Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities

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  • Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities



    By: ‘Umar ‘Ubayd Hasanah

            Praise be to Allah, Who made the land of brotherhood the basis of building the Muslim Nation; so He said, “Surely the believers are only brothers” (Al-Hujurât” 10) and made believers, male and female, patrons of each other; thus Allah, The Exalted, says, “And the men believers and women believers are patrons one of the other; they command beneficence and forbid maleficence, and keep up the prayer, and give the Zakât, and obey Allah and His Messenger; those (are the people) on whom Allah will soon have mercy; surely Allah is Ever-Mighty, Ever-Wise.” (At-Tawbah: 71)

            He gave precedence to the land of faith over all other lands of color, race, homeland, social class, geographical location, etc. Allah, The Exalted, says, “Say, ‘In case your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your spouses, and your kinsmen, and riches that you have scored and commerce you are apprehensive for its slackening, and dwellings you are satisfied with in case these are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in his way, then await till Allah comes up with His command; and Allah does not guide the immoral people.” (At-Tawbah: 24)

            Thus each Muslim, wherever he is, has become a member of the universal Muslim Nation. And each man has become able to choose his religion, and thus enjoy Islamic patronship, i.e. the patronship of all Muslims wherever they are, as well as enjoy the rights of Islamic brotherhood—a matter that achieves the eternity, propagation, and universality of this religion, and makes this religion with its inherent characteristics and values, qualified to lead the world and to contribute continually to civilization and humanity. It also makes each and every Muslim responsible for shouldering religious duties, undertaking the mission of self-advancement, and performing the duty of the Call to Islam and eloquently conveying the message of this religion.

            Prayer and peace be upon the Prophet whose Sîrah (life of the Prophet) and Sunnah (Tradition of the Prophet) have been a practical embodiment of the principles of Islam, and a realization of the community of brotherhood, which is the nucleus of the universal Muslim macro-community, which included the poor and rich, the white and black, and the Arab and non-Arab. Prayer and peace be upon the Prophet, who made clear the rights of Islamic brotherhood, so that the community may become strong and cohesive, may be realized through loyalty and purity, and whose motto is the saying of Allah The Exalted: “Surely the believers are only brothers”, and whose practices stem from the statement of the Messenger (p.b.u.h): “A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim; he is not unjust to him, does not let him down, and does not degrade him. Fear of Allah is here—pointing at his chest three times. It is enough evil for man to degrade his Muslim brother. All that belongs to a Muslim is prohibited to another Muslim: his blood, money.” (Reported by Muslim, quoting Abu Hurayrah). Muslim practices should also stem from the Prophet’s saying: “The blood of all Muslims is equal; they are united against those who are other than them, whose basest are taken care of and whose dignitaries are confronted.” (Reported by Ibn Mâjah, An-Nasâ`î, and 'Ahmad, quoting Ibn ‘Abbâs.

            Having said so, this is member sixty-one of the series “The Book of Al-‘Ummah” (Nation). It is entitled Min Fiqh Al-'Aqalliyât Al-Muslimah  Jurispurdence for Muslim Minorities by Mr. Khâlid Muhammad 'Abdul-Qâdir. The series is published by the Center for Research and Studies, Ministry of Al-Awqâf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs, the State of Qatar, as a contribution to the revival of Islamic values in individuals, and the mature absorption of the cause of the renewal of the concept of comprehensive Islamic brotherhood, away from narrowing its domain as a result of fanaticism, and ignoring their rights under various pretexts, philosophies, and false interpretations. More than ever before, what is needed now is to get rid of the state of weakness, stagnation, and cultural lingering behind, and to establish a cultural vision based on knowledge of infallible inspiration of the Qur’an and Sunnah, to resume the role of the mind in contemplation, and to underline the importance of reasoning about the causes of the Nation and its contemporary problem in light of the guidance of the inspiration and the earnings of the mind and its creative abilities.

            We are also required to attempt to provide evidence for the eternity of Islamic values and their independence from the limits of time and place, in view of their capacity of producing distinguished Islamic models in every age, and of finding solutions and legal frameworks for the movement and problems of the Nation, and of looking into the status quo and evaluating it by means of the values of the infallible inspiration, and of applying Islamic values to the relatives so that the vision and exerting legal judgment should stem from the status quo with its problems, needs, and suffering.

            Realizing such eternity cannot be attained except through the propagation of the spirit of specialization in the various branches of knowledge, the revival of community obligations, and emphasizing the fact that the age, with its information revolution and its mass communication and scientific influx, no longer allows for the existence of the super, omniscient man, who is capable of legal reasoning and issuing religious judgment about everything. On the contrary, we must specialize and divide work among ourselves, which leads to integration and quality. We must also rebuild the network of social relations on the social tissue of the Nation in a cohesive manner like a strong building whose parts consolidate one another.

