Six Categories of Migration

Posted on November 26, 2015


Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi al-Maaliki (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote some valuable words about the different categories of migration, which we will sum up here.

He (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“Migration may be divided into six categories:

The first is leaving dar al-harb (hostile non-Muslim territory) for dar as-salaam (Muslim territory)…

The second is leaving a land in which bid‘ah (innovation) is widespread. Ibn al-Qaasim said: I heard Maalik say: It is not permissible for anyone to reside in a country in which the early generations are reviled. And this is correct, because if it is not possible to change evil, one should keep away from it. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And when you (Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)) see those who engage in a false conversation about Our Verses (of the Quran) by mocking at them, stay away from them till they turn to another topic. And if Shaytaan (Satan) causes you to forget, then after the remembrance sit not you in the company of those people who are the Zalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers, etc.)”
[al-An‘aam 6:68].

The third is leaving a land in which what is prohibited has become widespread, because seeking what is lawful is obligatory upon every Muslim.

The fourth is fleeing from physical harm. By the grace of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, He has granted a concession allowing this. So if a person fears harm in some place, Allah, may He be glorified, has given him permission to leave that place and flee so as to save himself from that harm.
The first one who we learn did that was al-Khaleel Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), when he was afraid of his people and he said:
“I will emigrate for the sake of my Lord” [al-‘Ankaboot 29:26]and “Verily, I am going to my Lord. He will guide me”
[as-Saaffaat 37:99]
And Allah, may He be glorified, tells us about Moosa (interpretation of the meaning):
“So he escaped from there, looking about in a state of fear. He said: ‘My Lord! Save me from the people who are Zalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers)’”
[al-Qasas 28:21]

The fifth is fear of sickness in a land that is unhealthy and leaving for a land that is safe. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) gave permission to the herdsmen, when they fell sick in Madinah, to go out to the pasture and stay there until they regain their health. But an exception to that is made in the case of fleeing from the plague. Allah, may He be glorified, forbade that in the saheeh hadith from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).

The sixth is fleeing for fear of harm to one’s wealth, because the sanctity of the Muslim’s wealth is like the sanctity of his blood, and the sanctity of his family is equal to that or greater.”

[End quote from Ahkaam al-Qur’an by Ibn al-‘Arabi (1/612); quoted by al-Qurtubi in his Tafseer(5/330)]

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