In the past few years the fatwaordering Muslims to make hijra (migrate) from the lands of Kufr to Dar al-Islamis an oft quoted fiqhi opinion transmitted from Islamic scholarly tradition. The validity of this opinion or this option for a Muslim today ought be examined from variety of angles:
Firstly from a fiqhi perspective along with the rationale underlying the juristic reasoning governinghijra.
Secondly, from the angle of the categorization of the world into Dar al Kufr and Dar al Islam.
Thirdly, from a logistical and political perspective in light of Maqasid ash Shar’iah.
The Hijra Fatwa From The Fiqhi Perspective
Initially, the call to hijra assumes that one is incapable of practicing the essentials of Islam, is not free to do so or fears for safety and or the corruption of his religion in the current land he resides in. For the most part Muslims living in the West are more empowered to: practice Islam, by openly believing in Allah (swt) , openly, establish Salah, fast Ramadan, pay Zakat and go to Hajj.
The difficulty of applying traditional juristic opinions is present in both East and West except that in the East there is a lack of economy and political freedom nor is there a rule of law. So the recourse to Fiqh of minorities is not a legitimate cause for demandingHijra when in fact it is a means to contextual practice in light of Shar’iah itself and current socio-political realities.
According to Imam al-Mawardi (r) as narrated by Shaikh Uthman Dan Fudi (r) (who was very pro-hijra):he who can establish his Deen in the lands of the non-Muslim ought not leave, for it may be the case that abiding therein he may aid Islam and others become Muslim.
(The validity of quoting Mawardi’s opinion through Shaikh Uthman Dan Fudi al Maliki (r) is because the Shaikh contextualized this matter illustrating fiqh along with narration.)
He also related some other points which are necessary for our understanding of this matter in other than a superficial matter. [As for those who revert to Islam in the lands of disbelief]…their Islam is sound because migration was only necessary for the soundness of a person’s Islam before the opening of Makka. It is said that migration was obligatory before the conquest of Makka due to the fear that the unbelievers would corrupt the Deen of those who had become Muslims.
What we learn from Imam Mawardi is that if a person is capable of practicing his Deen with his family and engaging in da’wah then that abode becomes for that person Dar al Islam.!
The juristic rationale or the aim of the Shar’iah in legislating hijra is to preserve a person’s Deen and to save one from corruption and oppression. It may be the case that making hijra from the West to the East does not enable one to further practice Islam but instead affords one the comfort of cultural practices influenced by Islam rather than a qualitative practical implementation of Deen.
The Hijra Fatwa From The Perspective Of Dividing The World Into Dar al Islam and Dar al Kufr
Dividing the world into Dar al Kufr and Dar al Islam as noted by Allamah Ibn Bayyah (h) and Allamah Taha Jabir (h) is a political characterization of the world which is not grounded in textual evidence. As Dr. Taha Jabir al Alwani (r) related: ” it rather is a political characterization that emerged by way of the Hanafi Imam Muhammad Ibn Hasan ash Shaybani (r) who was asked by the Khalifa in his age what is the state of the world. So he responded by declaring there is Dar al Islam and Dar al Kufr. This classification of the globe later penetrated juristic literature and was treated as absolute despite its unfoundedness in textual evidence.”
Many leading scholars today are instead turning to another classification which is found in works such as Shaikh al Azhar al Ameer’s (r) Hashiyah on Jawhara at Tawhid. The world is divided in this system as peoples.
(a.) The People of Da’wah (those who are potential da’wah candidates)
(b.) The People of Response (those who are Muslims , who have responded to the Islamic call)
This later categorization is much more favorable in a “globalized world” demanding interdependence and the recognition of a multicultural existence and speaks more in the spirit of Islam and serves its cause more than the first categorization. Henry Kissinger once said that Islam is incapable of functioning in the world predicated upon its war mode which is rooted in dividing the world into two parts Dar al Islam and Dar al Kufrthe second being an abode in which war must be waged against the infidel. Despite the fact the Kissinger was the author of the phrase “War is the source of everything.”
There is an intent media bias postured to establish that Islam is incapable of dealing with current realities, is medievalish, against freedom and violent and totalitarian. The categories of Imam Muhammad Hasan (r) no longer serve the cause of Islam in da’wahor otherwise, in fact there is no empire to be termed Dar al Islam there are only nation states most of which are governed by secular legal apparatuses which tilt to towards repression.
This notion of Dar al Islam and Dar al Kufr gives the reader the impression that the Muslim world is a confederation of States governed by Islamic law and courts and is occupied by institutions which facilitate Islamic law and ethics in society, culture and economy. This in fact, is a false characterization of the Muslim world which is plagued by secularism with the exception of a few instances
The Hijra Fatwa from a logistical and political perspective in light of Maqasid ash Shar’iah
In light of the Hijrafatwa we must ask some critical questions pertinent to the well being of those who may opt to make Hijra which may be in the best interest of some individuals.
