Elaborate preparations began for the hijrah journey. A journey that would mark the beginning of the Islamic calendar. A journey that would change the course of Islamic history, for it was the launch pad for the propagation and spread of Islam across the globe.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came secretly to the house of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu at midday, in the scorching heat, with his face hidden behind a scarf. As soon as he enters the house, he tells him to clear out everyone from the house. “Only my two daughters are present,” Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu says, putting the heart of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at ease. He then asks, “What is the matter?” The matter was top secret. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was given permission to make hijrah.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu planned every move they would make and every turn they would take on this epic journey. Two camels were being fed by Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu for a long time now, in preparation for the perilous trip. These camels were given to ‘Abdullah ibn Urayqit, a skilled and experienced guide from the Banu al Dayl, in whom they had confidence, with the instruction to bring the camels along after three days to the Cave of Thawr.
In the darkness of night, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu slipped out through the back window of the latter’s house in the direction of the Cave of Thawr where they would hide for three days. Arrangements for their food and protection had already been made. As the matter was top secret, only a select few would know about the undercover travel. Sayyidina Abu Bakr’s son Sayyidina ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma―a responsible lad―would mingle with the Quraysh during the day and find out their schemes which he would report to the two at night. Sayyidina ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was selected to graze the sheep of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu at the pasture during the day and come with those sheep to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at night, so that they may survive on their milk. Before the sun rose, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu would make his way back to Makkah, followed by Sayyidina ‘Amir radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his flock of sheep, so that the traces of ‘Abdullah’s footsteps may be wiped out by the sheep’s trails.
Who is Sayyidina ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu you might be wondering. He is one of the very early Muslims. He entered the faith before Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam could enter Dar al Arqam.
The life of this qari’ (proficient reciter of Qur’an) began as a slave, a child born to a slave of the Azd tribe. The darkness of his complexion and his slavery could not take him to the lofty pedestals of glory that the Almighty subhanahu wa ta ‘ala would raise him to—with verses of the Qur’an being revealed in his regard as well—rather it would be his faith in Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his dedication to the Qur’an that would.
His agnomen is Abu ‘Amr and he belonged to ‘Abdullah ibn al Tufayl ibn Sakhbarah, Sayyidah ‘Aisha’s uterine brother. After proclaiming the shahadah, he was cruelly persecuted in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, yet he remained resolute. Finally, Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu purchased him, as was his noble habit, and manumitted him. So he is reckoned as the freed slave of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
The Makkans had no regard for him, for he was a former slave, so they did not pay close attention to his movements. He was thus chosen to play a very significant role in the hijrah journey. He grazed a flock of sheep for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and brought those sheep to them when an hour had passed after the ‘Isha’ prayer. They would sleep soundly till Sayyidina ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu awakened them when it was still dark. He did this in each of those three nights and spent those nights in the company of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The level of his credibility and sincerity can be realised from this. He was trusted by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to keep this journey secret. The bounty of a hundred camels for the head of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not shake his resolution. His faith in Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala could not be bought by worldly transitory assets.
After the three days had passed, ‘Abdullah ibn Urayqit arrived with the two riding camels. They set out and took Sayyidina ‘Amir bin Fuhayrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu along with them. He would take turns, sometimes he would sit on the mount of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and sometimes he would sit on the conveyance of his former master, Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The guide directed them below Makkah along the road leading to the sea-shore. Travelling on this secretive road, they reached Madinah.
Although Sayyidina ‘Amir bin Fuhayrah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu participation in the hijrah is known, it is unnoticed. Having the distinction of travelling the most significant journey alongside the loftiest of mankind and the most superior individual after the Ambiya’, is no ordinary excellence. Considering the amount of spiritual benefit he derived from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the volume of divine blessings he secured, one will deduce that he was indeed a prosperous and exceptional individual.
After reaching Madinah, Sayyidina ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah together with Sayyidina Bilal and Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhum became ill, due to the climate of Madinah not suiting them. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam supplicated to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to remove the fever of Madinah and to bless them therein. He also prayed to make Madinah as beloved as Makkah was to them, or more. And these prayers were granted.
Sayyidina ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu benefitted tremendously from the Qur’anic teachings of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He learnt at the feet of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and became one of the proficient reciters of Qur’an. He was one of the Companions of al Suffah, viewed as the students of Islam. They had dedicated themselves to the acquisition of knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah and its dissemination. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam says, “The most superior among you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.”
