It was thirteen years since the proclamation of Islam in Makkah. It had gained swift acceptability. The Quraish, who wanted to uproot Islam altogether, was particularly worried about its progress in Madinah.
Therefore, they prepared an evil plot. They were well aware that after the demise of Hazrat Abu Talib (a.s.) there was none to protect the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) apparently.
A consultative meeting of the chiefs of the Quraish was called at Darun Nadwa. They took a decision of killing the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) by forty persons representing every tribe of Makkah. Since these assassinators will be representatives all tribes, Bani Hashim will not be able to take revenge on them all. They encircled the house of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) intending to kill him in sleep.
Allah revealed their plan to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and ordered him to migrate to Madinah in order to protect him from their evil designs. This historical event took place in the month of Rabiul Awwal of the thirteenth year of the prophetic mission (622 A.D.). The night of migration is known as ‘Laitul Mabeet’ (The night of sleeping).
On this night, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) made Imam Ali (a.s.) sleep in his bed. To help the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he (a.s.) slept in his house while it was surrounded by forty bloodthirsty swords. This self-sacrificing quality of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) has been glorified in the Quran thus, “And among men is he who sells his soul to seek the pleasure of Allah and is affectionate to the servants.”
Selflessness is a highly recommended act liked by Allah, the Almighty, His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and our beloved Imams (a.s.).
When the unbelievers entered, they were shocked to see Imam Ali (a.s.). The enemies tasted yet another bitter defeat. They realized that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had left Makkah and was on his way to Madinah. They followed him (s.a.w.a.) in hot pursuit.
On the way to Madinah, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) along with Abu Bakr took shelter in the cave of Thaur. The Quraish came till the entry of the cave but a spider, on divine command, spun its web on it indicating that none had entered it for years, forcing them to return disappointed.
Thus, Allah the Almighty can save the life of whosoever He wishes regardless of the situation and circumstances.
After the Quraish had given up the hope of tracing the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he (s.a.w.a.) continued his journey towards Madinah. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) reached a place called ‘Quba’which was at a distance of two leagues from Madinah. He (s.a.w.a.) stationed himself at ‘Quba’ and waited for Imam Ali (a.s.) and some Muslim women from Makkah. During this period, he (s.a.w.a.) laid the foundation of the first mosque, which became famous as ‘Masjid-e-Quba’. Holy Quran has mentioned the greatness of this mosque in the following words: “Certainly a mosque founded on piety from the very first day is more deserving that you should stand in it.”
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) with his relatives and companions entered the city of Yathrib (Madinah) amidst tumultuous welcome from its citizens. With the arrival of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in Yathrib, the name of the city was changed to ‘Madinat-un-Nabi’.
Madinah was then witnessing a dispute between two of its major warring tribes called Aus and Khazraj. The dispute was about who would host the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) with his diplomacy ended the dispute between the tribes by allowing his camel to decide his residence in Madinah. The camel stopped near the house of a poor Muslim named Abu Ayyub Ansari, who had the honor of becoming his (s.a.w.a.) host.
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) established brotherhood between ‘Muhajereen’ (people who migrated with Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)) and the ‘Ansar’ (the inhabitants of Madinah) thereby ensuring unity among the Muslims and laying the foundation of Islamic brotherhood. The Holy Quran declares: “Only the believers are brethren (unto each other).”
Events of the First Year of Migration
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) forged a peace treaty with the tribes of Jews who were living around Madinah. If they adhered to the peace treaty, they would get protection from the Islamic State. The Jews, however, were not true to their promises right from the beginning.
He (s.a.w.a.) mobilized the Muslims and set up a Muslim army. He appointed brave men like his uncle Janabe Hamza and Obaidah Ibn Haris Ibn Abdul Muttalib as the commanders of this army. They were given the responsibility to keep a watch on the mercenaries from among the unbelievers of the Quraish and be aware of the evil intentions of the enemy. The Quraish became aware that the situation has taken a turn for the worse than what it was in Makkah. They realized that a confrontation with the Muslims was inevitable and not easy.
Events of the Second Year of Migration
One of the important events of the second year of migration was the changing of Qiblah from Baitul Muqqadas to Masjid-ul-Haram in Makkah. Verse no. 142 of Surah Baqarah discusses the event.
In the month of Ramzan, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) along with 313 companions went to a region outside Madinah, close to the wells of Badr. The Muslims waited for the trading caravan of the Quraish, which was under the supervision of Abu Sufyan who got prior information about the situation. He sent a message to the Quraish to send a well-organized army to fight the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
After receiving the latest intelligence, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gathered his companions for consultations. Some companions like Umar and Abu Bakr advised Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to return to Madinah without confronting the people of Makkah. However, other companions like Miqdad and Saad bin Maaz with their fiery speeches announced their preparedness for war. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) accepted their advice and prepared for a direct confrontation with the people of Makkah.
