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The hijra ( Arabic هجرة Hijra , DMG hiǧra ), also Hegira (Persian heǧra ), referred to the flight (actual word meaning: emigration, extract) of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina and his arrival in Qubā' on 12 Rabi 'Al-Awwal = 24 September 622. It marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar , which was introduced 17 years later by the caliph Umar ibn al-Chattab . The dates are often carry the suffix H. marked. The Iranian calendar and the Rumi calendar , both of whichare basedon the solar year , also count the years since the hijra.

Hijra in the early days of Islam

As early as 615, followers of Muhammad, but not the prophet himself, emigrated in a first wave from pagan Mecca to the Christian Aksumite Empire . Muhammad's move to Medina in 622 - the "real" hijra  - was, strictly speaking, the second such "move". The Meccan Muslims who accompanied Mohammed to Medina are called "the emigrants" (" al-Muhajirun ").

With his arrival in Medina, the prophet, previously persecuted and hated by the Meccan elite, quickly became a respected statesman and founder not only of a religion, but also of a state that soon after his death developed into a large empire with the help of Islamic expansion ( see also caliphate ).

Hijra as a duty for Muslims

Within Islamic jurisprudence , a theory developed early on according to which the world is basically divided into two zones: the Islamic dominion ( Dār al-Islām ), in which Sharia norms apply, and the "House of the." War ”( Dār al-Harb ), which is viewed as hostile and lacks a legitimate legal order. According to this theory, people who have converted to Islam on non-Islamic territory should follow the example of the Hijra of Muhammad and leave the Dār al-Harb as soon as possible. Some scholars even said that Muslims should not live in Dār al-Harb on principle.

For example, the Maliki scholar Ahmad al-Wansharisi (1430–1508) ruled in a fatwa from the time shortly before the fall of Granada that the Muslims ( Mudejars ) remaining on Christian territory had to emigrate to the North African Dār al-Islām because they acts of worship performed on Christian territory ( prayer , alms , fasting ) would have no validity. Similar calls by Islamic religious authorities for hijra from areas that had been conquered by Christian European states were still heard from the Tatars in Crimea and Bosnia in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and led to the fact that the waves of emigration that took place during this period acquired a religious character.

In connection with European colonialism, Muslims in Africa and Southeast Asia also resorted to the hijra concept in the early 20th century. In 1903, after the British conquered the Sokoto Caliphate, a certain Qadi ʿAbdallāh ibn ʿAlī wrote a pamphlet in which he took the view that the Muslims of Sokoto now have to perform the hijra because from their position they cannot successfully oppose it the British invasion could afford. In the Dutch East Indies , the Sarekat Islam party also referred to its policy of non-cooperation with the colonial power as hijra in the 1930s . The deputy chairman of the party, Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosuwirjo , wrote a two-volume book in 1936 about the “ hijra attitude” ( Setiap Hidjrah ) of his party, in which he paralleled this with Muhammad's position towards the Meccans.

The Islamic scholar Rüdiger Lohlker points out that Salafist lectures and seminars in Europe often encourage Muslims living inwardly to distance themselves from the non-Islamic society surrounding them, and speaks in this regard of a kind of “psychic hijra ”. But many Muslims also traveled from France, for example, to Egypt (to learn Arabic and the religious basics of Salafism there) or to Algeria (as the land of the forefathers), while in Germany the Islamic State systematized the hijra as an obligation, specifically as a jihadist to travel to the IS caliphate.


  • Patricia Crone : "The first-century concept of hiǧra" in Arabica 41 (1994) 352-87.
  • Kemal H. Karpat: "The hijra from Russia and the Balkans: the process of self-definition in the late Ottoman state" in Dale F. Eickelman and James Piscatori (eds.): Muslim Travelers: Pilgrimage, Migration and the Religious Imagination . Routledge, London, 1990. pp. 131-152.
  • Ẓafarul-Islām Khān: Hijrah in Islam, New Delhi 1997.
  • F. Krenkow: "The topography of the Hijrah" in Islamic Culture 3 (1929) 357-364.
  • Muhammad Khalid Masud: "The Obligation to migrate: the doctrine of hijra in Islamic law" in Dale F. Eickelman and James Piscatori (eds.): Muslim Travelers: Pilgrimage, Migration and the Religious Imagination . Routledge, London, 1990. pp. 29-49.
  • W. Montgomery Watt: "Hi dj ra" in The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition Vol. III, pp. 366-67.

Web links

Wiktionary: Hedschra  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Bozorg Alavi , Manfred Lorenz : Textbook of the Persian language. Verlag Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1967; 7th, revised edition, Langenscheidt · Verlag Enzyklopädie, Leipzig / Berlin / Munich a. a. 1994. ISBN 3-324-00253-2 , p. 307 ( heǧrān : 'separation' - from friends or from home).
  2. Cf. Khān 98-103 and Leonard Harvey: Islamic Spain: 1250 to 1500 . Chicago, IL 1990. pp. 56-60.
  3. See Brian Glyn Williams: The Crimean Tatars: The Diaspora Experience and the Forging of a Nation . Leiden 2001. pp. 166, 317; and Khān 120.
  4. See Muhammad S. Umar: Islam and Colonialismus. Intellectual responses of Muslims of Northern Nigeria to British colonial rule. Brill, Leiden, Boston 2006. pp. 68-74.
  5. See S. Soebardi: "Kartosuwiryo and the Darul Islam Rebellion", in: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies , 14 (1983) 109-133. P. 112.
  6. ^ Rüdiger Lohlker: The Salafists. The uprising of the pious, Saudi Arabia and Islam. (= CHBeck Paperback 6272) CHBeck, Munich 2017. ISBN 978-3-406-70609-7 . P. 77 f.