Going Home

Muslims living in the West might remember how we used to criticize the "backhomians." These were the Muslims who had immigrated to the West from the Muslim World, mostly to work and to send money back home, or to get an education, yet never hoped, or even wanted to stay. It was always their desire, and their fervent hope to return home. Remember their dreams? They could talk about a dirt road and a single community telephone that everyone shared at the post office, and bring tears to your eyes. They made us all nostalgic for simpler times, simpler challenges, and most of all, a feeling of family and home. They made us dream of Muslim communities in Muslim countries where we fit in, and where no one dared to call the prophet Muhammad "a terrorist" or to call Islam a "terrorist organization." They made us dream of places where you can hear the adhan called to remind you to pray, and where celebrations like the Eid ul Fitr brought families together over good food, and everyone gets new clothes, new shoes, sweets, and prayers. They made us forget about the brutal politics, the disappearances, the poor economies, and the third world status of the Muslim countries, perhaps attempting to remind us that life is a trade-off. We used to laugh at them, yet today we miss them. Maybe we should all become backhomians. Maybe the test was to go there, or to stay, and take up the struggle for reform. Maybe the test was to choose between here and there. Or maybe the test is to return, and to restore the Muslim world, rather than to be here like beggars, begging for fair treatment, begging for rights, begging for justice, from a people who love no one, not even themselves. Their justice is for sale, but only to people who look like them, and pray like them, and hate like them, and kill innocents, like them. People who walk in lockstep to the mantra of "more money" and who worship that Golden Calf.

Reading and listening to the latest theories on Muslim terrorism, assimilation and multiculturalism will turn you into a backhomian, especially if you live in the US. The Muslim community in the US is one of the most highly educated and financially affluent communities in the United States. Among Muslims the crime rate is near zero. Divorce, runaway children, drug abuse, unwed parenting and many of the other societal plagues that are so prevalent in the greater society, have touched our families only slightly. We recognize that any experience with these misfortunes is serious, and no one wishes them upon anyone, even upon the people who hate Islam and Muslims. The point is that Muslims have been good for the United States, and we are, according to the statistics, better citizens than most, yet we are being subjected to a type of public humiliation here in the United States that is better suited for another type of people. It should be very interesting to historians that Muslims did not come to the US and create gangs, or organized crime. We did not bring prostitution, and sell your children drugs. We did not create gambling, and contract killing, and fear and intimidation rackets that corrupted your major institutions. We came and simply said, "There is only One God," and set off a firestorm of hate, envy and resentment that found justification in the World Trade Center bombing, and the attacks of 9/11.

The hijrah or migration of the prophets and their communities is a common theme in religious history and literature. It seems to be a part of the Divine methodology that each era is distinguished by a mass migration of believing people from a place where they are hated, and persecuted for their profession of belief in the One God. Noah migrated, Abraham migrated, and Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and all of the other prophets of monotheism migrated, even if not to very far away places. In these instances of migration, their treasure that enriched and empowered the societies that accepted them and gave them asylum was of course their skills, but most of all, it was their faith, and their prayers. All of the societies that the faithful abandoned ultimately failed.

It may be time for Muslims in the West to rethink the choices we have made. Perhaps it’s time for us to plan our own hijrah. Somewhere in the world there is a society that will give sanctuary to 8 million well educated and affluent, law abiding people who believe in One God, and desire only to worship Him, in peace. I ask forgiveness from the backhomians. Perhaps if we had listened to them more closely, we would have understood that they were warning us of a price to be paid that would be too high. They were warning us of a high price, for something of so little value when it is compared to peace, and the freedom to worship God, and to live, as we believe, and the hope of salvation on the Day of Judgement. It is of so little value when compared to our children’s right to live in societies where they are free to be who they are, and who they want to be. The backhomians were reminding us perhaps of God’s warning to be careful not sell the eternal home, for temporary status and wealth that leads to hellfire, because hell is the ultimate self imposed injustice for people of potential and faith, and who have choice.