            Propagating the spirit of specialization, and the revival of the concept of community obligation necessitate the whetting of the effectiveness of Muslims in the different positions, so that they may resume their role of shouldering responsibility and being merciful to people, investing their spiritual, materialistic and scholarly specialization for the triumph of what is right and calling for it, reviving following the Prophet’s model, and proving that a Muslim is not a strange object in any society, but rather an element of goodness, giving, and specialization, who is capable of adaptation and becoming part and parcel in their communities, but who, at the same time, dissolve there.

            Among the basic issues in this respect is the revival of the concept of stemming from the civilization and the cultural belonging of the mission of Islam and mother nation, especially as regards the Muslims who immigrated, for one reason or another, to non-Muslim communities, which may be saturated with historical grudges and social enmity towards Islam and Muslims. Also among the issues is the contribution of a realistic vision of ways of dealing with such societies and conveying goodness to them. 
            The cause which may be in a need for continual contemplation, due to the different circumstances and the development of matter, is that of ijtihâd (exercise of judgment), which means, among other things, the eternity of this religion and its capacity to deal with the renewed problems of life, laying down the legal framework for the movement of the Nation, producing the model that shoulders the mission, and prevents the vacuum which means the expansion of “the other”.

            Ijtihâd, in its general concept, is an attempt at applying the legal text, which is the source of judgment in the Qur’an and Sunnah, to reality, and measuring the conduct and dealings of people against this text. Its domain is always the ordained person and his deeds, which requires, first of all, after looking into the Fiqh of the text, to probe into and evaluate the status quo of human beings through contemplating the text and the ways of applying it in the light of this human reality.

            These rulings, which are derived from the text to evaluate the status quo and issue judgment concerning it, are rulings based on exercising judgment, which may be wrong or right. It suffices that they are human exercising of judgment which are likely to be wrong or right, and which enjoy no sanctity, and which, no matter how accurate they are, do not amount to the status of the holy text in the Qur’an and Sunnah, nor can they replace it to become a criterion for judgment. They are only an inferred rulings, which are measured against, evaluated by, and arrived at through the text.

            We may say that the accuracy and correctness of a ruling in a certain age that has its own problems and causes, or in a given status quo when applying it, do not necessarily mean that it is valid for every changeable status quo. This is because the Fiqh of location (reality) with all its components, complexities, and potentials, is an integral of the process of exercising judgment, side by side with the comprehension of the text which is required to be applied to a certain state of affairs.

            Realizing the reasons behind the ruling and its precise justification, and its non-applicability to similar cases, or when they realized that applying them automatically and decisively may lead to the loss of a legal interest and the occurrence of a certain harm. This is what is termed as “istihsân” (preference). We should also bear in mind that rulings in the Qur’an and Sunnah vary with various states of affairs and capabilities and do notexist in one form, then how come is that in view of the fact that the status quo is subject to change, rising and falling, and that each state of affairs has its own ruling?

            I have mentioned above that the Qur’ân is the source of legislation and knowledge. It was not ordered according to the time of revelation, although it is important to know the time and causes of revelation in order to realize the time, place, and application dimension of the text so that the exercise of judgment does not remain stagnant. Its ordering came from Allah through Gabriel, in order to give flexibility to the exercise of judgment, and hence each case may have its own ruling, even though it includes what was revealed last or first, since the Qur’an as a whole is eternal, and each case has its own proper ruling. The Prophetic education does not go beyond this Qur’anic framework, but is rather an application of it, and a practical demonstration of transforming thought into deeds.

            When we say that the many historical cases of exercising  judgment, which can be classified within the framework of heritage, are judgments for their own time and problems and that they are not incumbent, this does not mean that we should abolish or bypass them or not make use of them in comparable cases, but rather means keeping their company and comprehending their minute investigation and mechanism of exercising judgment so that they may be an aid to us in the contemplation which is required by the changing time and problems.

            Hence we see that many instances of social, international, economic, financial, administrative, and constitutional jurisdiction are not binding if we conclude that time has bypassed them. This, of course, does not apply equally to exercising judgment in the rulings of worship. We are called upon to generally reconsider matters and exercise juristic and intellectual judgment in the light of the changing states of affairs in which we live, or the changes in the communities around us ÜÜÜÜÜ a matter which requires a reconsideration of the juristic rulings in the light of the giving of the Eternal Text (The Qur’ân).

            Therefore, the topic which we are dealing with, namely Fiqh for minorities, is at the case of exercising judgment, since it constitutes a core for the application of rulings, which is far different from what the situation was before.

            The other issue which we would like to linger about as far as possible, and to shed some light on, which we deem necessary for clarifying the status quo or past of its dimensions, is the term “minority” or the concept of minorities and majorities.

