1440 years ago a milestone event took place which re-shaped the horizons of the Islamic faith-an event that paved a new pathway for the growth and progression of the religion which before this was stifled and subdued. The event of Hijrah (The Migration) outwardly was just the movement of a group of people from one place to another. Inwardly it was more than this. It marked the beginning of the Islamic calendar but not only this. It was also about unwavering and unshakeable commitment to a divine cause, true and total allegiance to a Messenger of God and untold sacrifices of family, friends, home and personal wealth. The players in this great act which has become deeply entrenched in Islamic history were two groups. Those who made the first move (The Muhaajireen) and those who poured out their hearts to them (the Ansaar) as they reached a new land totally foreign to them.


We find ourselves in a time where the proverb “Everyone for themselves and God for all” has become a motto that governs many a life today. The causal of this mind-set has wreaked havoc in the world today were self-gratification and selfishness reigns and selflessness has become almost extinct. As Muslims we need to re-examine the Hijra and heed one of the most powerful messages pertinent to this scourge that has gripped the world today.

Amongst the most important messages of Hjra was the concept of Islamic brotherhood. Hijrah changed the lives of the companions of the Prophet Sallallaalhu Alaihi Wa salaam in more than one way. Besides their new freedom to practice their Deen openly without any fear of persecution they also discovered the power of Islamic Brotherhood and saw it in its true sense.

The existence of sympathy, sincerity, and harmony among the people of a society makes that society a living one - one that is fit for a healthy and productive human life and evolution, in which all can find salvation and progress and can enjoy each other's sympathy and sincerity.

In the process of establishing such an ideal human society, Islam does not pay the least bit of attention to such considerations as race, language, skin colour, and geographical location. Rather, this holy religion regards all Muslims as equal. It looks only at the people's faith in Allah Ta’ala, which is the root of all unity.

'Islamic brotherhood' is the phrase best revealing this all ­ embracing unity. This meaningful, clear expression in Noble Qur'an describes this Islamic precept: 'Truly the faithful are brothers.' (Surah 49, verse:10)

After having settled in Madeenah and after building Musjidun-Nabawi, the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam took another step forward. He laid the foundation of Islamic brotherhood, individually between the people of Madeenah (known as Ansaar/Helpers) and the people of Makkah (known as Muhaajir/Emigrants), so that great unity and sincerity would be engendered in Muslim society and so that the emigrant Muslims would know that, though they had lost a number of their friends and relatives back in Makkah and had been forced to leave their homes, in return, they had gained brothers who were much more loyal and sympathetic from every point of view, than their own back in Makkah.

One of the requirements of Islamic brotherhood is that whatever a Muslim desires for himself, he should desire for his brother in Islam, and he should help his Muslim brothers by any means possible, whether by his wealth or by his speech or by any other means.

It was the principle of Islamic brotherhood that made the Ethiopian Bilal bin Rabah and the Persian Salman Farsi brothers and two of the best companions of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam. In the light of Islamic brotherhood, many deep-rooted enmities were reconciled and divided groups were united. This unity requires that all Muslims share each other's sorrows and joys like members of a large family. Muslims should be sincere and affectionate toward each other, and their watchword should be unity and brotherhood.

Islamic brotherhood firmly holds all Muslims responsible toward each other and establishes an all-embracing responsibility so that Muslims cannot be heedless of each other's troubles and problems but every Muslim must, within his own abilities; endeavour to solve the problems of Muslims and to create possibilities for the advancement and promotion of Islam.

In this regard the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said:

"Shall I not introduce 'a believer' to you? A believer is the one whom other believers trust with their souls and wealth. Shall I not introduce 'a Muslim' to you? A Muslim is the one from whose hand and tongue other Muslims are safe... It is unlawful (Haram) for a believer to do wrong against another believer, or leave him/her in a lurch, or backbite against him/her, or suddenly reject him/her."

"Believers are brethren, their lives are equal to each other and they are as one hand against their enemy."

However it must be noted that the economic conditions in Madeenah at that time were not ideal. In fact poverty was common amongst the Ansaar. But if the Ansaar were poor, then the Muhaajireen were poorer. Regardless of this the Ansaar welcomed their brethren in faith with open arms and hearts. This was a salient feature of the Hijrah.

However, to integrate the Muhajireen into the economic life of Medina, was an extremely complex problem, and it taxed all the ingenuity of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam. He did not want any member of the Muslim society, much less all the Muhajireen, to be a burden to anyone else, and did all that he could to curtail their dependence upon the Ansaar.

One of the gambits in the efforts of the Apostle to rehabilitate the homeless Muhajireen in Medina, and to integrate them into the economic and social life of the city, was to make them “brothers” of the Ansaar.

Therefore, besides the general fraternity and brotherhood that exists among all Muslims, the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam concluded contracts of brotherhood among his followers. He proclaimed brotherhood to be a general law amongst the Muslims and taking into consideration their ranks and positions, established the bond between every two persons by making one the brother of the other. His instruction to the Muhajireen and the Ansaar was clear and simple-they had to live as “brothers” of each other, and paired them off where a Muhaajir became the brother of an Ansaar. Some of these pairs were as follows:


Abu Bakr Siddique  with Kharja bin Zayd

Umar bin al-Khattab with Utban bin Malik

Uthman bin Affan  with Aus bin Thabit

Abu Dharr el-Ghiffari  with Al-Mundhir b. Amr

Hadrat Ali Radiyallaahu anhu had stretched himself on the ground, when the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam approached him and said: "Arise, O' Abu Turab! By Allah Ta’ala I have not made you the brother of anyone for I have kept you for myself" and said, 'Ali is my brother.'

We are an ummah of kindness, compassion and selflessness by default. Our beautiful Deen has made us such.  There can be no other attitude should we wish to carry the title of Muslim.

Selflessness is a character trait of our beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam and his beloved companions Radiyallaahu Anhum Ajmaeen. And on the contrary selfishness and self-centredness is a quality which Islam and a Muslim has no place for.

And whilst the Muslim ummah at very levels and various ways are trying to foster, forge and revive this concept of Islamic Brotherhood needless to say with very little success, we need to give some serious thought to the Hijrah and the unparalleled Islamic brotherhood that came out from this great event. After all it was nothing but the selflessness of the Ansaar despite themselves being in need, which gave rise to such a strong and unbreakable bond of brotherhood.

As we remember and commemorate another Muharram trying to bring its many messages into our lives, let us single out the message of True Islamic Brotherhood displayed by the Ansaar of Madeenah and revive it in our lives. At this point in time, revival of this message could make that difference to the long suffering ummah!

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