Migration in the Name of Allah
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Jhangeer Hanif

I am a native resident of the United States and converted to Islam two years ago after marrying my husband. Not until two years ago, after both the ensuing attack in NYC (where we live) and my marriage did I ever once notice or consider the racist and obvious hypocrisy and oppressive imperialism of my native country/culture and its subjection of itself onto the world. Diligent Islamic and world political self-education through countless books, essays, articles from widely ranging sources, much soul searching, and simple human observance of both the common man’s and our (sadly un-challenged) government’s reactions have led me to think I am truly living a lie on this soil and therefore am on the cusp of making a very significant decision to shun where I have come from and move to an Islamic country – ie. my husband’s country of origin. Admittedly, Morocco, as every country around the world, has its own special problems. That is an entirely separate conversation. My question is whether or not my ‘conscience’ is answering me, genuinely making a suggestion based upon perhaps divine influence through prayer and in them my requests to God to be ‘shown the truth’. I know there is a passage in the Qu’rān which states when an individual’s ability to practice religion is compromised by their environment, if safely feasible, they are then obligated to leave – to remain in or ignore the environment is itself a sin. Some would say I should engage myself wholly in activism to create change (I do participate in my community’s mosque and city demonstrations). Some say, over time, things will change and Muslims will gain a widely accepted foothold in this country based simply upon their consistency as a community and others’ observance of the truly graceful and peaceful nature of the religion. Some have said the US is the only country in which Islam can truly be practiced due to its fundamental ‘democratic’ nature. I say, this is very young country/culture and will learn its future economic and political lessons in a very hard way – which I see less and less the significance of participating in. What would the most learned sheik advise? In the effort to remain ‘clean’, to turn away from this world and its bloated over-stimulation and perpetual sin, what would a truly clear thinking Muslim do?


A true Muslim should first try to understand the directives of his religion in their proper perspective. Then he should be ready to decide about the situation that faces him. Muslims must be very clear when doing anything in the name of religion. Religion, of course, is not a trivial matter as to be conveniently twisted by everyone to match their own desires; I hope you would agree. Therefore, I really appreciate that you have set out to seek others’ advice on the trouble you must be facing at the moment. This will surely help you arrive at the right decision.

You are right in saying that Islam wants its adherents to migrate to another piece of land if they are obstructed from carrying out the basic obligations of their religion; they are persecuted for acting upon their religion; the environment poses a threat to their Iman (faith). In these situations, they should move to some other place where they can practice their own religion; they are not supposed to let go of the obligatory requirements of their religion by putting up an excuse that they were weak in the region and consequently could not carry out these requirements. The Holy Qur’ān says:

As for those whom the angels take [in death] while they wrong themselves, [the angels] will ask: ‘In what were you engaged?’ They will say: ‘We were oppressed in the land’. [The angels] will say: ‘Was not Allah’s earth spacious that you could have migrated therein?’ As for such, their habitation will be hell, an evil journey’s end. (4:97)

It should however be appreciated that such requirements must be of primary importance like offering the prayer and fasting in the month of Ramadān. Muslims should not migrate in the name of religion only be cause they have been obstructed to hold a demonstration to stop war against a Muslim country or to publish and distribute material regarding Jihād et cetera. In these situations, they may migrate to another county of their own accord but they ought not to use the word Islam.

Seen in this perspective, your case needs to be decided by you alone. You need to answer yourself whether the situation is as adverse as to become a threat to your own safety or your Imān. If it is; then you should migrate to whatever peaceful place you can. Allah will help you and your reward with the Lord will be secured. 

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