Muslim Hijrah or Emigration
IV. Muslim Hijrah or Emigration
The New Muhajirun (Emigres)
Muslims from the Near East and other parts of the Muslim world began to emigrate to the West in the last quarter of the previous century. Their purpose was similar to that of other immigrants; namely, escape from undesirable conditions in the old country and search for fortune in the new. Among the oldest immigrants who lived in groups and succeeded in preserving their identity, are the Muslims communities of Cedar Rapids (Iowa), Detroit (Michigan), Edmonton (Alberta) and London (Ontario), in North America; of London and Liverpool in the United kingdom; of Paris, Marseilles, Rotterdam and Naples in Western Europe. Muslims communities established in England, France, Italy and the Netherlands a permanent presence of themselves as coming from countries suffering under the colonial yoke of these European states. The Balkans, where the Ottoman Empire was receding; Aden, which British, rule had made an open road stop to the ships of the world; and Syria – Lebanon, where political unrest and administrative instability were at their highest, were the other sources from which the immigrants to America and western Europe came.
The period between the two world wars saw a large number of immigrants from every corner of the Muslims world to the imperial capitals and industrial towns of Europe. The same period witnessed considerable immigration to North America from Syria – Lebanon, the Balkans, both Russia, Caucasia and Turkey, where was an influx of Muslims from the British Commonwealth countries into which Muslims had first emigrated in pursuit of service with British forces. Very few Muslims came to study in America since domination of their homelands by Britain, France and Italy made it imperative for them to study in the colonizing countries.
It was after World War II that Muslim immigrants began to arrive in all Western countries in significant numbers. Independence from colonialism and ascendancy of Western culture attracted Muslim students from everywhere. Their protracted stay and free mixture with fellow students and community, and the opportunities for study-cum-work programmes, paved the way for them to change status or to return as immigrants if conditions at home proved to be less than expected. The failure of national governments to provide opportunities for employment and or advancement, to solve chronic problems whether economic or political; and their tyrannical police oppression provided further impetus to professionals and to the educated to emigrate. The desire to improve the quality of life and the promise of good fortune in the West certainly played an important role. More important, however, was the near total bankruptcy of Muslim political regimes. That bankruptcy was evident at the moral, spiritual, civilizational, educational, economic, social and political levels. It is not surprising that most post – independence regimes in the Muslim world were caricatures of Western models, whether democratic or dictatorial; that their social, political and economic ideals were caricatures of democracy, national integration and social justice. One and all, these regimes were proper instruments of now-colonialism, whether deliberately or otherwise. Their essential disease was their separation from Islam the only ideal capable of moving and inspiring the masses. Nationalism, Secularism, Democracy, Socialism and Communism are all impotent, and provide no cause worthy of the Muslim’s idealism. They are unable to command the loyalty of Muslims, and can furnish no internal energy to push the Muslim to self-exertion, or to hold him back in face of temptation. Such would have been provided by Islam and the iman-quality it develops and requires as base and criterion. But Islam was deliberately neglected — indeed combated — by the said regimes.
Awareness of this bankruptcy flashed in the minds of Muslims in consequence of the dissolution of the Syrian-Egyptian union in 1961, the Pakistani-Indian war of 1965, the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, and the Cent upheaval in Indonesia. The despair into which these debacles plunged the Muslim world vented itself in massive emigration to North America and other Western countries. In 1968, the Government of Egypt declared emigration legal and free. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim professionals and elite arrived in North America and Western Europe after these dates, constituting a real Muslim ‘brain drain’. More recently, the upheaval in Iran sent several hundred thousand people into exile in the west.
Today, immigrant Muslims in North America number about three million. One fifth of them are here temporarily, as students and visitors; the remainder as permanent residents. In Europe, besides the Balkans, where some ten to fifteen million Muslims are native, about ten million have established themselves as permanent residents or guest- labourers. Most of the latter category have little or no skills and hence occupy the lowest echelons of the social hierarchy. Nonetheless, the majority are strongly committed to Islam. Their children, who are growing up as Europeans can, if they preserve their faith and wake up to its strength and potential, bring about a significant difference in the religious life of Europe.
The Un-Islamic Emigré Mentality
Muslim immigrants have come to America and other western shores to study or to seek livelihood and opportunity for professional advancement. In most cases, they are beggars at the Western altar of knowledge; or receivers at those of Western affluence and economic development. This is not a foreigner’s judgement; but the way Muslim immigrants see themselves. To see themselves in this light is typical of the mentality of immigrants.
