‘…I will do hijra although I have left my parents in tears.’
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr said, “A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, ‘I have come to make you a pledge that I will do hijra although I have left my parents in tears.’ The Prophet said, ‘Go back to them and make them laugh as you made them cry.’”
LESSONS FROM HADITH
(notes from a lesson by Ustadh Abu Eesa Niamatullah)
[THESE ARE JUST PERSONAL NOTES AND HAVE NOT BEEN REVIEWED BY THE SHAYKH.]
Of the benefits of this hadith is that the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam has clearly shown the importance of prioritisation. Hijrah is one thing very important, yet recognise that the priority of looking after your parents and being in their service is greater. The latter is a greater obligation. Here we recognise that the fard ul-kiffayah (the communal obligation) has been superseded by the fard ul-ayn (the individual obligation)- the obligation of looking after the parents.
This establishes a principle in the deen for us, often we are caught between two different situations and decisions, one should not just say this is the easier one, or this is the harder one, or this one makes more sense to me so I will do that. No. It does not go by your sense, or easy or harder one; the decision goes by what is more obligatory, what is more correct taking into consideration the benefits and harms according to Islamic principles of the shari’ah not ones own opinions.
Another benefit of this hadith is that if you upset someone which is really easy to do, then the remedy for this is to go back and make them laugh. That is a form of sadaqah (charity), go back and make some effort to make them smile again. By doing this you can try and recover some of the harm that you have already caused.
This leads us to the third benefit which is a very interesting point that the ulama mention. This hadith establishes like a system that if you do something wrong, if you cause someone some kind of problem, if you make a mistake then you should go and deal with it. It doesn’t matter what level it is on or what the situation is, the principle is the same. Like here in this hadith you made them cry so go back and make them laugh. Likewise, if you did gheeba (backbiting) of someone, spoke bad about someone, now go and when he is not there speak good about that person, praise him and make dua for him when no one is around- when it is only you and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make dua for him. If you do a sin then find out what expiates it. If you make a mistake, give some sadaqah (charity). This principle is established from this hadith. If you do something wrong then fix it, this is Islam.
Now a few points about hijrah because hijrah throughout history has always been a point of discussion and dispute regarding the issues surrounding it. Therefore lets look at it a bit more closely to try and understand what it is and what is the Islamic ruling.
What is hijrah?
What is hijrah? First of all we need to understand that as Muslims it is an obligation to be living in an environment which is as Islamic as possible, in an environment which allows us to practice our Islam to the best form. When that starts becoming difficult for you due to your surroundings, and it starts becoming hard to establish the shaa’ir, the main issues, the main rights, the main signifying features of Islam, then the ruling starts to become more obligatory for the Muslim to move from one area where it is difficult to another area where it is easier. This is what hijrah is- an emigration for the sake of Allah. Now the principle here is that you should be in the correct place in the first place, but If you’re not then you emigrate to the Khilafah, or the Islamic land, or the land of justice and so and so forth. So you go from a place where there is a bad condition for Muslims to one where it is better.
As an asl, as a principle, the concept of hijrah is an obligation upon every Muslim to be in a best state as he can be to practice his Islam. Taking these facts into consideration we realise the significance of this hadith.
When does it become obligatory?
So we understand hijrah is an obligation for those people who cannot practice Islam. Now looking back at the hadith, at that time what was going on? The Muslims in Makkah and elsewhere were coming under immense persecution, their deen had to be hidden, it was very very difficult. Whereas in Madinah it was different, Muslims were in power and were establishing the Law. Islam was in its infancy and therefore the call was made to leave everything behind, to not look towards the dunya, to leave it all for the sake of Allah and go to a different environment where you can practice your deen properly.
In those days it was a big thing, and one should not be fooled into thinking it is no longer a big thing today. But in contemporary times the argument has become mudded. People with their own agendas and people who misunderstand the issue try to build a case for one or the other. So you have one group who says it is absolutely haraam for all Muslims to be living anywhere outside an Islamic country and there are those who say there is no such thing as an Islamic country, no country establishes any Islam, how everywhere is the same so just enjoy yourself wherever you are. So we need some parameters to get a real understanding.
Earlier it was said that the core principle is that we live in a place where we are allowed to practice our Islam as much as possible. What defines as much as possible or as best as possible?
One of the ways we can define it is the famous hadith of Fudayk (who was a Sahabi) it narrated by ibn Hibban and all of the narrators are trustworthy. Fudayk became Muslim in a land of the non-Muslims, he wanted to leave his land and people, but his people said to him continue staying with us and we will not cause you any problems, go ahead and practice your deen. He went to the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam to check that, he said ‘O Rasulullah, they claim (i.e. what he’s heard from Muslims) that the one who does not emigrate to you he is destroyed.’ So the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam said ‘Ya Fudayk, establish the salat (prayer), stay away from sin, and then live in the land of your people wherever you wish.’
Now when we look at this hadith he (salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam) has mentioned a few key points. The first is establish the prayer and stay away from sin. The word used for ‘staying away’ is wahjur, which is from the same root word as hijrah, so in other words it is said emigrate away from sin, move away from sin, move from the bad deeds to the good deeds. Move from shaytan to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala- muhajir i’lAllah as they say. In Arab countries when someone starts become strict in his religion, starts getting closer to Allah; we would say he has started practicing; the Arabs say that he has become muhajir i’lAllah- he has emigrated to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. That is the phrase that is used, and the word mentioned in this hadith is similar to that. Make hijrah from the evil and then live where you wish.
