Hijrah: Thinking Outside the Box

Hijrah: Thinking Outside the Box

The event of Hijrah highlights two important aspects of the Prophet’s life (peace and blessings be upon him):
– His genius planning and visionary thinking.
– His trust in Allah Almighty, and his close connection to the Creator.
Anywhere in the Prophet’s biography, you cannot but notice these two traits of his character coming in pair.
Let’s examine the event of Hijrah as a sample of many events in his life. You can see the two traits complementing each other in one man, in one story.

The genius Prophet
Many Muslims envision the Prophet as a spiritual leader who waits for commands from his Lord before EVERY political step.
It is true that, in terms of legislation and Islam’s rulings, Prophet Muhammad is a messenger who delivers Allah’s message to the people. Allah says,
{If he [the Prophet] had attributed some fabrication to Us, We would certainly have seized his right hand. Thereafter indeed we would have cut off his life artery. Then in no way would anyone of you (be) debarring (Us) from him. } (Al-Haqqah 69:44-47)
But when it comes to politics, worldly affairs, tactics of war, and dealing with different challenges, many of those choices were left to him to take as a human being and as a leader. He consulted his people and tried to examine every step before he moved. It is this aspect of his life that fascinates me the most, because this is what inspires us to follow his footsteps and integrate his teachings into our lives.
Back to the story of the Hijrah, and to the outside-the-box thinking and planning done by our beloved Prophet, we observe the following:

Knocking all doors in search for Muslim capital
Seven years after the message of Islam started, Quraish boycotted Banu Hashim (the Prophet’s tribe) because they insisted on protecting him. This resulted in a 3-year siege for the whole tribe, which ended in the 10th year.
Two big supporters for Islam died shortly after that: Abu Talib, the Prophet’s uncle, and Khadijah, his first and only wife back then. It seemed that the progress of Islam has reached a dead end.
We all know that he ended up migrating to Madinah, but many times we overlook the planning, the tactics, and the human effort that preceded this great event:
– Shortly after the death of Abu Talib, the Prophet made a move towards At-Ta’if (a rival city to Makkah, and the second largest city in Arabia). He was rejected there in a vulgar way. This move deprived him of his privileges that protected him in Makkah as a member of Banu Hashim.
– He was able to negotiate an “asylum” to get back to Makkah under the protection of a pagan leader, “Mut`im ibn `Adey”.
Mut`im helped the Prophet in this difficult time because of his high manners. However, that was also a form of showing his political power (that he can give refuge even to the most wanted man in Makkah).
– The Prophet knew that Mut`im’s “visa” cannot last for a long time. So, he and resumed looking everywhere for another tribe. The best opportunity for him was the Hajj season when All tribes of Arabia come to Makkah to offer their dues to the Ka`bah.
One might look at this season as the annual festive of idolatry and disbelief in Arabia (and truly it was). But our amazing Prophet used the same opportunity to spread Islam and offer his message to different other tribes.
For most of them, he had to consider their military power, their strengths and weaknesses, and their political taste or interest, with the help of the expert in genealogy of all Arabs, his Companion Abu Bakr As-Sidique (may Allah be pleased with him).

ESPECIALLY the door of Allah
After talking to all tribes, none of them showed willingness to accept Islam. They were not ready to carry the huge load of hosting the Prophet and his Makkan followers.
From a human perspective, things were also going towards a dead end. But guess what: this is the Deen of Allah Almighty, and it is only HIM who will provide victory for the believers and establish the foundations for the Muslim state.
During the last hours of the Hajj season, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) met a bunch of young men from Yathrib, from the Khazraj tribe. His advisor, Abu Bakr, was not with him, so he had to check where they live exactly, “So you are the allies of the Jews?”, and they confirmed.
“Would you mind if you sit with me and I will speak to you?”, they agreed.
The Prophet started presenting Islam to them. He recited Quran and told them his story. He explained the need to find a tribe that hosts Islam and protects him and Muslims from the persecution in Makkah.

And Allah is the best of planners
It is all due to Allah, who set the stage for Islam in Madinah, even before those young men met the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):
– The Madinah was immersed in civil war for almost 5 years. This war killed most of the elderly leaders and left the Arab tribes with no experienced leadership. Those youth saw in Muhammad a man who can unite the Arabs and end the bloodshed.
– The Arabs and the Jews coexisted in Madinah for decades. The Jews knew that the time for the seal of prophets has come, but mistakenly expected him to be a Jew.
They kept on promising their Arab tribes that “the time for the final messenger has come, and we will follow him and kill all of you and wipe you out of Arabia”. (Interestingly, they were expecting the final Prophet not to guide other nations but to simply kill them all.)
Subhana Allah, those threats from the Jews made those young men accept Islam on the spot. They went back to their people in Madinah promoting and spreading this new Deen.
Allah Almighty helped the Prophet and planned in secret. Allah works in His own ways that we don’t (and will never) understand. We only have to believe in Him, to trust Him more than we trust ourselves and our efforts.
At the same time, we have to be creative in our ways and our methods. We have to think outside the box, go outside of our comfort zone and knock all the possible doors.
Allah reminded his Prophet of all of this when He said:
{[Oh Prophet] Remember when the disbelievers plotted to take you captive, kill, or expel you. They schemed and so did Allah, and Allah is the best of schemers} (Al-Anfal 8:30)


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