in category Seerah

Are Muslims in the West like Muslims who migrated to Abyssinia during the prophet's time?

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Muslims living in the West as minority communities are in some ways like the Muslims who migrated from Mecca to live in Abyssinia.

Muslims living in the West can practice Islam at a personal level - as a religion and little more as they are expected to integrate into each national state they reside in, thereby weakening if not displacing their Islamic bonds as an ummah. Most have little political ambitions and do not engage in a struggle for the implementation of Islam at the societal level.

Are Muslims in the West like Muslims who migrated to Abyssinia during the prophets time?
Some Muslim academics and scholars in the west to justify this limiting of Islam to the personal realm and doing away with the collective obligations on the ummah to implement the din comprehensively.

Their arguments are however flawed as they isolate the precedent of Abyssinia from its broader context.

Abyssinia was not a case of the Companions migrating permanently to a different land to live a personal Islam indefinitely. Abyssinia was a case of some companions, a small minority, being allowed to migrate to avoid persecution that arose because of active engagement in a struggle to implement the din and raise the word of Allah in Mecca. It is for this very reason they faced persecution from the Mecca elites. It was also to send some Muslims to Abyssinia as a vanguard in case the dawa failed in Mecca where the Messenger (saw) and his companions could migrate.

The vast majority of the Companions, along with the Prophet (saw), were engaged in this struggle in Makkah. Of the fourteen or fifteen who initially migrated, none were from the weaker Muslims or slaves, all from wealthy and prosperous backgrounds.

In other words, Abyssinia was momentarily relief for some from the struggle in Makkah where the core of the Prophetic struggle existed. To isolate it, study and apply it in isolation from what was happening in Makkah is superficial at best and disingenuous at worst.

The only way it can be properly applied to the situation of Muslims in the west - if it must be applied - is by linking it back to the struggle for Islam in the Muslim world and the importance of removing the Western systems therein.

But to absolve oneself of the struggle for Islam in the Muslim world and to claim that no such struggle needs to exist in the west, is merely to do away with one of the most important communal obligations and to sever Muslims in the west from the body of the ummah, which is extremely dangerous.

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