For many coming from migrant families, you’ll have heard it before, “Whatever you do, get to America/UK,”. Once you’re there, then we’ll figure it out.”
Whilst the drive and ambition can be admired by many, there’s a price for this. A hefty price.
In this post, we’ll briefly look at how Muslim migrants in the last century have flirted with the idea of throwing their Hereafter (inadvertently) away, and where it has gone wrong for many…
The lure to migrate from Muslim lands is understandable. A chance for a better quality of life, improved social security, education within western institutions that are universally recognised.
And these perks are generally considered free. Free schools, free healthcare, and in extreme circumstances; free food. But what do local organisations and institutions within the west want in return? If you are given this offer at a Christian missionary, you’ll likely turn this down as you will have the sense (at least you should have) to know this comes with strings attached. In this case, it’s apparent your Deen is at risk.
So what about public schools in the west where Christianity is rapidly fading? Whilst Christian missionaries and the lost teachings of the Bible may not be a concern, there’s a larger threat for Muslim children and their faith – mostly coming via the indoctrination of Neo-liberalism and Atheist ideas. Schools are encouraged to actively promote values synchronised with the rainbow colours. Children as young as five are exposed to graphic sexual images and teachings, which can potentially shatter a child’s developing Islamic connection.
Clueless, ignorant and imprudent, the Muslim migrant parent gleefully makes the most of a quiet house, and fantasises in the thoughts of all the letters their child will obtain after their name. Simultaneously, a homosexual teacher will be getting touchy-feely with their child, which is happening today. A masterclass in shoddy parenting.
For the semi-conscious parent, they will reassure themselves, “No, my son won’t be exposed to this.” Wishful thinking as children will spend an overwhelming part of their day surrounded by adverts for an alternative lifestyle. Being a Muslim migrant with limited English, how will they articulate Islam from a logical point of view? I guess this wasn’t on their mind when they grabbed their torn luggage and made a dart for western lands. Maybe it was; but the Muslim migrant were prepared to take a chance.
Learning from history
It’s not at all far-fetched to surmise that this won’t happen to Muslim children. Dating back to 1970’s, Muslim migrants travelled to the USA in search of a better life and within three generations, not a smidgeon of Islam left from those migrating families. What seemed to be an ace-in-the-hole, turned out to be a dark pit.
Starting from scratch
As Muslims start with little at their disposal in a new land, misery creeps in instantly. Others are much more advanced with material items they can only dream of. For them to truly ‘make it’ and catch up, they will have to throw caution to the wind.
And so the process begins from under-hand deals, exploitation of others, lying, drugs and the like. A sweeping look at western prison systems will highlight the vast number of Muslim migrant children. Many simply mimicking their fathers in making a quick buck, but sadly taking a wrong turn.
“I don’t have time for religion”
Moving to a part of the world where so much is happening, there’s a greater demand for the migrant to keep up. With limited time in the day, something has to give; and that usually is religion. Aiming to cope with higher living costs in western countries, migrants largely view studying of the religion as a luxury they don’t have. With a lack of knowledge, Deen begins to fade away as money and prestige take priority. When it comes to teaching their own children Islamic values; it’s the blind leading the blind.
As Muslim migrants and their children trudge through life in a mist of darkness, they continue to deprive themselves and others of light. When this happens, a satanic whisper is easy to digest. Missing daily prayers, earning money unlawfully (Riba is a necessary evil after all) having pre-marital intimacy are considered to be trivial. Besides, “everyone’s doing it.”
Now we arrive at the third generation of Muslim migrants. A flicker of Islam is still there. Eid prayers and the 27th night of Ramadan are attended, but the rest of Islam doesn’t fit into their demanding schedule.
Foaming at the mouth that their child will reach heights they never could, some Muslim migrants etch deep wounds of their poverty into their child’s mind. For the child, education, a glittering career is a must, and nothing should ever become an obstacle.
Toiling away to become a professional, the child of Muslim migrants makes it. The bad news? She’s 37 years old, still single, and rarely gets a second look.
Keeping their children away from marriage during their most sexually active periods and fertile years, Muslim migrants suffer a minor loss, as the opportunity to see their grandchildren fades at the expense of material success.
Putting aside their age, the child of Muslim migrants may simply offer a modest contribution to a marriage. Being engrossed in their own career, they may just have a speck of Islamic values and knowledge to pass onto the next generation. Again, the lion’s share of the blame falls at the feet of the ambitious Muslim migrants.
How can we avoid this?
It’s not all doom and gloom. And simply avoiding the move and staying put, is not always the answer.
But here’s some general pointers to remember:
• Education – educate yourself before making the move. Yes, financially you may have a chance to earn much more and receive subsidized education and healthcare, but this does come at a cost. Muslim migrants need to understand the surroundings prior to making the move.
If you believe there is a great temptation for you and your family, work hard to educate yourself and others to rationally propagate an Islamic worldview. If you’re too lazy to do this, you only have yourself to blame when the filth hits the fan.
• Turn to Allah – a crucial part of a Muslim’s psyche. Prior to migration, Muslims should be praying Istikhaara, seeking guidance from Allah for clarity and direction in their life. Once they arrive at their destination, now’s the time to strengthen the connection with the Creator, and it’s not a time for forgetting Him and letting go of your faith.
• Have the right intention – rather than making the move to purely for economic reasons, hold the intention of gaining wealth to support yourself, others and the religion. Hope to have success and influence which is used for the growth of Islam. It all starts with intention. Don’t see yourself as an economic migrant but an actual Muslim migrant. The sort of Muslim that’s a breath of fresh air for the local community, rather than a foul odour.
The Prophet (pbuh) stated in the famous hadith,
“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
• Don’t look up – as advised by the Prophet (pbuh),
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh), said, “Look at those below you and do not look at those above you, for it is the best way not to belittle the favours of Allah.” (Bukhari, 6490)
Appreciate what you have and stop trying to compete with others over material items. It’s fine to have a slightly older car than your peers; what matters is earning this in a permissible way.
Muslim migrants aiming to move to a land of liberal ideals should be vigilant, and strive to remain informed of the world around them and their families.
Having hopes of simply moving to a Muslim ‘ghetto’ in the west, is foolish. Migrants in cahoots with other migrants in search of getting rich quickly, is a recipe for criminal activity. For others, career stardom is their preferred way of life. As our Creator advises, both are in a state of loss.
Indeed, mankind is in loss,
Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. (103: 1-3)
Being in a state of loss and distant from Al-Walee (The Protecting Friend) leaves one vulnerable to attack. But to non-believing eyes, you’re still every bit a loser for believing in Him. The sort of losers that can be told what to do and where to go. The sort of losers that compromise on their values. Sounds a lot like a 21st century Muslim migrant.
It doesn’t have to be like that. At Help for Reverts, we’re aiming to empower Muslims from around the world to make a difference. Join our growing team and become winners; in this life and the next.