There are multiple narrations regarding the prophet’s own emigration, all from different sources of varying authenticity and so we should work down from the most authentic to the least.
The prophet was one of the last, if not the last Muslim to migrate from Mecca to Medina. And we know for a fact that this happened on a Monday in the 13th year of the dawah, but to the exact date we only have estimates, the best of which is the 26th of Safar. And the most authentic narration we have of the prophet’s emigration is the one in Bukhari, narrated by Aisha (RA) who was around 7 years old at the time:
When the prophet told the Muslims to emigrate to Medina, Abu Bakr (RA) began to prepare a camel for himself. And he went to the prophet to ask him for permission to go on the migration, but the prophet replied, ‘Wait, for I hope that Allah will give us permission.’
Abu Bakr realised what Muhammad ﷺ meant, and so asked, ‘Are you hoping for my companionship, o Rasulallah?’
And the prophet replied, ‘Yes,’ and so Abu Bakr began to prepare two camels instead of one, one for himself and one for the prophet.
And then, about three and a half months later the prophet came to the house of Abu Bakr during the midday, when the sun was at its highest and the entire city had shut down to sleep. And so the streets were deserted and the prophet also had his face covered, so as not to be recognised. And he came to the house and said to Abu Bakr, ‘Remove everybody from the rooms.’
Abu Bakr replied, ‘O Rasulallah, they are but your family, that’s it.’ By that he meant Aisha and her older sister Asma (RA), as at this point the nikah between her and the prophet had been done.
And so Muhammad ﷺ declared, ‘Allah has given me permission to emigrate.’
Now of course Abu Bakr wanted to know if he would also be allowed to accompany him, and so he asked, ‘O Rasulallah, was I allowed to accompany you? I beg you by my mother and father, did Allah give this permission?’
‘Yes, the permission has been given for you to accompany me.’
Abu Bakr was so overwhelmed by joy at this news that he actually began to cry tears of happiness. And he told Muhammad ﷺ, ‘O Rasulallah, I have prepared two camels. One of them is yours.’ But the perfection of the manners of the prophet Muhammad ﷺ were such that he would not accept the camel as a free gift, and he insisted on paying for it and so Abu Bakr had to accept a sum for the value of the camel.
Now Asma, who was an adult at this point, had already prepared provisions for them, but she was in such a rush of packing that she had nothing to tie the bag of food with. And so she took off her belt and tore it in half with her teeth, and used half of it to tie the bag and the other half to tie her clothes. And it is because of this she was given the laqab ‘She of the two belts.’
When Abu Bakr had first accepted Islam he had been extremely wealthy, with about 40000 dirhams to his name. At the time of the Hijra he was left with only 5000, as he had spent all of his wealth in the name of Allah freeing slaves such as Bilal ibn Rabah (RA). And when he emigrated he took the entire amount with him for the journey, and so Asma and Aisha were left with nothing. Now of course, they would still be in Mecca and their tribe and family would not let them starve, but Abu Bakr and Muhammad ﷺ were going through the middle of the desert to an unfamiliar place and so were more in need of the money. However Abu Bakr’s father Abu Quhafa, who was a bitter, blind old man who did not convert until after the conquest, came to Asma mocking her that her father had left her and her sister with no money. And so the intelligent Asma quickly picked up some pebbles and put them into the money bag, before saying, ‘No my grandfather, he has left us some money. Here, look.’ And she gave him the bag.
And Abu Quhafa felt it and it was heavy, and so he said, ‘Okay, I am mistaken. If he has left this much money for you then there is nothing to blame.’ And so he left Asma alone. However this was not the only persecution that Asma faced, as when Abu Jahal found out about the Hijra he went and actually beat Asma as punishment, as he was so frustrated that the prophet had managed to escape Mecca.
Now a narration from Musnad Ahmed gives us some more detail about the actual departure of the prophet. Narrated by ibn Abbas, in the middle of that night representatives from all of the sub-tribes of the Quraish came together in the Daar An-Nadwah to decide what to do about the prophet Muhammad ﷺ. That is, except for the Banu Hashim as despite the fact that Abu Lahab would have been in support of their plan he would be shamed for letting a member of his sub-tribe be harmed. And Mut’im ibn ‘Adi was also not invited, as he was the one who had given his protection to the prophet to allow him to stay in Mecca.
Now in a slightly weaker hadith it is also narrated that an old man came knocking on the door who no-one could recognise. So they asked him who he was to which he replied, ‘I am a leader from the Najd (which was not a Quraishi tribe), and it has reached me that you are having a meeting. So allow me to come – perhaps I can benefit you about what you’re planning to do.’ And this old man was actually Shaitaan.
Now the Quraish were scared that if they allowed Muhammad ﷺ to leave then the Muslims who had emigrated might become a threat to them, and so they came up with suggestions as to what to do. The first was to imprison him in a house, however the man who was Iblis stood up and claimed, ‘If you were to do this, his words would still reach his followers.’ The next suggestion was to exile him, but to this Iblis said, ‘To send him into exile is to send him back to his followers.’
And now here Abu Jahal finally spoke, ‘You still have not said the point that is on everybody’s mind but you’re scared to say it. Well let me say it: why don’t we kill him?’ Now this was something that had never been done before, and was completely against the tribal law. You did not just kill one of your own in cold blood. It would be a mark of great shame and dishonour, and so Abu Jahal suggested, ‘Rather than one of us attack him why not every single tribe sends one representative, and we all fight him such that by the time he is dead his blood is on all of their swords. So nobody knows who killed him and all of the tribes are equally to blame. The Banu Hashim will have no choice but to accept the blood money.’ This is was a very clever plot, as it spread the humiliation caused by killing one of their own equally between all the tribes. And this act would have also caused the Banu Hashim to have to declare war on whoever had committed it, out of sheer tribal honour. But this method meant that they would not be able to do so, and so would have to accept the reparations.
At this Iblis stood us and declared, ‘This is the smart decision.’ And so directly from there the people sent one representative from their sub-tribe to the house of the prophet. It was then that Jibrael (AS) came to Muhammad ﷺ and informed him that he had to make the Hijra immediately.
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 027