The Hijra (هِجْرَة), or withdrawal, is the migration of Muhammad and his followers to the city of Medina in 622 (Common Era). Alternate spellings of this Arabic word in the Latin alphabet are Hijrah, or Hegira in Latin.
Technically, the first Hijra occurred in 615 when a band of Muslims was counseled by Muhammad to escape persecution in Mecca and travel to the Kingdom of Axum, which was ruled by a Christian king (see Islam in Ethiopia). Muhammad himself did not join this emigration. In that year, his followers fled Mecca's leading tribe, the Quraysh, who sent emissaries to Axum to bring them back to Arabia. The nascent movement faced growing opposition and persecution. When Muhammad and his followers received an invitation from the people of Yathrib, they decided to leave Mecca.
In September 622, Muhammad and his followers emigrated to the city of Yathrib, 320 km north of Mecca. Yathrib was soon renamed Madinat un-Nabi, laterately "the City of the Prophet", but un-Nabi was soon dropped, so its name in English is Medina, meaning "the city". The Muslim year during which the Hijra occurred was designated the first year of the Islamic calendar by Umar in 638, 17 AH (anno hegirae = "in the year of the hijra"). In the following chronology the city will be referred to as Medina, and the region surrounding it as Yathrib.
Chronology of the second Hijra
- Day 1: Thursday 26 Safar AH 1, 9 September 622
- Left home in Mecca. Stayed three days in the Cave of Thawr near Mecca.
- Day 5: Monday 1 Rabi' I AH 1, 13 September 622
- Left the environs of Mecca. Traveled to the region of Yathrib.
- Day 12: Monday 8 Rabi' I AH 1, 20 September 622
- Arrived at Quba' near Medina.
- Day 16: Friday 12 Rabi' I AH 1, 24 September 622
- First visit to Medina for Friday prayers.
- Day 26: Monday 22 Rabi' I AH 1, 4 October 622
- Moved from Quba' to Medina.
The Muslim dates are in the Islamic calendar extended back in time. The Western dates are in the Julian calendar. The Hijra is celebrated annually on 8 Rabi' I, about 66 days after 1 Muharram, the first day of the Muslim year. Many writers confuse the first day of the year of the Hijra with the Hijra itself, erroneously stating that the Hijra occurred on 1 Muharram AH 1 or 16 July 622.
All dates given above may have occurred about 89 days (three lunar months) earlier. The Muslim dates may be those recorded in the original Arabic calendar and their month names may not have been changed to account for the (probably three) intercalary months inserted during the next nine years until intercalary months were prohibited during the year of Muhammad's last Hajj (AH 10).
- On 1 Muharram, the Islamic New Year is observed by some Muslims.
- On 1 Muharram, Shi'ite Muslims begin the observance of the Commemoration of Muharram which marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala and the day that Husayn bin Ali entered Karbala.
- On 7 Muharram, access to water was banned on Husayn by Yazid's order.
- On 10 Muharram, the Day of ‘Āshūrā' is commemorated by Muslims as the anniversary of the death of Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammad. But the Shi'ite Muslims attach much greater importance to this day.
- On 25 Muharram, Alī Zayn al-‘Ābidīn died after being poisoned.
- On 27 Muharram, Mesum was killed.