Aliyah/Hijra: Should All Muslims “Go Home”?
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
Aliyah is the Jewish word both for blessing and for emigration to the Land of Israel. Some Muslims have advocated something similar for themselves, except that they are referring to the concept of Dar al Islam. This confrontational concept, which is basic to the mindset that perceives and helps to bring on an inevitable clash of civilizations, distinguishes majority Muslim countries, which are said to be holy, from all other countries, collectively known as Dar al Harb, which are said to be enemies of Islam. Syed Qutb popularized this dichotomy, and Osama bin Laden seems determined to exploit it in creating the final clash.
A recent article by John Whitehead, “The Collapse of the American Empire,” has encouraged at least one American-born Muslim to advocate that all Muslims should leave America and “go home” to the Muslim holy lands. Of course, one could equally well argue the opposite.
Does this policy of Muslim aliyah for sensible Muslims apply only to immigrant Muslims, who an increasing number of Americans say should all “go home” where they belong. Or, does it also apply to all indigenous Muslims, who allegedly would suffer as “collateral damage” if the immigrants remain and thereby bring on a massive pogrom like the shoah in Nazi Germany. Of course, logically, as has been advocated, both groups should take the younger generation with them. Once one has designated return to a physical land as the highest purpose of one’s life, the spiritual aliyah to the presence of God becomes secondary and eventually may disappear altogether.
In answer to the Muslim “return movement”, one could argue that Traditionalist Muslims, who understand and support what one might call classical American/Islamic thought, should remain in America, because they are needed here to launch a campaign to expose and marginalize the extremist Muslims, both in America and abroad, who do pose a threat to both Muslims and non-Muslims in America.
The traditionalist Muslims should recognize a mission to help save America and through it the world from the chaos and destruction that is now originating primarily from ideological Muslims who invoke the religion of Islam as a cover for a new totalitarianism. Those immigrant Muslims who are part of the enlightened or traditionalist group should leave America only if they think they can better help save their own countries “back home” where the threat of the Muslim totalitarians may be greater.
Those immigrant Muslims who don’t really care about America don’t belong here. Of course, they don’t belong anywhere else either because they have nothing to offer anybody anywhere. They are parasites at best and at worst are beasts of the Anti-Christ. Of course, this applies to those indigenous but alienated Muslims who don’t care about America either.
The task of both indigenous and foreign-born Muslims is not only to save their own souls but to educate the Muslims, both indigenous and foreign-born, who say they want to reform Islam but in fact only deform it in the eyes of those (both Muslim and non-Muslim) who increasingly have difficulty distinguishing the “reformed” Islam of Osama bin Laden from classical Islam. Islam does not need reform, but Muslims have always needed it and, being human, always will.
The American Empire must eventually collapse, as John Whitehead predicts, and as all empires have. The challenge is to transform America so that it is no longer an empire and therefore can serve the intent of its founders to be a moral model for the world based on the universal wisdom of all the world religions. This transformation can come only with the help of Muslims who are pursuing the mission of educating their fellow Muslims for the good of America.
One should be free to live wherever one wants, but, wherever one lives, one’s primary obligation, other than to oneself and one’s family, should always be to improve the society in which one was born or in which for whatever reason has chosen to live. One can usually be more effective in the country of one’s birth, so this is where the principal responsibility of indigenous Muslims normally would lie.
The clash of civilizations that the extremist Muslims and similar extremist ideologues in America are creating is not really between or among civilizations but within each one. Therefore all this business of moving from one place to another is irrelevant. The answer to every indigenous Muslim Aliyist is simple. If God placed you in America at birth, then this is where your responsibility lies.
Whether we Muslims are all wiped out in a giant pogrom, as many Americans dream about, should be irrelevant to a good Muslim. Far more important is to become the person that God created one to be, and to fulfill one’s primary social obligations that stem from this primary identity.
American Empire collapse? Of course, we should help accelerate the process, but only so that the real America can emerge like a phoenix out of the chaos that the NeoCons and other totalitarian ideologues are creating all over the world.
The Preamble of the American Constitution lists justice as the primary goal of America, but justice is meaningless outside of a religious framework for all personal and community life. We are slowly losing both justice and the universal religious paradigm that inspired our Founders. The duty of all Americans, both Muslim and non-Muslim, is to restore America’s Islamic/Christian/Jewish path to its divine destiny, because the three Abrahamic religions can be be understood only in reference to each other as part of a single civilization. The classical question, especially for every Muslim in America, is simple. If we don’t take the lead in restoring America, who will?