The “immigrant” mentality stands no two necessary assumptions; a country and culture a quo bankrupt, despised, hated, forsaken, left behind; and a country and culture ad quem, awesome, superior, admired and desired but not yet appropriated or mastered, distant and inappropriate. That is why the immigrant’s mind remains ‘immigrant’ for at least one generation until the memory of the old country and culture has completely faded away and the new generation has little or no experiential contact with it, whether directly or through their parents, if these have transplanted it into the new country and maintained it in ghetto – like isolation. That is also why the immigrant is necessarily a parasite to the country that adopts him, regardless of his productiveness. Whether such production is physical or professional, the immigrant’s labour is an arithmetical addition to the country’s production. His contribution merely increases what is already there, even if it consists of pure research in a laboratory or library. That he has fitted himself into it is the assumption of his employment, and the guarantee of his success. The immigrant’s adjustment to his adoptive country and culture signifies this recognition of and acquiescence to the latter’s superiority. The immigrant may be able to invent a new way of doing things or solving problems. But as to ability to turn the country and its culture to a radically new, the immigrant has none. Ex hypothesi he is devoid of other horizons, incapable of rising above the country and its culture to a vantage point from which to see other horizons. For, as immigrant, he is of the old country though presently not from the new country though not quite of it. The adoptive country accepts him with its hopes pinned on his children; or better, grandchildren. In himself, he is a liability; at best, mere material or instrument for its own predetermined march.
Is this what the Muslim muhajirun are? Many of them indeed are precisely that. Their country needs not to bemoan their forsaking it; and their culture is not one iota the poorer because of their loss. On the other hand, North America or the West has no reason to celebrate their immigration. Their contribution – nay, existence within its boundaries – is but a matter of statistics. Western culture has no reason to rejoice at their joining its camp because, incapable of critical outlook of it as a totality – contribution to it by whatever creative talent they may possess is forever closed.
The Terrible Price of Emigration
The “Brain Drain”: Viewed in themselves, those developments in the Muslim world which led to the emigration of Muslims from the homelands of their birth cannot be regarded except as a tragic disaster. Consider that doctor or engineer! How many Muslim babies have to be born, how many have to be nursed and sustained, how many have to be fed and protected while going to elementary and secondary school and college – and how many of these succeed through all these stages sufficiently to enter the professions? How many parents, guardians, governments and institutions have to spend in energy and care, and how much has the ummah to spend of its material resources to send one doctor or engineer to professional school or higher educational institution? In short, how many Muslims have to die — yes, do die! — that one PhD, M.D. or engineer may be produced? Such a final product of inestimable value is the Muslim immigrant whom the Muslim world presents to America or Europe on a silver platter — free, absolutely free of charge! The West itself would have had to spend the same amounts of everything, if not ten times more, to produce such a creature out of its own population. Now it is pouring its ‘human butter’ into the jars of America and Europe, and it is doing so in the constant flow that is known as the ‘brain drain’.
The “brain drain” is the most distressing event in the modern history of the over the world, i.e., of the ummah’s impotence to utilize and benefit from the talents, learning and achievement of its own sons; of its rejection of them because they have enlightened themselves and learned new truths. The educated are precisely those people who learned that an alternative to their country’s those people who learned that an alternative to does exist outside its borders. Hence, they are forced to crush their sense of belonging to that country and emigrate. What a heinous crime on the part of government to declare its frontiers open for its own sons to cross in search of livelihood, freedom and justice. The frontier of the Islamic state should see nothing but the reverse traffic. Being the concretization of justice, light and freedom as well as affluence, it should be the non – Muslim non – citizens who seek to enter it and live in because it has instantiated the values of Islam. Nothing is uglier than moral bankruptcy but the acknowledgement of bankruptcy without doing anything to change it. Indeed, many repressive Muslim governments around the world rejoice that by permitting — nay, encouraging — emigration, they have gotten rid of a turbulent element in their societies.
The advocates of dawah see in this massive emigration of ‘brains’ from the Muslim world to the Western, a God-sent blessing and boost for the international da’wah effort. There is no doubt that the ‘brainy’ émigré is the best recruit for dawah work overseas, that he is a God-sent blessing to the host country; but only if he undergoes the identity crisis and transforms himself radically into a caller. From the standpoint of the ummah, however, he is a permanent and tragic loss. The gain to the one and the loss to the other are not equal. The loss is far greater. In this period of decay and ideological subversion, the ummah can ill afford to lose any of its talented sons. It desperately needs these sons and daughters to reform and reconstruct its institutions. If the best and strongest da’wah for Islam is the uswah hasanah, then the present state of the ummah is the worst anti-dawah example. No society would collectively anywhere present today. It is to this task of reshaping the ummah that the talents of the Muslim youth ought to be directed. The uswah hasanah of a successful, truly Islamic society would more than outweigh the advantages of the emigrant brains to the da’wah effort.
