The twenty-eighth sin, which is labelled as a Greater
Sin, is to become A'araab (Bedouin, gypsy etc) after Hijrat (migration).
It is recorded in Usool-e-Kafi under the chapter of
Greater Sins that according to the Sahih of Ibne Mahboob when he wrote a letter to Imam Musa Ibne Ja'far (a.s.) he (a.s.)
replied and this sin was included among the Greater Sins. Moreover, Muhammad bin Muslim has quoted Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.)
and stated that he (a.s.) has included this sin among the greater ones. The book of Ali (a.s.) also includes this sin in the
list of Greater Sins.
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
after Hijrat and polytheism is one and the same (sin)."
(Usool-e-Kafi chapter of Greater sins)
What does 'becoming A'araab after hijrat' mean?
A'araab refers to the nomadic Arabs or Bedouins who
are absolutely ignorant of religion and rituals connected with faith. Hijrat signifies the migration of these desert Arabs
to the Muslim centre, their acceptance of Islam at the hands of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) or his rightful successor, and
their consequent adherence to faith, and adherence to religious rules and regulations.
Becoming A'araab after Hijrat is the condition when
a desert Bedouin before acquiring the necessary knowledge of religion turns back to his ignorant ways.
In the early period of Islam it was incumbent upon
them to migrate towards the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in order to learn whatever was necessary for being a Muslim. Similarly
it was prohibited for Muslims to stay in an area populated mostly with unbelievers; where it was not possible for them to
pray and fast and perform other religious duties.
'Why don't you migrate?'
It is recorded in Tafseer Minhajus Saadeqeen that there
were some people among the Muslims like Qays bin Waleed, who were outwardly Muslims and had recited the confession of La ilaaha
illallah but inspite of this and their ability to do so, they did not accompany the Muslims in their Hijrat from Mecca to
Madinah, and when the Quraish of Mecca marched to attack the Muslims in the battle of Badr these people joined them and were
ultimately killed at the hands of the Muslims. A Quranic verse was revealed on this occasion:
"Surely (as for) those whom
the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were
weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah's earth spacious, so that you could have migrated therein? So these it is
whose abode is Hell, and it is an evil resort."
(Surah Nisa 4:97)
The above verse makes clear the fact that it is the
duty of a Muslim to leave the place where he cannot adhere to his faith and rituals. In a tradition, the Prophet Muhammad
"One who migrates from a place to another for the sake of religion, even if it is only as far as the distance
of a span (of hand), Allah makes Paradise incumbent upon him. (Wherein) his companions will be Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) and Prophet
"Except the weak from among the men and the children
who have not in their power the means nor can they find a way (to escape); so these, it may be, Allah will pardon them, and
Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving."
(Surah Nisa 4:98-99)
It is narrated from Akrama that many of the Meccans
who had embraced Islam were not capable of migrating to Madinah, but when the Quranic verse deploring such people was revealed
and they became aware of it; one of them Junda bin Zumra told his sons:
"Even though I have become extremely old and sick,
I am not among those helpless people who have been deprived of migration by Allah. I have yet some strength left and I also
know the way to Madinah. I fear that if I were to die suddenly, my failure to migrate would be a blemish on my perfect faith.
So, you all lift up the bed on which I lie and carry me outside towards Madinah."
Thus, his sons lifted the bed and carried him outside,
but they had reached only a short distance when the signs of his death became apparent. Junda bin Zumro kept his right hand
on his left hand and said: "O Allah! This hand is for You and this for Your Messenger. I pledge allegiance to You for those
things that Your Messenger had pledged."
After this his soul escaped from his body. When the
news of his death reached Madinah, some companions remarked, "It would have been better if Junda bin Zumro had reached Madinah.
In this way he would have derived the sawaab of Hijrat."
The Almighty Allah revealed the following ayat on this
"And whoever flies in Allah's way, he will find in the earth many a place of refuge and abundant resources; and
whoever goes forth from his house flying to Allah and His Apostle, and then death overtakes him, his reward is indeed with
Allah and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
(Surah Nisa 4:100)
Becoming A'araab after the passing of the Holy Prophet
During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)
it was incumbent upon every person to migrate towards him (s.a.w.s.) to obtain instruction in religion and faith. In case
he lived in the midst of unbelievers where he could not perform the obligatory acts of prayers and fasting, it was all the
more necessary to migrate.
