Muhammad goes to Hegira – 622

On this day in 622, the Muhammad completes his Hegira, or “flight,” from Mecca to Medina to escape persecution. In Medina, Muhammad set about building the followers of his religion–Islam–into […]
September 24, 2015

On this day in 622, the Muhammad completes his Hegira, or “flight,” from Mecca to Medina to escape persecution. In Medina, Muhammad set about building the followers of his religion–Islam–into an organized community and Arabian power. The Hegira would later mark the beginning (year 1) of the Muslim calendar.
Muhammad, one of the most influential religious and political leaders in history, was born in Mecca around 570. His father died before he was born, and Muhammad was put under the care of his grandfather, head of the prestigious Hashim clan. His mother died when he was six, and his grandfather when he was eight, leaving him under the care of his uncle Abu Talib, the new head of the clan. When he was 25, Muhammad married a wealthy widow 15 years his senior. He lived the next 15 years as a merchant, and his wife gave birth to six children: two sons, who died in childhood, and four daughters.
From time to time, Muhammad spent nights in a cave in Mount Hira north of Mecca, ruminating on the social ills of the city. Around 610, he had a vision in the cave in which he heard the voice of a majestic being, later identified as the angel Gabriel, say to him, “You are the Messenger of God.” Thus began a lifetime of religious revelations, which he and others collected as the Qur’an, or Koran. Muhammad regarded himself as the last prophet of the Judaic-Christian tradition, and he adopted aspects of these older religions’ theologies, (Judaism and Christianity) while introducing new doctrines. Muhammad’s monotheistic religion came to be called Islam, meaning “surrender to God”, and its followers were Muslims, meaning “those who have surrendered.” His inspired teachings would bring unity to the Arabian peninsula, an event that had sweeping consequences for the rest of the world.
By 615, Muhammad had gained about 100 converts in Mecca. He spoke out against rich merchants, who he criticized as immoral in their greed, and he denounced the worshipping of idols and multiple gods, saying, “There is no god but God.” City leaders became hostile to him, and in 619 his uncle Abu Talib died and was succeeded as head of the Hashim clan by another one of Muhammad’s uncles, Abu Lahib. Abu Lahib refused to protect Muhammad, and persecution of the prophet and his Muslims increased.
In the summer of 621, an entourage of 12 men came to Mecca from Medina, an oasis community 200 miles to the north. They were ostensibly making a pilgrimage to Mecca’s pagan shrines, but they had actually come to meet with Muhammad and profess themselves as Muslims. In 622, a larger group of converts from Medina came to Mecca and took an oath to Muhammad to defend him as their own kin. Muhammad immediately encouraged his Meccan followers to make their way to Medina in small groups. When city authorities learned that the Muslims had begun an exodus, they plotted to have the prophet killed. Under this threat, Muhammad slipped away unnoticed with a chief disciple and made his way to Medina, using unfrequented paths. He completed the celebrated Hegira (Hijrah in uncorrupted Arabic) on 24 September 622. The history of Islam had begun.
At Medina, Muhammad built a theocratic state and led raids on trading caravans from Mecca. Attempts by Meccan armies to defeat the Muslim forces failed, and several leading Meccans immigrated to Medina and became Muslims. Muhammad later become more conciliatory to Mecca, and in 629 he was allowed to lead a pilgrimage there in exchange for a peace treaty. Shortly after, he was attacked by allies of the Meccans, and Muhammad denounced the treaty. Muhammad (pbuh) decided to leave Mecca because the Meccan chiefs had taken action to kill him at his home. As far the choice of migrating to Medina (known as Yathrib at that time), the decision was made easier by the second ‘Pledge of Aqaba’ made a year before on the occasion of the annual rites of pilgrimage. The pledge was made by seventy three men and two women of Khazraj and Aws communities of Medina. They had accepted Islam and wanted to invite the Prophet to migrate to Medina. Their motivation for this move, apart from recognizing him as the Prophet, the trustworthy, and the best in conduct in Mecca, was to bring peace and security between the Khazraj and Aws. They were often at war with each other and the Battle of Bu’ath had shattered their strength completely. They desperately needed a leader who could be trusted by both communities and bring peace in Medina. As part of the pledge, they were to protect the Prophet as they would protect their women and children if he were attacked by the Meccans.
Among the people in Medina, there was a small community (three tribes) of Jews with Arab communities constituting the majority of the population. Because of wars going on for several generations, the resources of the Arabs were depleted and their influence in Medina was dwindling. The Jews were traders and many of them used to lend money at exorbitant interest. The continuing wars boosted their economy and personal wealth. The immediate result of the Prophet’s migration to Medina was peace and unity between the communities of Aws and Khazraj. The Prophet, motivated by the general welfare of citizens of Medina, decided to offer his services to the remaining communities including the Jews. He had already laid down the basis for relationship between the Emigrants from Mecca (known as Muhajirin) and Medinites (known as the Ansar, the helpers).
The Treaty between Muslims, Christian and Gentile Arabs and Jews of Medina was put in writing and ratified by all parties. It has been preserved by the historians. The document referred Muhammad as the Prophet and Messenger of God but it was understood that the Jews did not have to recognize him as such for their own religious reasons. The major parts of the document were:

