Becoming A'arab after Hijrat
By: Shaheed Ayatullah Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi
The twenty-eighth sin, which is labelled as a Greater Sin, is to become A’arāb (Bedouin, gypsy etc) after Hijrat (migration).
It is recorded in Usūl al-Kāfi under the chapter of Greater Sins that according to the Sahih of Ibn Mahbūb when he wrote a letter to Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far (a.s.) he (a.s.) replied and this sin was included among the Greater Sins. Moreover, Muhammad bin Muslim has quoted Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and stated that he (a.s.) has included this sin among the greater ones. The book of ‘Ali (a.s.) also includes this sin in the list of Greater Sins.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says: “Becoming A’arāb after Hijrat and polytheism is one and the same (sin).” (Usūl al-Kāfi chapter of Greater sins)
What does ‘becoming A’arāb after Hijrat’ mean?
A’arāb refers to the nomadic Arabs or Bedouins who are absolutely ignorant of religion and rituals connected with faith. Hijrat signifies the migration of these desert Arabs to the Muslim centre, their acceptance of Islam at the hands of the Holy Prophet (S) or his rightful successor, and their consequent adherence to faith, and adherence to religious rules and regulations.
Becoming A’arāb after Hijrat is the condition when a desert Bedouin before acquiring the necessary knowledge of religion turns back to his ignorant ways.
In the early period of Islam it was incumbent upon them to migrate towards the Holy Prophet (S) in order to learn whatever was necessary for being a Muslim. Similarly it was prohibited for Muslims to stay in an area populated mostly with unbelievers; where it was not possible for them to pray and fast and perform other religious duties.
‘Why don’t you migrate?’
It is recorded in Tafsīr Minhaj us-Sādiqīn that there were some people among the Muslims like Qays bin Walīd, who were outwardly Muslims and had recited the confession of La ilāha illallah but inspite of this and their ability to do so, they did not accompany the Muslims in their Hijrat from Mecca to Madinah, and when the Quraish of Mecca marched to attack the Muslims in the battle of Badr these people joined them and were ultimately killed at the hands of the Muslims. A Qur’anic verse was revealed on this occasion:
“Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious, so that you could have migrated therein? So these it is whose abode is Hell, and it is an evil resort.” (Surah an-Nisā’ 4:97)
The above verse makes clear the fact that it is the duty of a Muslim to leave the place where he cannot adhere to his faith and rituals. In a tradition, the Prophet Muhammad (S) says: “One who migrates from a place to another for the sake of religion, even if it is only as far as the distance of a span (of hand), Allah makes Paradise incumbent upon him. (Wherein) his companions will be Hazrat Ibrahīm (a.s.) and Prophet Muhammad (S).” (Minhaj us-Sādiqīn)
“Except the weak from among the men and the children who have not in their power the means nor can they find a way (to escape); so these, it may be, Allah will pardon them, and Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving.” (Surah an-Nisā’ 4:98-99)
It is narrated from Akrama that many of the Meccans who had embraced Islam were not capable of migrating to Madinah, but when the Qur’anic verse deploring such people was revealed and they became aware of it; one of them Junda bin Zumra told his sons:
“Even though I have become extremely old and sick, I am not among those helpless people who have been deprived of migration by Allah (S.w.T.). I have yet some strength left and I also know the way to Madinah. I fear that if I were to die suddenly, my failure to migrate would be a blemish on my perfect faith. So, you all lift up the bed on which I lie and carry me outside towards Madinah.”
Thus, his sons lifted the bed and carried him outside, but they had reached only a short distance when the signs of his death became apparent. Junda bin Zumro kept his right hand on his left hand and said: “O Allah! This hand is for You and this for Your Messenger. I pledge allegiance to You for those things that Your Messenger had pledged.”
After this his soul escaped from his body. When the news of his death reached Madinah, some companions remarked, “It would have been better if Junda bin Zumro had reached Madinah. In this way he would have derived the Tawāb of Hijrat.”
The Almighty Allah revealed the following ayat on this occasion: “And whoever flies in Allah’s way, he will find in the earth many a place of refuge and abundant resources; and whoever goes forth from his house flying to Allah and His Apostle, and then death overtakes him, his reward is indeed with Allah and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Surah an-Nisā’ 4:100)
Becoming A’arāb after the passing of the Holy Prophet (S)
During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (S) it was incumbent upon every person to migrate towards him (S) to obtain instruction in religion and faith. In case he lived in the midst of unbelievers where he could not perform the obligatory acts of prayers and fasting, it was all the more necessary to migrate.
Failure to migrate and returning to nomadism is decreed to be a Greater Sin and the Almighty has promised Hell fire for such people.
After the passing away of the Holy Prophet (S) it became Wajib to turn towards the Holy Imams (a.s.) and to obtain the compulsory knowledge of faith and articles of Islamic acts. Also, it was most essential to attain the Ma’refat of Imam (a.s.) i.e. it was incumbent to have knowledge of one’s Imam and also to learn the matters of belief and acts. It was also prohibited to turn back to paganism after the acceptance of Islamic faith. To remain aloof from the Holy Imam (a.s.) even after recognising their position is Harām. Thus, Shaykh Sadūq narrates from Huzaifa bin Mansūr that he has reported from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) who said:
“To become A’arāb after Hijrat is to recognise Imam (a.s.) and then be aloof from him.” (Māni al-Akhbār)
Since the present age is the age of occultation of Imam az-Zaman (a.s.) the same rules apply to us.
It is necessary to migrate towards the jurist
Hijrat is incumbent on two types of people. The first type are those who are absolutely ignorant of the rules of religion. If there is no religious scholar in the area of their residence, whom they can refer to for their religious problems, then, it is compulsory for them to shift to a place where they have access to religious scholars for the solution of their problems.
The second types are those Muslims who live in the midst of unbelievers, and due to the oppression of these infidels, they are unable to perform their religious duties. It is incumbent on these Muslims to migrate to an area where there is freedom to practice their religion. The Shia jurists have explained this matter clearly.
Order for migration is forever
The Messenger of Allah (S) has told us: “Hijrat is Wajib till the doors of repentance close. The doors of repentance will not close till the sun rises from the west.” (i.e. the order for migration will be in force till Qiyāma). (Masalik)
Amir ul-Mu’minīn ‘Ali (a.s.) says: “The order for Hijrat will be in force till Allah demands obedience from the inhabitants of the earth in the same way as the order was first promulgated in the time of the Holy Prophet (S).”
It means that Hijrat will remain a compulsory duty till the time other religious duties remain obligatory on the people.
‘They could not migrate from Mecca’ In the book of ‘Masalik’, the second martyr writes that the Holy Prophet (S) has explained the meaning of the tradition of migration saying that it is specifically concerned with the migration from Mecca. Hence when Mecca was liberated from the domination of the unbelievers there was no need for the Muslims to migrate elsewhere. The order applies to only those Muslims who are unable to perform their religious duties. According to some scholars after the conquest Mecca there was no merit in migration from Mecca; just as there was a greater merit in Jihad and struggle for Islam before the conquest.
“...not alike among you are those who spent before the victory (of Mecca) and fought (and those who did not): they are more exalted in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards...” (Surah Hadīd 57:10)