The word muhajir (pl. muhajirin) means the emigrant, one who flies or forsake his home, is the name often applied in the Koran to those followers of the Prophet, who had migrated from Mecca to Medina with him. The word is derived from hijra. The term muhajir is not applied to the Prophet himself, but only to those who migrated with, before or after him and later made up a large portion of the population of Medina. The Prophet described them as favourites of God who would receive a splendid reward as the Koran says: “When those who have adopted the faith, who have migrated and fought for God’s cause may hope for His grace” (2:218), “The sins of the emigrants – are forgiven” (3:195), and “Those who believed migrated and expended blood and treasure in fighting for the cause of God, occupy a high position” (9:20). Reference to those who had emigrated for the sake of God appears nineteen times in the Koran, seventeen of which the exegetical tradition has related, directly or indirectly to the Meccan emigrants.
It is difficult to know precisely the number of those who immigrated in the first wave to Medina. Based on the lists of names in early Arabic sources it can safely be estimated that the total number of adult male emigrants was not more than eighty. The number of the muhajirin gradually grew with the increasing influence of the Prophet. From time to time it induced the people of Mecca to leave their heathen city and go to Medina. It is to them that the Koranic verse (8:75) refers, where those who adopted Islam later than the first emigrants, who migrated and afterwards fought alongside with the muhajirs, are acknowledged as belonging to the community: “they are of you.”