[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]

INTRODUCTION: The New Year of Muslims around the world starts from the First of Muharram, 1421 Hijrah. It corresponds with the sixth of April 2000. The Judeo-Christian world celebrates their New Year with great pomp and shows and with great festivities. But most of the Muslims even do not know when that day comes and goes. They do not realize what significance it carries in its wake? What made that day so important that it became a landmark of the history of Islam? Our Calendar Year of Hijrah starts from that day. Let us dig into it and find out that what made khalifa Omar Bin Khattab to start our Calendar from that day in the 16th year of Hijrah after due consultation with the companions of Prophet (S)? It is known as Hijrah Calendar.

THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF HIJRAH: Hijrah [migration for the sake of Allah] is a corner stone or the turning point of the process of the Islamic Movement for the establishment of Allah's Deen. It has six important phases towards development or formation of an Islamic society or state. Four stages come before Hijrah, [i.e. Dawah, Tarbiyah, Jamaah and peaceful resistance] and one after Hijrah, i.e. Qital. Hijrah is the turning point of the process of Islamic revolution and as such it has natural impact on the struggle towards Iqamatuddeen. These stages can be categorized into following major headings: * Expansion; * Consolidation; * Hijrah; *Qital

1. EXPANSION through the process of Dawah Ilallah: It has two clear dimensions:

i. Extensive Dawah Ilallah [DI]: To introduce and spread the Deen of Allah to the people of the land with whatever means are available to the human ingenuity. It is to be carried out to such an extent that the people accept it as a way of life and express their willful determination to apply its directives on the socio-cultural-economic-political system of the day. They express their willingness to change the prevailing system with that of Islamic order of life.

ii. Intensive Dawah work: With the expansion of Dawah work, it is essential that those brothers and sisters who respond to the call of DI are developed and groomed into the requisite team of devoted, dedicated and committed Da'ees through the process of Tarbiyah and Tazkiyah on person to person basis. They are absorbed into the Jamaah and motivated to carry out the mission till the last breath of their life. In that pursuit either they succeed in establishing the Deen of Allah or gave up their lives for its sake. For these efforts, they go through the process of trial and tribulations but remain constantly involved in the Dawah process/activities, come what may. They are to carry out the struggle for Iqamatuddeen peacefully with no resistance, in spite of stiff opposition and constant provocations from the vested interests of the time.

2. CONSOLIDATION: Those who respond to the call of Dawah Ilallah are brought into the fold of the Islami Jamaah. A strong urge is created in the masses towards demand for the Islamic order of life. Through mass education, people are oriented towards Islam and Islamic way of life. People are motivated towards demand for Islamic State so much so that it becomes a public demand or a mass movement. The extensive and intensive Dawah efforts and the team of Da'ees play a dominant role in creating the revolutionary atmosphere for the mass movement. The process of expansion and consolidation goes together along with doing evaluation of their entire process and projects as frequently as possible. This covers the four stages of Dawah Ilallah - Dawah, Tarbiyah, Jamaah and peaceful resistance against the onslaughts of the vested interests of the time.

3. HIJRAH: In the wake of these developments comes Hijrah. While the onerous task of Dawah Ilallah was going on in the society of Makkah all around and the opposition was getting momentum in its wake day by day, Rasulullah (S) started his human efforts to find out a headquarter for the Islamic Movement. This was the need of the time. He (S) was interested to find out a place from where he could carry out his mission of DI and Dawah expansion work in somewhat peaceful environment. He was constantly in search of such a place. His first effort was to get a place in Ethiopia but due to the apposition of the courtyard people of Emperor Najashi, he could not succeed. Later on, after the death of Khadijah and Abu Talib, Rasulullah (S) himself traveled to Ta'if with his beloved companion Zaid bin Harith in the tenth year of Prophethood with the same mission but could not succeed. He was treated roughly by the street urchins of Ta'if and was bleeding profusely. On return, he could enter into Makkah only under the protection of an idolater, Mutaam bin Adi. That was the condition of the Islamic Movement by the end of tenth year of Prophethood. There was no visible help from Allah (SWT) as the IM was passing through its transitional period of trial and tribulations which add sterling values to the character of a Da'ee Ilallah.

However, Allah (SWT) prepared Madinah for Rasulullah (S) and his companions to migrate. Madinah was inhabited by two Arab tribes, Aus and Khazraj and the three tribes of Jewish origin were situated at its outskirts. The Arab used to hear form the Jews of Madinah that a Prophet is to come and when he comes, they will take revenge from others under his command. On the eleventh year of Prophethood, some Arab brothers from Madinah came to Makkah for Hajj. They heard about Prophethood of Rasulullah (S). They realized that he (S) is the same Prophet of Allah about whom the Jews are in waiting, They meet Rasulullah (S) and entered into Islam. They took the lead over Jews. On return, Musa'b bin Umair accompanied them to Madinah to teach them about Islam and the Qur'an. Through the magnificent Dawah efforts of Musa'b bin Umair, Madinah was conquered for Islam. Next year 72 person came from Madinah. They made a covenant with Rasulullah (S) and invited him to come to Madinah. This was the Second Covenant of Aqabah.