He had the grand honour of participating in Badr, Uhud, and Hamra’ al Asad. He obtained the magnificent rewards and attained the exalted ranks promised in the Qur’an and Sunnah for their participation, coupled with Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala praises for their participants. He could not participate in any other major campaign as he was martyred in the fourth year after hijrah in the month of Safar only four months after Uhud.
Abu Bara’ (a disbeliever) approached Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and pleaded with him to send some of his Companions to the people of Najd to invite them to Islam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was hesitant to send them for he feared that the people of Najd might harm them. However, Abu Bara’ put his fears to rest assuring him that he will protect them. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam selected the exclusive students of the Qur’an for this expedition. They were seventy in number and were called the Qurra’ (proficient reciters of the Qur’an). They would gather firewood during the day, to earn a living, and would stand in salah at night reciting the Qur’an, to earn the Pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.
These 70 Qurra’ travelled with their guide until they reached Bi’r Ma’unah, from where Sayyidina Haram ibn Milhan radiya Llahu ‘anhu was sent with Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam epistle to the enemy of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, ‘Amir ibn al Tufayl. The devil did not even look at the prophetic epistle and acted treacherously to the envoy by signalling to one of his men to kill him. “Allah is the greatest, I have triumphed by the Lord of the Ka’bah,” shouted Sayyidina Haram radiya Llahu ‘anhu as he fell to the ground after being stabbed in the back. This sentence of his would be the cause for the acceptance of Islam of his killer, Jabbar ibn Sulma al Kilabi.
The tribes of Ri’l, Dhakwan, ‘Usayyah, and Banu Lihyan then joined together and massacred those Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum to the very last of them. Only Sayyidina Ka’b ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu survived with multiple wounds, for they left him as dead whereas he still had streaks of life in him, and ‘Amr ibn Umayyah al Damari radiya Llahu ‘anhu who they took as prisoner. Later, ‘Amir ibn al Tufayl freed him, for the expiation of the oath of his mother.
After butchering them, Ibn al Tufayl pointing at one of the slain asked ‘Amr who he was, “He is ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah,” ‘Amr explained. Ibn al Tufayl stated, “I saw him lifted to the sky after he was killed till I saw the sky between him and the earth, and then he was brought down upon the earth.”
The devastating news of the killed Muslims reached Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he relayed this news to Comapnions, “Your companions (of Bi’r Ma’unah) have been killed, and they have asked their Lord saying, ‘O our Lord! Inform our brothers about us as we are pleased with You and You are pleased with us.’” So Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala informed them about the martyrs by revealing a verse of the Qur’an which was later abrogated. The verse read:
أَلاَ بَلِّغُوا عَنَّا قَوْمَنَا بِأَنَّا قَدْ لَقِينَا رَبَّنَا فَرَضِيَ عَنَّا وَأَرْضَانَا
Inform our people that we have met our Lord, and He is pleased with us, and we are pleased with Him.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was deeply hurt and grief stricken with their killing. He invoked curses upon the tribes of Ri’l, Dhakwan, ‘Usayyah, and Banu Lihyan who disobeyed Allah and His Messenger. For a full month, he invoked curses upon their murderers in the Salat al Fajr. This was the introduction of the Qunut in the morning prayer.
Sayyidina ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the devotee of the Qur’an, was really an exceptional person. Obscure to the dwellers on earth, recognised by the inhabitants of the heavens. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam loved him dearly and was saddened and pained at his martyrdom. The martyrs are ever living enjoying themselves in Jannat, and their legacy will continue to live on.
وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِيْنَ قُتِلُوْا فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَآءٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُوْنَ
And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision.
Sayyidina ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu left to the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala at the age of 40. His body was not found after his martyrdom. It was believed that the angels had concealed his body.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Book 36, Hadith: 464, Book 59, Hadith: 419, Book 72, Hadith: 698; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 3 pg. 196.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 5, Book 58, Hadith: 263.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 6, Book 61, Hadith: 546.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 5, Book 59, Hadith: 419, 421; Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Hadith: 1433; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 4 pg. 82 – 84.
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 169.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 4 pg. 83; Munasarat al Sahabah al Afariqah, pg. 56, 57; Usd al Ghabah, pg. 619, Biography: 2725.Back to top