Hijrah, “migration” or “departure” in English, is an Islamic term that refers to the journey of Prophet Mohammad from Mecca to Medina. According to some Ulama (Muslim scholars) and historians, Hijrah served as a turning point in Islamic history where it is considered as a beginning of new era in humanity and the start of widespread Islamic-based belief. In addition, according to the History of Islam website, Hijrah, like migration, signified a “transition” from one phase to another in terms of Islam as an act of worship becomes a way of life; From being surrounded to having regional power and strong central leadership; From simple Islamic group of believer to being Islamic nation; From regionalism of Da’wah to universalism; From the position of weakness to the position of security; and from spreading Islam through individual Da’wah to being institutionalized. To summarize, Hijrah highlighted the point that wherever Muslims go, they should bring goodness to the land; material and goodness of society and not spreading fear like those who are involve in violent extremism and terrorism.


In relation to this, extremist groups misinterpret and exploit the real concept of Hijrah to achieve their goal of spreading terror. According to Counter-Extremism Project website, Hijrah used to describe the foreign fighter’s journey from their country of origin to terrorist-held territories. This is the basis for other extremists to be called “muhajir” or “muhajirah” to any foreign fighters who are persuaded to join the cause of terrorism to a particular terrorist place in which they will go. Moreover, since the real meaning of Hijrah was misused, this led to the wave of terrorists migrating from one country to another to continue and revive their terroristic ideology and spread it to places and nations in which they will come. One of the great examples of this is ISIS in the Middle East and in some parts of Asia. They jump from one country to another when allies capture their bases and territories and when they try to expand their operations. This is also one of the reasons why we heard other foreign fighters, especially Filipino Muslims, involved in ISIS-related activities abroad. 


This seems like a noble cause to them, a fulfillment of their duty to Islam. However, if you examine and know the real meaning of Hijrah, you will know that it is done to spread goodness to the land. This definition strengthens the fact that extremist groups or people behind the misused meaning of Hijrah are not morally correct.