This was the turning point in the history of Islamic Movement. As stated earlier, Rasulullah (S) was in search of a HQ for the Islamic Movement, and he got it through the Second Covenant of Aqabah. He grabbed the opportunity and directed his beloved companions, who were tortured and butchered in Makkah like anything, to migrate to Madinah. He himself left for Madinah within a couple of months of the aforesaid Ba'it on the First of Muharram, 13th year of Prophethood.

THE CRITICAL JUNCTURE: At this juncture, it is to be noted with clear understanding that through Extensive Dawah efforts, Islam had a wide spread introduction throughout Arabian Peninsula and the Muslims were found scattered in different tribes and regions throughout the country. Equally, through intensive Dawah efforts, a team of devoted, dedicated and committed brothers and sisters [the team of Da'ees] was in the process of development in Makkah and Madinah. The process of Consolidation was now imperative. All the Muslims, wherever they were, must now come to the HQ as an integral part of the process of Iqamatuddeen. They must now be transformed into a Jamaah of believers, totally distinctive from the idolaters. Allah (SWT) exhorted the Muslims to migrate to Madinah in Verses 72 - 74 of Surah Anfal and Verses 97 to 100 of Al-Nisa. Further He thought Rasulullah (S) to pray like this:

"And say [in the prayer]: " O my Sustainer! Cause me to enter in a manner true and sincere, and cause me to leave [it] in a manner true and sincere, and grant me, out of Thy grace, sustaining strength!"

[The Qur'an. 15: 80]

The emphasis on Hijrah was so great that it became the criterion of Iman and Kufr. Allah (SWT) categorically declares in Verse 72 of Al-Anfal:

" And those who believe but did not leave their homes [did not migrate], ye have no duty to protect them till they leave their homes [migrate].."

Thus, Hijrah was the process to consolidate the Islamic forces scattered throughout the country. It was essential to assimilate all the available manpower and material resources at the center of Madinah to transform the Islamic Movement into an organized state and counteract the onslaughts of the Batil which were inevitable. The idolaters never liked that Islamic Movement should get a place to consolidate its position and march ahead on a continuous basis. The evil forces of the time could not tolerate this situation and as such, it culminated into the battles of Badr, Uhad, Trenches and so on.

The foregone discussion confirms that Hijrah is an important milestone of the process of Dawah Ilallah for Iqamatuddeen. It is a fundamental step towards consolidation of the strength gained through the extensive and intensive Dawah activities. Before Hijrah Muslims were not allowed to take up arms even in their defense while at Makkah [Reference: Verse 119 of Al-Tawbah] but after Hijrah they were permitted to pay the idolaters back in their own coins. [Reference: Verse 39 of Surah Al-Hajj] The Islamic movements around the world will encounter the same situation, provided their Dawah efforts reach to the same stage as that of Rasulullah's (S). The situation in American perspective is somewhat different. Brothers and sisters who are interested to study the concept of Hijrah and Qital [the final stage] in American situation in detail are requested to go through Chapter IV of the writer's book, " Methodology of Dawah", pages 63-69, [A Forum Publication].

4. CONCLUSION: Before conclusion, I would like to quote from "Farooq-e-Azam" by Mohammad Hussain Haikal, Page 580 [Urdu Version]:

" Caliph Umar took Hijrah as the greatest event of the Islamic history when Rasulullah (S) migrated from Makkah to Madinah. Because of the fact that after Hijrah [even during Hijrah] Allah's help and Nusrah started showering on Rasulullah (S) and his companions. Thus Hijrah became the source of the success of Allah's Deen and its dominance. Its culminating point came in the 16th year of Hijrah when Islamic forces were successfully penetrating deep into the Persian and Roman Empires and the doors of Baitul Muqdas were wide open for Islam and Muslim's conquest. It inspired Amirul Mumineen Umar to take Hijrah of Rasulullah (S) on the first of Muharram as the beginning of the Hijrah Calendar of the Muslim era" What an ominous date it was, full of vigor and success after success for Islam and Muslim Ummah.

Before Hijrah, it was all trial and tribulation and after Hijrah, Allah (SWT) shower His blessings on Muslims all around. Muslims should observe the first of Muharram as a unique day of the Islamic History, which opened the gates of success for the Ummah 1400 years ago. If we, the Muslims, follow the same path of Dawah Ilallah, expansion and consolidation, we will encounter our Hijrah as a culminating point where all the forces fighting for the cause of Allah's Deen may concentrate at one place to transform themselves into an Islamic state. It may happen in their own country or somewhere on the surface of the earth. May Allah give us Tawfeeq to bring the IM to the point of Hijrah, as it is the turning point in our march towards Iqamatuddeen.

Shamim A Siddiqi

April 5, 2000