The HIJRA from Mecca to Medina never happened! Murad Proves it!
Continuing our series on debunking anything to do with Islam in the 7th century, Murad, our Middle Eastern expert, introduces yet another curiosity; whether the Hijra, when Muhammad supposedly moved from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD ever happened?!
He asks whether there is anything in the 7th century which refers to the Hijra, and finds nothing. Even Theophanes, writing around 800 AD, so before the Islamic Traditions, refers to Muhammad in Jerusalem, and not in these two cities at all.
The Qur'an also doesn't refer to the Hijra, which is odd considering just how important the event is for Muslims.
Even the Traditions themselves say little at all, yet it is foundation for the Islamic calendar.
Murad moves to 7th-century evidence to find what the people of that time referred to instead of the Hijra when announcing dates.
He introduces an inscription found at the Hamat Gader Pools in present Israel, written by Muawiyya in 663 AD. In this inscription, which is clearly Christian (it has a cross on it) refers to 42 years post "the year of the Arab", which would put it around 622, the year of the Hijra according to the Islamic Traditions. What's odd is that it doesn't use the term Hijra when referring to that date, but instead uses 'the year of the Arab'.
In 685-686 AD we find the first reference to Muhammad's name written on a coin, yet the date on the coin refers to "after the believer's case has been settled". Why, as Muslims, didn't they use the term Hijra to denote the date?
In fact, Murad has not found one coin minted in the 7th century which refers to the Hijra date.
Murad then asks why the date 622 AD is significant?
According to the Traditions, this is the date for the Hijra.
He begins with the Qur'an to find out, and goes to Surah 30:2-6, which talks about the Byzantines defeating the Persians, yet mentions that "The believers will rejoice by the victory...". Why would Muslims rejoice that the Byzantines defeated Persians?
To understand this verse, you have to go to the historical context, and begin with 614 AD, when the Persians defeated the Byzantines. Then jump to 622 AD, when the Byzantines under Heraclius came and defeated the Persians.
The reasons the Arabs were rejoicing was because they were Christian Arabs, not Muslims, and they were happy that the Byzantines had finally destroyed the Persians who had persecuted them, as Christian Arabs, for centuries.
That is why 622 is so important from then on, as it was the date the Arabs finally were freed to create their own identity.
Following that, in 627 AD the battle of Ninevah occured between two Persian groups, which weakened them and solidified the Arabs to then move up and destroy them around 10 years later.
Moving to the question concerning why even create the story of the Hijra, Murad introduces the biography of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq (765 AD), which was only really written in 833 AD, thus well into the Abbasid era, who seemed to have eradicated much of the former Umayyad history, including these battles, and introduced instead stories surrounding their prophet Muhammad, including this one in 622. But instead of referring to the defeat of the Persians by the Byzantines, they created a new narrative around Muhammad moving from one city to the other instead.
Why, because much of the biography follows similar stories taken from the Bible, of the Biblical prophets, and transferring them onto Muhammad, especially those of Moses, including this one of his persecution, followed by an exodus, and even entering Medina, like Jesus entering Jerusalem.
Murad concludes by suggesting we must now create a new timeline for the Hijra:
Pre-622 = Arab Christians wanted Heraclius to defeat the Persians
622 = Heraclius defeats the Persians
628 = The True cross is returned, the Arabs migrate to Damascus, leading to Arab independence
663 = Inscription with a cross and the reference to "according to the Arabs"
685 = Muawiyya's coin with "After the Believer's case has been settled"
756 = Chinese notice a change in the Muslim rulers (Umayyad to Abbasid)
765 = Ibn Ishaq introduces the Hijra in his biography
833 = Ibn Hisham throws out most of Ishaq's biography and introduces his own narrative
870 = Al Bukhari takes 600,000 sayings and only retains 7,397, or about 2% of them
So, by the late 9th century, with the Hijra in 622 focussed solely on Muhammad moving from Mecca to Medina, supplanting the former defeat of the Persians by Heraclius, we find a completely new narrative, not based on the historical record, but on a man, underlying the Abbasid Muslim's
desire to now make him the focal point of their history.
No wonder all the Islamic Traditions were written so late and so far away, as it took that long to create their new narrative; proving, however, that the Hijra as they portray it, really never happened.
© Pfander Centre for Apologetics - US, 2020
(38,960) (Music: "small adventure", by Rafael Krux, from filmmusic-io - License CC BY)