MIGRATION OF THE HEART:
The caravan departs, and the traveller enters into a foreign land. He becomes separated from the habits and customs associated with his homeland. This allows him to ponder carefully over his situation. He seeks the most important thing that helps in his journey to Allah, and that deserves his life’s pursuance.
The One in whose Hand is the guidance guides him to this most important thing that he seeks:
“Migration to Allah and His Messenger”. This migration is a fard (mandatory Islamic duty) on everyone at all times – it is the thing that Allah ta’ala requires from His ‘ibad (slaves).
Migration is of two types:
Migration of the body from one land to another. The legislation regarding this type of migration is well known, and it is not our intention to discuss them here.
The second type is the migration of the heart to Allah ta’ala and His Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is the only true hijrah; it must precede the bodily hijrah, which is its natural outcome.
FLEEING UNTO ALLAH:
This hijrah requires an origin and a goal. A person migrates with his heart:
From loving other than Allah > loving Him;
From fearing and hoping and relying on other than Him > fearing and hoping and relying on Him;
From calling upon, asking, surrendering to, and humbling oneself before other than Him > calling upon, asking, surrendering to, and humbling oneself before Him.
This is precisely the meaning of “fleeing unto Allah”, as He ta’ala says:
” … flee unto Allah … ”
And indeed, the tawhid required from a person is to flee from Allah unto Him! Under this heading of “from” and “to” falls a great reality of tawhid.
Fleeing unto Allah ta’ala includes turning to Him only for asking or worship or anything which proceeds from that. Thus, it includes the tawhid of Ilahiyyah which was the common point in the messages of all the messengers, may Allah bestows His praise and peace upon all of them.
On the other hand, fleeing from Allah (unto Him) includes the tawhid of Rububiyyah and the belief in the Qadr (Allah’s Divine Measure & Decree). It is the belief that whatever one hates or fears or flees from in the universe takes place by the Will of Allah alone. What He ta’ala wills will surely happen, and what He does not will never be and is impossible to happen.Thus when a person flees unto Allah, he would be fleeing unto him from a thing that occurred by His Will. In other words, he would be fleeing from Him unto Him!
One who understands this well can then understand the meaning of the Messenger’s sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam words:
” … I seek refuge from You in You …”
” … There is no shelter or escape from You except in You … ”
There is nothing in the universe that one would flee or seek protection from but is created and originated by Allah ta’ala. Hence, one would flee from that which emanates from Allah’s decree, will, and creation, to that which emanates from His mercy, goodness, kindness, and bounty. One is, therefore, fleeing from Allah unto Him, and seeking refuge in Him from Him!
Understanding these two matters causes one’s heart to stop being attached to other than Allah in fear, hope or love. He would then know that all that he flees from exists by the Allah’s will, power and creation. This would not leave in his heart any fear of other than his Creator and Maker. This in turn causes him to turn to Allah alone in fear, love and hope.
Had it been that what one flees from were not under Allah’s Will and Power, one would then be excused to fear that thing instead of Allah. This would be like running away from a creature to a more powerful one, without being totally confident that the second creature is powerful enough to protect him from the first one.
This is quite different from the case of a person who knows that the One to whom he is running is the same as the One who decreed, willed, and created that from which he is fleeing. In the latter case, no interest in seeking other protectors should remain in the heart.
So, understand well this important meaning in the Prophet’s words above. People have explained them in many different ways, yet very few have realized this meaning which is their core and moral. This facilitation [in understanding] is indeed from Allah.
Thus the whole matter resolves to fleeing from Allah unto Him. This is the meaning of the hijrah to Allah ta’ala. This further explains why the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“A true migrator is one who abandons what Allah has prohibited.”
This is also why Allah ta’ala mentions Iman and hijrah together in several places [e.g. Al-Anfal 8:72,74,75 & At-Tawba 9:20] – the two being closely linked, and each of them requiring the other.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MIGRATION TO ALLAH:
In conclusion, the hijrah to Allah includes abandoning what He hates and doing what He loves and accepts. The hijrah originates from feelings of love and hatred. The migrator from one place to another must have more love for the place to which he migrated than that from which he migrated, and these feelings are what led him to prefer one of the two places.
One’s nafs (self, soul), his whims and his devil keep calling him to that which is against what he loves and is satisfied with. One continues to be tested by these three things, calling him to avenues that displease his Lord.
At the same time, the call of Iman will continue to direct him to what pleases his Lord. Thus one should keep migrating to Allah at all times, and should not abandon this hijrah until death.
This hijrah becomes strong or weak [in the heart] depending on the state of the Iman. The stronger and more complete that the Iman is, the more perfect the hijrah. And if the Iman weakens, the hijrah weakens too, until one becomes unable to detect its presence or have the readiness to be moved by it.
What is surprising is that you might find a man talking at great length and going into very fine details regarding the [physical] hijrah from the land of disbelief (Dar al-Kufr) to the land of Islam (Dar al-Islam), and regarding the hijrah which ended with conquering Makkah, even though this type of hijrah is incidental, and he may never have to do a thing with it in his whole life.
But as for the hijrah of the heart, which continues to be required from him as long as he breathes, you find that he does not seek any knowledge regarding it, nor does he develop any intention to undertake it! Thus he turns away from that for which he has been created, and which – alone – can save him, and involves himself in that which, of itself, cannot save him. This is the situation of those whose vision has been blinded, and whose knowledge is weak regarding the priorities of knowledge and action.
“Indeed, Allah is the One from Whom we seek help, and He alone does facilitate our matters. There is no god except Him and no Lord other than Him.”