I write of “Islam” in this article. By Islam I mean the Religious-Social-Political-Legal system of “orthodox traditional (Sunni) Islam” – the Islam of Koran, Sunnah, Tafseer and Sharia.
According to (Sunni) Islam, the only legal government is that of the “Caliphate” and since that does not exist at present, all governments (whether “Islamic” or not) are, ultimately, illegal; irrespective of how closely they hew to Sharia.
Thus, there is no central authority for Islam today (for the reason given above) and so there is no body that can exercise the functions of the state for Islam itself and none of the 56 “Islamic” states have this authority. Hence the clamour amongst Islamists (i.e. those that closely and fully follow the teachings of orthodox Islam) for the re-establishment of a Caliphate (often centred in the Mid-East.)
The present situation means that every Muslim has to determine for him/herself what the demands of Islam are (and, of course, how far s/he will go in carrying them out). That this determination is often put into the hands of those same Islamists is, of course, a given.
Presented below are a few of the doctrines of Islam that are of relevance to non-Muslims. Many readers may well be familiar with some, but I make no apology for drawing together this short list.
In simple terms this is the Islamic doctrine of “love and hate” or, as more often expressed, “alliance and rejection”.
It means loving (al-wala’) what Allah (and Mohammed) love, and hating (wal-bara’) what they hate; or: allying yourself to what they command and rejecting anything and everything that goes against “Islam”.
Both the loving and the hating must be active. It is not enough to “mentally” oppose something in “Bara’” in particular.
That leads onto the question as to what and who Allah/Mohammed love and hate.
Dr. Muhammad Saeed Al-Qahtaani sets it out like this:
Al-Wala “is to love those who are obedient to Allah, [i.e. Muslims], and to come to their help.”
Wal-Bara “is to feel anger at the enemies of Allah and to struggle [i.e. wage jihad] against them.”
He then goes on to say: “Because of this Allah has called the first group [i.e. Muslims] the “party of Allah” and the second [i.e. non-Muslims] the “party of Satan””. (A reference to K.4:76)
Again quoting: “It is the obligation of every Muslim to learn from Allah’s Deen [this word means “faith” - in all its aspects] whatever may serve as a weapon for him in the struggle [jihad] against the friends of Satan…‘enmity for the sake of Allah’, it includes the obligation to declare enmity for His sake: opposition for the sake of Allah. It is to declare opposition in deed, to take up arms against His [Allah/Mohammed's] enemies, to shun them, and to stay far from them both in word and deed. … Allah says: “And surely that Our host would be the victors.” [K37:173] So to the host of Allah [Muslims] shall be the victory in discussion and in debate, as in war and strife [over Kaffirs].” (Emphases mine.)
Ibn Abbas (a contemporary of Mohammed) said: “Who loves for the sake of Allah and despises for the sake of Allah, who takes both his friend and his enemy for the sake of Allah, indeed his desire in this is but for the alliance of Allah.” i.e. Loving and hating for Allah will “put you right” with Allah.
The Koran is quite clear on the matter:
4:101 (Pickthall): … the disbelievers are an open enemy to you. Again: 4:10 (Malik): … it will be said to the disbelievers: “Allah’s hatred towards you was far greater…” K3:28,118 and K5:51 tell Muslims not to befriend non-Muslims (unless it is in a deceitful way-3:28) K8:22, 8:55 and 9:28 state that non-Muslims are the “worst” or “vilest” of all living things and that we are “untouchable” K60:4 states that “ …Enmity and hate shall reign between us forever until you believe in Allah…”
Thus, it is clear that Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara calls on Muslims to “love” their fellow Muslims and hate the non-Muslim (or Kaffir).
This, when fully adopted, has some horrific consequences, for example:
A Muslim should prefer treatment by an incompetent Muslim Doctor/Dentist etc or no treatment at all compared to treatment by a Kaffir. (Hence the murder of Non-Muslim Doctors in Afghanistan, Aug.2010)
A Muslim should not give aid to a non-Muslim and indeed it is forbidden for “Zakat” to be given to non-Muslims – except as an “inducement” (bribe) to convert or take an action beneficial to Islam. (Hence the discrimination against Christians in the Pakistan floods of Aug/Sept 2010.) Nor should a Muslim accept aid from a non-Muslim (this is harder to do when the alternative is starvation, but here another doctrine, that of “Taysir” – see later – comes in), since you should not be beholden to your ‘enemy’.
