The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Hijra (Islam)

For other uses see Hijra.

The Hijra (هِجْرَة), or withdrawal, is the emigration of Muhammad and his followers to the city of Medina in 622. Alternate spellings of this Arabic word in the Latin alphabet are Hijrah, or Hegira in Latin.

Muhammad, preaching the doctrines of one God (called Allah) and the threat of the Day of Judgment, did not at first have much success in the city of Mecca. His tribe, the Quraysh, which was in charge of the Kaaba (a shrine to Arabic pagan gods), persecuted and harassed him continuously.

He and his followers emigrated to the city of Yathrib, 320 km north of Mecca, in September 622. Yathrib was soon renamed Madinat un-Nabi, the City of the Prophet, Medina in English. The Muslim year during which the Hijra occurred was designated the first year of the Islamic calendar by Umar ibn al-Khattab 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 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.

See also


  • F. A. Shamsi, "The Date of Hijrah", Islamic Studies 23 (1984): 189-224, 289-323.

External links

Last updated: 06-02-2005 13:27:43
Last updated: 09-03-2005 18:37:12