Migrate (verb): 1. to go from one country, region, or place to another
2. to shift, as from one system, mode of operation, or enterprise to another
3. to move from one region of the body to another, as in embryonic development
Hijrah (verb): to keep away, to distance, migrate, abandon – in Islam, done only for the sake of Allah
The Muslim calendar starts with hijrah. It was an event so big that it was like the beginning of a new era.
We have probably heard the stories before, of why it happened and how it happened, but if we understand all the aspects of it, if we connect with it emotionally, it enables us to see our life in a different perspective. Or it does for me anyway.
So the Muslims left Makkah because they couldn’t practice their religion anymore, because they were being persecuted to death, and they were being oppressed. These were people they grew up with, had relationships with, traded with. And they were making their lives a living hell. So they left.
Seems easy enough. It is probably what we would tell someone else going through the same situation.
Ah, but only when you realise just what they were leaving behind do you realise how hard it would have been for them.
For most of them, Makkah was all they knew: it was where they were born, where they forged friendships, where they had their memories, where they had been their entire life. It was home. To leave to new land with none of their familiar possessions, not knowing exactly what was awaiting them, to literally leave their entire life behind was a huge step to take.
But they did it, for Allah.
It is those two key words that made everything ok. They had the eman and tawakkul that He would take care of everything. And He did.
When we have a life-changing decision to make, what we are most afraid of is change, the unknown. What is this new lifestyle going to be like? Would I be able to adapt? Will I get along with the people? And that’s when the most mundane details of our daily life stand out, and that’s when we appreciate them. Realise how much we’ve taken for granted.
But no matter what kind of decision it is – changing jobs, changing schools, moving houses, getting married, moving back to our home countries or abroad – having the intention that is for Allah – that whatever happens, we will make the most of it – gives us the contentment that Allah will take care of everything. We just need to believe it when we say it. Because He reacts to us the way we think of Him.
Change is such that it can slap you in the face or creep up on you unnoticed. And more often than embracing the difference, it leaves you rebellious. But after, willingly or unwillingly, submitting and adapting, looking back from further down the line, you can’t even remember how and where it all began.. Change, therefore, is not necessarily a certain point in your life, but rather the small moments that lead to the big difference.
It is important to remember that our life has already been planned for us. Everything that’s supposed to happen will happen, whether we want it to or not. We cannot control our circumstances but we can control our attitude towards it, and therein lies the difference of living happily or in misery.
The constant changes in our lives keeps us on our toes, and serves as a huge reminder that nothing in this world is permanent. Just when we settle comfortably into our lives, snuggling our butts in a perfectly shaped niche and not wanting to budge, we are made to get up and move on. It’s just that kind of life.
Whether it’s our houses, our jobs or even ourselves, nothing is forever. That’s why we have to aim for Jannah. Love your bedroom? Design one in your house there. Don’t want to give up your sports car? You’ll have one there InshaAllah, no problem! Love someone with all your heart? Ask du’a that they are your neighbours in heaven.
This love for dunya and wanting to hold on can actually enable us to work harder for the akhirah..! We are attracted to this world and all its beauty, but what is more beautiful than Paradise?
It’s not about what was and what could have been, but what is and what can be. We forget that Allah puts us in different places, different situations, with different people, because only He knows the good we can bring to the world from there. It took a good friend to help me realise that.
After they migrated to Madinah and established a Muslim state, that became their core: they had a whole society, system, and a headquarters of sorts from where they spread their feelers out into the world. And what a world it became under the Muslim rule! The Muslim communities in the West are strong and beneficial, because there are some people who migrated there with only that intention – spreading Islam in a non-Muslim country. It may not be the ideal situation initially, but who are we to say that where we are right now is the best place to reap the most reward?
What we need sometimes is for someone to throw us in the deep end. For its only when you fear you’re going to drown, that you realise you could swim all along.
So that is life: a roller coaster. And for those of you who don’t like roller coasters, you better figure out a way to enjoy the ride! For when life takes us to the edge of a precipice, fall or fly, those are the options. What’s it going to be?