As part of this doctrine, Islam divides the World into (essentially) two: the Dar-ul-Islam (the Islamic world - lit. “house of Islam”) and the Dar-ul-Harb (the world of war – lit. “house of war”). Inhabitants of the Dar-ul-Harb are termed “Harbis”; that is, “people of the house of war” (alternately, you could render this as “people at war with Islam”). There are plenty of verses in the Koran and also Ahadith to show that the natural state of Islam versus the non-Muslim World is one of war (e.g. K.2:190-193, 4:76, 4:95, 8:38-39, 8:65-69, 9:29, 9:123, 47:4; Ishaq:208; Bukhari 1:387, 4:196, 4:220; Muslim 1:31, 4:1062, 4:4294) though periods of “peace” – more accurately called “hudna” (see below) – may occur.
What should concern the “Kaffir” is that whilst Muslim Countries may be at peace with us, Islam itself is not naturally so [K.47:35 and above], as history abundantly demonstrates. (This is part of the “rationale” behind Islamic terrorists calling themselves “Mujahedeen” (=“Allah's soldiers”) or “Shahids” (lit. “witness”, more generally “martyr” in the sense of one who has died as a mujahedeen and thus “witnessed” to his faith, often in a “suicide” attack, or other attack against a “soft” target – e.g. the recent  Nigerian Mall attack).
A further element of Wal-Bara’ (according to Islam.org.au) is for Muslims to emigrate from non-Muslim Countries to Islamic ones – except in cases of necessity (see Taysir, below) according to a Hadith of Abu-Dawud. (However, see the countervailing doctrines of “Hijra”, below.)
For the “true believers” of Islam, one wonders why they immigrate to Western lands since there are 56 members of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Countries) for them to choose from where they could be with their Muslim “brothers”.
Of course, orthodox Islam makes it quite plain that Muslims are allowed, and indeed encouraged, to enter the lands of the non-Muslims if they are conducting Razzia (Raids) or Jihad (which is more than just warfare, of course).
Taqiyya, Kitman and Tawriya
Originally, Taqiyya was a Shi'a doctrine, but it has been adopted by Sunnis too.
“This is the Islamic practice of “precautionary dissimulation” [i.e. lying] whereby believers may conceal their Muslim faith when under threat, persecution or compulsion.” (Oxford Dictionary of Islam).
“The word “al-Taqiyya” literally means: 'Concealing or disguising one’s beliefs, convictions [not just religious], ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury.'” (Abdul Hamid Siddiqui) Comment: Thus, if you think you may be in danger physically or mentally either now or at some point in the future from telling the truth, you are allowed to lie.
“al-Taqiyya is the uttering of the tongue, while the heart is comfortable with faith.” (Ibn Abbas) Comment: What this means is that you can say something “un-Islamic”, or lie, provided you retain Islamic belief.
Hadith: Muslim #6303: Reported Umm Kulthum she heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, bringing reconciliation amongst persons… Comment: What is significant here is that if your lie is for a “good cause” (and what better cause then promoting Islam?) then it is just fine with Allah to lie.
Hadith: Bukhari Bk. 52: No.269: Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: The Prophet said, “War is deceit.” Comment: You can also lie in “war” / jihad (all non-Islamic parts of the World are part of the “World of War” don’t forget) and jihad has non-violent elements in which deceit can be practised.
ibid Bk.84: No.64: Narrated ‘Ali: Whenever I tell you a narration from Allah’s Apostle, by Allah, I would rather fall down from the sky than ascribe a false statement to him, but if I tell you something between me and you then it was indeed a trick. Comment: In other words, lying is okay, provided you don’t misquote Mohammed or the Koran. But, as we will see later, a partial quote is fine too.
Sharia Law: Reliance of the Traveller (p. 746 – 8.2) – “… If a praiseworthy aim is attainable … by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory… Comment: this basically expands on Muslim#6303, but makes it clear that under certain circumstances a Muslim must tell lies.
Koran 3:28: “Let believers [Muslims] not take Kaffirs [non-Muslims] for “auliya” instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with God—unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions…” Comment: this verse is often seen as the primary verse that sanctions deception towards non-Muslims.