The Untrained Emigrant: The same loss to the ummah occurs even if the emigrant had received little or no higher education. The fact that he has been restless in his society, entertaining ambitions for a brighter future, and possessed of such spiritual force and energie – vitale to venture into the unknown in search of better fortune, is evidence of his being made of a different metal, of an all-too-precious, an all-too-scarce metal which is the spice and salt of humanity. For his promise and entrepreneurship, he is just as valuable as the learned. Nature produces his kind at the rate of one in a million. How many billions of geniuses have to combine and recombine to produce his kind? And yet he, too, is given free to the West when he emigrates. Naturally, the West tries its best first to exploit his ‘cheap’ labour by subjecting him to do the hardest work for the least wage, the work which the citizens would normally not do for those wages. Secondly, the kind of life which their meager wage makes possible for them, considering their large families which they have to support in the old as well as the new countries, is one of bare subsistence in the slums of the industrial cities of the West. There, Western civilization as its nethermost grips them with its alcohol and drugs, its materialism and selfishness, its sexual promiscuity, crime and moral license, ravaging their social stability and corroding their consciences. In these circumstances, the advocates of the Christian church, rejected by their own western elites, approach the Muslim deracine with their missionary bait. Not that they are truly concerned about his miserable plight and seek to change it, but that they offer it to dampen and silence his rebelling conscience, to cause him to resign to his sad fate as that of a humanity waiting to be ransomed by a crucified god. The secular forces of Western society do the rest for his children. Television and the media, the ‘ghetto’ companions and ‘ghetto’ culture, the public school and its culture, succeed in de-Islamizing those children and separating them once and for all from their ummah, their old country, their tradition — in short, from Islam.
These millions of Muslim ‘guest-workers’, as they are contemptuously called by the Europeans, may for this generation provide their mother country with a fair amount of foreign exchange. But that is short – lived; for it is dependent upon the feeling of belonging and attachment of the emigrant to his ancestral home. This feeling does not stronger but weaken as time passes, and is nearly absent altogether in the young who grow up in the new country. On the other hand, the ‘guest – workers’ may prove beneficial to the West, bound to multiply itself in the future. However, the ignorance, low social status and miserable conditions of Muslim workers can hardly be said to constitute an uswah hasanah worthy of emulation by the Western peoples. Moreover, the Western countries have been careful not to grant citizenship status to the ‘guest – workers’ or to their offspring’ and to accept them on the clear condition that their country origin would take them back should the Western host country decide to terminate their value for the dawah effort very questionable. The loss the ummah sustains in the brain – washing of themselves and of their children offsets the material gain from their earnings, and nihilates their value for dawah.
The Lost-Found Muhajirun: The Afro–Americans
If the origin of the Islam presence in North America is still speculative, the settlement of African Muslims in North America in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. The fall of Andalusia to European power was a cataclysm for millions of Muslim. It is indeed probable that some of them who had fallen captive to Spanish power might have constituted the first human cargoes shipped to America. It is equally probable that those who were unable to cope with the cataclysm might have volunteered to travel to the unknown. Of such events we have not heard of any record. Later on, as sugar plantations in the Caribbean Basin and the Southern United States demanded more and more hands to work them, the Spaniards, the Dutch, the French, the English and finally the Americans, began a hunt and seize humans for sale in the slave markets of the New World. There can be little doubt that some of these unfortunates were Muslim; for we know that by 1600 a large proportion of Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea were Muslims.
The climate of slavery was not one in which the Muslim muhajir-malgre lui could perpetuate his religion or culture. A different religious practice by the slave would have been regarded by the slave master as a threat, as defiance and insubordination. That is why the masters systematically eradicated the cultural and religious inheritance of their slaves and implanted their own in them. They gave the slaves their own names, forced them into their own faith, and rejoiced in seeing in them the reflection of themselves. It was sufficient that his old identity was obliterated. As to the new identity, if he failed to realize it, the failure was, from the master’s point of view, natural because the slave was an Untermensch. Unfortunately, nothing is known about these early Muslims in America. Perhaps, some of their practices might have survived in Afro-American traditions; or, having affected those traditions, they may still be deducible from them.