“In the name of Allah (The One True God) the Compassionate, the Merciful. This is a document from Muhammad, the Prophet, governing the relation between the Believers from among the Qurayshites (i.e., Emigrants from Mecca) and Yathribites (i.e., the residents of Medina) and those who followed them and joined them and strived with them. They form one and the same community as against the rest of men.

“No Believer shall oppose the client of another Believer. Whosoever is rebellious, or seeks to spread injustice, enmity or sedition among the Believers, the hand of every man shall be against him, even if he be a son of one of them. A Believer shall not kill a Believer in retaliation of an unbeliever, nor shall he help an unbeliever against a Believer.

“Whosoever among the Jews follows us shall have help and equality; they shall not be injured nor shall any enemy be aided against them…. No separate peace will be made when the Believers are fighting in the way of Allah…. The Believers shall avenge the blood of one another shed in the way of Allah ….Whosoever kills a Believer wrongfully shall be liable to retaliation; all the Believers shall be against him as one man and they are bound to take action against him.

“The Jews shall contribute (to the cost of war) with the Believers so long as they are at war with a common enemy. The Jews of Banu Najjar, Banu al-Harith, Banu Sa’idah, Banu Jusham, Banu al-Aws, Banu Tha’labah, Jafnah, and Banu al-Shutaybah enjoy the same rights and priviledges as the Jews of Banu Aws.

“The Jews shall maintain their own religion and the Muslims theirs. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. The close friends of Jews are as themselves. None of them shall go out on a military expedition except with the permission of Muhammad, but he shall not be prevented from taking revenge for a wound.

“The Jews shall be responsible for their expenses and the Believers for theirs. Each, if attacked, shall come to the assistance of the other.

“The valley of Yathrib (Medina) shall be sacred and inviolable for all that join this Treaty. Strangers, under protection, shall be treated on the same ground as their protectors; but no stranger shall be taken under protection except with consent of his tribe….No woman shall be taken under protection without the consent of her family.

Whatever difference or dispute between the parties to this covenant remains unsolved shall be referred to Allah and to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. Allah is the Guarantor of the piety and goodness that is embodied in this covenant. Neither the Quraysh nor their allies shall be given any protection.

“The contracting parties are bound to help one another against any attack on Yathrib. If they are called to cease hostilities and to enter into peace, they shall be bound to do so in the interest of peace; and if they make a similar demand on Muslims it must be carried out except when the war is agianst their religion.

“Allah approves the truth and goodwill of this covenant. This treaty shall not protect the unjust or the criminal. Whoever goes out to fight as well as whoever stays at home shall be safe and secure in this city unless he has perpetrated an injustice or commited a crime…. Allah is the protector of the good and God-fearing people.”

The first written constitution of a State ever promulgated by a sovereign in human history emanated from the Prophet of Islam. It was enacted from the first year of Hijrah (622 CE). The treaty stipulated a city state in Medina, allowing wide autonomy to communities. Private justice was to be banished. The head of the State had the prerogative to decide who should participate in an expedition, the war and peace being indivisible. Social insurance was to be instituted.