            This is because this issue is in essence a relative one, about which the investigation, evaluation, and results may differ. To start with, we hold that the issue is not determined by the number of people, or in other words the negligible mass, or what may be termed “the idle whole”, which does not bring about any good no matter where you direct it, but rather by quality and effectiveness, or what the Glorious Qur’ân has named “the straightforward man.” Therefore, at the level of Islamic values in the Qur’ân and Sunnah, as well as the historical contribution of Islamic civilization, we maintain that the criterion for precedence, dignity, and accomplishment has never been determined by quantity in terms of majority and minority, but is rather realized through the amount and quality of giving. The more dignified are the more pious, neither the lesser nor the greater in number. The piety referred to in the Qur’ânic verse, as a criterion for precedence, is the whole issue. This is because piety, in its several dimensions, means the possession of the fair scale, and being endowed with the right values for absorbing life in all its fields and the ways of dealing with it. The end result may be one individual who is worth a whole nation, or even becomes a nation indeed with all that he stands for and realizes.

            Allah, exalted be He, says, “Surely, 'Ibrâhîm was a nation” (An-Nahl: 120), and the Prophet (p.b.u.h) says, “You find people as a hundred camels, which a man can ride any of them.”(Reported by Muslim, quoting Ibn ‘Umar.)

            The glorious Qur’ân warns against being deceived by the mobs and majority based on other than right and justice, since it may constitute a burden when the atmosphere of mobs prevails, and moves man without awareness and will. The Qur’ân says, “And in case you obey most of whosever are on earth, they will make you err away from the way of Allah.” (Al-`An´âm: 116). Erring away means loss, the aimlessness of life, the absence of purpose, and joining the mob without any judgment, testing, or being aware of destination. The Messenger (p.b.u.h) warned against the weakness which afflicts the Muslim nation because of the state of being mobs, and which leads to the phase of the “food vessel” that prevails in the stages of lingering behind and backwardness, thus leading people to be consumers rather than producers. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) says, “Nations are about to come to you as eaters come to a food vessel”. Someone said, “Will this be because we will be a minority then?” He said, “Nay, you will be many that day, but a scum as that of a flood, and Allah will take fear of you from the hearts of your enemies.” Someone said, “O Messenger of Allah! What is weakness?” He said “Love of this world and hate of death.” (Reported by 'Abu Dâwûd quoting Thawbân)

            An Arab poet tried to deal with deception by a great number of people who offer nothing and have no effectiveness. He also tried to set the situation right when he said,


    She holds us in shame for our small number. I said to her, “The noble are but a few.” It does not harm us that we are small in number, but our neighbor is dignified while the neighbor of the multitude is humiliated. 

            So the criterion always remains to be dignity resulting from piety, giving, and effectiveness, not the number of inhabitants or the size of the moving headless or one-headed herd. 
            I may discern in the saying of Allah, The Exalted, :“How often a little community has overcome a much (larger) community by the permission of Allah” (Al-Baqarah: 249) a reference to the fact that triumph is not confined to military battles. This is because the domain of triumph, prevailing, and dialog between cultures is all walks of life, military, political, economic, cultural, social, and developmental. If the reason of this text is the battle between Tâlût and Gâlût (Goliath) which Allah has narrated to us, in order to realize the lesson of the history of Prophethood, the lesson lies in the general application of the word, not in its specific cause, as our scholars in the source of Fiqh, contemplation, and exercising judgment. This is because there is no lesson to be learnt unless we divest the text of the circumstances of time, place, and occasion and apply it to comparable cases. 
            Thus we see the truth continue through history. Whoever studies the status of Muslims just before the battle of Badr, as well as that of the disbelievers, from its various angles, will realize that all their qualifications were of 
    qualitative nature, and distinguished belief. Therefore, we can say that civic triumph, cultural prevalence, and making Islam triumphant over all religion, cannot be determined by the matter of minority and majority, but rather by qualifications, characteristics, and qualities. 
            It may be useful to remind, on this occasion, of the decisive Qur’ânic text about this cause in the chapter of At-Tawbah (Repentance), which is among the latest chapters to be revealed. This text was revealed on the occasion of getting ready for the Conquest of Tabûk in the ninth year after Hijrah. This battle was called the Conquest of Hardship, and its army was labeled the army of hardship, which suffered the severest natural circumstances, when a large number of people refrained from going to the battle, and the philosophies of defeat started to be manufactured and gain weak spirits to their side. The little community moved to realize the great achievement. At that time, the Messenger (p.b.u.h) said as regards contribution and giving, “A dirham may have precedence over a hundred thousand of dirhams.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah! How come?” He said,
    "A man has two dirhams; he took one of them and gave it in charity, and another man who has a lot of money and took from it a hundred thousand which he gave in charity.” (Reported by An-Nasâ'î, quoting 'Abu Hurayrah) The matter is not measured by minority and majority. 
            Let us now return to the Qur’anic text, which is not bound by time or place, in order to see it from a different angle. It is the text which is recited by Muslims, and by which they worship Allah day and night, and which was revealed to treat the state of helplessness, to rectify the criterion, and establish the historical reality which is still living in the minds and hearts of Muslims. Allah, Exalted be He, says, “In case ever you vindicate him, yet Allah readily vindicated him, as the ones who disbelieved drove him out the second of two, as the two were in the cavern, as he said to his companion, 'Grieve not; surely Allah is with us' ". (At-Tawbah: 40)