There have been conversions to Islam among these ‘lost’ muhajirun from West Africa prior to the thirties, when Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) launched his movement. Their numbers, however, were small; and their effect upon the Islamic presence in North America was scant. The first native American to bring significant change upon that presence was Elijah Muhammad. It was he who began in the thirties to call the Afro – Americans to abandon the identity imposed upon them as slaves and return to their original Muslim African identity. His call spread rapidly among them and assumed visible proportions in the ghettos of American cities. The headquarters in Chicago became a beehive of administrators, public relations officers, business entrepreneurs and preachers. The appearance of Malcolm X (1925 -65) on the scene, his rebellion against Elijah Muhammad following his conversion to Sunni Islam in Makkah, and his assassination –- all these helped the Islamic movement to grow. The demise of Elijah Muhammad and the Sunni reforms of his son Warith al-Din Muhammad, have relaxed the discipline and done away with the paramilitary youth organization, “Fruit of Islam”. The vigour and enthusiasm are still the same, proportionate to the Muslims’ capacities, and to the challenges. If anything, the movement is growing in numbers, in consciousness, in understanding of, and attachment to, the genuine ideals of Islam.
Although no adequate statistics are available, Native American Muslims number about two million. One and a half million belong to the world community of Islam in the West (recently renamed “The American Muslim Mission”) . About half a million Afro-Americans are Muslims and belong to various other organizations, mostly Sunni. About 5000 white Native Americans have joined the ranks of Islam.
The Afro-Americans who responded favorably to Elijah Muhammad’s call did not do so out of their once-upon-a-time attachment to Muslim African identity. The memory of that identity had been blotted out of their minds by the passing centuries. The motivation for their re – entry into Islam came directly from the appeal of Islam, and from the latter was the corresponding subjective factor; the ideals of Islam, the external objective stimulus. It is the analysis of these factors that an understanding of their movement can be reached. The same factors were also operative in other Afro-Americans, as well as in white Americans who were introduced to Islam by Muslim students, immigrants or visitors.
V. The Muhajir as Instrument of Da’wah
The Muhajir’s Awakening Through Fire
Allah has His own designs. Even the most adverse conditions could be used by His cause. He has committed Himself to give it victory over its enemies. Certainly, the estrangement of the muhajir on the emotional, cultural, social and religious fronts and his suffering of separation form home and kin, are the worst degradation, the greatest hardship to which he could be subjected without a doubt, the Hijrah is the hardest fate to befall anyone. Its devastation is neither bodily nor economic, but psychic. Yet in its darkest hour of tribulation and anguish, Allah injects the light of Islam which fills the muhajir with optimism, confidence and strength. The muhajir may have come as an immigrant in search of Western knowledge, process, he undergoes an “identity crisis”, a shattering of his self image due to the radical changes his immigrant status in the alien world has brought upon him. Is he the same person he has become? Did he betray his religion, culture, legacy, country and family tradition? What would he say were he to meet again his parents and ancestors? In his agonizing travail over such questions, the Muslim muhajir to the West can follow either one of two, and only two, courses: he can wipe out from his consciousness all memory of the old country, and plunge deeper into the already radical change he has undertaken. Although this is extremely difficult to perform and may cause him to lead a life constantly tormented by his conscience, there are those who succeed in follow either one of two, and only two, courses: He can wipe out from his consciousness all memory of the old country, and plunge deeper into the already radical change he has undertaken. Although this is extremely tormented by his conscience, there are those who succeed in following it. Or, he may awaken to a fuller recognition of Islam, of his religion and cultural tradition. The vision of Islam is then recaptured, this time with all its glow and brilliance. It is a new birth, a genuine transfiguration after immersion in tragedy. The vision of Islam is again ‘in’ his eyes, to see and to nourish with all the benefits of his new – world knowledge and experience. It is immaterial that his awakening has come late in life, or that it has come only at the challenge of the new culture. It takes a rubbing stone to prove the gold present in piece of ore; but that does not change its golden nature, nor its golden capacity to shine forth with proper prophylaxis. Once the Islamic vision is recaptured, a radically new world and one’s role in it, is obtained. A new life, with a genuinely new sun, or centre of light, is now open to him who releases energies in him hitherto unknown and propels him into the thick of the west, there to transform it and transfigured. He has become a person with a cause’. How does Islamic consciousness achieve this?
