Hijrat Defines the Soul of This Deen
Hijrat – migration – always defined the soul of this Deen from the time of Noah and Abraham to the time of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Nooh, Alaihissalaam, was shipped off in an ark to go and found an Islamic colony and civilization in a new and more receptive place. Ibrahim, Alaihisalaam, was made to march back and forth the few miles – or was it a bit more than that, maybe a few thousand – that separated the land of Sham – Syria and Palestine – from the land of Hijaz – Arabia – as if he was taking a stroll down the street.
Musa, Alaihissalaam, was made to wander the four corners of the desert from Egypt to Palestine for years and years before he and his people were allowed to enter the Al-Ardal Muqaddasah on which their name was already written.
And the glorious Deen of Islam under the pristine, culminating and final leadership of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, did not take root in its “birthplace” or “native” soil of Makkah but in the “foreign” land of Madinah where it was transplanted in its late adolescence. Muslims, under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, left Makkah and never looked back.
The name of the game in the Deen of Islam whether during the times of Nooh, Ibrahim or Musa, Alaihisalaam, or during the time of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is Hijrat, which means immigration. All right, call it emigration, with an “e” if you want to make bones about it.
But most certainly “flight” it was not, as the colonialist translators make it out to be.
He became invisible to his would-be assassins as he walked right past them. If he wanted to, he could have made them disappear instead, don’t you think? So, he was not “fleeing,” as your pseudo history books told you, he was walking out in full majesty and glory, right before their eyes. Except that their eyes had been rendered blind so they would not seem him go by.
Musa, Alaihissalam, was not “fleeing” from the forces of Pharaoh. He was laying a trap for them which neither he nor Pharaoh saw and which he himself did not realize. It was part of a meticulous plan to lure Pharaoh to his final reckoning.
What is the matter with you people? Can’t you see? Or think? Islam is for thinking people you know. Can’t you see that seas don’t part for those “fleeing” in panic and fear from their enemies?
Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, was not “fleeing” from the would-be assassins that surrounded his house in Makkah with naked swords. Those who “flee” in fear and confusion, do not pause to pick up a fistful of dust from under their feet and throw it toward the ring of the killer contingent in front of them making it temporarily blind and thus completely neutralizing it.
Hills, caves and rocks do not greet “fleeing” people and offer them their hospitality. Sand dunes do not swallow up the legs of enemy horses when they get too close. Barren goats do not fill their vessels with fresh milk.
What world do we live in, people?
This was no mad dash to escape the enemy. This was no “flight.” This was a most majestic and glorious Hijrat to save the world, including those and the children of those who had turned up to kill him. Migration; immigration; emigration; whatever you prefer. I am not unaware of the distinctions in meaning and connotations, it is just that at this time and in this context they do not really seem to matter.
Here they all mean one simple thing: what was taking place was a carefully and minutely choreographed transplanting of the sapling of Islam in our age and time – starting in the middle of the 7th Century – from its place of birth in Makkah to its new home in Madinah, where it will grow to its fullest height and might, and from where it will cast its shadow of universal love and mercy, justice and equality, freedom and liberty, all around the world – for all people of the world.
That is what was happening.
And that is the nature of this Deen then and now and forever. It is called Hijarat. It is free from a worldly type of Shirk of divided loyalties. It is total focus on the new place and people of adoption. It is complete integration into the local scene and culture, except where they are in direct and fundamental conflict with the core teachings of the Deen itself.
Hijrat is thus inclusive and integrative. It is forward looking and not backward looking. Most of all, Hijrat has its roots in the most basic principle of human equality regardless of race, religion or gender. It is an engine for human liberation and uplift everywhere. It is not a tool for the conquest, domination and exploitation of the weaker sections of humanity anywhere.
Hijrat vs. Colonization: Two Radically Contrasting Cultures
As I said earlier, this is Hijrat, that is, Immigration. Or Emigration, if that is the word you prefer.
It means leaving your hearth and home and moving lock, stock and barrel to become part and parcel of a new land, people and culture. And, thereafter, living the rest of your life sharing their joys and sorrows as well as their triumphs and failures. And working mightily all the time to make life better for them as well as for you.
And for everyone else.
And this stands in sharp contrast to Colonization, which refers to a set of people temporarily leaving their native land, that to them is their “Mother Country,” and then going out and conquering and colonizing others, mostly weaker and less privileged than them, and turning those conquered lands and places into “Colonies” with a view to plunder and exploit them and transfer their wealth and natural resources to the “Mother Country.”