Tabari (d. 923), author of a standard and authoritative Qur’an commentary, explains verse 3:28 as follows: “If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harbouring inner animosity for them … [know that] God has forbidden believers from trusting or being on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers—except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them [Muslims] act friendly towards the infidels while preserving their religion.”
Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), another prime authority on the Qur’an, writes of this verse: “Whoever at any time or place fears … evil [from non-Muslims] may protect himself through outward show.” [As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad's close companion] Abu Darda, who said, “Let us grin in the face of some people while our hearts curse them.” [And another companion, simply known as] Al-Hasan, who said, “Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the Day of Judgement [i.e., in perpetuity].”
Written by Sami Mukaram, (a former Islamic studies professor at the American University of Beirut and author of some twenty-five books on Islam) the book, Al-Taqiyya fi’l-Islam (Dissimulation in Islam) clearly demonstrates the ubiquity and broad applicability of taqiyya:
“Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.”
Islam has “history” when it comes to deceiving the (Christian) West. Writing about Islam’s wars with Christians, the practice of taqiyya was widespread then as well according to Mukaram:
“[Whenever the Christians were in authority], Taqiyya was used as a way to fend off danger from the Muslims, especially in critical times and when their borders were exposed to wars with the Byzantines and, afterwards, to the raids [crusades] of the Franks and others.”
Thus, taqiyya may be practiced under the following conditions.
Fear of “persecution” (i.e. anything that prevents or impedes living a fully Sharia-compliant life.).
To deceive an enemy, that is, non-Muslims.
If lying will do “good” in an Islamic sense or in the cause of Islam.
For political purposes.
Recall that Islam divides the world into the Islamic world (dar-ul-Islam) and the world-of-war (Dar-ul-Harb). Further the Koran in 4:101 states (Pickthall): “… the disbelievers are an open enemy to you.” What this means is that non-Muslims (the Koran translators use disbelievers/unbelievers interchangeably to mean “those that do not believe” – i.e. non-Muslims) are a declared enemy of the Muslim Umma (peoples), with whom Islam is in a state of war (either “hot” or “cold”).
Therefore, Islam gives clear permission to Muslims to lie to non-Muslims in any expedient way (since they can invoke Taqiyya for any and/or all of the reasons above depending on case!). Thus, we (as non-Muslims) can never really take what any given Muslim says about Islam as being the truth.
NOTE: this is not to say that any individual Muslim is not honest, just that they may not be and the worst part of this is that we can never tell.
(See also here for a more detailed setting out of the development and practice of Taqiyya.)
Secrecy or concealment
This is Taqiyya’s “little brother”. Kitman is just providing incomplete information by concealing some parts.
A widely used example of Kitman is when Muslims say:
“whoever slays a soul, it is as though he slew all men” to show how highly Islam values human life (!).
However, put these verse fragments together with the start of the verse and the part omitted from the middle and the meaning changes:
“For this reason did We prescribe to the children of Israel that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men”. (K5:32)
Now we can clearly see that this statement primarily refers to the Jews (the people most reviled by Islam). Further, even if it is applied to Muslims, the exception for “mischief” can be widely interpreted to allow killing for a wide range of “offences” – e.g. “insult” to Islam/Mohammed/Koran etc.
If we refer this verse to the preceding verses 5:27-31, which are the story of Cain and Able, then the context of 5:32 is the slaying of a family (or community) member. Consequently, in applying 5:32 to Muslims Ibn Kathir writes in his commentary: “Sa’id bin Jubayr said, ‘He who allows himself to shed the blood of a Muslim, is like he who allows shedding the blood of all people. He, who forbids shedding the blood of one Muslim, is like he who forbids shedding the blood of all people.’ In addition, Mujahid commented on the verse ‘He who kills a believing soul [i.e. a Muslim] intentionally, Allah makes the Fire of Hell his abode, He will become angry with him, and curse him, and has prepared a tremendous punishment for him, equal to if he had killed all people, his punishment will still be the same.’”
Thus, we can see that Islam does place a high value on human life – provided that, and only provided that, the life is Muslim; yet through the use of “Kitman” a Muslim will say that in Islam “life is sacred” and use out of context fragments of K.5:32 to (falsely) support this assertion and hide his true meaning: “Muslim life is sacred”.
