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1. Orientations
a. Figures
2. Koran
3. Theology
4. Concept of divine
5. Sharia
6. Muhammad
7. Cult and Festivals
8. Mecca
9. Cultic personalities
10. Caliph
11. Structures
12. Popular religion
13. Others
14. Calendar

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Islam / Muhammad /
Arabic: 'al-hijra

In Islam, the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib (later Madina) in 622.
There are conflicting sources as to when the hijra took place, whether it was on September 20 or 24. There seems also to be confusion as to whether this date was that of leaving Mecca, or arriving in Yathrib. Most likely, however, the hijra date reflects the arrival in Yathrib.
Caliph Umar established the year of the hijra as the first year of the Muslim calendar, but for some reason this first year began in the month of Rabi' al-Awwal, which is the 3rd month in the calendar. Hence the first year in the Muslim calendar lasted only 10 months.
According to Muslim definitions, hijra was not a flight, although it did occur because Muhammad's life was in danger. The Koran sura of 9:40 relates to the hijra as if Muhammad was driven out of Mecca, making the translation English 'flight' not only plausible, but also the most informative translation.
In Mecca, Muhammad's situation had deteriorated after the death of his uncle and protector, Abu Talib. The clan leaders of the Quraysh tribe, who controlled Mecca, plotted to have him killed. One from each clan was to become involved, and share the responsibility.
Prior to the hijra, Muhammad made alliances with people coming down from Yathrib to Mecca on pilgrimages (not Muslim pilgrimage). Some of these spread his message to other citizens of Yathrib. Muhammad's followers and friends in Yathrib pledged him safe travel to their town, given the difficulties he had experienced in Mecca. There is no information in the hadiths suggesting that Muhammad was promised any elevated role in the society of Yathrib, although it is often alleged in modern literature that Muhammad was invited to handle law and conflicts in Yathrib.
For security reasons, the migration to Yathrib happened in stages, over several days, with small groups travelling independently. Altogether, 70 men and women escaped to Yathrib.
The last remaining Muslims in Mecca were Muhammad, Abu Bakr and Ali. Muhammad and Abu Bakr managed to pass the guards controlling his house. They fled on camel, with a flock of sheep to cover their tracks. They spent the night in a cave in Thawr Mountain, while Muhammad's house was attacked only to find Ali there. Muhammad and Abu Bakr would spend several days in the cave, before they felt that it was safe to continue towards Yathrib. According to Muslim accounts, the journey to Yathrib took them 10 or 14 days.

By Tore Kjeilen