قُلۡ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ تُحِبُّوۡنَ اللّٰهَ فَاتَّبِعُوۡنِىۡ يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ اللّٰهُ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَـكُمۡ ذُنُوۡبَكُمۡؕ وَاللّٰهُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ
“O Muhammad, say to the believers: If you love God, then follow me. God will love you and
forgive you your sins. For God is all-forgiving, mercy-giving.”
(Surat Ali-Imran, Verse 31)
(Translation from Ahmad Zaki Hammad)
Indeed, if you love Allah ﷻ, then follow the footsteps of His Messenger ﷺ. As the birth of our beloved Messenger ﷺ has just passed, it is our duty as Muslims who follow him as our role model to ponder upon the life he lived. It is our responsibility to reflect upon the countless valuable lessons that he taught us throughout his life. Every year, we use the birth of our beloved Prophet ﷺ not to celebrate as a holiday, but to use it as a moment of reflection and remembrance of his character, piety, humility, and leadership.
In Islam, we have two primary sources of knowledge that we use as guidance for living our lives as Muslims. Those two sources are the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ. While the Quran encompasses everything we have to know as Muslims, it also directs us to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ because his teachings serve as the perfect examples of how to worship properly and act accordingly based on the Quran. For this reason, we strive to follow the sunnah as much as we possibly can because indeed it will make us the best version of a Muslim that we can possibly be.
Our beloved Messenger ﷺ had undergone some of the hardest trials from Allah ﷻ. He had to bury nearly all his children during his lifetime, got rejected and humiliated in Taif, was forced into exile from his home Mecca to flee persecution, and so much more. Studying his life and the many lessons that are derived from it help us build our character, morals, knowledge in Islam, and become closer to Allah ﷻ.
As the new Hijri year has entered very recently, only a couple of months ago, as well as this virtuous occasion of the birth of the Prophet ﷺ, I found that it would be best to do some of this reflecting upon the life of Prophet Muhammadﷺ . What better event to do that than the Hijra, or migration, of the Prophet ﷺ and his followers from Mecca to Madina. The Hijra was probably one of the most iconic and important events from the Seerah of our beloved Messenger ﷺ that served as a catalyst for all the important events that followed. It was truly the turning point in this Islamic cause.
The Hijra of the Prophetﷺ and his followers was a journey full of important lessons and miracles. One of the most important attributes of the Prophetﷺ was his attitude during the Hijra. Prophet Muhammadﷺ was being persecuted and oppressed immensely while in Mecca. So much so that he was left with no choice but to leave. When he was left fleeing from Mecca, trying to escape persecution, and fearing for his life, he did so in a very calm manner. He had his faith in Allahﷻ .
The Prophet ﷺ planned every step of his Hijra to Madinah and he executed that plan. The plan was to take a secret route to Madinah. The plan was to wait in a cave for three days. The plan was for Abdullah, the son of Abu Bakr, to listen to the news, find out what was happening, and use his flock of sheep to wipe away the footprints in the sand. The plan was for Asma ‘a, the daughter of Abu Bakr, to provide food and milk to the Prophet ﷺ for three days. As we can see, the Prophet ﷺ planned out his Hijra down to every detail. However, he made his plan while being conscious and having complete faith and submission to Allah ﷻ. Our beloved Messengerﷺ had so much taqwa in Allah ﷻ and His plan that he remained calm throughout this difficult time.
Of the lessons to be learned from the Hijra, is that victory is given to the righteous. Victory will be given to the people of taqwa, who fear and have full trust in Allahﷻ . Eight years after the Hijra, Prophet Muhammadﷺ and his followers returned and conquered Mecca. The same man who fled Mecca to escape the persecution and oppression he was facing came back a few years later to conquer the same city that exiled him. No one could have predicted such an outcome. This is the characteristic of a believer. In times of fear, stress, and hardship, you put your full trust and tawakkul in Allah ﷻ in a humble manner.
Another lesson of the Hijra, is that Allah’sﷻ help will only come to us after we have demonstrated patience. We will never have victory or Allah’sﷻ help without being tested for our patience. The Hijra has no limit. We do not need to migrate from persecution for the sake of Allah ﷻ to do a Hijra. We do Hijra every day. We can make a Hijra from our sins to the forgiveness of Allah ﷻ. We can migrate from the deception of the dunya to the protection of Allah ﷻ. These are amongst the most significant lessons to be learned and applied to our lives from the Hijra of the Prophet ﷺ. With taqwa, or fear and trust in Allah ﷻ, comes victory. With patience during times of stress and hardship, comes victory.
As you can see, we learned so many valuable life lessons to serve as a guidance for our lives just from one event that took place in the life of our Prophet ﷺ, and there were still so many more lessons that we did not discuss in this one event. Imagine how much more we could learn from the rest of his fruitful life. Let us make it a duty to continue to learn from Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ life, because indeed he is the best of role models.
By Ahmad Salah