First, the new Islamic Vision removes all consciousness of guilt which the muhajir may have felt at having emigrated and as it were, forsaken the country of his birth. By making him personally responsible for the unfavorable temporal circumstances which led to his decision to emigrate, and blaming him if he suffered their continuation sitting idly by, Allah incited him to take his fate into his own hands and alter it radically by emigration, if the road to a radical transformation of his country and its circumstances was blocked (Qur’an, al–Nisa’ 4:97-8). The bitter evil which of has tortured him in now perceived as an instrument, a link in a chain of divinely – ordained events, leading to the new transformation or hidayah.
Second, the Islamic Vision removes all consciousness of guilt which the muhajir feels at his success in the new station. Many successful muhajir are overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude to their adoptive country, which they seek to gratify by extraordinary acts of generous giving. Far more serious is the realization, implied in such guilt – feeling, of the absolute goodness and superiority of the new station in the person’s total experience. The Islamic Vision wipes out this feeling (and its undesirable implication as well) by convincing the muhajir that the success in not his, but God’s grant to him, his success is innocent and free, perfect halal which he may appropriate, possess and enjoy in good conscience (Qur’an, al–Fath 48:18-20). Indeed, the Islamic Vision opens the muhajir’s mind to a new vista of opportunities for greater success by its teaching that the whole world is his basic needs, but also of his need for comfort, pleasure, joy and even (Qur’an, al–Mulk 67:15; al–Anfal 8:26).
Third, the Islamic Vision lays before the eyes of the immigrant a new challenge and a new promise, by imposing upon him the duty to call all non – Muslims to Islam, and reminding him that in his word as well as in his deed, he is obliged to be the witness of God on earth, His vicegerent who establishes the institutions of Islam and makes God’s word and judgement supreme. In North America, and the West generally, there is so much atheism, so much abnegation of religious truth, so much rejection of the most fundamental tenets of Judaism and Christianity, so much skepticism, as to arouse and shake the least sensitive religious conscience. The person endowed with the Vision of Islam cannot witness the scene with indifference. Sooner or later, he must come to the realization that his Hijrah from his land of birth, permitted and arranged by God and made by Him successful through re–establishment in the new land, were links in a nexus of purposes leading to his new assignment as “caller to God”. His is a new task whose fulfilment awaits him as a new glory, a completion of his faith, a discharge of the most sacred duty, a testament unto history. Hasn’t God sent him to his new ‘Madinah’ that he may freely call the people to the truth? That he may, by his eloquence, his uswah hasanah or good example, and by his ‘greater jihad’ convince mankind of the truth that God is God, Ultimate Cause and Ultimate End, Sole Creator and Master, Whose Commandments are before all humans to be obeyed.
Fourth, the Islam Vision provides the muhajir with the criterion with which to understand, judge and seek to transform the unfortunate realities of North America and the West. Here are whole continents lending themselves to alcohol and drugs, to sexual promiscuity and exploitation, to family destruction and individualism, to cynicism and pessimism, to racism and discrimination, to the rape of Mother Nature, to political and economic imperialism against the rest of humanity. Certainly, these continents are groaning with pain, and crying out for help which only the person with the Vision of Islam can give. For such a one is the only person professing as well as living a categorical No! to all these evils at once, the only one whose ‘No’ is backed up by the strongest arguments, the most persuasive evidence, the longest history, and the greatest achievement of success at implementation.
Fifth, the Islamic Vision provides the muhajir with the deepest love, attachment and aspiration for a “North America” or “West” reformed and returned to God, to carry forth His Message and law unto mankind, in this and all other spaces. Nothing would be greater than these youthful, vigorous and resourceful peoples of the West turning away from their past evil and marching forward under the banner of Allahu Akbar ! And none could be more motivated to bring this about, to serve this noble cause with all his energies and to lay down his life for it, than the person with the Vision of Islam. Above all, the Islamic Vision provides the orientation necessary for the health and sanity of the West, namely, the subjection of the life of its peoples to the moral law; of their corporate and political conduct to peace and justice, to international assistance and cooperation with the victims of injustice and poverty everywhere. The Islamic Vision enables the West to increase its mastery and usufruct of nature, but disciplines it with responsibility to God for nature – His gift, and to the generations of the future –- the other creatures of God who a new destiny worthy of it. For this renovation of itself, of its spirit, for its rediscovery of a God–given mission and self–dedication to its pursuit, the West cannot but be grateful to the muhajir with Islam Vision. It cannot but interpret his advent on its shores except as a God – sent gift, a timely divine favour and mercy. It will not fail to recognize in the New World, who ran away from oppression and tyranny seeking a haven where they would remould their lives under God, seek His Bounty and raise high His banner.
