In 17 AH/637 AD, and on Abū Mūsa al-Ashʻri’s advice, the second Rightly Guided Caliph ʻUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb decided to establish the year in which the Prophet immigrated to Madīnah as the beginning of the Islamic calendar. ʻUmar chose this epic event due its importance and centrality in the history of Islam as it led to the foundation of the first Muslim state in Madīnah. In Makkah, the early Muslims were subjected to systematic, relentless persecution with some of them had been killed as a result of the brutal torture. This prompted the Prophet (PBUH) to allow his companions to flee to Abyssinia where they could enjoy protection and safety.
With the situation in Makkah becaming more and more stifling, the Prophet (PBUH) and the companions who couldn’t flee to Abyssinia were given the permission to escape from the polytheists’ clutch in Makkah. It was a very hard and long journey where considerable sacrifices were made and enormous efforts were exerted. Some of the most prominent roles to mention here are the pivotal and unforgettable ones performed by the young men and women during the different stages of that journey. ʻAli ibn Abi Ṭālib, Asmạʼ bint Abị Bakr, ʻAbdullạh ibn Abị Bakr, ʻẠmir ibn Fuhairah, Musʻab ibn ʻUmayrah and many others were among the young people whom the Prophet (PBUH) counted on thanks to their fervor and enthusiasm for the sake of their religion.
Having made reference to the young people’s enthusiasm and bravery in the migration plan and in all phases of Islamic Daʻwah, it is to be mentioned that the Prophet (PBUH) taught leaders a very important lesson: the young people are the ignition of success.
Fortunately, the contemporary world celebrates the International Youth Day every year on August 12, a day that was approved by the UN General Assembly in 1999, and while this is a good gesture that Islam hails and supports, the fact remains that Islam celebrates the endeavors of the young people and on every relevant occasion and the Hijrah is not an exception.
The extremist groups are constantly trying to polarize and recruit young people, distort their ideas, and incite them against their societies. These groups realize that young people are the pillar upon which their ideological and physical foundations can be built, so they employed every possible means to have them in their ranks. In confronting this, world leaders have to care for young people, engage and empower them before they fall prey to the extremists. The Prophet’s life is full of sublime examples of how leaders should deal with young people and the Hijrah occasion give us a glimpse of this.