Failure to migrate and returning to nomadism is decreed
to be a Greater Sin and the Almighty has promised Hell fire for such people.
After the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)
it became wajib to turn towards the Holy Imams (a.s.) and to obtain the compulsory knowledge of faith and articles of Islamic
acts. Also, it was most essential to attain the Ma'refat of Imam (a.s.) i.e. it was incumbent to have knowledge of one's Imam
and also to learn the matters of belief and acts. It was also prohibited to turn back to paganism after the acceptance of
Islamic faith. To remain aloof from the Holy Imam (a.s.) even after recognising their position is haraam. Thus, Shaykh Sadooq
narrates from Huzaifa bin Mansoor that he has reported from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) who said:
"To become A'araab after
Hijrat is to recognise Imam (a.s.) and then be aloof from him."
Since the present age is the age of occultation of
Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) the same rules apply to us.
It is necessary to migrate towards the jurist
Hijrat is incumbent on two types of people. The first
type are those who are absolutely ignorant of the rules of religion. If there is no religious scholar in the area of their
residence, whom they can refer to for their religious problems, then, it is compulsory for them to shift to a place where
they have access to religious scholars for the solution of their problems.
The second types are those Muslims who live in the
midst of unbelievers, and due to the oppression of these infidels, they are unable to perform their religious duties. It is
incumbent on these Muslims to migrate to an area where there is freedom to practice their religion. The Shia jurists have
explained this matter clearly.
Order for migration is forever
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) has told us:
is wajib till the doors of repentance close. The doors of repentance will not close till the sun rises from the west." (i.e.
the order for migration will be in force till Qiyamat).
Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says:
"The order for
Hijrat will be in force till Allah demands obedience from the inhabitants of the earth in the same way as the order was first
promulgated in the time of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)."
It means that Hijrat will remain a compulsory duty
till the time other religious duties remain obligatory on the people.
'They could not migrate from Mecca'
In the book of 'Masalik', the second martyr2 writes
that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has explained the meaning of the tradition of migration saying that it is specifically concerned
with the migration from Mecca. Hence when Mecca was liberated from the domination of the unbelievers there was no need for
the Muslims to migrate elsewhere. The order applies to only those Muslims who are unable to perform their religious duties.
According to some scholars after the conquest Mecca there was no merit in migration from Mecca; just as there was a greater
merit in Jehad and struggle for Islam before the conquest.
"...not alike among you are those who spent before
the victory (of Mecca) and fought (and those who did not): they are more exalted in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards..."
(Surah Hadeed 57:10)
In order to understand the purport of this ayat let
us study the following points:
Wajib, mustahab and mubah hijrat
The respected scholar Allamah Hilli writes in his book
Mumtahi that there are three kinds of Hijrat (Migration), wajib (obligatory), Mustahab (recommended) and Mubah (permitted).
Hijrat is wajib on a Muslim (not restrained by old
age or disease) who lives in the midst of infidels where he can neither reveal that he is a Muslim, nor can he perform his
For those Muslims who live among infidels but who have
complete freedom to practice their faith, it is recommended (Mustahab) to migrate to another area, if they are capable of
doing so. However, if they have some legal excuse, migration is Mubah (Permitted) for them; it is not even Mustahab.
No migration from areas of Ahle-Sunnat
According to Sharhe Lumah and Jameal Maqasid, the first
Martyr3 is believed to have said: "It is incumbent for a Muslim to migrate if he is living in the midst of infidels and is
unable to follow Islam or perform his religious duties. In the same way a Shia who is living among the Ahle-Sunnat and is
not able to perform the ritual acts of Shias is similarly required to migrate to areas populated with Shia people." However
this view which is attributed to Muhammad Ibne Makki (the first martyr) is not compatible with the general Islamic principle.