            The great vindication was achieved through the Hijrah (migration) as is well known for everybody, through one man, the second of two. The result was what we all know — the establishment of the nucleus of the Muslim state, sometime before the existence of the groups reluctant to go to Tabûk, in which minority did not mean defeat, nor majority vindication. These historical incidents of the Prophetic experience are still envisaged by us. If we add to this fact the technological creations, which come as a fruit of the minds of the minority and which, has abolished the value of majority in various walks of life, economic, military, political, developmental, and social, we become sure that issues of civilization are not governed by the balance of minority and majority.

            It suffices to have evidence for this in the status quo of our enemy, after we forgot our history and entered the phase of the “food vessel”, the state of “the scum” and “helplessness”, which Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h) told us about, as we mentioned above.

            Jews all over the world do not exceed thirty million, even according to exaggerated estimates, yet they govern or control the world with all its thousands of millions of people. There is no exaggeration in this, nor is there stemming from an inferiority complex; it is rather a fact which is quite clear to everybody, whether those who accept it, refuse it, reject it, or are ignorant of it.

            The issue, and what involves it as it is sometimes put, is governed by the ability to absorb the ways of rivalry between civilization, to think strategically, to cultivate under all circumstances, and to wisely estimate and make use of the available potentialities. The issue in fact lies in establishing piety in its most general sense, the emanation of the effectiveness, discovering effective positions, and the abundance of both devotion and right, so that the deeds may become to be fair, in the same sense Al-Fudayl ibn 'iyâd, may Allah be merciful to him, understood the saying of Allah, The Exalted, “that He might try you, whichever of you is fairer in deeds.” (Hûd:7). He took it to mean that deeds do not attain the status of being fair unless they are characterized by the sincerity of intention, rightfulness, or what we might call will and power, enthusiasm and specialization, or in other words working with the aim of attaining the establishment of the straightforward man, and getting rid of the dependent man.

            Here we may say how numerous are the cases and hardships for which we are at utmost need for emulating the model set by Na`îm Ibn Mas´ûd, may Allah be satisfied with him, who played a great role in the Battle of Al-`Ahzâb (The Allied Parties). He was certainly like what the Messenger (p.b.u.h) said about him: “you are among us a man of no equal, so defend us as best as you can.”

            Hence I say that dealing with the issue of minority and majority or about the rulings thereof, needs a lot of accuracy, since quite often there is a worthless, powerless majority that can not make a decision, and quite often there is a minority which controls and legislates for the majority.

            The cause is one of reality, or a civilizational and cultural case, which may pertain to either the majority or minority, and needs comprehension, insight, and exercising judgment, and is not a case limited to the Fiqh of minority in its absolute sense.

            The issue which we would like to call attention to in this respect is that the Islamic existence all over the world is part of the nature of this religion, whose Messenger was sent as a mercy to mankind, mercy being part and parcel of this message. Allah, Exalted be He says, “And in no way have We sent you except as a mercy to the worlds.” (Al-‘Anbiyâ` : 107)

            And : “And in no way have We sent you, except as a bearer of good tidings and a warner to the whole mankind; but most of mankind do not know.” (Saba’: 28)

            The Messenger's message was universal ever since the first moments or steps in Makkah. Most of the verses revealed there started their discourse by the saying of The Exalted, “O you mankind”, so that the way and the vision would be clear, and the aspects of the mission would be realized from the very beginning.

            Moreover, the roots of this religion are considered to have dated back to the first Prophethood. Allah, The Exalted, says, “Surely this is in the earliest Scrolls. The Scrolls of 'Ibrâhîm and Mûsâ.”

            He also says “He has legislated for you as the religion what He enjoined on Nûh, and that which We have revealed to you, and what we have enjoined on ‘Ibrâhîm and Mûsâ and ‘Isâ (saying)'Keep up the religion, and do not be disunited therein'. Greatly (detested) to the associators is that to which you call them. Allah selects to Himself whomsoever He decides, and guides to Himself whomsoever turns penitent.” (Ash-Shûrâ : 13)

            He also considered the Prophets and their followers throughout history one nation, even if geographical sites and historical eras were different. Allah, Exalted be He, says, “Surely this nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord; so worship Me." (Al-'Anbiyâ` :92)

            Thus the historical perfection and completeness of the journey of Prophethood has become to be realized in the final Message: “They ask you what is made lawful for them. Say 'The good things are made lawful to you, and (such) hunting creatures as you teach, (training them) as hounds, teaching them (part) of what ‘Allah has taught you.' So eat whatever they hold back for you, and mention The Name of Allah over it. And be pious to ‘Allah, surely ‘Allah is swift at the reckoning.” (‘Al-Mâ’idah :4)