Is it the case that there is an Islamic State capable of handling mass migration today, incorporating migrants economically and politically and affording the migrant the rights of citizenship and repatriation?
Is this the case, on the ground, in fact?
The irresponsibility of the some of the scholars in recent times in issuing this fatwa has led to effects which are not other than harmful.
Shar’iah teaches us to think holistically and strategically and to realize the greater good as qualified byShar’iah itself while considering the local realities of which we suffer.
I will speak only as a Muslim American. If a Muslim will migrate from America, for instance, to a Muslim land the first thing we ought ensure is that migration takes place for the sake of ensuring the practice of Islam, safeguarding his or her family, and economic empowerment.
We ought not believe that there is an imaginary second homeland standing patiently to be a host society awaiting the coming of Muslim minorities. This is quite foolish. Political criticisms aside but what we see in the Muslim world is a nightmare as regards social planning and further a disaster in the establishment of social justice and civil rights much less a mature practice of Islam. Muslims are the least bit infallible despite being entrusted with the purity of revelation and this translated into social realities in which the non-citizen is treated as a second class citizen deprived of rights and equality politically and economically. A fiqh that does not look to empower people is a fiqh that is not in sync with Islam. This we ought keep before us without compromise.
As Imam al Akbar, Shaikh al Azhar Imam Maraghi (r) said: “Bring to me that which benefits the people and I will make clear to you the proof for it in Islam.”
So here we might ask: What real benefit is it to call the people to hijra and not offer solutions as to the hows of hijra or to what land they ought go? We are literally seeing more and more Muslims both men and women and children destroy themselves and their families predicated upon the following of irresponsiblefatwa.
Another question we might ask despite the tone of the question is: Is it the case that Saudia Arabia, Syria or Jordan is prepared to incorporate Western Muslims and assist them to have dignified lives under the law? These are the countries of residence in which the scholars who have reissued the hijrafatwa have resided or reside.
There has to be some coming to account for calling the people to destruction. If one is capable of makinghijra to preserve one’s Deen and live a dignified existence than so be it. On the other hand the right of disclosure demands that people be informed that one is often moving in most cases from one set of problems to another and it is not the case that one’s Deen is always preserved. Any desire to make hijramust be studied and charted.
In the line of the right of disclosure it must also be said that the Muslim world is not composed of States governed by Shar’iah but rather most Muslim countries are governed by a repressive implementation of secular law although they may proclaim Islam as a source of legal inspiration.
Despite what was said we must reconsider that it is the case that the Muslim minority has more rights and access to justice in the West and is more in a position to practice Islam than in most Muslim countries. The Muslim world has not solved the Palestinian refugee problem nor the situation of the Kurds. So are we to believe it is in a position to incorporate the large minority Muslim population residing in the West?
This post is in no way an character attack on the people of knowledge but it is a call to be responsible forlegal responsa (fatawaa) issued on the matter of hijra. In no way is it right for the Muslim community in the West to allow fatwa coming from the East to undermine the well being of members of our community nor put people at risk in the name of Islam. The burden of Hijra to date has been placed upon individuals and family and has not been a matter handled by the community of export nor the receiving land.
Hijrawhen made to Habasha was a strategic move coordinated, encouraged and carried out under the guidance of the leadership of the Muslims (the Prophet Muhammad (saw)). He looked to see what land the Muslims would go to and he ensured it was a place wherein there was justice and in which the Deen of Islam could be practiced and Muslims aimed to go there as a community. Withing that land they looked after one another. Is it the case that those Ulema who demand hijra today are looking after and tending to the needs of those they have demanded to make hijra?
Are people being looked after and tended to. In most cases Muslims from the West are finding that the practice of Islam is predicated upon personal exertion rather than environmental support. If one is to makehijra for the sake of securing one’s Deen then that person must ensure he can provide for his life in order to practice Deen then he must look to see if it is the case that Deen can be preserved in truth rather than form, then he must see if he can preserve his family. It may be the case, that one can neither practice nor maintain oneself but becomes an economic liability in a weak economy devoid of a social welfare net and incapable of offering one a decent job. If we are going to tell people to uproot as people connected to knowledge then we must also aid them in the reconstruction of life if only in advice and indication. But to advise hijra and a person leaves his home in America to go to the East and live in the path of harm (health wise, economically, family wise) or as a rogue violating the law of the land (being an illegal alien) then we must say that the viability of going with the fatwa of hijra has come into question as it violates the aims of the Shar’iah itself that it claims to preserve. We can not call the community of Muslims in the West to destruction in the name of hijra particularly when there is no host country willing to incorporate Muslims. So the burden of hijra falls on the individual rather than it being a shared burden as it was in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). Muslims in the West are obliged to engage the path of self determination as there is no where to turn except to Allah (swt) and then to themselves. After all the talk of Hijra to the East seems out of sync given that a significant percentage of Muslims are looking to make Hijra to the West. It is hoped that those who are swayed by the Hijrafatwa make a beneficial and informed decision which is empowering rather than emotional and whimsical.
Wa Allahu Al’am