Sixth, the Islamic Vision provides the muhajir, as well as the native convert, with a sense of mission. A new calling stirs them from their complacency and spiritual lethargy. Their life is infused with a new meaning, a new before the Vision of Islam has taken possession of them, they were natural and an instrument for processes of history which they did not understand, let alone control, now they are subjects of these processes, orienting them towards greater goals. They are people with a cause, with the noblest cause! As such, they are entitled to respect above all by their own selves, and certainly by their hosts whom they can now define better than the latter can, and whose goals in history and ultimate destiny they can better articulate.
Da’wah: The Only Justification for Hijrah
Whether temporary or permanent resident, highly educated or merely enterprising immigrant or native, black or white, the Muslim in America and Western Europe has but one justification-Islam! Without it, he is the most despicable of all. His material success avails him nothing in this regard. But how does Islam justify him?
The Temporary student. No Muslim has the right to come to America or to Europe as a student unless he regards himself as the last member of his species, and successfully completes all the duties incumbent upon him under this vision. As a last member of his species -– i.e., as the student to be sent by the Muslim world to the West –- Islam prescribes for him to learn all and everything there, to the end of making available to the ummah requires to satisfy the ummah’s needs of that branch of knowledge. In this way, the ummah’s need to send another Muslim to learn the same knowledge would be obviated, and the student in question has fulfilled the vision of his being the last member of his own species. His expatriation was a one – shot operation. No Muslim student would be justified in coming to the West for a partial fulfillment to be repeated by successive generations of Muslims without implying that the Muslims are incapable or unworthy of that knowledge. If the student is personally incapable of achieving this goal, then the expense the ummah incurs in sending him is futile and a more capable candidate should have been sent in his place. Allah will not bless a people who entrust commissions to his people not prepared to carry them out. Moreover, the Muslim student in the West who is not in fact the last member of his spirit. How can he stand the thought that under Peter the Great (1672-1725), Russia sent her sons to study in Western Europe but they proved to be the last of their species, so that after the Red Revolution, no more students were sent and all the learning of Western Europe became Russia’s? The same is true of Japan whose sons have surpassed the West in their science, technology and productivity. And the same phenomenon repeated itself before our eyes in contemporary China. Why may the Muslim not do likewise? Since Muhammad Ali (1769- 1849), Egypt has sent generation after generation of students to study in Western institutions – without shame! Worse yet, and tragically so, is the fact that the educational standards of Egypt are of the lowest in the world, deteriorating far below the days when Egypt was a British colony. Why? Because, simply, the student and the teacher are both devoid of iman, devoid of that Islam determination to seek knowledge for Allah’s sake – and hence, perfectly, absolutely and completely.
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058 – 1111) concluded his advice to the learning youth with the following universal truth. We sought knowledge for a purpose other than God’s. But knowledge itself refused to be so sought. There would, therefore, be no wonder that the wisdom sought for other purposes than God’s (money, prestige , egotistic advantage) refuses to be so sought and fools its pursuer. Today, as far as educational policy is concerned, the crown of un-Islamic is worn not by Egypt, but by the oil – rich countries who send their sons to the West by the score and at the most tender age, without the least notion of, not to speak of commitment to, Islam’s ideals. The casualty rate among them should to, not only the number of people who do not graduate, but also all those who suffer brain – washing during their expatriation, become Westernized and forsake the values of Islam. Moreover, the countless millions they spend on their students in the West could well finance the most sophisticated universities, libraries and laboratories in their own Muslim lands, if only their leaders had the vision for developing such institutions. Instead of seeking out the brains and talents wherever in the Muslim world they may be, the oil–rich countries fill the responsible positions with their own nationals even if they have limited capabilities. No wonder then that their universities have the lowest standards, despite their astronomical budgets. They are doomed always to depend upon the West for education. The greatest part of their funds is spent on grandiose building projects, on oversize inefficient bureaucracies, and temporary hospitality for an excessive number of expert guests, while their professors have neither offices to house their books, tutor their students, nor conduct research.They suffer from meager salaries, and find no encouragement for their safeguarding of the academic standards of their students. Anxious to show their superiors quick, quantitative results, the administrators want everybody to graduate and receive a diploma. University libraries are unable to provide the research services. Libya’s much–proclaimed and tempting Madinat al–Ilm project, for example, and the University of Riyadh’s Al–Majlis al–Ilmi have not yet achieved anything worth mentioning, eight years after their foundation