            The mission of the Messenger (p.b.u.h) was clear conveyance, vindicating the Religion, absorbing and completing the journey of Prophethood. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “My similitude in comparison with the other prophets before me, is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. The people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say : 'Would that this brick be put in its place! So I am that brick, and I am the last of the prophets.” (Reported by Al-Bukhârî and Muslim, quoting 'Abu Hurayrah)

            Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, has pledged to make this Religion triumphant over all religion, so Allah, The Exalted, said, “He (is The One) Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of Truth, that He may make it topmost over all religion, though the associators hate (that).” (At-Tawbah :33)

            Making it prevail means, among other things, extension and reaching all geographical sites. Allah’s Messenger (p.b.u.h) said, “This matter (i.e. Religion) will extend what night and day extended to, by means of dignifying the dignified or humiliating the humiliated—dignity with which Allah will dignify Islam, and humiliation with which Allah will humiliate disbelief.” (Reported by Imâm 'Ahmad, quoting Tamîm Ad-Dârî) as the call will extend everywhere, and this means establishing the existence of Islam in every geographical area. The Muslim existence means implementing the Islamic Sharî'ah and acting according to the Islamic values on different levels; politically, economically, socially, and educationally as best as possible.

            For this reason, the Companions' understanding and responding to the task were in harmony with the Sharî´ah duties, so, they conveyed Islam to the whole world, for taking it out of the narrowness of this would to the vastness of this world and the world to come, and could live up and adapt themselves to all circumstances, exactly in the same way Islam did in terms of its international and human principles. So, they inhabited the lands, and lived up to their Islam as best as they could in response to Allah's saying "So, be pious to Allah as best as you can." (At-Taghâbun:16). They never suffered from alienation complexes, never made a distinction between land and land in the process of calling to Allah on the grounds that the earth belongs to Allah, and He causes whomsoever He decides among His bondmen to inherit it, or between people and people, or race and race, since the more pious are the more honorable, or between minority and majority, as the capacities and faculties can be made available to the minority, hence, the single individual may equal a hundred or a thousand. "In case there are twenty of you, patient (men), they will overcome two hundred." (Al-'Anfâl: 65)

            Overcoming here is not confined to military triumph, but goes beyond that to other dimensions that comprise cultural and civilizational triumph and manifestation, as mentioned earlier, whereas they can be lacking to the majority; so, each case has its own ruling and requirements.

            However, among the factors that helped Islam to prevail and outspread, and made it exist everywhere, is that it deemed embracing and believing in it a human choice ÜÜÜÜÜ a choice that manifests the dignity, will, and freedom of man. Allah Almighty says, "You are not in any way a dominator over them." (Al-Ghâshiyah: 22), and says, "and in no way are you a potentate over them." (Qâf: 45) and says, "There is no compulsion in religion." (Al-Baqarah: 256). So, there is no domination, tyranny, or compulsion. It also made the Muslim `Ummah or the Muslim community an open community to all races, ethnicities, and colors, clearing, by so doing, this religion of racism, fanaticism, and confinement to color, race, or geographical borders, as was the case with all historical civilizations. So, no one can claim having a truer right to it than anybody else, as the Prophet (p.b.u.h) says "Salmân belong to our household" and " 'Abu-jahl is the Pharaoh of this Ummah.", [Salmân is a Persian Companion, whereas Abu-Jahl is the Prophet's uncle who was hostile to him.] So anyone who embraces Islam entertains Islamic brotherhood and its rights, and has duties and rights as any other Muslim does.

            So, we can say that all of this helped prevailing and existing everywhere, crushing all barriers of fanaticism and seclusion, and leading to integration, openness, cooperation, and the existence of the Muslim, who wherever he lives, does not suffer from color, race, or alienation complexes, and performs the religious duties as best as he can. Allah Almighty says, "Allah does not charge a self (anything) except its capacity." (Al-Baqarah: 286) This means that he should act according to Islam as best as he can.

            Among the issues which are closely related to the existence of Islam in countries known as non-Islamic countries, is the issue of immigration, which is considered part of Jihâd, and necessary for the evident proclamation and conveying Allah's message of Islam, and the task of the evident proclamation.

            Verily, making Islam, the religion of the Truth, topmost above all religions requires conveying the message and proclaiming it in all posts and places, in order that the Muslim may fulfill that which he is entrusted with. We have already pinpointed the glad Prophetic tidings that this religion will reach everywhere on earth, and spread in desert and urban areas alike, which signifies the existence and spread of Islam one way or another everywhere, whether the majority of inhabitants were Muslims or non-Muslims.