The above is but one example of course, but it makes the point that Islam permits the “twisting” of even it's most sacred source, the Koran, to generate a “convenient 'truth'” that benefits Islam, even when the proper Islamic interpretation of the verse is nigh on diametrically opposite the one asserted or inferred.
A second type of Kitman is exemplified by the apologist who tries to insist the Jihad is “all about the spiritual struggle”. A statement that is at best 25% true. “Jihad bil qalb/nafs” (jihad of the heart/soul) is indeed about the Muslims' “spiritual struggle”, but it is only one of four types of Jihad and the other three are aimed at the non-Muslim and to their detriment. If we consider the balance of Jihad hadith in Bukhari, then Jihad is ~98% “Jihad bis saif” (“Jihad with sword” or sword-jihad) i.e. physical violence/war etc. against non-Muslims and less than 0.5% about any spiritual struggle.
Therefore Kitman gives Muslims permission to hide any inconvenient truths about Islam and/or to massage them into convenient truths (even when so doing perverts the meaning of verses of the Koran, please note) that will serve a purpose – e.g. increasing Islam's “palatability” to a non-Muslim audience.
Example 1: suppose a non-Muslim protests that Surah 1 of the Quran demeans Christians and Jews (it is a supplication Muslims make to Allah seventeen times a day to keep them from the path of “those with whom God is angry [Jews]” and “those who have lost their way [Christians]”). A Muslim might respond, “Surah 1 never mentions Jews or Christians.” He is practising Tawriya, because while Surah 1 does not mention Jews and Christians by name, he knows full-well that the words “those…” refer to Jews and Christians.
Example 2: a Muslim responds to your greeting of “Merry Christmas!” He might say, “I wish you the best.” In your mind, you think he has returned a Christmas greeting. In actuality, he has expressed his wish for you to convert to Islam; he wishes “the best” for you in his view which is your becoming a Muslim.
Example 3: a Muslim owes money, when asked he says “I haven't got a penny in my pockets.” But he does have a roll of notes! According to Tawriya his statement is not a lie.
But Tawriya extends much further: According to the Reliance of the Traveler (sections o19.1-5) Tawriya means is that it is OK to break the intent of the oath, as long as you don’t break the letter of the oath. In other words, if an oath (promise) is phrased in any way ambiguously or with a caveat – even an implicit one (e.g. “in sha' Allah” - "if Allah wills") then the oath is, effectively, meaningless.
Thus, as we can see, Muslims are empowered to lie, tell half-truths and dissemble about Islam and its doctrines (provided their “heart is comfortable with faith”) if doing so will give Islam an advantage – such as “defending” Islam/Mohammed, denying its/his more unpleasant attributes, or – as in the case above – giving a positive “spin” to Islam to make it more palatable to a non-Muslim audience.
This is why, to make any study of Islam, or to stand a chance of holding a valid opinion, it is vital to go back to the sources.
But here, too, lies a problem. According to Islam, only the Arabic Koran is really the Quran itself – that is why many “translations” call themselves “interpretations into (English) of”- so the non-Arabic “Interpretations” can depart from accuracy without it being deemed a falsification (provided the “interpretation” is beneficial to Islam – e.g. from the perspective of its audience’s reception). That is why it is usually necessary to compare several translations to get closer to the truth and even then you can’t be really sure if the message has been “toned down” or not.
(A further, though unrelated, aspect is that Koran translations are the work of one or two people. Thus, the risk of the translators own prejudices and idiosyncrasies being reflected in the translation is that much greater.)
See here for further information. I strongly recommend this piece.)
Also written as tayseer.
Facilitation (granted by God) (Muslim-names.org)
-fiqh al-taysir (the “jurisprudence of ease“) - “Islam (not unlike Catholicism) offers Muslims dispensations, whenever needed: “For Allah desires ease for you, not hardship” (Koran 2:185; see also 5:6, 4:26-28, 2:286)… Taysir should only be used as needed, based on the vicissitudes of time and chance... Taysir is especially needed in this era...especially for those Muslim minorities living in Europe and America." ” (Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi )
This is a subtle doctrine that essentially means that if a Muslim is unable to fulfil some aspect of his religious practice, then he is not obligated to attempt to do so.