The first condition is that all the prayers are open and easy, and can be done wherever you are then that is the first condition. This is an absolute must, if it cannot be done then you have no right and no permission to be living in this circumstance unless you do not have the ability, sabeela as Allah mentions in Quran, to go elsewhere (whether physical, financial or political). That is the exception for extreme circumstances, but the general ruling is if you are not able to pray which is the minimum then you must leave.
The second condition is even more compelling, it is that you must stay away from sin and you must stay away from haraam. If you are finding yourself getting involved and you find you cannot make hijrah from the evil deeds, then you must make physical hijrah. It is on this point that many Muslims have really tripped up. We have a lot of rights in the West, like here in England, where we are allowed to pray everywhere and so on. The major problem that Muslims have fallen into is sin at different levels. The ulama taught that part of the second condition of staying away from sin is to ensure that the family stays away from sin, which means you must make a good Islamic tarbiyyah of your children, and if you are not able to do that then you have failed this second condition.
Look at our generation, we are the children of our fathers who came to this country from abroad (majority of the Muslims here are children of those from abroad). So let us look at ourselves as a percentage of the population and then look at our percentage in the prisons. You will find it is four or five times more in the prisons, completely unrepresentative of how many we are in this country- we are far above our quota. This is because not only have we enveloped sin, we as a community have taken over, have taken command of the sins. When we came to this country there were the issues of drugs, now we are the druggies, drug dealers and drug suppliers. This is the reality and this is what the second condition was there for. Once you fail that condition then you are in a very dangerous position from a deen point of view. This is now where the importance of hijrah becomes more apparent.
Is it obligatory on everyone living amongst non-Muslims?
Looking at this scenario mentioned the argument against living in a country like this increases and hottens up. The problem is that the argument increases using evidences which are not being directed to those people who are failing the two conditions, rather it is now being applied to all Muslims of all levels living in a country, even to those who are good strong practicing Muslims, who are controlling themselves and their family, involved in the da’wah and involved in spreading the good.
The arguments they use are staying away from sin and another very famous hadith in which during an expedition some Muslims living amongst the non-Muslims at war were killed, the companions went and told the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam what happened and how they were not able to distinguish what was going on, the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam ordered them to pay half the blood money and then said the famous statement ‘I am free of every Muslim that lives amongst the mushrikeen.’ The companions asked why is that. Now this part of the hadith is what you do not commonly hear. The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam explained you cannot distinguish between their fires. In other words, they are living so close together, they are so intertwined that it is not possible for you to distinguish between them in good times or bad times. The Prophet made this statement to free himself from them if anything happens in future. Now this is the correct meaning.
The people who make blanket statements saying its haram to be anywhere near the mushrikeen quoting the first part of the hadith (‘I am free of every Muslim that lives…’), they do not mention the last part and they do not even mention that this hadith has been criticised immensely and the strongest position it seems is that it is a weak hadith. The hadith is mursal, and a mursal hadith in terms of making a ruling is considered weak. Mursal hadith is where a tabi quotes a hadith directly from the Prophet without mentioning the companion he heard it from. So this is a form of weak hadith. So the people who want to use this argument on the Muslims who are able to preserve themselves, and look after themselves and their families, they need to know that it is not so black and white as many try to make it out to be.
If you understand this argument you will now start to appreciate the meaning of this hadith (going back to the original hadith being discussed) as well.
By studying these hadith you uncover the ignorance that is common when it comes to people quoting narrations without understanding context, the various details in the hadith which give clues to exactly what the intended meaning is.
For example, now we can see even if the hadith ‘I am free of every Muslim that lives amongst the mushrikeen’ was authentic that the Prophet did not say he is free from those Muslims because they are living amongst the non-Muslims. This would contradict the hadith that we mentioned before and it would contradict other hadiths- for example the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam has said ‘The lands are the lands of Allah, and the slaves (i.e. the people) are the slaves of Allah, and wherever you find good then establish yourself there’ (narrated by Imam Ahmed). So the point is that our Islam is not restricted to one area, our Islam is limited to our actions and to our ability to preserve our religion. Our Islam is not looking for a certain specific holy area that is going to preserve it for us.
This reminds us of what Abu Darda said when Salman al-Farsi who was in Makkah wrote to him in Shaam saying what are you doing in Shaam, come to the holy land where the Ka’bah is etc. Abu Darda wrote back and said ‘O Salman, the land or the people do not make someone righteous; it is ones actions that make people righteous and good.’
So when you take all these principles into consideration, you can arrive at a conclusion that can summaries the whole argument. It is an obligation on a Muslim to establish his or her deen as much as possible, and from the minimum requirements is the ability to pray and to practice and to establish and promote the key fundamentals of the deen, if that comes under threat then it becomes an obligation for that person to move to an area where he can do so.
This is the lesson to understand on hijrah. People try to counter with ‘aqli (common sense) arguments leaving the textual evidences, saying we need to establish power, we need to go the Muslim lands, where they will help us and so on. So lets take their line of argument. Which Islamic lands are they talking about? And exactly how many people are they going to take in? We are not talking about 10-20 people living amongst non-Muslims, we are talking about 100’s of millions Muslims who live amongst non-Muslims if you count the Muslims in UK, in Europe, in the Americas, in India and spread across the world. Which Muslim land is going to take them all in? Saudi Arabia-the country that some people make out to be a paradise on earth? Lets be serious. Then some say UAE, Dubai. Are they really a great bastion of Islamic values? What exactly will you be making hijrah to if you go Dubai? People start to lose focus of the principles of this religion and anywhere becomes Islamic. By doing so they miss the whole point of hijrah. We should not take sides in this argument, but rather look at it in an individual sense (i.e. hijrah may be obligatory for some but not on others).