            Therefore, we can say that immigration is a call and a movement, jihâd, and an attempt to bypass the stagnant current state of affairs to a more advantageous situation, and to turn to a more profitable struggle. However, I do not think that immigration has a fixed set of rulings applicable to all cases, but each case has its rulings pursing the constitutional, administrative, and demographic conditions and circumstances, provided that immigration keeps linked to its legal objectives and start-points, and does not turn to negative sideways, overwhelmed with the philosophies and justifications of withdrawal and defeat, but keeps exactly as jihâd is, since it is not permissible to run away or flee the arena except in the cases of marching to fight or taking the side of another group. Allah Almighty says, "O, you who have believed, when you the ones who have disbelieved (marching to battle) then do not turn your backs to them. And whosoever turns his back upon that, except (in case) of digression to fight or taking the side of (another) community, he has then incurred anger from Allah, and his abode is Hell ÜÜÜÜÜÜÜ and miserable is the Destiny" (Al-'Anfâl: 15-16).

            The principal religious purpose of immigration is to flee to Allah on both levels of self and place. So the Prophet (p.b.u.h) defines the immigration as "The immigrant is who abandons that which Allah has forbidden.” (reported by 'Ahmad quoting Ibn-'Amr), even in case he has not changed his place, as he has performed a psychological immigration by clearing himself of the ignorant idolatry cultural state of affairs, which is overwhelmed by worshipping other than Allah, as manifested by Allah's saying:"And so defilement forsake." (Al-Muddaththir: 5)

            So, for a rational reason that Allah wants, and for clarifying the role of migration in proclaiming the religion, and that Muslims may not resort to meekness, relaxation, or falling into luxury, or falling before the unjust, and because immigration is a lasting state as long as life lasts, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) made it the model and example for purity of intention, so, he said "Actions are but by intention, and every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus, he whose migration was for Allah and His Messenger, his migration was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that which he migrated."

            The legitimate direct purpose of migration is to move from a country of infidelity and association to a country of Islam, or to flee with religion from temptations to a place in which the Muslim is secure from sinning, or from a country where the Muslim is tempted away from his religion and harmed because of his belief, etc. Allah Almighty says, "O My bondmen who have believed, surely My earth is wide; so Me (alone) do you worship." (Al-'Ankabût:56). Ibn-Kathîr (may Allah's mercy be upon him) explains this verse by saying: "This is a commandment from Allah Almighty to his believer bondmen to immigrate from the country wherein they cannot establish the Religion, to the wide land of Allah wherein they can establish the Religion."

            So, Islam has deemed immigration the reason and tie of loyalty. Allah Almighty says, "And the ones who have believed, and have not emigrated ÜÜÜÜÜÜ you are in no way to offer them patronage in any thing till they emigrate." (Al-'Anfâl: 72)

            Immigration is a movement of calling to Allah and jihâd, as mentioned earlier, and is not a negative movement of fleeing and withdrawal from a post. So, its ruling can only be decided according to circumstances, that is, some circumstances require firm standing at position, putting up with harassment, and forbearing temptation, if this was to lead to an interest for Islam and Muslims such as gaining promulgation and victory to Islam, and that tempting so and so or hurting so and so does not cripple Islam, or when tempting someone becomes awakening to the `Ummah and exposition of tyranny. In these cases, sticking to the land and not evacuating it to Allâh's enemies become a religious duty, and the internal migration through abandoning that which Allah has forbidden, firm standing, and setting an example to follow become a must. This situation, in some aspects, is implied by the saying of the Prophet (p.b.u.h), "No immigration (is demanded) after the opening (of Makkah) but jihâd and resolution (are demanded)." (Reported by Muslim quoting 'Aishah.)

            However, immigration becomes a duty in case of complete siege, lack of channels of movement, and impossibility of response and call. Then, other positions must be thought of, even if they are located in non-Muslim countries, in case they give some freedom that makes proclaiming the religion possible.

            Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah's mercy be upon him) realized this dimension of immigration. He said "In case the settler there (i.e. in a non-Muslim country), was unable to establish his religion, then he must immigrate." Al-Mawârdî maintains that in case a Muslim could proclaim the religion in a non-Muslim country, he should stay there, for hoping that others may embrace Islam.

            Immigration, nowadays, has become controlled by powerful authorities, which narrowed Allâh’s wide earth by the laws of immigration they have legislated. Thus, they extended their domination, and became able to utilize brain drain, by tempting these brains to immigrate to their countries, so that they can build their civilization on their production, and build, meanwhile, tyrannical political systems that contribute to this by expelling experts, professionals, and specialists to these centers of attraction. Not only that, but they created controlled margins of freedom in an attempt of civilizational plundering. Thus, the untrue picture remains that those who grant freedom in their countries to the immigrants and settlers are the same who deny it in some Islamic countries and spread all forms of tyrannical political systems, support them, and back them. This is a form of temptation, which tempted many young Muslims, and absorbed them without making them realize that those who grant them this freedom here are the same who deny them freedom there, support tyranny, and chase freedom in their countries, so that they end up there.