A group of Quraish chieftains like Abu Jahl, Atabah and Shaibah refused to proceed peacefully to Makkah and prepared for a military confrontation with the Muslims.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), with his small force of 313 soldiers, confronted the strong and well-equipped army of the Quraish comprising 1000 soldiers. The exceptional bravery displayed by Imam Ali (a.s.) resulted in a complete rout of the Quraish, who had to suffer a loss of seventy lives including stalwarts like Abu Jahl and Shaiba. In addition, more than seventy people were severely wounded. This was the battle of Badr.
The Muslims, though ill-equipped and in a minority, proved by defeating the Quraish that with faith in Allah any impregnable impediment can be overpowered and without faith the strong are rendered weak.
Allah, the High says in Quran, “How often has a small party vanquished a large party by Allah’s permission?”
Another important event of the second year of migration was the marriage of Imam Ali (a.s.) with Hazrat Fatema Zahra (s.a.). The simple conduction of this marriage became a symbol for the future generations to imitate.
Events of the Third Year of Migration
The third year of migration witnessed the battle of Ohod. The infidels waged this war to avenge Badr. Even in this battle, the Muslim victory was a certainty. However, just on the verge of victory, the disobedience of a few Muslims towards the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) changed the situation drastically leading to heavy losses for Muslims. Janab-e-Hamzah (a.s.), the uncle of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) attained martyrdom. The blessed teeth of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were also sacrificed. Imam Ali (a.s.) withstood ninety wounds.
Disobedience of Prophet (s.a.w.a.) brings defeat and humiliation.
Hasty decisions based on the apparent result of regret and remorse.
The graves of chivalrous martyrs at Ohad viz. Janab-e-Hamza, Abdullah bin Jubair (commander of the archers who withstood the enemies after the archers had deserted the strategic point) and Masab bin Umair still remind the people about the bitter and painful memory of the battle of Ohad.
Events of the Fourth Year of Migration
In the fourth year of migration, there were minor skirmishes with the infidels. Battles, where the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself participated, were called as ‘Ghazwah’ and where he (s.a.w.a.) only mobilised the army but did not participate himself due to various reasons are called as ‘Saryah’.
According to Waaqedi, a celebrated historian, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) participated in twenty-seven Ghazawaat and fifty-five Sarayaat.1
Events of the Fifth Year of Migration
The Battle of the Trench (Khandaq) was fought in the fifth year of migration between the polytheists and Jews on one side and the Muslims on the other. The Muslims defeated the enemies by digging a trench around Madinah, thereby frustrating the attempts of the enemies to enter the city. Janabe Salman (r.a.) gave the input of digging the trench. This battle is also famous as ‘The Battle of Khandaq’. In this battle, faith personified ( ن ا 7) viz. Imam Ali (a.s.) killed disbelief personified (P 7) viz. Amr bin Abdawud, a renowned warrior of his time1. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has compared this killing as more valuable and greater than the worshipping of Saqalain (men and Jinn) till the Day of Judgment.
All anti-Islam forces had gathered to finish off Islam. However, Imam Ali (a.s.) rescued Allah’s religion single-handedly by defeating all of them.
Events of the Sixth Year of Migration
The Muslims grew stronger by the day. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) decided to go on the Haj pilgrimage to Makkah. When the Quraish heard that the Muslims were approaching Makkah, they sent an army to combat the Muslims. However, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) resolved the war like situation through mutual consultations. A peace treaty was signed. Since the peace treaty was signed at a place called Hudaibiyyah it became famous as ‘Sulh-e- Hudaibiyyah’. Suhail Ibn Amr signed the peace treaty on behalf of the Quraish. As the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had accepted all the conditions set by the Quraish, some ignorant Muslims were upset and angry. They failed to understand that the future effects of this peace treaty would be more beneficial than war. The Muslims returned to Madinah after signing the peace treaty.
Divine Leaders are foresighted and aware of the effects of their actions. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the followers to accept their decisions without ifs and buts so as to be successful.
Events of the Seventh Year of Migration
One of the effects of the peace treaty was that in this year, Allah – the High –ordered the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to announce the divine message globally
“Say O People! Surely I am the Apostle of Allah to you all.”
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) thus proclaimed Islam to the entire world. He (s.a.w.a.) sent letters to the Kings of Rome, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, Yamaamah, and Yemen inviting them to Islam.
The Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) methods show that propagation was planned to achieve desired results with limited resources and within a short time. He (s.a.w.a.) initiated his mission with his near and dear ones and then expanded throughout the world.
In the same year, the Muslims conquered the heavily fortified fort of Khaiber that belonged to the Jews, who were completely routed and had to sign a peace treaty. In this battle, Imam Ali (a.s.) executed Marhab, the powerful soldier of the Jews.