For example, a Muslim would not “sin” by eating non-Halal (“Haram”) food if no Halal food is available or by missing prayers if there is no place/opportunity to pray.
Thus if a Muslim cannot implement aspects of Sharia because they live in a non-Sharia compliant (non-Muslim) Country where, for example, it would be illegal, no “blame” attaches to them for not so doing.
A further aspect of this doctrine is that Muslims living in non-Muslim Countries can truthfully claim that they don’t practice (or don’t believe in doing) various parts of Sharia (stoning adulterers, cutting thieves hands off, etc.), without actually repudiating the teachings; instead they set it aside by the doctrine of Taysir, waiting until circumstances change so that they can apply it.
In one sense the name says it all. Anything that a Muslim is compelled by necessity to do, even to the point of denying faith, is covered (and permitted) by this doctrine.
Simply put, Darura says that if you are forced to do something un-Islamic, you will not be called to account (either in this World or the hereafter).
Darura is an “active” doctrine. The classic example, quoted by Islamic Jurists, is the Muslim forced by necessity to go to a secular (Western) Court, rather than a Sharia Court to obtain his rights.
As can be seen by this example, Darura refers to using non-Islamic means to achieve a “good” end (i.e. one of benefit to Islam and/or Muslims), rather than passively setting aside some element of Islamic practice (Taysir) because it's actioning might cause trouble to the Muslim population.
Means blending in with the enemy or the surroundings. The justification for this kind of deception is a somewhat bizarre interpretation of Surah 2:106, which says, “If we abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten, We will replace it by a better one or similar.” linked to Sahih hadith that show Mohammed forgetting and then being reminded of (replacing) verses of the Koran.
Thus, Muslims may “forget” some of the commands in the Quran (or Sharia), as long as they are pursuing a better command. Muslims striving to advance Islam, therefore, can deviate from the Islamic laws if doing so will facilitate Islam in some way. At times, some Muslims practice Muruna in the same way a chameleon changes colours – to avoid detection. Muslims will sometimes shave off their beards, wear western clothing, or even drink alcohol to blend in with non-Muslims. (The 9/11 hijackers visited strip clubs and bars during their off-times while taking classes in the U.S. to fly aeroplanes into the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon, and the White House.)
This second set of three doctrines allow a Muslim not merely to “say lies” but to “live a lie”. If some part of Islamic Law can’t be implemented, you can set it aside by Taysir or, if you have to use an un-Islamic alternative then Darura applies. (It’s sometimes difficult to separate these two, since to some degree they are the opposite sides of the same coin). If you have to do something “un-Islamic” or even forbidden by Islam “Haram” to further a greater Islamic goal, then Darura permits this. If you need to “hide in plain sight” then Muruna allows this. (Again the distinctions are subtle: the 9/11 hijackers could hardly claim that they were forced to go to strip-joints etc., but it was good camouflage – hence Muruna rather than Darura.)
In 2012 a truly bizarre example of Darura/Maruna surfaced in the fatwa (Sharia ruling) that permitted (made halal) buggery, provided it enabled the rectal insertion of a bigger bomb. In this case the potential to kill more “enemies of Islam” was deemed the greater Islamic “good” by the Fatwa's authors. To be fair most Muslim authorities repudiated the fatwa in no uncertain terms, regarding homosexuality as a far greater evil even than the 'good' of killing Kaffirs – but the point remains: the differences were on the balance of good vs. evil, not the principles of Darura and Maruna used in the fatwa. (Others, but without offering evidence, simply labelled this fatwa a hoax.)
As will be immediately seen, these doctrines work together to allow Muslims to do a lot of dissembling and even outright lying, both in word and action; provided it is all in a “good cause” – such as the defence or promotion of Islam. Indeed these doctrines can be seen as part-and-parcel of Islamic “Dawa” (outreach/proselytisation, etc.) if it increases the “palatability” of Islam and wins Islam acceptance in a wider non-Muslim society and/or converts. Further Taysir allows Muslims to “set aside” parts of Islamic doctrine that in their host Country may be either illegal or unpalatable, or which could cause them “difficulty” by, for instance, casting Islam in a bad light.
