The advent of Islamic Year

It is therefore appropriate to reflect on the Hijrah, migration of Prophet Mohammed and his followers to Medina.

The Hijrah marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

The Hijrah took place in the months of Safar and Rabiul Awal and not during Muharram (the first month of the Lunar calendar that predated Islamic times), corresponding to September and October 622.

The beginning of the Calendar was not decided during the time of the Prophet.

Instead, it was suggested by Uthman during the Caliphate of Umar in 17 AH (638), six years after the death of the Prophet.

This map of Hijrah comes from the excellent Atlas on the Prophet’s Biography.

The distance from Mecca to Medina is 320 kms, almost the same as the distance between Auckland and Kaitaia or from Whakatane to Turangi, except that the Hijrah was across desert on foot and on camels.

While Medina lies to the north of Mecca, Prophet Mohammed, Abu Bakr and their guide deliberately travelled south initially to the cave on Mount Thawr, in an attempt to avoid those pursuing him. There was a price on his head.

The route travelled by the party criss-crossed the normal caravan route, again to avoid detection. It therefore amounted to more than 320 km.

It took 12 days for them to travel from Mecca to Quba, on the outskirts of Medina.

Their destination was originally named ‘Yathrib.’ After the Hijrah, it was renamed Madinat Al-Nabi or ‘The City of the Prophet,’ then abbreviated to Medina.
Source: The Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand

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