Because if a Shia is living among Sunnis he does not need to forgo his religious obligations. He can follow taqayya (dissimulation)
and fulfill his ritual acts. He can perform the Islamic acts in the same manner as the Sunnis if he fears for his life or
property. We do not have any tradition exhorting such people to migrate to another area. On the other hand the Holy Imams
(a.s.) have time and again emphasised upon the adherence to dissimulation under such circumstances.
Support of the Martyr's view
Some scholars have supported the view of Muhammad Ibne
Makki who stated the following tradition from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) as quoted by Muhammad Ibne Muslim requested to explain
the Islamic order for a person who during travel reaches a place where there aren't any stones or sand; all the area is covered
with snow and the person becomes "mujnib" (semen has been discharged from him and he has to perform the wajib Ghusl for prayers).
How can he do tayammum (substitute of Ghusl) in absence of mud or stone? Imam (a.s.) replied,
"Let him do tayammum with
this very snow and pray. I do not consider it proper for him to again go to such a place where he might lose his faith."
According to those who support the view, since Imam
(a.s.) has prohibited his followers to go to a place where it is impossible to perform ghusl and wuzu, the prohibition also
applies to a place where it is not possible to perform wuzu and ghusl according to Shia procedures.
However, this is not a sufficient argument because
the tradition prohibits going to a place where one is sure to be unable to perform some obligatory acts. On the other hand
it is only a possibility that in areas of Ahle-Sunnat a Shia will be compelled to practise taqayya. Besides, even if a Shia
practices taqayya and performs the obligatory acts like the Ahle-Sunnat, his acts are considered correct. Moreover, if there
is no constraint it may be recommended for him to migrate from the area of Ahle-Sunnat. However, if he is unable to express
his love for Ahlul Bayt (.a.s.) it will certainly be Mustahab for him to migrate.
Propagating Wilayat in areas of Kuffar
Samaad says that he told Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.),
that he was travelling to an area populated by polytheists and that he would have to stay there for some time. Some of the
Momineen had told him that it was not advisable to travel there because if he were to die in that place he would be counted
among the polytheists. Imam (a.s.) asked him if he would be able to propagate the Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt and invite people
towards truth in that place? Samaad said, "Yes, master, there is total freedom of expression and religion. The people there,
are receptive of truth." Then Imam (a.s.) asked whether such a freedom was possible in an Islamic area. Samaad said, "No!
On the contrary we have to practise extreme taqayya, and none of us can even dare to utter the names of one of you (Imams)."
Imam (a.s.) told him,
"If death overcomes you in such a place you would be counted as a monotheist community." [i.e. he
will be equal to a whole community of monotheists; like Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.)]. The light of belief will emanate from your
Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) writes in the Sharh of Al-Kafi
that it is possible that A'araab means to become a nomad again or to forgo Hijrat after the order of Hijrat has been revealed.
Like the prohibition of interest, which came into force only after the Divine command was revealed. Nevertheless, since the
early period, failure to migrate without a valid reason or to migrate and then revert to nomadism, both of these are Greater
Sin and promised the fire of Hell by the Almighty Allah.
Quranic view of nomadism and apostasy
We have already mentioned at the beginning of our discussion
that nomad specifically applies to the desert Arabs who were away from the centre of Islam and could not learn the Islamic
rules and regulations, nor could they remember and follow the articles of faith. In this connection the following verse was
revealed in the Quran:
"The dwellers of the desert are very hard in unbelief and hypocrisy, and more disposed not to know
the limits of what Allah has revealed to His Apostles; and Allah is Knowing, Wise."
(Surah Tauba 9:97)
The Almighty also says: "And of the dwellers of the
desert are those who take what they spend to be a fine, and they wait (the befalling of) calamities to you; on them (will
be) the evil calamity; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing."
(Surah Tauba 9:98)
"And of the dwellers of the desert are those
who believe in Allah and the latter day and take what they spend to be (means of) the nearness of Allah and the Apostle's
prayers; surely it shall be means of nearness for them; Allah will make them enter into His mercy; surely Allah is Forgiving,
(Surah Tauba 9:99)
Ignorance of Islamic acts is a kind of nomadism
The above two verses which flay the infidel Bedouins
are clear regarding the fact that the nomads were deserving of criticism not because of their being dwellers of desert. It
was because of their ignorance of articles of Islamic acts and belief. For those Bedouins who followed the Islamic religion,
the Holy book has praised them in the third verse. They have been promised Divine Mercy.