“Hudna” is an Arabic word sometimes translated as “peace”, but more correctly as “cease-fire” or “temporary truce.” A hudna is limited in time or events, but is renewable. It has the implication that it is advantageous to Muslims, although it may also benefit other parties.” (Citizendium)
“Dar al Hudna (house of calm) The land of non-believers currently under a truce, which is a respite between wars. A truce is bought by tribute by Harbis [non-Muslim residents of the Dar-ul-Harb]. If the Harbis refuse to pay tribute in exchange for the truce, hostilities are resumed. Dar al-’Ahd “house of truce” or Dar al-Sulh “house of treaty” …Today, the term refers to those non-Muslim governments which have armistice or peace agreements [treaties] with Muslim governments. The actual status of the non-Muslim country in question may vary from acknowledged equality to tributary states.” (Wikipedia)
Note: not one of these “houses” (nor any others that traditionally apply to non-Muslims) is a “house of peace”. Therefore Islam has no concept of being at peace with non-Muslims; the best we can hope for is a truce or time-limited treaty. Also: as originally conceived, the Harbis had to pay tribute to maintain the Hudna and “keep the Muslims’ swords off their necks”. (This sounds much like a Mafia-style protection racket, or vice-versa.) Thus, the position of the tribute-paying Harbi was almost identical to that of the Dhimmi - both had to pay “protection money” to the Muslims.
“The Shafi`i school of jurisprudence set the limit of the hudna at 10 years, following the original stated duration of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya (from which the term ‘Hudna’ is derived). If the treaty does not specify the time limit, it is considered invalid. The Maliki school of jurisprudence does not specify a time limit and they leave this matter to the jurisdiction of the head of state.” (Mustafa Abu Sway)
The problem with understanding “Hudna” is that Westerners are inclined to believe that it means “peace”. As can be seen, it does not. It is a temporary fixed-term ceasefire.
It is not a peace treaty
Muslims can also call for a “Hudna” if it to their military advantage to do so (e.g. if they are losing a war). Such a truce will be for a limited time and hostilities will normally recommence once it expires or earlier, since such an agreement is inherently unstable.
This instability is largely due to the attitude of the Koran to non-Muslims, whom it believes never honour treaties and who are always deemed the ones to have violated the treaty if hostilities resume (K.9:1-10).
Put another way; we can regard Islam as being permanently at war with the Kaffir, the only question being as to whether the war is “hot” or “cold” at any given time, depending on whether or not a Hudna is operative, or what is seen as advantageous to the “Umma” at the time.
In the modern era where there is no unified Islamic state, there is no body with the power to enact or revoke Hudna for Islam itself, hence the nearest approximation is the peace treaties (which, strictly speaking, are not Hudnas) made between Muslim and non-Muslim Countries.
Turning to Islamic terror: we could regard this as a “hot” but “asymmetric” war (again note we should not conflate Islam itself with Muslim/Islamic Countries) or possibly as a “low-level” (‘warm’?) conflict. However, the presence of Islamic terror (especially that part directed at other Muslims) is clear proof that Islam is not “at peace with the world”, since it is self-evidently not even at peace with itself.
The first problem with the “doctrine of Hijra” (migration) is that there are two Hijras recorded within early Islamic history (c. 614-622 AD). Since these two hijras were for very different reasons, so there are distinct Hijra doctrines (though it can be argued the second encompasses the first).
To understand these doctrines, I think it worthwhile to give a brief outline of the reasons for each of the hijras.
In the earliest days of Islam, when Mohammed was first in Mecca his band of followers was small, powerless and mostly comprised of the poor and slaves. He faced considerable opposition and, whilst Muslim historians typically exaggerate the harassment that Mohammed personally suffered (he had powerful friends who deflected a lot of it from him), the Muslim community was certainly pressured and sometimes persecuted. As a consequence Mohammed sent some of his most vulnerable followers to the Christian kingdom of Abyssinia (aka Aksum or Axum) to seek asylum. This hijra actually occurred in two separate waves, one small, the other larger. The Meccans sent a delegation to the Abyssinian King to try and get the Muslim asylum-seekers repatriated, but the King refused and the Muslims lived there in peace and security, practising their religion and even propagating it - some converts to Islam in Abyssinia are recorded as is the reversion of one convert to Christianity (note: this reversion took place before the rule about killing apostates from Islam was promulgated).