The Permanent Resident. As immigrant to the West, whether highly trained or merely enterprising, the Muslim has no right to continue his Hijrah. He is murtaziq, a mercenary, who has forsaken the ummah in pursuit of an egotistic advantage. His rizq (material benefit) is nothing but the crumbs which fall from the Western table and which he devours without shame. For he gives nothing in return. He only receives. The professional or entrepreneurial service he renders to America or the West is only a quantitative increase of their wealth, a mere addition. It is of no significance to the West as such, which, a can do without it just as well. Though some humans are born beggars, the position of such Muslim is intolerable. The Qur’anic permission to emigrate and strike out in the world seeking better fortune (al–Nisa 4:96) does not apply to them. For, although they are indeed hard – pressed at home and need to change their living circumstances, they forfeit that right by giving it priority over Islam. The Muslim is not free to undertake the Hijrah if it constitutes, they forfeit that right by giving it priority over Islam. The Muslim is not free to undertake the Hijrah if it constitutes a net loss to the ummah. There must be some other activity or consideration coupled with the Hijrah to make it beneficial to the ummah, along with its benefit to the muhajir. The Mulim emigrant in America or Europe who is only and purely a murtaziq runs the double risk of abnegating his religious duties and of his children growing up as non–Muslims. These risks are near certainties when, as the hypothesis indicates, the person’s Hijrah is solely and purely for mercenary reasons. It is otherwise with the muhajir who may have undertaken his Hijrah for similar reasons but who has awakened to Islam through the fire of shock, alienation and self – contempt, or who has undertaken his Hjirah for Islamic reasons, which is rare. Such a person is a da’iyah to Allah, a caller of men to God, to His cause of truth and justice, of virtue and beauty.
Certainly, such awakening or motivation, whether pre– or post–migration, justifies the muhajir and ennobles his Hijrah. The rizq which befalls to him as a result of his emigration is innocent person loses no opportunity to call his fellow humans to God.His life as an individual, father, spouse, or friend is lived as an exemplification of his spiritual calling. It is one of the instantiations he uses in his call, along with logic and reasons the instantiations of values in his life or that of others, to energize and move the hearts and minds of the called. For once he becomes Islamically aware, it is necessary for him to relate himself to his un–Islamic surroundings by active Islamization or da’wah. Da’wah, the call to Islam, is inherent in Islamic consciousness. The consciousness determined by Islam cannot but seek to increase in piety and service the humans with whom it comes into contact where these, also, are already determined by Islam. When those humans are not Muslim, the obligation to bring Islam to them is a fortiori.
Da’wah to non–Muslims becomes under the Islam Vision an absolute necessity. Awareness of God is awareness of ultimate reality and knowledge of His will is knowledge of the summum bonum. The good or value is moving and demands to be actualized. It is a self – contradiction to claim to know the good and to be unconcerned about its actualization. The Muslim daiyah is, therefore, acting under a necessity that is rational.
Equally, da’wah is the noblest charity of which the Muslim is capable. Allah has assigned to it the highest order of rank among the ethical virtues. He said: ‘And, who is nobler of speech than he who called (men) to God, who does the good deeds and affirms this as his Islamic action? (Qur’an, Fussilat 41:33). Having found the ultimate good, what is noble than being willing to share it with one’s fellow men? To argue that da’wah is an invasion of one’s fellows’ lives which belong exclusively to them is sheer insensitivity to their fate; and, in fact, in can proceed from a person who has never been touched by the good. The person who has cannot, without compromising his very experience, stop himself from making his experience known to others. For it is equally axiomatic that value is to be realized, and that the realization of value in space and time is also a value.
VI. Da’wah and World Order
There have been empires before the Hijrah; and many emperors sought to bring the world under their dominion. The pre–Hijrah empire – builders had an idea of world order which brought mankind and the four corners of the world under the sway of one power system. They may also have thought of converting mankind to one religion – their own. The process by which the world empire was to be built was conquest; and intolerance. The concept of world order in which various human groups are constituent members was not born. Nor was the between human that there could exist a law to govern relations between human groups. Pre–Hijrah history has known numerous cases of one group imposing its law upon other groups as it imposed its gods, customs and power. The scions of the West point proudly to the seventeenth-century Dutch thinker Grotius (1583-1645) who laid down the humblest beginnings of Western international law. Their pride blinds them to the fact that ‘their’ Grotius was inspired by the same seventeenth – which benefited deeply from the epistemology of Islam. And they are utterly ignorant that the upon an immutable law, beyond the tampering of all emperors and power seekers.