In January 630, he returned to his birthplace with 10,000 men, and the Meccans swore allegiance to its Muslim conquerors. He was now the strongest man in Arabia. During the next few years, most of the peninsula’s disparate Arab tribes came to him to ask for alliance and to convert to his religion. By his death, on June 8, 632, Muhammad was the effective ruler of most of Arabia, and his rapidly growing empire was poised for expansion into Syria and Iraq. Within 20 years, the Byzantine and Persian empires had fallen to the prophet’s successors, and during the next two centuries vast Arab conquests continued. The Islamic empire grew into one of the largest the world has ever seen, stretching from India, across the Middle East and Africa, and up through Western Europe’s Iberian peninsula. The spread of Islam continued after the fragmentation of the Arab empire, and many societies in Africa and Asia voluntarily adopted Muhammad’s religion. Today, Islam is the world’s second-largest religion.

History does not record much as to when first Jewish migration from north to Yathrib (Medina) began as their numbers remined small throughout their stay there. Among the major reasons for their settlements in Arabia were: the relative peace and security in north Arabia with orchards and gardens; the Arab trade route linking Yemen, Arabia, Syria and Iraq; and continuing tensions resulting from wars between the Romans and Persians in the area around the Holy Land. Some of the learned men among the Christians and Jews had also moved to this area based on their conviction that the advent of the final Prophet of God was near, who was to settle in this area. Bahira, the monk, and Salman, the Persian, were some of the people who moved to the caravan route to or near this area. Salman was told by his last Christian sage:

“He will be sent with the religion of Abraham and will come forth in Arabia where he will emigrate from his home to a place between two lava tracts, a country of palms. His Signs are manifest: he will eat of a gift but not if it is given as alms, and between his shoulders is the seal of prophesy.”

The Medina Charter consists of 47 clauses. 23 clause governed the relationship between Muslims, between Ansar and Muhajirin, while the remaining 24 clauses governed  the relations of Muslims with non-Muslims, the Jews and others. In addition to the charter of Medina, it is also known by various names such as Medina agreement, Dustar al-Medina and Al-Medina Sahifah. The Medina Charter form the constitution for Medina which was based from the regulations of Islamic law to establish a pure Islamic state that puts people of different races or ethnic groups in one country living peacefully. The main contents in the Charter were the declaration that the Muhammad (pbuh) is the head of state to all the people of Medina and any dispute shall be referred to him. All the people of Medina is forbidden to plant a hostile or envy among themselves, instead they should be united as one and be known as nation of Medina.

All residents are free to practice their customs and religious ceremonies respectively. All residents of Medina should cooperate in economic and if Medina to be attacked by outsiders all the citizen shall defend its. The Jews freedom are guaranteed as long as they obey the agreements listed in the charter. The purposed of the Medina Charter was to face a plural society of Medina and was to establish rules that will be complied by all the people. The charter also provide elements to unite people of various races and to establish peace and eliminate any hostility that was occurring before the arrival of Muhammad to Medina.

The Medina Charter also determined the rights and duties of Muhammad and the local population. It’s also provide guidelines for the Muhajirin (immigrants) recovery and providing help either material or non material to them after losing everything for leaving Mecca. Political union was also formed to defend Medina from any foreign enemy. The Charter give a clear guarantee for the right of the non Muslim and the Jews. Medina Charter was not only the first Islamic constitution but it was also the first human right charter that provided the basic rights of every human living in Medina. Medina Charter was created based on Holy Koran and Sunnah. Therefore the Holy Koran and Sunnah are the source of state law. The charter also was an instrument to unite the nation and a signed of a state sovereignty. Other principles that contain in the charter were; Freedom of movement and the right to live in Medina, rights and duties in terms of defending and maintaining the State. It also provide good relations and mutual help among all citizens and individual responsibility and government duty in upholding social justice. Some security laws such as penalties and so forth have been listed as Qisas. Religious freedom was also guarantee and the responsibility of states to non-Muslims. It also stated the duty of all parties toward bringing and upholding peace in the State.

