After our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, left his house, he went to our Master Abu Bakr’s house and told him that he had been given permission to migrate. Abu Bakr asked the Prophet if he could accompany him and the Prophet ﷺ agreed. Abu Bakr then cried out of happiness. Then, they rode their female camels, which Abu Bakr had been preparing for the trip, until they reached the cave of Thawr, which they entered. Heading towards this cave, which was not in the direction of Madinah, was meant to throw off the enemy. A few men were secretly helping our Prophet ﷺ and Abu-Bakr, may Allah accept his deeds.
A tree, which God ordered to grow in front of the cave’s entrance, concealed it. Then, two wild birds made their nest in front of the entrance. The blasphemers were following the Prophet ﷺ . When they arrived at the cave, they sent a man to scout the area. When he saw the nest and the tree, he went back and told them that there was no one in the cave. If he had only looked down at his feet, he could have seen our Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr, but God prevented him.
Some time after the blasphemers left, the Prophet and his Companion continued on their way to Madinah. They had remained for three days in the cave. However, a man named Suraqah ibn Malik could follow and find them, after he found out that the blasphemers of Quraysh had offered a reward for bringing the Prophet and Abu Bakr. When he came close to them, the Prophet ﷺ made a du^a’ (supplication) against him and the legs of his horse sank into the ground. After this happened three times, Suraqah asked the Prophet to make du^a’ for him, promising that he would not tell anyone about their location. The Prophet ﷺ made du^a’ for him and his horse returned to its original state. Suraqah returned to his people and kept his promise. About eight years later, Suraqah became Muslim.
On the way to Madinah, Abu Bakr, his slave, ^Amir ibn Fuhayrah, and the son of Urayqit, who guided them on their way, were with the Prophet ﷺ. They passed by Umm Ma^bad from the tribe of Khuza^ah, who did not know them.
The Prophet ﷺ said to her, ”O Umm Ma^bad, do you have milk?”
She said, ”No, by God”.
He then saw a female sheep near the house and asked her about it. She said that it was an old sheep that did not produce milk anymore. The Prophet ﷺ passed his hand over its back and udder. Then he asked for a container. He milked the sheep and filled the container. Then he gave the milk to his Companions to drink. He milked the sheep again to fill the container for Umm Ma^bad and he left.
Later, upon her husband’s return, Umm Ma^bad described our Prophet ﷺ in glowing terms. She said:
”He was innocently bright and had a glowing countenance.
His manners were refined.
Neither was his belly bulging out, nor was his head deprived of hair.
He had black, attractive eyes, finely arched by (almost) continuous eyebrows.
His hair was black. His neck was long. His beard was thick.
His expression was pensive and contemplative, serene, and sublime.
He was fascinating from a distance, but with proximity the fascination was changed into attachment and respect.
His expression was very sweet and distinct.
His speech was well set and free of superfluous words, as if it were a string of beads.
His stature was neither too high, nor too short to look repulsive.
His Companions always surrounded him.
Whenever he uttered something, his listeners would hear him with rapt attention, and whenever he issued any command, they vied with each other in carrying it out.
He was a master and a commander.”
The Muslims in Madinah had heard that the Prophet ﷺ was on his way to them. Every day they were on the lookout for his arrival. On the day that he arrived, they waited until the sun became too hot for them to bear and returned to their homes before he arrived. When the Prophet and Abu Bakr arrived, just one man (a Jew) saw them coming. He shouted as loud as he could, informing the people of the Prophet’s arrival. All came out to greet him. Many people there had become Muslim and still had never met the Prophet ﷺ. Thus, they were thrilled to see him for the first time. When the Prophet ﷺ arrived, he was exactly fifty-three (53) years old, for it was the same day and month of his birth, Monday 12th of Rabi^unil-Awwal. Their trip lasted for eight days. The Islamic calendar counts this entire year as the first year of the calendar, beginning with the month of Muharram. Hence, the year that the Prophet ﷺ immigrated to Madinah is known as the first year of Hijrah (Immigration).
The Prophet ﷺ entered Madinah riding on his female camel. He let it walk freely until it reached a spot and sat; at this spot, the Prophet ﷺ would build his mosque. The spot belonged to two orphans. They wanted to give our Prophet the land, but he insisted on paying for it. The Prophet ﷺ stayed at the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansariyy until he completed building his mosque and his wives’ rooms, adjacent to the mosque. The Prophet ﷺ took part in the labor of building. The ceiling was made of palm leaves and the floor was made of sand.
At that time, our Prophet ﷺ had two wives, Lady Sawdah and Lady ^A’ishah, who arrived in Madinah after the Prophet, along with Lady Fatimah, Lady Umm Kulthum and other close members of the household. Lady Zaynab stayed in Makkah a while longer.
It was an individual obligation for the Muslims, if able, to immigrate to Madinah. It remained an obligation until the Prophet ﷺ opened Makkah about eight years later. It continues to be an obligation for Muslims to move out of a place ruled by non-Muslims if one believes that staying there will result in one committing blasphemy or sins.
Hijrahs (Immigrations) of the Muslims
Years after Prophethood
Our Prophet ﷺ ordered Muslims to immigrate (make Hijrah) to Abyssinia and later to Madinah.