6 April 2011
The ever growing trend of Muslim migration to the Western world is deep rooted in Islamic teaching. According to Islamic history, Islam was only established after Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina.
Migration is a form of Jihad, as we read in Sura 8:74 "And those who believed, and emigrated and strove hard in the Cause of Allah (Al-Jihad), as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid; – these are the believers in truth, for them is forgiveness and Rizqun Karim (a generous provision i.e. Paradise)."
Sometimes, people may think that the sinking of the boat peoples’ boats may deter others catching a boat to come to Australia or any other Western nation. It may be true in case of non-Muslims, but for Muslims Allah promises a reward for them if death overtakes them during migration (hijrah).
Sura 4:100 says: "He who emigrates (from his home) in the Cause of Allah, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by. And whosoever leaves his home as an emigrant unto Allah and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward is then surely incumbent upon Allah." [Hilali & Khan, The Noble Qur’an]
Commenting on Sura 4:100, Ibn Kathir, a Sunni scholar tells the story of a man, who killed 99 people and was asked to repent but he did not. Later he was told to emigrate from his land to another land but he died on the way. Ibn Kathir writes: "The angels of mercy and the angels of torment disputed about the man, whereas the former said that he went out in repentance, while the latter said that he did not arrive at his destination. They were commanded to measure the distance between the two lands and to whichever land he is closer to, he will be considered part of that land. … The angels found that he died closer to the land that he intended to emigrate to by a hand-span, and thus the angels of mercy captured his soul." [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 2 pp. 562-563]
In his series of lectures on ‘Immigration and Jihad’, a Shi’ia scholar, Prof. Murtadha Mutahhari discusses that:
Immigration and jihad are two cornerstones on which Islam relies on in the social field. As is evident, the Holy Qur’an has, out of reverence for their sanctity, held them in high regard, wherever they are mentioned. … Tackling the subject from a semantic standpoint, we would come across gradations that cannot be reached without going through both the categories of jihad as well as immigration. That is, it is implausible that someone attains the rank of Mujahid (fighter) before experiencing combat in the battlefield. Likewise, one cannot be deemed "immigrant" without going through the process of real immigration, in the manifest meaning of term.
He also makes it clear by quoting a young fighter, who, while going to the battle field, recited verses, sang praises and said, "O Lord! Illuminate our hearts with the light of faith. Make us among the true immigrants (muhajirs) and fighters (mujahids) in the way of striving to make the word of Thy religion rule supreme."
[Lecture One: Immigration and Jihad.