The Prohibition of Residing Among the Disbelievers while Able to Emigrate
In ayah 100, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
وَمَن يُهَاجِرْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يَجِدْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ مُرَاغَماً كَثِيراً وَسَعَةً
“He who emigrates in the cause of Allah, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by.”
This encourages the believers to perform Hijrah and abandon the idolators, for wherever the believer emigrates, he will find a safe refuge to resort to. Mujahid said that, مُرَاغَماً كَثِيراً means, he will find a way out of what he dislikes. Allah’s statement, وَسِعَة refers to provision.
Qatadah also said that, يَجِدْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ مُرَاغَماً كَثِيراً وَسَعَةً means, Allah will take him from misguidance to guidance and from poverty to richness.
Continuing the ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states,
وَمَن يَخْرُجْ مِن بَيْتِهِ مُهَـجِراً إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ يُدْرِكْهُ الْمَوْتُ فَقَدْ وَقَعَ أَجْرُهُ عَلىَ اللَّهِ
“And whosoever leaves his home as an emigrant unto Allah and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward is then surely, incumbent upon Allah.”
This means, whoever starts emigrating and dies on the way, he will acquire the reward of those who emigrate for Allah.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then ends this ayah by reminding us of His mercy and forgiveness,
وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً
“And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Migration in the way of Allah is an obligation with two exceptions: one may remain there to struggle for the establishment of Islam and to change the system of life based on unbelief into the system of Islam, just like the Prophets and their immediate followers did in the initial stages of their mission; or one may remain there in a state of great disgust and repugnance as long as one is unable to find any way out of it. With the exception of the above two cases, it will be a life of continuous sin to live in an abode of disbelief. The excuse that “we could not find any abode of Islam” shall not be accepted and will be met with rebuff “if there was no abode of Islam was there no forest or mountain where you could live on the leaves of trees and the milk of goats in order to escape from submission to the laws of disbelief?
In this connection, a misunderstanding about the hadith, “No migration after the conquest of Makkah” may also be removed. This was not a permanent command concerning migration but only a temporary instruction that suited the changed conditions of Arabia after the conquest of Makkah. As long as the major portion of Arabia was the “abode of disbelief”, the Muslims were enjoined to migrate to Madina, which was the only “Abode of Islam” at the time. But when almost all the parts of Arabia came under Islam, the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam so to say, merely canceled the first command under which migration was compulsory, saying, “There is no more (compulsory) migration (to Madina) after the conquest of Makkah.” The hadith was never meant to be a prohibitory command for all the Muslims of the world for all times to come up to the Last Day.