We bid farewell to the past Islamic year by celebrating Prophet Ibrahim’s A.S commitment to God displayed through his willingness to sacrifice his patient son, Prophet Ismail A.S, and we welcome the new year by commemorating the migration i.e. the Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) to Madinah, which marked the beginning of a period of enlightenment for civilization.

“Hijrah” is the Arabic word for emigration. It means, ultimately, to separate or abandon. In religious terminology it means to move from a non-Muslim place of abode to a place where there is a presence of Islam

The Muslims could never have abandoned their homes and families, exposing themselves to the pain of separation and the hardship of migration if it had not been indispensable to the practice of their religion and the assertion of Islam in the land. Allah promised these emigrants a great reward in this world and the next, saying: “Those who left their homes for the sake of Allah after having suffered persecution shall be settled in comfort in this world but in the next is the greater reward if they but knew...”

Hijrah has also a comprehensive meaning as understood in Islam. It is not simply just the act of moving from one place to another; from a non-Muslim country to a Muslim country. Ibn al-Qayyim explains that it is, in fact, an emigration of the body and the spirit. A physical movement from one place to another and a spiritual migration to Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w). It is this second migration which constitutes the real migration, as the body simply follows the soul. Thus, the meaning of moving from one thing to something else is that the heart moves from the love of something other than Allah to love of Allah; from servitude of something or other to the service and worship of Allah; from fear of something or other to hope in and reliance upon Allah. It is Allah Who is the object of one’s hope and fear; prayers are addressed to Him; and He is the One before Whom one feels humility and awe.

Among the different kinds of Hijrah is the abandonment of wrongdoing such as acts of disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy.

Muslims should follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (saw) by modelling themselves after his guidance and course of life and following in his footsteps in terms of talking and behaving.

Hijrah in this sense is among the traditions of Prophet Ibrahim A.S., who said: “And he said after his rescue from the fire: Verily, I am going to my Lord. He will guide me.”

The verse refers to Prophet Ibrahim’s emigration from the country of disbelievers, seeking faith. Some of his offspring accompanied him to Ash-Sham region, where Al-Aqsa mosque is located in Palestine, and then, accompanied by some others of his offspring, he moved to Hijaz, where the Sacred Mosque is situated in Makkah.

Hijrah was also established by Prophet Muhammad as he twice ordered his companions to migrate to Abyssinia to preserve their faith when the disbelievers in Makkah began torturing them severely. The Prophet however remained in Makkah calling people to the way of Allah, in spite of the great harm he received.

Then Almighty Allah permitted him to migrate to Madinah. The Prophet allowed his companions to go to Madinah and accordingly, they began leaving their homes and properties, seeking the pleasure of Allah, and helping the cause of Allah and His Messenger. Allah praised those immigrants to Madinah and promised them a great reward.

Emigration has become an established fact that will not cease until the Day of Judgement. Almighty Allah compensates those who emigrate, for the properties left behind. He says: “And as for those who emigrated for the cause of Allah, after they had been wronged, We will certainly give them goodly residence in this world, but indeed the reward of the hereafter will be greater; if they but knew”

Among the different kinds of Hijrah is the abandonment of wrongdoing such as acts of disbelief, polytheism, hypocrisy, other evil deeds and bad morals. The Prophet tells us that a Muslim is one who avoids harming other Muslims with his tongue and hands, and an emigrant is the one who abandons all that Allah has forbidden.

Another kind of Hijrah is to desert wrongdoers such as disbelievers, hypocrites, immoral people and the like.

Heart is a very important part of the human body. A lot depends on the heart: not only our physical health but also our spiritual and moral health depends on the soundness of the heart. Someone said rightly, “The problem of the heart is the heart of the problem.” Individual problems, family problems, social problems, economic problems, political problems, national and international problems, all these problems stem from the problems of the hearts.

Heart indeed has a physical function; but there is no evidence to prove that it has no spiritual or moral functions. The soul probably resides in the heart or is attached to it. Soul is the inner dimension of our being. It is related to the body and mind as well, but it has its own existence, most probably, in or near the heart.

Therefore, the highest form of Hijrah is the spiritual Hijra, i.e. the Hijrah of hearts which is worshipping Allah sincerely in secret and in public. In this form of Hijrah, the true believer should not intend to do anything through his words and deeds, except to gain Allah’s pleasure alone.