“A man's worth depends upon the nobility of his aspirations.”
-Ali ibn Abu Talib
For Muslims living in the West, the issue of hijra is something of an elephant in the room. Do we belong here, do we not? Reactions to the issue vary from mild indifference to secret embarrassment and tentative agreement. The question is irrelevant to some, as we are here whether we like it or not, whether by our own choice or not, so we must proceed to make the most of it. Surely the Earth belongs to Allah, and as His slaves we can choose wherever we want to live? Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’an,
And Allah hath made the earth a wide expanse for you.
We perhaps convince ourselves that we are indeed here on a noble cause - dawah. The da’ee within us, whether dormant or active, becomes the prime justification for residing in darul kufr, despite the undoubted reality that the vast majority of Muslims in the West not only do not actively give dawah, but do not practice the religion anyway. But migrate to where? Where is darul Islam nowadays? What reasoning do we present to leave the lands where we can practise Islam with relative ease to nations with crippling corruption and infinite social ills? Living in France is no different to living in Tunisia, as both are void of the shari’ah. The picture painted has resulted in first and second generation of Muslims in the West turning into third and soon fourth and fifth, with no change in sight.
It was the superficial understanding of Islam of our parents which led them to abandon the lands where the azaan is heard without fail fives times a day to settle in countries bereft of spirituality and religion. They came for their piece of dunya, perhaps with the intention to go back, but instead settled for segregation and discrimination over the corruption and deprivation of their home lands. It is clear from the shari’ah evidences that our presence in the West should leave us worried indeed:
Lo! As for those whom the Angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves, (the Angels) will ask: In what were ye engaged? They will say: We were oppressed in the land. (The Angels) will say: Was not Allah's earth spacious that ye could have migrated therein? As for such, their habitation will be hell, an evil journey's end.
And the hadith of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم,
“I am not responsible for any Muslim who stays among the Mushrikeen. They asked: Why, Apostle of Allah? He said: Do not take light from their fire.”
Narrated by Jareer bin Abdullah, in Abu Dawood: No. 1530 and 2274
It is clear that the hijra is recommended for all Muslims who have the means to do so. The wisdom of the words of Prophet Muhammad is manifest when we see the declining quality of Islam with each emerging generation born in the West. The mixtures of culture, economics and education have a profound effect on the adab of every Muslim, with an overwhelmingly negative one on Western Believers. Set aside the negative perception of Islam prevalent in Western psyche and the failure of Muslims to rectify this; there is a distinct feeling of helplessness engraved in the minds of Western Muslims confronted with the injustices perpetrated by their governments on the Muslim world. Our citizenships are strained as we see our brothers and sisters under the foot of oppression. We are with them, but we are not.
Have we turned into an Ummah who would seemingly win with the wrong side than lose with the right side? Of course, those in tune with their fitrah will know that there is no winning when you choose the side of kufr. The talent of the Muslims reside in the West, working for their paymasters who on the one hand feed them but with the other hand snatch away the lives of countless Muslims in far-off lands. Our silence is a form of complicity. Our refusal to make hijra is a betrayal. Our parents came here for dunya, leaving us searching akhira. The irony!
There are many who consider the educated and skilled Muslims of the West to be instrumental in re-establishing a unified Ummah. Politically astute, with academia and media expertise, they are but gems of hope we have from an otherwise poor, downtrodden corner of Western society. One of the biggest travesties and perpetual problems of the Muslim world is the loss of talent via migration to the West. Indian doctors, Pakistani lawyers and Arab engineers are a few examples of talent being drained from the Ummah into the gutter of the West. After being here for three or more generations, Muslims have made negligible headway in influencing politics, media or anything else in the public sphere. This is in stark contrast with the Jews, who over the years have excelled to occupy positions of great influence in the highest echelons of Western life. But, they are of course, helpers of each other, as made clear in the Qur’an. This is clearly not a strategy for Western Muslims to emulate.
O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.
And what if this trend was reversed? Muslims with education and entrepreneurial skills swam against the tide back to the Muslim lands? Islam is not an elitist religion, but does not deny the necessity of knowledge to attain success in this world and the hereafter. The famous hadith of Prophet Muhammad
"The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim."
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 74
All knowledge is sacred, whether it be secular (as long as it is useful) or religious. To have such knowledge attained in the West, where the education systems (in secular knowledge) are categorically superior to their Muslim counter-parts could be used to great potency in the Muslim countries. Doctors, engineers, economists, entrepreneurs, lawyers and politicians who return to darul Islam will no doubt have the effect of re-kindling the thirst for knowledge amongst Muslims. Strategies for change could be coherently devised, with an intimate knowledge of Western reactions. If such Muslims are welcomed in the Muslim world, their achievements will command great respect, and have the ability to mobilise Muslims in a way their indigenous brothers and sisters could not.
Whoso migrateth for the cause of Allah will find much refuge and abundance in the Earth, and whoso forsaketh his home, a fugitive unto Allah and His messenger, and death overtaketh him, his reward is then incumbent on Allah. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
What worth, do we Muslims living in the West have? It is a fallacy to say we can do much good from here. We do not have the most powerful banking dynasties, or the most influential media companies, nor have influence over the political elite in the West. Anything Islam or Muslim related provokes a reaction of hostility, or suspicion in the collective opinions of the whole Western social order. No, our work cannot be done from here. Our aspirations for a unified Ummah under the shari’ah are the same as Muslims all over the world. We are one Ummah, albeit scattered and weak for now. But that can be changed with the educated, determined and willing of the Western Muslims who make hijra for the pleasure of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. One could argue that hijra will make little or no difference, considering Muslims make up only 3-4% of Europe and even less of North America. However, it is not the numbers which make Western Muslims so important – it is the effect they can potentially have on the Muslims in darul Islam. And even if they have no influence at all, it is for the betterment of us and our children to live with the Muslims. If our aspirations are noble, Allah سبحانه وتعالى will reveal our worth.
“A man's worth depends upon the nobility of his aspirations.”