Hijrat movement was launched against the aggressive policies of British government and for the restoration of Ottoman Empire. World War 1 broke out in the year 1914 between Allied forces and Germany. The Ottoman Empire was very weak and made alliance with Germany. Muslims of the Indian sub-continent had spiritual attachment with Ottoman Empire and refused to join Britain in their war against Ottoman Empire. British government promised that they will fight only against Germany and no harm would be done to the Ottoman Caliphate. When Allied forces defeated German the promise was broken. In the Treaty of Serves the territory of Ottoman Empire was distributed between French and Britain and small portion to Turkey. Khilafat Movement was launched for the restoration of the Ottoman Caliphate, Congress supported the movement and mass mobilization was at its peak. The British government issued Rowlett Act in 1919, indefinitely extending emergency measures to control public unrest and root out conspiracies. The British government became more aggressive due to mass mobilization and arrested Muslims leaders including Ali brothers and Azad. Around thirty thousand Muslims were detained. In the meanwhile Jallian Bagh incident occurred whose purpose was to demand the release of Muslims prisoners. Hijrat movement was the result of intolerable behavior of British government.
When Khilafat movement was at its peak, in the meantime a voice arose from Lucknow declaring the India sub-continent as Dar-ul-Harb (home of war), urging the Muslims to migrate from their homeland on the plea of few Ulama of India as a result of their inability to compete against the aggressive steps of the British, they ought to go somewhere else. Moulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Moulana Abdul Bari Farangi, Moulana Muhammad Ali and Moulana Abdul Majeed Sindhi issued a Fatwa which declared migration from India Dar-ul-Harb (home of war) to Dar-ul-Aman (home of peace) desirable for the Muslims of India after World War I. Nazims were appointed in every big city and a central office was established in Delhi known as Khuddam-ul-Muhajireen to motivate Muslims for migration. Giving importance to the announcement of Ulema most of the Muslims decided to migrate to the nearest Muslim country Afghanistan, which was thought a suitable for their shelter. Muslims of the Indian sub-continent were unable to spend their life according to teachings of Islam and Islamic culture under British rule. Hijrat movement was considered such an important virtue that the Muslims were not even made to hear a minor word in opposition of the movement and it became so dominant that even Non-cooperation Movement paled before it.
Muslims sold their property and headed for Kabul. A group of 750 Muslims Muhajireen form Sindh set out for Kabul under the leadership of Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo. This group of Muslims received an enthusiastic reception at every train station it passed; this enhanced the vigor for migration amongst the Muslims of Punjab. The popularity of movement can be determined from the fact the more than thirty thousand Muslims had left for Kabul in the second week of August 1920. The movement spread out to the Frontier province and locals became more active to surpass other in this sacred cause. The movement was undertaken as religious significance. The rural areas of N.W.F.P province such as Peshawar and Mardan were the worst affected areas. The local Hindus motivated Muslims for migration and started buying their land and cattle at throw-away price. A land worth of ten thousand was sold for one hundred and a Bull worth of two hundred was sold for forty rupees only. The carvans of emigrants who were moving towards Afghanistan via Peshawar and Khyber Pass were brought up and nourished by the locals. A proper setup was made for their hospitality, donations from locals and dedicated their time and energy for the help of refuges. A Sarai at Namak Mandi Peshawar was reserved for the stay and hospitalization of the emigrants. Majority of Muslims leaders from N.W.F.P were in the favour of Hijrat movement including, Abdul Ghaffar khan, Abbas khan, Muhammad Akbar khan and Ali Gul khan and they themselves migrated to Afghanistan with common refuges.
The migration took place at a large scale, a very large number of people majorly from lower class of society, the common people, the poor people left from India to Afghanistan. The emigrants carried out their journey on foot and carts because sources of transportation were not that mush developed at that time. In the beginning the Afghanistan government welcomed Indian Muslims and King Amanullah ruler of Afghanistan appointed Muhammad Iqbal Shedai as his minister for refuges. Afghan government later on closed down their frontiers when they found flood of refugees were coming would be too difficult for them to handle. Even those who have managed to enter successfully were spending miserable life and disgusted because Afghanistan was a poor country and facing many internal problems. The refugees came across so many hardships and soon they were force to take a journey back home. Some of the refugees went to Soviet Union and Europe.
Hijrat movement was an emotional and ill advised movement and it had no potential to have constructive result. Majority of Ulema and leaders of public opinion did not approve, including Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Habib-ur-Rehman, Hakeem Ajmal khan, Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum khan and Alama Inayatullah khan. Hijrat movement ended in misery for the Muslims because it was unplanned and was based on the emotions and had not taken into account the realities of Afghanistan. It was an unwise act of Muslims of Sub-continent lost their lives, home, crops and cattle. It was act of serious blunder of Muslims not looking into consequences and made them from poor to poorer. Muslims were at the brink of disaster and facing Hindu opposition because they had nothing in India now as they sold whatever they had. Sincere and zealous Muslims suffered severe hardships; however Hijrat movement reinforced the total commitment of Muslims sacrifice for the ideology, principles and teaching of Islam.