Thus, this first Hijra could be termed a “flight from persecution to maintain and propagate the religion” and part of the total doctrine of Hijra involves both flight from persecution and the taking of opportunity to propagate the religion by peaceful Dawa means.
The second Hijra is the better known one: Mohammed’s move to Yathrib in 622 AD (later renamed Medina “City of the Prophet” – with typically becoming modesty). Some Authors see this as another flight – Mohammed’s position having become impossible in Mecca, others see it as an arbitration – Mohammed being asked to migrate there to act as a “judge” in the internal disputes between the various Yathribite tribes (both Arab and Jew).
However, neither of the above “explanations” takes (adequate) account of the second pledge of ‘Aqaba which was termed “the pledge of war” by all Muslim biographers due to the fact that it contains this pledge, on the part of Aws and Khazraj tribes of Yathrib “…When God gave permission to wage it [war], the Messenger of God, upon him be peace, then took the pledge in the last ‘Aqaba for waging war on any of his persecutors…” (Ibn Ishaq). As can be seen from the quote, this was more than a pledge to defend Mohamed et al; it was a pledge to wage war (i.e. attack) anyone who “persecuted” Mohammed – i.e. anyone who opposed him or his policies.
So, whilst a part of the reason for migration to Yathrib may well have been the need for a safe haven (but one within literal striking distance of Meccans' trade), a major consideration was that Mohammed was gaining the military power he needed (he now had the majority of two of Yathrib's tribes under his control). This was initially used in two ways: firstly to harass Meccan trade and secondly to “pick off” or expel the Jewish tribes in Yathrib, until Mohammed became the uncontested dictator of the (now re-named) Medina.
(In a Machiavellian way, this was cleverly done, in that after his arrival in Yathrib, Mohammed managed to divide the polytheist and Jewish tribes one from another, thus making his Aws/Khazraj group the most powerful political and military force – a position from which they had earlier fallen – able to pick off or expel other groups. A classic “divide and conquer” strategy.)
Thus, the second Hijra was primarily a hijra of jihad.
As Muslim Author Zakaria Bashir rather coyly puts it: “Far from being either a flight or a retreat, the Hijra, and the Pledge that made it possible, firmly ushered in the beginning of a positive and effective stage in the process of inviting the people to Islam and establishing the first Muslim civilisation.” [Emphases mine]
(It is almost amusing to see a Muslim writer admit, albeit ever so circumspectly, that Mohammed’s peaceful preaching was a failure in “inviting people to Islam” and that fighting strength and violence was required for positive results!)
Later on, of course, Mohammed used his increasing military power to subjugate surrounding tribes and eventually Mecca; and the rest, as is said, is history.
After Mohammed was established in Medina, he called on all his followers to join him there, primarily from Mecca and also from Abyssinia (this further boosted his military capability of course) and so another element in the doctrine of Hijra is the movement of Muslims to Islamic lands if they are persecuted in non-Muslim lands (as in Mecca at that time), or if they are needed for other reasons – e.g. jihad (one reason to recall his followers from their Abyssinian asylum).
However, the fact that Mohammed moved into a Kaffir city (Yathrib) and converted it means that the final element of hijra doctrine is the movement of Muslims into a Kaffir land with the aim of converting it by division, subversion, violence etc. (as alluded to in the section on al-Wala’ Wal-bara).
Thus, depending on context, the “doctrine of Hijra” can mean:
flight from persecution into a (friendly) Kaffir land and peaceful Dawa once there.
flight from “persecution” in a Kaffir land into a Muslim land to permit living a more Islamic life.
Movement into an Islamic land if more Muslims are needed there for some reason. (Indeed I have seen it stated that moving jobs or even within an office can be a “hijra” if it benefits Islam in some way.)
Movement into a Kaffir land for the purpose of undermining it and bringing it under Islamic control.
As can be seen, in some respects the doctrines of Hijra, if taken out of context, are contradictory and it is not surprising that many people (both Muslim and non-Muslim) find it confusing.
Thus one can find one Islamic website telling Muslims that they should emigrate from the West since they can’t live in a Kaffir land, whilst another states that Muslims must emigrate to the West in order to bring it within the Darul Islam!
In one sense, both are right – depending on whether the various site-Authors think that the “persecution” of Muslims in the West outweighs the Jihad/Dawa opportunity or not!
