By Louis Awad
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Extra resources for Literature of Ideas in Egypt: Selection, Translation, and Introductions
34 Refugee Status in Islam The hijra to Medina was not the first of its kind, as the hijra to Abyssinia preceded it by eight years. However, it was unique in the sense that it symbolized the start of the coming era, where Muslims established their own state for the first time in history, practised their religion without fear of persecution and spread Islam outwards. The atmosphere in Mecca before hijra to Medina In this period, the torture and oppression of Muslims by the Quraysh continued, making the need for a safe haven a priority.
The second person after the Prophet to lead the Muslims, his faith according to ﬁUmar Ibn al-Kha††āb (al-Dhahabī, 2000, vol. 8, p. 405) would be heavier than that of the whole nation if it were to be weighed. Like the Prophet and other Muslims, Abu Bakr was harassed and persecuted by Quraysh because of his conversion. He asked the Prophet’s permission to migrate and the Prophet gave it. Abu Bakr left Mecca and after two days of travel, he met Ibn al-Dighna who asked him where he was going. Abu Bakr explained that his people had harmed him and that he was leaving Mecca.
4, p. 256). Another powerful indication of the changes taking place in the society’s tribal relations was the offer by the son of ﬁAbdullah Ibn Ubayy after hearing what his father had said. He went to the Prophet and expressed his readiness to bring the head of his father to the Prophet, should he order him. The Prophet refused, however, and told him to be gentle with his father as long as he was alive18 (al-‡abarī, 1984, vol. 28, p. 116). After this incident and what followed for Ibn Ubayy, the influence of the munāfiqūn started to fade while the Muslims continued to gather strength and power in establishing the new Islamic state, which became a safe haven for any Muslim seeking refuge.