Hijrah to or Hijrah from
Two articles I read recently which I really enjoyed -- not only because they are uplifting stories, but because they are really well written, indepth pieces. So often we get the "headline" news which barely tells us anything.Mosque works to better the communityMiddle East Team in MidWest Football
Of particular interest, in the first article one of the men who moved into a crime ridden neighborhood with the intent of helping make it a better place to live said, "I see coming here as a hijra to live a better life." Not as in live in financial plenty, but as in, this particular neighborhood is full of people who need a helping hand so it is easy for me to fulfill the Islamic commands to help my neighbor.
I found that idea fascinating. Usually hijra (migration) is used to refer to moving away from a corrupt, bad place to a good, wholesome place. The emphasis being on the fact that in the bad place practicing one's religion is difficult, and often one suffers persecution for it, while in the good place it is easy to practice one's religion because lots of other people there are also practicing; it is not only tolerated, but you also have the support of your co-religionists. In fact, there have been some scholars who have said we should move out of non-Muslim majority lands as a matter of religious duty, citing the fact that the Prophet moved from pagan dominated Mecca to Muslim dominated Medinah. (Needless to say, I disagree with this point of view.)
Either way, it was very interesting to read this man's different take on hijrah -- that he was purposefully moving into an area full of corruption and crime, not to convert people, but to help them, and perceived this as his fulfillment of his religious duty of hijrah. I find that notion much more uplifting than the traditional, isolationist interpretation.
And, in fact, one of the reasons Prophet Muhammad moved from Mecca to Madinah was that the tribes in Medina were bickering among themselves and asked him to come and rule between them, as they could not resolve their differences amicably. It was to help those people in their conflicts, much as this man, Br. Bobo, is helping the people of the neighborhood he moved to.
The other reason always stated was that it was possible to practice Islam in Medinah as it was not in Mecca. I really like how the brother Bobo in the Bay area translated that into practice of Islam in his world. It is not Islam to live far removed from the people who need the most help, but to move to the place where you can be of the most use.