THE HIJRAH: LESSONS FOR CANADIAN MUSLIMS, Imam Dr Zijad Delic
The Hijrah institutionalized three important aspects of life of the community of Muslims: i) the social/religious dimension, including the establishment and construction of religious identity; ii) the economic dimension, or helping one another and alleviating need in material ways); and iii) the political dimension, especially matters concerning freedom of religion and human rights.
i) Identity Construction:
It was only after the event of Hijrah that people began to see clearly that Islam is a complete way of life which pays attention to every aspect of human activity, providing direction for every moment of one’s conscious time. And it was only after the Hijrah that people could see Islam’s example of social decency and success.
ii) Helping one another:
For us living in Canada the economic aspect of the Hijrah (helping one another) is of major importance. Ansar (helpers) provided not only shelter and a peaceful home for the migrating Muslims – or Muhajirs (emigrants) — but out of love for their new brothers and sisters, helped them in all ways and by all means.
iii) Freedom of religion and respect for human rights:
The third reason why the Hijrah is so important is due to the freedom Muslims attained in Madinah. Before the Hijrah, early Muslims had no say in any matter, internal or external. The Hijrah turned those few hundred followers of Muhammad (S) into a highly progressive and successful society. Thus, the Hijrah became a new direction towards the sphere of Halal and justice for all.
While an important element of Hijrah, as explained by the Prophet (pbuh), is to “avoid and desert the unlawful things (Bukhari),” the lessons to be gained from Hijrah go far beyond that, including:
1. The assertion of a unique identity which is able to coexist with all other people in Canadian society, regardless of their religious and philosophical backgrounds (or within any other context they find themselves).
2. The refusal to live indefinitely as a misunderstood element of the society and to correct this misunderstanding through all possible ethical and democratic means; an injustice to ourselves is also an injustice to society and in the world.
3. The mandate to live as a model of interaction, participation and co-existence with all Canadian Muslims and other non-Muslim communities on the basis of a mutuality of interests, or the common good.
Let me state in conclusion that this is the right time to make our Hijrah to Islam; to find ourselves, our place and our position in our society as its valuable citizens; to find our brothers and sisters in Islam and in humanity who need help and offer them the hand of support especially now when Canadian winter is almost here.