Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) hijrah (migration) from Mecca to Medina was a significant milestone in the Islamic history as it marked the beginning of the real Muslim state and enabled Muslims to freely preach their religion. The Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions were forced to leave Mecca and turn to another destination due to the brutal and escalating violence that was exercised against them to the extent that they were not able to convey the message of Allah or even protect themselves. Yet, some extremists use the concept of Hijrah to convince Muslims, who live and practice their acts of worship freely, to desert their homes and countries of residence and migrate to what they call the land of Islam (daar al-Islasm).
Extremist groups claim that it is obligatory for all Muslims to make Hijrah from the lands of disbelief (daar al-kufr) to the lands of Islam. In this regard, they consider all world countries as lands of disbelief, and the territories they control as the land of Islam. Thus, they order all Muslims worldwide to migrate to these territories which they control. A case in point in this regard is the terror group of ISIS. In their Dabiq, they said, addressing their followers: “The first priority is to perform hijrah from wherever you are to the Islamic State, from dārul-kufr to dārul-Islām.” (Dabiq, issue 2, p. 3) This was a recurrent theme in their publications as it was repeated also in their Rumiyyah (issue 4, pp. 2-3)
They quote in support some Qur’aanic verses and Prophetic hadiths. They cite Allah’s Saying: “Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves - [the angels] will say, "In what [condition] were you?" They will say, "We were oppressed in the land." The angels will say, "Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?" For those, their refuge is Hell - and evil it is as a destination." (An-Nisaa: 97) and His Saying: “Whoever makes hijrah for Allah’s Cause will find in the earth many places of refuge and abundance. And whoever leaves his house as a muhajir unto Allah and His Messenger, and then death overtakes him, then his reward is then incumbent upon Allah, and Allah is forgiving and merciful” (An-Nisaa: 100). They also cite Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) statement: “Hijrah does not cease as long as the kuffar are fought”.
This position clearly shows that the followers of terror groups misunderstand the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah and apply them inappropriately to cases not intended by these cases. As for the first Qur’anic verse mentioned above, al-Qurtubi, a renowned Muslim exegete, state that it refers to some people from Mecca who embraced Islam but refused to make hijrah with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to Medina and settled in Mecca among the polytheists. This led them to join the people of Quraysh in their fight against Muslims. So they died as non-Muslims. Regarding the second verse, it refers to a sick man who heard about the command of Hijrah and so he intended to migrate to Medina, but he died before reaching Medina. Accordingly, this verse tells that one gets his reward in full as long as he intends good and takes the necessary measures to obey the Divine commands.
As for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) statement: “Hijrah does not cease as long as the kuffar are fought,” it is out of context here. This is because Muslim scholars see that Hijrah has two meanings: first travel from one place to another and second, deserting sins. The second meaning is the one intended here as it is clearly mentioned in another narration of the hadith. Mu'awiyah, (May Allah be pleased with him), narrated: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say: ‘Migration will not end until repentance ends, and repentance will not end until the sun rises in the west.” It is clear from this second narration that migration is associated with repentance and it is known that repentance comes as atonement for committing sins. Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) states -in another hadith, “There is no emigration after the conquest (of Makkah) but only Jihad [(striving and fighting in the cause of Allah) will continue] and good intention”.