are as follows:
Muharram – First month
Safar – second month.
Rabiul Awwal – Third month.
Rabiu Thaani – Fourth month.
Jumadal Ula – Fifth month.
Jumadat Thaani – Sixth month
Rajab – seventh month
Sha‘ban – Eighth month
Ramadan – Ninth month
Shawwal – Tenth month
Dhul – Qa‘dah – Eleventh month
Dhul – Hijjah – Twelfth month
Essence Of Hijrah Calendar To The Muslims
The importance of Hijrah Calendar to the Muslims cannot be over-emphasized. It is the only calendar that informs the Muslims about the time of their religious events, more importantly, the period of Ramadan fast and Idul-Adha festival. It is also through Hijrah calendar that the time of Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam is known.
The Lessons Of Hijrah
Firstly, the Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 A.D is to mark the date of religious events in Islam. The holy Qur’an, chapter 17, verse 12, let us know that the reason for creation of day and night is to enable human beings make calculation and know dating system: “We have made night and day as two signs. We made the sign of the night devoid of light, and made the sign of the day radiant that you may seek the bounty of your Lord and know the computation of years and numbers. Thus We have expounded everything in detail to keep everything distinct from the other.”
Hijrah as an event signifies that Islam is a religion of peace. Instead of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) and his followers fighting back the unbelievers of Mecca, they had to vacate the city to allow peace to reign.
It also teaches that Islam is by conviction and not by compulsion. The only Qur’an, Chapter 2, verse 256 confirms this when it says: “There is no compulsion in matter of religion, the truth has been distinguished from falsehood”.
It also teaches tolerance. When Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) got to Medina in 622 A.D, he established Muslim Community (Ummatul-Islam) which accommodated all faiths including Jews and Christians.
It teaches intellectual significance in Islam. That the Muslim should give education priority in their life to enable them know their duties not only to Allah, their creator but also to other fellow human beings.
The celebration of Hijrah day is to enlighten the Muslims about the virtues of Islam as depicted by the life of the Holy Prophet of Islam. In one of the prophetic traditions (Hadith), it is said that part of the essence of Hijrah is departure from ill-manners to good virtues.
In conclusion, Hijrah is an important event in Islamic history. It is not a religious festival in Islam but an occasion to educate the generality of the Muslims about their responsibilities in Islam and to know the significance of Islamic dating system. There are many calendars in the world. It is only Hijrah calendar that is useful for the Muslims in both mundane and spiritual life.
I pray to Allah to spare our lives to witness many more of it in good conditions.
Alh. Hashim Olapade, Chief Imam Anwar-el-Islam, Ikire, Osun State.