            Therefore, we say that whoever tries to lay down rulings and Fatwa (religious judgments) for the issue of immigration must be fully aware of all aspects of the issue, able to assess all its future consequences on different levels, aware of the fact that what may fit a time or place may not fit another time or place, and that issuing verdicts isolated from the relevant arena without realizing the whole situation may incur many unfavorable complexities.

            Some circumstances may require standing firm in the land, and not immigrating from or evacuating it to Allah's enemies, even in cases of weakness, because this may constitute evacuation for the good of "the other".


            However, immigration may be compulsory in cases of social and cultural blockage. The Muslim, however, may find in non-Muslim countries enough room for practising faith and call, and presenting a civilizational and human example worth following. The role and effect of immigration becomes ascertained if we knew that the wide spread of Islam and embracing it was due to the example given by the callers to Allah, be they merchants or immigrants.

            Generally, we can say that each case has its rulings, and each case of immigration has its causes and reasons, and we cannot apply one ruling to all cases and circumstances. The whole earth belongs to Allah, and proclaiming the call and conveying it is the duty of every Muslim according to his capacity. Actually, the existence of Islam and demonstrating it has become, geographically, culturally, and on the international and media levels, well-established, stable, and constant.

            I believe that this issue requires reflecting on the terms Dârul-Harb and Dârul-'Islâm “land of war” and land of Islam, respectively), and some prefabricated rulings ready for application in various places and different situations, without being able to review and reason about the application, taking into consideration the change- ability of customs and legislations, the changes that occurred in the societies, the laws, rights, and duties of citizenship, and the laws of immigration and residence.

            The issue, in my view, requires reviewing and reconsidering the denotation or the concept of these terms. It is intuitive and axiomatic that the message of Islam is a universal message, that it addresses man wherever he is, that it's geography is the wide earth of Allah, its topic is the created man, that it is the right of every person and not confined to a certain individual, and that once anyone had embraced Islam, he entertains the Muslim membership of the Muslim 'Ummah, and acquires the attribute of brotherhood and the rights it entails.

            This applies to the field of calling to Allah, or of thought and creed, which is the constant field in all cases of weakness and strength alike. The spread of Islam nowadays in the most advanced materialistic societies, and in the most backward, despite the unenvied situation of the Muslims, may constitute an evidence that the call to Allah is continuing, its domain is open, and its contribution is being renewed – a fact which reflects eternity.

            But Islam, as it is certain and a historical reality, is not just a call, or just a nation outspread all over the earth; rather, it is a call and state, wherein the state is a state of call and thought, and presents a means of spreading and protecting the call. Islam is a nation and a government that extends its sovereignty and supervises carrying out the laws and applying them to the nation. Islam is not just a moral precepts that live in the individual's conscience without controlling his reality and behavior with legal rules, and rectifying his deviance with deterring punishment.

            This reality will, naturally, yield a political geography, a place on the international map, cultural characteristics, a social type, and legal and educational uniqueness. It will also entail relations, treaties, conflicts and discords, exactly as is the constitutional reality of all countries. Therefore, it was inevitable to have a term applicable to this geographical area, be it the “land of Islam” or any other adequate term. Hence, the term “land of Islam” came into existence, and the emergence of the terms “land of war” and “land of treaty”, versus the nature of other countries and their relationship with the “land of Islam”.

            The most important issue here is that the “land of war” and "land of treaty" are defined in view of the existence of the “land of Islam” with all its attributes and essentials. The most important essentials are represented by the establishment of the state of thought, or the state of the Islamic message that establishes Allah's ordinance on earth. The jurists have laid down the characteristics and attributes of the state of Islam or the Islamic society, according to which a society can be described as an Islamic society, and the land on which the Islamic state extends its sovereignty as a “land of Islam”, whether the term used is a constitutional term or an international law term, and on the state level, (not on the national level) which is spread all over the earth. So, in case the Islamic entity or the state that establishes Islam applies its rules, and bases its legislation, education, politics and economy on its values, the Muslim society, in other words, is lacking, then, the society is called a society of individual Muslims, where these individuals practice Islam as much as they can, and strive for establishing the Muslim State. In such circumstance, i.e. the absence of the Muslim State, we cannot tell the “land of war” and “land of treaty” is, as they can only be defined in view of the existence of the “land of Islam”.

            However, it is difficult, on the national level, to stick to that term and oblige its consequences, since Muslims who live in non-Muslim countries may be having political freedom, practices, and rights that are lacking in many other Muslim societies, even if they were the majority, that is, an oppressed and repressed majority.

            The other aspect which we see that it needs clarification is that the terms relating to political geography are man-made terms which are prompted by the international circumstance and reality of that time, and are not binding, as recent developments, changes in the nature of societies, the advancement of the international laws, and the establishment of covenants and joint international foundations may urge coining new terms of more recent and definite significance.

