Nowadays, we sometimes use the word "hijab" and "hijrah" interchangeably. However, the meaning of hijrah is so much more than that! Wearing the hijab can be part of your journey towards self-improvement. But it's not the be-all and end-all. Every little effort that you make to better yourself and get closer to God is an act of hijrah. Making sure you forgive everyone before you sleep - that's hijrah. Controlling yourself when you're angry - that's also hijrah.
Hijrah is one of the most pivotal events in the history of Islam. It is the defining moment that shaped the next phase of the Prophetic mission in spreading the message of love, peace and harmony.
Historically, hijrah refers to the migration of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w from Makkah to Madinah as commanded by Allah s.w.t. Faced with prosecutions and threats to their lives, the Prophet s.a.w and many of his companions sought refuge in Madinah.
In Madinah, the Muslim community, led by the Prophet s.a.w built a new oasis of success and progress that propelled the birth of the renaissance of Islam. The Muslim community in Madinah, who was made up of Makkah immigrants and Madinah natives, co-existed with people of other faith traditions. Together, they built a strong community and established a city that radiate blessings to all.
In internalising the message of hijrah, there are five key points that Muslims today can relate:
The historical hijrah marked the transformational phase of Islam. The message hijrah is beyond the physical migration. In essence, the hijrah symbolises the transformation of self. Transformation from darkness to enlightenment.
The sirah (history) of the Prophet’s s.a.w through the event of the hijrah had shown how early Muslims had strived to achieve success despite all the odds that they were facing. The Prophet s.a.w and his companions continued to work hard in spite of the tremendous challenges and limitations they were facing in Makkah.
The Prophet s.a.w shown that hard work, sheer determination and deep conviction in God will lead one to achieve their desired goals.
The Prophet s.a.w. developed a community that spread goodness to others and contribute to larger humanity for the greater good of all. The Prophet s.a.w and his companions built a strong and cohesive community that focused on growth and transformations and chart their ways towards their eventual success.
They focused their transformation on liberating the people by emanating good values and demonstrate compassion or rahmah to one another.
Today, Muslims ought to continue charting our path of excellence and carry the torch of our faith to spread goodness to others, regardless of faith and belief.
As a community, we need to ensure that we do not give up and continue to work hard to achieve success in this life, and the hereafter. There will always be challenges in one’s path towards success, however, we should not use these limitations to dampen our spirits and continue to strive towards excellence.
Hijrah reminds us to always be a better person than yesterday. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. reminded us that, "Every person starts his day as a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or causing its ruin.” (Muslim)
Today, it is not about moving from one place to another to manifest the ethos of hijrah. Instead, it is about improving ourselves, our families, and our community continuously.
The Islam that the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. taught to his followers is an Islam that is full of love, mercy and compassion, not Islam that is full of hatred, violent and destruction.
Today, we need to continue to harness this legacy of our beloved Prophet s.a.w. We believe that we are a pro-active community that can contribute to the larger human fraternity and propel together as a community towards success and goodness.
As we celebrate this new hijirah year, let us make a resolution to achieve greater heights and attain success together as a community. The kind of success that we should aim is the success that does not leave anyone behind.
We help one another, support each other and work together with everyone as we strive to achieve excellence. We lend our helping hands to anybody in need and participate in the common good.
Let us be like the bricks to one another, as commanded by our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
This new year, let’s take time to reflect on your choices and actions. Have we been humble? Kind? Do we give others the benefit of the doubt? Do we leave what does not concern us? Do we feed our neighbours? Are we sincere? Do we love for others what we love for ourselves? Do we benefit others? Trust me, we all have something to improve on. What better time to start than today?