The Islam state which the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) founded at the Hijrah was not only a state, but a world order. The political systems which the world had known until then were known to him. The Empire model was embodied in beyond them, seafarers and travelers must have brought accounts of other states living in isolation from the rest of the world. The prophet sought a new definition of man and citizen that neither the empire not tribe into which he is born, or to the land in which he and his parents grew up, is to insult and to degrade him. Far more becoming and dignified for a human is to be identified through the religion or ideology he keeps. Rulers, blood relations, skin colour and property all have their relevance, but that relevance should never figure in the human’s definition. Man is greater than any or all of these elements. It is his vision of reality, his philosophy of life, his perception of the world and history that ought to define and identify him.
First, the covenant of Madinah founded the Islamic individuals who deliberately decided to join it as an organization for mutual help, social order and cooperative pursuit for the benefit all.
Second, the same covenant founded the Islamic state as consisting of a Muslim community and a Jewish community, each of which is autonomous as regards its internal affairs, free to order the live of its members according to its own religious, social and political tradition. It bound both communities to the Islam state whose security must honour in return for the Islamic state’s guaranteeing of the community’s security against its enemies because the overarching state is Islamic, the non – Muslim community members are not obliged to serve in its forces or wage its wars, but are exempt. Should any one of them desire to do so his services cannot be rejected and he must be refunded the jizyah tax he paid for the security of the community guaranteed by the state. This does not mean that the non – Muslim community is not to be called to Islam. But it does mean that, should its members reject the option of Islam, their decision must be honoured and respected by the Islamic state and the Muslim community those who rejected the call – and they were the majority – were constituted by him into a community constitutive of the Islamic state, and free to live as Jews, to enforce the Torah – their law, and to perpetuate their culture under the protection of the Islamic state. This was tremendous step forward for them; for they existed in Arabia only as salient of Arab tribes, and hence as second–class citizens. Overnight, they became as Jews full citizens of the Islamic state.
Third, the Covenant of Madinah founded a new world order. This was not a mere treaty or convention between states, nations or tribes; but a super-state, with a head, a government, an army, a functioning as the instrument of world order. At Muslim ummah and the Jewish ummah. Eight years later, it added a third constituent, the Christian ummah composed of the Christians of Najran. That same year, according to some reports, it welcomed a fourth ummah, the Sabaean Persians. Following the conquests of Persia, India and Central Asia, the Hindu and Buddhist same privileges of membership as the original Muslim and Jewish members. Obviously, the Islamic state was conceived to be the world state entrusted with the task of establishing world peace and maintaining universal order. Islam furnished the law under which world peace and an order of freedom and justice were which world. Tough furnished by Islam, this law of nations is not the law of the Muslim community imposed on everyone, but the rational mechanism for an international order of peace, equality and justice. Unlike modern international law, which recognizes only sovereign states as well as human groups and individuals. Anybody can be a plaintiff or a defendant under it, and justice is without cost so that everyone has access to it.
The world order Islam envisages is one in which humans, wealth and ideas move freely everywhere, in peace. Life, property, and the power to decide one’s own identity and one’s own fate, are sacred, inviolable rights of all. And everybody may choose the ummah to which he belongs, the place of his residence and the work he wishes to do. By virtue of his humanity, everybody may contend in the matter of truth; everybody may join the argument, may convince and be convinced by others as to the truth and value of life and reality. As long as this right is exercise is absolutely free of immorality, it is universal and no power may interfere in its course. But if the exercise is immoral –- i.e. if it involves bribes or threats of any kind, if any element other than the purely ideational is permitted to influence the deciding process of the mind, it becomes vitiated. In that case, it may and should be stopped by the authority responsible for defending society against subversion order and law and expose itself to forceful action by the world state. To build around any group of humans an iron curtain and to isolate it from mankind is an offence against humanity.
To celebrate the Hijrah today is indeed to make it alive for the present, to vergegenwartigung it. Nothing could be more needed and more appropriate and more salutary to this whole world of ours -– sick by any standard because of inter – nation competition for the rape of nature and subjugation of mankind -– that the world order the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) founded fourteen centuries ago. Indeed, Iqamat al–Hijrah today would mean nothing unless the Muslim possessed with the Vision of Islam began in earnest to call his fellow Muslims first, and mankind second, to join the ranks of those who seek a new world order of peace and justice, of piety and virtue.
Allah commands action by argument and by example. May we all prove worthy of His revelation!
Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi
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