Countering ISIS Call for Hijra (Emigration): A Review through the Lens of Maqāṣid Ash-Sharīʿah

Muhammad Saiful Alam Shah Bin Sudiman


From Al-Qaeda to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), and now the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the so-called Islamic State (IS), hijra (Arabic for emigration), has been exploited by these groups to justify their call ­for Muslims all over the world to emigrate to Dār al-Islām or abode of Islam. Historically and in the Islamic context, hijra refers to the earlier generation of Muslims who left Mecca for Abyssinia as well as Prophet Muhammad’s emigration to Medina. This paper focuses on the notion of hijra as interpreted by ISIS to draw Muslims to Iraq and Syria to strengthen its rank and file. It argues that the modern jihadists’ interpretation of hijra is a misrepresentation of the two earlier emigrations. More importantly, it fails to satisfy the Maqāṣid Ash-Sharīʿah or the objectives of Sharīʿah law. This paper will make a critical analysis of the concept of hijra from the perspective of Maqāṣid Ash-Sharīʿah, and offer an ideological rebuttal strategy to counter ISIS’s call for hijra.  It will also attempt to address the ideological flaws in the call which foreign terrorist fighters (or FTF) are unaware of.


Hijra, emigration, Maqāṣid Ash-Sharīʿah, ISIS, ISIL

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