(I should remind the reader that Islam defines “persecution” as anything preventing Muslims leading a fully Sharia-compliant life; thus, at its most extreme, the presence of non-Muslims who are not Dhimmis within a land could be seen as “persecution” of any Muslims living there, since the non-Dhimmi presence is “against Sharia”.)
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Excursus: What then should we make of Muslim immigration in the West?
From the doctrines of al-wala’ wal-bara and hijra there are a variety of reasons that could bring Muslims to the West, from the (mostly) benign to the outright hostile.
I suspect that much immigration is for none of the “Hijra” reasons, though indisputably some Muslims have fled to the West to avoid persecution if they are of the “wrong” sect in their home Countries. Most is economic migration, the seeking of a “better life” in real, rather than Islamic, terms.
However, given the point-blank refusal of many Muslim immigrants to integrate into host societies and the rising level of hostility towards that society amongst the second/third generation “immigrants”, I am compelled to conclude that whatever the original reasons for the Westward ‘Hijra’, it is becoming one of Jihad on the Medinan model. As Hassan Butt, a ‘British-Muslim’ says: “They [the British-born] owe nothing to the Government. They did not ask to be born here; neither did they ask to be protected by Britain.” Thus, he acknowledges no duty to the state or the larger society in which he lives (though he happily partakes of the state-benefits) and one is forced to question why those who share such beliefs remain in Britain or other Western Countries - unless it be for Jihad.
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Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara requires Muslims love all other Muslims, to help Muslims against non-Muslims (this could well include sheltering terrorists etc.) and to shun, oppose, hate and undertake jihad, including war, on non-Muslims.
Taqiyya, Kitman and Tawriya permit Muslims to lie for the cause of Islam either by outright lying (Taqiyya), by telling half-truths (Kitman) or by making misleading (ambiguous) statements (Tawriya), even under oath (if carefully worded).
Taysir allows Muslims a “get out clause” from Sharia law and other religious practice if they can’t implement it fully; but if circumstances change to allow it, the practice(s) must be re-instated. Taysir is essentially passive in nature – not doing something Islam demands for reasons beyond Muslims' control.
Darura is the active counterpart of Taysir and applies if Muslims are forced to do something “haram” it becomes “halal” with the proviso that doing so is of benefit to Islam and/or Muslims.
Maruna. Permits Muslims to carry out “haram” acts – if they are done for a greater Islamic good.
Hudna. Mistranslated or misconstrued in the West as meaning “peace treaty”. In fact a strictly time-limited cessation of active hostilities, generally instituted when Muslims need to re-arm or re-group before re-commencing hostilities, thus, a period of “cold war”.
Hijra. It can be a flight from persecution (both to and from Islamic Countries), a migration to serve the needs of the Umma (Muslim community), but it is also a migration for the purposes of jihad (which is more than just war/terror/violence) against a non-Muslim indigenous population.
I think it is important to state that many Muslims, though less so now than in the past, are ignorant of the teachings and doctrines of their own religion, this is my personal experience of talking to UK Muslims.
Most Muslims do not understand Arabic (though they may be able to recite the Arabic Koran) and many thus grow up with little or no contact with their own religious sources.
As a result, many Muslims practice a “folk Islam” based not on the teachings of the Koran, Sunnah, Tafseer and Sharia; but on the beliefs of their community, which unlike the beliefs articulated in orthodox Islam are mutable and change with time as attitudes in society alter. This is particularly true for those Muslims who have been exposed to, or who reside within, non-Muslim societies.
Ironically, this may well be due to the first three doctrines explained above, as expounded by Muslim Apologists, who were in a majority as Muslim speakers and preachers – until the Islamist take-over of the 80s.
As a result, it is not uncommon to meet Muslims, particularly those of middle-age, who are personally honest, sincerely believe that Islam is peaceful and are truly good people.
The tragedy is that they are not really “Muslim” at all.
There is a sect called the “Ahmadhis”. This sect interprets the Quran through the teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908) who claimed to be the “divine reformer” of Islamic eschatology. One key element of Ahmadi Theology is an absolute commitment to peace and the rejection and/or apologetic/casuistic nullification of all the violent verses of the Quran. Thus, Ahmadis really do believe in a “religion of peace”.
The irony is that they are regarded as non-Muslims or apostates by all Sunni, Shia and Sufi sects.