            Here, we address an issue which has been overlooked by some researchers including those who claim specialization and reasoning, consideration and renewal, and release claims and projects of renewal. The issue is that the terms “land of war” and “land of Islam” are tentative terms, which is true, and that it is preferable to replace “land of Islam” by the responding nation, referring to those who responded and believed, and  replace “land of war” byr the call nation, referring to those who have not believed and are addressed by the call. This proposal was raised by Ar-Râzî in his Qur'ânic interpretation. This opinion, though right, accurate, and acceptable regarding the general meaning, and on the national level, is neither accurate nor right, on the State, international- law, or political-geography level, as mentioned earlier, due to the existence of Muslim minorities who belong to the responding nation, in non-Muslim societies, who belong to the call nation. So, how can the sovereignty of the Muslim State be geographically extended to them?

            I believe that the religious assignment discourse, and the legislative rulings assigned to the nation as a State and authoritative institution.

            Therefore, the Muslim minorities living in non-Muslim countries are deemed a part of the Muslim nation, a case which we can call cultural geography, not a part of the Muslim State or “land of Islam”, in case the Muslim State exists ÜÜÜÜÜÜ a case which we can call political geography.

            And I believe that many of the Sharî'ah rulings for emigration or the religious rulings for what we called "living in non-Muslim countries" need reviewing in the light of cultural, media, and social changes. The world has become almost one media State, and the Muslim minorities living in non-Muslim countries have become able to live with the culture, issues, and problems of the Muslim world, and to learn the religious rulings and the Islamic culture through more that one medum. Moreover, their existence in those countries may be necessary for the call to Allah and the spread of Islam, giving an ideal example to follow, combatting the enemies, and, possibly, gaining access to whatever is not available in the Muslim countries.

            All the intended Islamic immigrations throughout history contributed to either spreading the Religion, or establishing the Muslim State. We may not need to give examples from more that one place, but it suffices us to say that the exemplary emigration from Makkah to Al-Madînah is the one that formed the historical human turning point and established the State of Islam. And for a reason Allah Almighty wanted, the exemplary Islamic State was destined to be established in the Jewish stronghold at Al-Madînah Al-Munawwarah (the enlightened city) not in Makkah around the House which was built on the bases of oneness, so that this may be an evidence, a guide, and an incentive to all the coming immigration till Allah inherits the earth and all who are upon it, and an indication that weakness , by Allah's will, will turn into power, and that the feeblest of houses, which is the spider's house, was, on the face of it, a reason for protecting the Prophet (p.b.u.h) during his migration to establish the Islamic State.

            The Muslim has only to know his Islam, and how to call to it, and, by so doing, will be influential and effective wherever he might be. Hence the Prophet (p.b.u.h) says, "Be pious to Allah wherever you are." (Reported by At-Tirmithî, quoting ''Abu-Dharr) The earth belongs to Allah, and He causes whomsoever He decides to inherit, and the Muslim's responsibility is an international one, that is, to save the people and bestow mercy upon them. The individual, may equal a nation, as mentioned earlier; hence, matters should not be measured by the majority and minority, since how often a majority turns out to be useless, and how often a minority has shown a great value, if they properly dealt with the laws of the struggle of civilizations.

    A final word:

            This book was originally an academic study of some Islamic rulings for Muslims minorities, wherein the author has addressed the Sharî'ah rulings and different reasoning adequate depth, and tried his best to present the preponderant reasoning, whether in the field of worship, transactions, social relations, or the issue of loyalty and quittance in so far as he could scrutinize the circumstances and conditions of the world state of affairs nowadays.

            Confining ourselves to reviewing and reasoning in the field of legislative jurisprudence, though important and necessary, may not be required; rather we should reflect on the educational curricula, designing cognitive systems and resources of cultural formation and reinforcement, pinpointing the position of the Islamic culture among other existing cultures, and the ability to contain different situations, since the rulings and methods that fit for a minority in a society may not fit for another minority in another society of  a different nature, and what fits for the Muslims in the Muslim countries may not fit for Muslims in non-Muslim countries.

            It might be highly important to think about localizing the call so that educational, legislative, and cultural jurisprudence may be relevant to the local reality; hence, the significance of Allah's saying "A Messenger (one) of them" gets materialized, not calling them from behind the borders and without fleeing their suffering.

            The file of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries remains open for more jurisprudential and cultural levels, in view of social developments, international covenants and institutions, human rights conventions, the civilizational contribution in the field of the media, information network, and the space channels that occupied the space and stormed the political boundaries, and, thus, made the minorities look like majorities in power and influence, made the majorities look like minorities as to powerlessness, slackness, and being under co, and made scientific and educational prospects available everywhere.

            Therefore, the issue needs much more scrutiny, consideration, strife, and planning.

            Allah is the One whose help is to be sought, and He indeed guides to the Straight Path. 

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