Fifteen centuries ago, no one could have contemplated or imagined that a journey of about 200 miles between two cities would for ages be reminisced beyond the generation of the actual travellers who participated in the Hijrah.
Hijrah is the emigration, migration or the journey of Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib, later renamed by him to Medina in the year 622 CE and since then, the event is still being celebrated all over the world because of its grand significance.
Hijrah, therefore, marks the beginning of an era, a civilization, a culture and a new history for the mankind. It is therefore not by accident of history or vague inherited tradition or a myth that Muslims take Hijrah seriously in all its aspects and dimensions.
Contrary to the perception of many and as some have tried to depict, the significance of Hijrah is not limited to the Islam or the Muslims. The phenomenon is rather more pertinent to the world of today and its challenges.
For instance, why is it that the inhabitants of the globe seem helpless as it currently witness economic collapse resulting from the fragilities in the current global economy; industrial pollution, unsustainable agriculture, poor civic planning, proliferation of nuclear weapons, armed conflicts, spread of infectious diseases, international terrorism, poverty, hunger, lack of drinking water, oppression and widespread of injustices among many other ills?
It is simply because the world population either could not do the needed Hijrah or could not muster the courage to do what Hijrah demands by making necessary sacrifices and migrate away from old ways to wear, more often than not, the very inconvenient toga of what the ideal new ways demand.
The entire inhabitants of Medinah then entirely threw opened their doors of mercy, honour and generosity to the previously ‘hopeless’ Muhajirun (Emigrants); and were ready to share everything, including their possessions for the guests, even as they were ready to die at war, protecting the visitors.
The first Hijrah did not only reshape completely, the social and political settings of the entire Arabian peninsula- consisting of the modern day Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as parts of southern Iraq and Jordan; it also impacted and still impacts on civilizations worldwide.
The uncommon show of bravery being displayed by the Palestinians in the face of brutal oppression and suppression by the Zionist Israel; and the exceptional display of resilience that characterises the influx of Syrian asylum seekers, crossing the harsh desert and perilous Mediterranean to Europe can definitely not be unconnected with Hijrah. At this point in history, the significance of Hijrah cannot just be overemphasised.
While Hijrah may mean ‘mere’ migration or a transition, Islam regards it as transitional-line between two major eras, – the nasty era of Makkah and the pleasant era of Madinah. In its essence, Hijrah does not just signify a transition from one phase to another; it is actually a transition from the position of weakness, humiliation and unjust killing to the position of strength.It is an age of transition of ills, evil and sinful ways to glorious virtues, moral values, social rectitude and economic justice. It is a new era that discourages lawlessness, moral bankruptcy, mindless corruption and callous oppression of the less privileged with other forms of evils on individuals and collective through institutionalized bodies.
Thus, as human beings, Hijrah provides us an opportunity to review our position as humans. As a collective, do we still have any milk of humanity flowing in our veins regarding our handling of the crisis in Syria leading to an unprecedented refugee crisis? How did the humanity in us, if any, responded to Nepal earthquake, Iraq displacement, West Africa Ebloa outbreak, South Sudan’s conflict, Somalia famine, Central African drought, Central African Republic senseless ethnic cleansing and displacements, Nigeria’s gruesome Boko Haram crisis as well as the heartless oppression and cruel killings of the Palestinians.
We have actually reached a corridor where the entire humanity has to transit from a position where it callously ignores Palestinians that are daily being suffocated and decimated by enemies. It is an auspicious period when we must re-kindled the light of hope for over 1.3 billion people that live in extreme poverty as displayed by the early Emigrants (Meccans) and the Helpers (Medinites) who set a shining example for the succeeding generations to emulate.
In essence, Hijrah is a process of shifting to a higher ground. It is a search for a safe environment more favourable for constructive effort. It was the starting point to establishing universally, the divine message that calls to morality and human rights. It is, therefore, an ideal time for nation rebuild and total change.
Hijrah must thus lead us to attempt to a global rebirth. It should make the world powers consider the cry of the global body to noxious gas emissions by keeping the world clean of industrial and environment waste just as the Companions did when they cleaned the city of Medinah of dirts and filth after migratiing from Makkah to Madinah. History records had it that many emigrants actually got sick and did not like the city initially. Paraphrasing the words of Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, in Sahih Al-Bukhari: “the city (Medinah) was the most polluted land of Allah and the water there was most stinking.”
Hijrah should be a period for the enhancement of the global water supply network and provision of portable water for the people of the world just as the Prophet and the companions dig more than 50 wells in different parts of Medinah in a bid to guarantee clean and adequate water for everyone.
The occasion of Hijrah should be the time to revitalise our agricultural production in Nigeria, not only because of the slump in the price of crude oil but also because it will encourage the people to farming, working and cultivating, so that soon, there shall be enough food for everyone just as the Prophet encouraged the Companions to cultivate the land and make gardens.
Hijrah indeed is a period to re-evaluate the global Safety, and Security as well as universal Law and Order.