Islamic Web Library

An Islamic Resource Center

4:88-91 Different forms of Emigration and their Rules

6 min read

Why should ye be divided into two parties about the Hypocrites? Allah hath upset them for their (evil) deeds. Would ye guide those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way? For those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way, never shalt thou find the Way.

They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks;-

Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).

Others you will find that wish to gain your confidence as well as that of their people: Every time they are sent back to temptation, they succumb thereto: if they withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands, seize them and slay them wherever ye get them: In their case We have provided you with a clear argument against them.

The verses quoted above describe three groups of people about
whom two injunctions have been given. The following narrations
clarify events surrounding these groups:

  1. ‘Abdullah ibn Hamid has narrated from. Mujahid that some disbelievers of Makkah came to Madinah. They pretended to have become Muslims and claimed to have come there as emigrants. Later, they turned into apostates. They went to the Holy Prophet (S) , told him about their plan to go Makkah to buy merchandise from there. Having made their false excuse, they departed for Makkah and never returned. There arose a difference of opinion about their behaviour among the Muslims of Madinah. Some said that they were believers. It was in verse 88: (So what is the matter with you that you have become two groups about the hypocrites) where Allah Almighty declared that they were disbelievers and should be killed.

Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanavi has explained the Qur’anic word,
‘munafiq’ (hypocrite) by saying that they were hypocrites when they
claimed to have become Muslims – they had never believed in their
hearts. The fact was that hypocrites were not killed because they
concealed their inner disbelief. But, the case of these people was
different as their apostacy had come out in the open. As for those who
took them to be Muslims, they may have, perhaps, taken a benign
view of their action under some interpretation. However, this interpretation was based on sheer opinion not supported by any proof from the Shari’ah. That is why no reliance was placed on it.

  1. Ibn Abi Shaybah has narrated from Hasan that Suraqah ibn
    Malik al-Mudlaji visited the Holy Prophet (S) after the events
    of Badr and Uhud and requested him to make peace with his tribe,
    Bani Mudlaj. Thereupon, he sent Sayyidna Khalid (RA) to them to
    conclude a peace treaty. The terms of the treaty were as follows:

“We will not support anyone against the Holy Prophet & . If
the Quraysh become Muslims, We too shall become Muslims.
All tribes who enter into alliance with us, they too shall
become a party with us in this treaty.”

Thereupon, this verse: (They wish that
you disbelieve like they have disbelieved) was revealed.

3. It has been narrated from Sayyidna Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) that the
people mentioned in the verse: (You will find others who
want to be secure from you) are those belonging to the tribes of Asad
and Ghitfan who, when they came to Madinah, professed Islam
outwardly, but to their own people they would confide that they had really believed in monkeys and scorpions while before Muslims they would piously declare that they were followers of their faith.

However, Dahhak ascribes this conduct to the tribe of ‘Abd al-Dar
according to a report from Sayyidna Ibn ‘Abbas. The first and the
second narration appears in Ruh al-Ma’ani, while the third narration
can be seen in Ma’alim.

Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanavi likens the state of those mentioned in
the third narration as that of the first one since it proves that they
were no Muslims to begin with, therefore, they fall under the injunction governing disbelievers in general, that is, ‘do not fight them in the presence of a peace treaty – otherwise, do.’ Thus, regarding those
mentioned in the first narration, the second verse (then if they turn away, sieze them and kill them) carries the
injunction that they be arrested and killed, while the statement in the
third verse (90): (except those who join a group with whom
you have a treaty) gives them a clear exemption in the event of peace,
a situation which finds mention in the second narration. This exemption has been emphasized once again in (if they stay away from you) later in the same verse (90).

Regarding those mentioned in the third narration, it has been said
in the fourth verse (91): (you will find others ….I which means
that should these people refuse to leave you alone and insist on
fighting, then do fight against them. From this, it can be deduced that
in the event they make peace, there should be no fighting against
them. (Bayan al-Qur’an)

In short, the three groups mentioned here are:

  1. Those who do not emigrate despite their ability to do so in a
    period of time when emigration was a pre-requisite of faith in Islam.
    Or, after having emigrated, they go out of the new abode of Islam (Dar
    al-Islam) and return to the abode of disbelief (Dar al-Kufr).
  2. Those who themselves enter a no-war pact with Muslims or
    those who join hands with those entering into such a pact.
  3. Those who make peace to buy time and once there comes an
    occasion to fight a war against Muslims, they would readily join the
    enemy camp throwing all treaty obligations to winds.

The injunction governing the first group is similar to that which
governs the disbelievers in general. The second groups is exempted
from being arrested and killed. The third group deserves the same
punishment as fixed for the first. These verses yield a total of two
injunctions, that is, fighting in the absence of peace; and not fighting
in the event of peace.

Different forms of Emigration and their Rules

it is sufficient to know that Emigration from the homeland of Disbelief (Darul-kufr) was enjoined on all Muslims during the early period of Islam. It is for this reason that Allah Almighty has prohibited treating those who fail to carry out this obligation as Muslims. Consequently, when Makkah was conquered, the Holy Prophet (S) declared: (There is no Hijrah after the Victory). It means: ‘Now that the Conquest of Makkah has made it the Abode of Islam, emigration from there was no more obligatory.’ This rule related to the period of time when Emigration was considered to be a pre-condition of anyone’s faith. During those days, anyone who did not emigrate despite having the ability to do so was not taken to be a Muslim. But, later on, this injunction was abrogated and now this mode of Emigration has ceased to exist.

There remains, however, another form of Hijrah which has been identified in a hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari where it was said: It means that Hijrah (not in the sense of abandoning one’s homeland, but in the sense of abandoning one’s sins) will continue to exist until there remains the time to repent.

‘Allamah ‘Ayni, the commentator of al-Bukhari has said about this
Hijrah: (This later Hijrah means the abandonment of sins). This subject also finds elucidation in a hadith of the
Holy Prophet (S) where he is reported to have said: ‘It means that a Muhajir (Emigrant) is one who emigrates
(‘hajara’: abandon, leave) from everything prohibited by Allah Almighty (al-Mirqat, v.1)

The discussion appearing above tells us that, technically, the word,
Hijrah is applied in a dual sense:

  1. To leave one’s homeland in order to save one’s faith as was done
    by the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all – they left
    their homeland of Makkah and emigrated to Madinah and Ethiopia.
  2. To leave one’s sins.

The words of the verse 89: (and do not take from them a friend or a helper) tell us that seeking help from disbelievers is forbidden (Haram). Pursuant to this, it appears in a narration that the Ansars of Madinah sought the permission of the Holy Prophet (S) to seek help from the Jews to offset disbelievers whereupon he said: (The bad ones! We do not need them). (Mazhari, v. 2)


Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .2 surah 4 verse 88-91). English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-2.pdf (

About Post Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.