Events of the Eighth Year of Migration
As per the agreement of Hudaibiyyah with the Quraish, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) along with two thousand companions performed the pilgrimage of the Holy Kaaba. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) exhibited his spiritual and physical strength to the Meccans.
There was another confrontation in this year with the Roman Empire famous as Battle of Mautah. This confrontation with the most powerful empire in the world captured the attention of one and all.
At the end of the eighth year, the foresight of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) while signing the peace treaty at Hudaibiyyah became a reality. The Meccans had violated the peace treaty. Consequently, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) along with ten thousand soldiers marched towards Makkah and conquered it without shedding a drop of blood.
The Muslims remembered the days of torture at the hands of the Meccans and started shouting, “Today is the day of revenge and vengeance.”
When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – who was mercy for the universe heard this, he (s.a.w.a.) immediately sent Imam Ali (a.s.) and asked the Muslims to change their slogan to, “Today is the day of love and kindness.”
Thus, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) showed to the world that he was not a despotic ruler who would slay thousands of innocent people for worldly gains.
The Holy Kaaba was cleaned and purified from the filth and dirt of the idols. Finally, Islam returned to its original place. The Meccans on observing the grandeur and magnificence of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) became fearful of being of punished for their past misdeeds. However, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) exhibiting the most exemplary morals declared, “Go for all of you are free.”
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) went to the extent of introducing the house of Abu Sufyan as a safe house for all those who sought refuge therein.
Forgiveness and mercy with power is the sign of the greatness of Islam.
The pure tongue of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) uttered the following prayer at this moment: “There is no god but Allah; He is alone; there is no partner for him; He has fulfilled His Promise, helped His servant and overpowered the armies all Alone. So, for Him is the Kingdom and for Him is the Praise; there is no partner for Him.”
Events of the Ninth Year of Migration
The fall of Makkah, the adoption of Islam by the prominent chiefs of Quraish and the bravery and sacrifice of Muslims made the Roman Emperor decide to launch a surprise attack on the Muslims. This unpleasant news reached the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who found no alternative except to fight the Romans.
The Muslims marched to a place called Tabuk (the coastal area of the territory of Syria) to face the Romans. When the Muslims reached Tabuk after undergoing tremendous difficulties, to their utter surprise, there was no trace of the Roman army. After consulting the Muslims, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) decided to return to Madinah. This incident became famous in the history as ‘Battle of Tabuk’
While returning from Tabuk, some hypocrites decided to attack the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and kill him. However, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) recognized the hypocrites and their conspiracy was foiled.
Events of the Tenth Year of Migration
In the tenth year, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) went on his last pilgrimage famous as ‘Hajjatul Widaa’ (The farewell pilgrimage). He (s.a.w.a.) gave an important sermon at the mountain slope known as Jabal-ur-Rahmah at Arafaat.
While returning from the Haj, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – on divine inspiration – gathered all the people at a place called Ghadeer-e-Khumm. He (s.a.w.a.) gave a lengthy and eloquent sermon wherein he spoke about the different bounties of Allah and Islamic beliefs. He (s.a.w.a.) advised the people about the Holy Quran and Imam Ali (a.s.), introducing his rightful successor with these words: “Of whomsoever I am Master, Ali is his Master too.”
Thereafter, he (s.a.w.a.) raised his hands and prayed: “O Allah! Take him Your slave who takes Ali as his master and take him as an enemy who bears enmity towards Ali. Help him who helps Ali. And forsake him who forsakes Ali.”
This event took place on 18th Zilhaj and has become famous as Eid-e-Ghadeer. All historians, Shia, and Sunnis, have narrated this incident.
Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration
At the beginning of the eleventh year of migration, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) became bed-ridden and was constantly advising the people to keep themselves attached to the Holy Quran and Ahle Bait (a.s.). One incident that needs mention is that of “Pen and Paper”. In his last time, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked for paper and pen to write something conclusive for the nation so that they may be saved from eternal deviation. However, Umar Ibn Khattaab misbehaved in his (s.a.w.a.) presence, turned down the request and thus prevented the last will of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) from being recorded, an act that could save the people from deviation till the Day of Judgment. Sunni scholars like Ghazzaali in Sirr al- Aalamain and Sibt Ibn Jawzi in Tazkeratul Khawaas have narrated this incident in their books.
At that time, the Muslims were mobilizing an army under the leadership of Usama Ibn Zaid to fight the Romans. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) ordered some of the elderly companions like Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman to participate in Usama’s army (to prevent them from committing mischief in Madinah). But they refused and stayed back in Madinah. This is another instance of their disobedience.
Finally, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) departed from this transient world on the 10th of Safar, at the age of 63. The sun had set on the bodily existence of the greatest person ever to have walked on this earth. He (s.a.w.a.) is buried in Masjid-un-Nabi in Madinah.