On the basis of this, people who avoid learning Islamic
rules and regulations and those who keep away from the centres of religious knowledge are in fact, nomads, and the verse denouncing
the desert Arabs also applies to them even though they are living in cities.
The respected Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) remarked:
"Learn the rules of religion. Those of you who do not learn about religion are nomads. As the Almighty Allah says in His
book, 'Why does not a company from you goes to learn about religion so that when they come back they can warn their people
in order they may become fearful (of disobeying Allah).'"
(Behaarul Anwaar, Book of Aql)
Thus one who does not try to learn about religion and
articles of faith is a desert dweller. The Imam (a.s.) also told his followers:
"Knowledge of the Divine religion is incumbent
on you. And do not become a nomad. Because if you fail to understand a religious act, Allah will not look upon it with Mercy
on the Day of Qiyamat and He will not purify that deed."
One who learns but does not act upon it is also a nomad
Muhaddith Faiz writes in Waafi that it is possible
that the above pronouncement may also apply to those who learn about the Islamic rituals and practices but fail to act upon
them. He also quotes a tradition from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) to prove this point. Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) states in the
Sharh of Al-Kafi that some scholars are of the opinion that being a nomad in the present time applies to those who after acquiring
religious instructions, do not act upon them and remain aloof from Islamic knowledge.
Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says:
"A man says that
he has migrated, though in fact he has not. Because a migrant is the one who abandons sins and does not even go near them.
And a person says that he has fought in the way of Allah but in reality he has not, because Jehad is the leaving of sinful
acts and a war against enemy inside our own self. Whereas many people go out to fight not for the obedience and satisfaction
of the Lord. Their motive is only to gain fame so that people may praise their bravery and fearlessness."
Desert of ignorance and negligence
From the Quranic verses, the traditions and writings
of the Islamic scholars we can conclude that nomadism implies the condition of a person who is ignorant and unaware of Allah
Almighty's Nobility of which human beings are capable and the eternal bliss which one can achieve, and instead he is totally
immersed in the desires of this transient world. He is oblivious to righteousness and does not refrain from committing any
sin or evil. He does not care to acquire knowledge (Ma'refat), nor does he pay attention to good deeds, that would fetch him
eternal rewards in the Hereafter. It would surely deprive a person of salvation and eternal bliss.
Hijrat (migration) is the exact opposite of Nomadism.
Nomadism after Hijrat (migration) implies that a person migrates to Islam and obtains knowledge of religion and then reverts
to his former ways. It can be said that performing some good actions for some time and then leaving them is also a kind of
reverting to nomadism. The denouncement is valid only if the person does this due to laziness and sloth and not due to some
real hindrance or helplessness. It is necessary to continue to perform good actions once we have begun them. As far as possible
we should not discontinue them.
Jabir Johfi quotes Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) to have
"I like to continue good actions so that I become habitual in them. If I could not perform a particular deed in
the day I make up for it during the night and if I do not perform an action during the night I make up the following day.
Certainly the best of the deeds near Allah are those which one continues. Hence all the deeds of the week are presented to
Imam (a.s.) every Thursday and the deeds of the month at the end of the month and all the deeds of the year at the middle
of Shabaan. So if you begin a good ritual, keep at it for the whole year." (i.e. continue it for at least a year).
Neglecting religious knowledge
If a person begins to acquire religious knowledge but
later discontinues the same it is considered reverting to nomandism by some. However, it is Haraam only if his religious education
is obligatory (i.e. if he leaves it, he will go astray). However, it is incumbent to continue acquiring knowledge till the
end of one's life so that one can continue to perform good deeds with sincerity and purity of intention. In this way a person
becomes righteous and deserving of the rewards of his good deeds, both in this world and the hereafter.
As the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said:
knowledge from the cradle to the grave."