It is justified to say the Medina Charter produced a form of government that adheres to the shura system (parliamentary system) where citizen can give opinions. The charter had a great impact toward the development of Islamic civilization, especially in politics and the human rights of the ordinary citizen. The Medina Charter shows that Islam can be practiced in creating an efficient and just government. However the Muslim majority countries all over the world now are facing with all kind of problems from their own making and its has nothing to do with the western power. The western countries succeed in developing their countries because they are implementing the rules and regulations that are suitable to them. But the Islamic countries either copying from the west and failed because does not conform to the norms of the majority or created a new form of system that only suitable to the iron claws of the power hungry politician. In the end the people suffered and Islam which should be the way of living is only used during birth of a child, marriage and death!

The Muslim leaders does not even respect the human rights that the Prophet had lay down 1400 years ago. The rights of the people either Muslim or non-Muslim has been discriminate for years as if the Medina Charter been kept and locked in the dusty shelves. From Gamal Nasir to Muamar Kahdafi none has ever used or implemented the true Islamic law in administering their countries. An Islamic scholar and politician from Malaysia, who was disappointed with his country freedom of expression restriction once commented, “Sometime the European are more Islamic than the Muslim!”.

It is safe to say that not a single country of the Muslim majority countries or even the terrorist group such as Al-Qaeda are practising the true Islamic governance that the Prophet taught and lived by. Maybe it is time for every leader to start reading the Medina Charter and give the people their rights as what Muhammad taught.

So, what happened?

Prophet did not make entering Islam a condition for any one of the Jews to stay in Medina. The Constitution of Medina or the treaty allowed the Jews to stay in Medina and practice their religion. The reason for the Banu Qaynuqa Jews expulsion was the aggression which they showed. This resulted in a breach of the internal security of Medina.
After the Muslim Victory at the Battle of Badr, the Jews of Banu Qaynuqa showed anger and jealousy towards the Muslims and Muhammad. It is also said
in Ibn Ishaq that a Qaynuqa Jew, gold smith, insisted that a Muslim woman uncover her face when she came to his shop, she refuse and he grabbed her face covering and pinned it back, then tore off a woman’s dress . The woman then ran away screaming, naked. A Muslim man then came then fought the Qaynuqa Jew in her defense and killed him. The Jews then retaliated by killing the Muslim man. It escalated into a series of murders and revenge killings, this started a bitter rivary between the Qaynuqa Jews and Muhammad.

The Banu Qaynuqa were the first of the Jews to break their agreement with the Muslims and go to war and had to be dealt with swiftly so as to quash any ideas of the other Jewish tribes to instigate a war against the Muslims. The Banu Qaynuqa betrayed their oath of mutual protection and shown themselves to be against Muhammad. Because of their treason, Muhammad expelled the Banu Qaynuqa Jews from Medina. They were allowed to take most of their property with them.

The Banu Nadir then broke the treaty with Muhammad by first betraying him, then trying to kill him thren refusing to make another peace treaty with him. First the Banu Nadir attempted to kill Muhammad two times:

One day Some Jews of the Banu Nadir had conspired to kill the Muhammad by dropping a large stone on his head. The Muslims heard about this and told Muhammad. Despite the Jews constant attacks and assassination attempts Muhammad merely told them to leave Medina. The Jews of Banu Nadir tried to kill Muhammad a second time as well.

The second attempt was reported by Ibn Ishaq, who was followed by most of the other Sirah writers. The Prophet went to Banu al Nadir to ask them for help in paying the blood money for two men from a tribe which was party to the treaty, whom Amr ibn Umayyah al Damari had killed by mistake following the incident of al Raji. When he came to Banu al Nadir, he sat down against a wall. They were about to drop a rock onto him and kill him, but Muhammad figured out what was about to happen and left them quickly and went back to Medina, and he ordered that they should be besieged.

They agreed to a peace treaty after a siege lasting six days, on the condition that they could take with them whatever their camels could carry. The isnad of this report ends with Yazid ibn Ruman, who is a lesser tabi’i, but it could be strengthened by other similar reports. Indeed, it was followed by the report of Urwah ibn al Zubayr in the Maghazi of Musa ibn Uqbah. The Banu Nadir also started to support and help the Qurash of Mecca against Muhammad.and he also let them leave.

Thus began the long wars after Muhammad death, the procession of leaders of Islam slowly began to deteriorate the doctrine of Muhammad’s vision of peace with all that would have peace, as long as they caused no incursions against Muslims and God.

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