According to some historians, 1st of Rabi al-Awwal is the day when the Holy Prophet (s) migrated from Makkah to Madinah. The Prophet’s migration to Madinah was a turning point in the history of Islam, as it was in Madinah that the Prophet (s) founded the first ever Islamic State on this earth.
The infidels of Makkah came to know about the second pledge of Aqabah between the people of Madinah and the Prophet (s). They were worried that the Prophet (s) will find a warm reception in Yathrib [i.e. Madinah], and the message of Islam will spread beyond their frontiers. So they re-started an active campaign of persecution and torture of the Muslims in Makkah.
The Prophet (s) advised his followers to migrate to Madinah. Most Muslims managed to leave Makkah. Some Muslims had to leave their families behind as the Meccan authorities would not allow the Muslims to take their wives (of Quraysh origin) and children with them.
The infidels in Makkah came up with a plan to stop the Prophet (s) exercising his influence once and for all. A killer from each major tribe in Makkah is chosen, armed with a sharp sword, to simultaneously kill the Prophet (s). In this way, no any single tribe could be blamed, and any retaliation from the Banu Hashim would be difficult.
The Prophet (s) left Makkah by the order of Allah (sw). He (s) instructed Imam Ali (a) to return the peoples’ deposits, send for camels and a guide after three days to mount Thawr, and then join him at Madinah with the rest of the family.
The Prophet (s) came out of his house, recited a few verses from Surat Yasin and blew over the enemies. Imam Ali (a) slept in the bed of the Prophet (s) on the instructions of the Prophet (s). This sacrifice of Ali b. Abi Talib has been referred to in the Qur’an in Surat Baqarah: “And among the people is he who sells his soul seeking the pleasure of God, and God is most kind to [His] servants.”
The Prophet (s) took the indirect route to Madinah via south, rather than the direct route via north-west. After a week’s journey, the Prophet (s) arrived at a suburb of Madinah at a place called ‘Quba’. The people of Madinah came to Quba to welcome the Prophet (s). He (s) waited for Imam Ali (a) and the rest of his immediate family to join him.
In the morning of Friday, 16th Rabi al-Awwal, the Holy Prophet (s) accompanied by the people entered the city of Madinah. The city of ‘Yathrib’ was renamed ‘Madinat al-Nabi’.