Displacement is a historical phenomenon, though it is more common nowadays. It further makes the displaced persons witness inhumane situations and extreme vulnerabilities before and after the forced movements. If one looks back to the era of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the rebounded image will appear in front of humankind regarding the oversight of refugees. The article aims to unfold the strategies and policies taken to mitigate the refugee crises during the years of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It further discusses the present relevance of the policies developed in the light of the guidelines of the Quran.
According to the holy Quran, migrating to other Islamic or non-Islamic countries due to survival threats is permitted and a right of the migratory individuals. Nevertheless, the supreme religious book of Muslims declares the Almighty God as the only creator and proprietor of the earth, and it is created for all of His creatures, including humankind. So, Islam regards the entire world as the earth of all people of all states. Providing shelter to the refugees and asylum seekers is associated with the Muslims’ spiritual beliefs and values. In reality, world leaders pose the ultimate power to regulate the increasing displacement issues that are more political and less spiritual.
History of the Refugee Islam Preachers
The Prophet Abraham along with his family were compelled to relocate and were aided in their quest by God. Later being tormented by the Egyptians, Prophet Moses relocated to Midian, where he was given accommodation, occupation, and other privileges.
Many decades later, Prophet Muhammad commanded that a portion of his growing group migrate to Abyssinia.ii They had been subjected to persistent persecution and abuse.
Prophet Muhammad himself became a refugee a few years later. He and the bulk of his followers evacuated Makkah for Madinah. It is the most significant relocation in Islamic account. When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he was acutely aware of the misery and suffering endured by the Makkah exiles.ii They had left horrific situations only to locate themselves in an unfamiliar but more safe area devoid of money, land, and personal possessions.
Relevant Conceptual Development in Islam
Aftermath of migrating to Madinah, a multicultural and multi-religious locality, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spread the ideas of the verses of the Quran. Consequently, the Prophet (PBUH) established a community brotherhood among the immigrated Muslims and the local newly converted Muslims based on the notions. i
There were two significant groups, known as Muhajirun and Ansar. The former term refers to the migrated Muslims from Mekkah, meaning ‘immigrants.’ The latter group Ansar means ‘helpers,’ which refers to the local Muslims in Madinah.i Accordingly, both groups constituted a brotherhood based on a win-win relationship, as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised.
Firstly, the Mujahiruns were undoubtedly in very vulnerable condition after leaving their properties, employments, and facilities to resettle, and even many of them migrated without their families. Hence, they need economic and habitation support from the Madinah locals. According to the instructions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Ansars, provincial Muslims, took the responsibility to provide shelter, food, and occupations to them. They divided their homes, farming lands, and even other properties into two equal parts to solidify their brotherhood.
Secondly, the Ansars were newly converted Muslims and accepted Islam as their lifestyle and religion. In this case, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recommended the Mujahiruns to the Ansars to learn new ideas, practices from the Quran and Sunnah (the customs, advice, and prohibitions of Prophet Muhammad PBUH).iii As a result, the brotherhood and sisterhood among the two groups resulted in the proper integration and localization of the religious refugees in another area. It was so splendid that Muhajiruns received the heiress after the demise of the Ansars. i
Simultaneously, the establishment of the Medina Charter guided peace and harmony among diverse groups from different religions and cultures in Madinah. Furthermore, there were three applicable concepts in Islam to mitigate the displacement problems: Compassion (ihsan), respect (ikram), and total support (eiwa).ii
Significant Islamic Practices in the Displacement Crises
Islamic directions and regulations are essential for protecting refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers rights. They might serve as a faith-based validation of refugees’ rights, especially women and children, along with contractual commitments.iii The following are some noteworthy policies and practices in Islam since the era of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
- Every person escaping persecution is entitled to the refuge and the privileges that come with it.
- Meeting the needs of these persons is a civic responsibility.
- Refugees should not be abandoned to persecutory and inhumane treatment.
- The host country’s women and children have the same rights as women and children seeking shelter. That is why the Prophet established brotherhood between the Muhajirun and Ansar and said that “migrants have the same privileges as their hosts.” In other words, whether accompanied by their families or not, such women and children should be afforded the same security as women and children in the host nation, consistent with native and international law.
- Any resolution involving evacuee children should consider their fundamental benefits. They have a right to a hale and hearty childhood and education. From an Islamic viewpoint, children are above suspicion, their abilities should be nurtured, and they should be protected from discrimination.
- According to specific explanations of Islamic laws, children and women should be treated more favorably due to their vulnerability. They should be managed through strategies related to positive discrimination. More than any other group, the Muslim Prophet stressed the rights of women and children. Children and women refugees are among the world’s poorest people, and
- Muslims should dedicate a portion of their philanthropy efforts to their assistance. From a religious stance, what these persons are granted is theirs by right.
- If the minor’s guardians are given asylum, they must be accorded the exact status, defending children’s freedom to stay with their families. Moreover, these individuals’ right to reunification with their relatives should be acknowledged. If the children’s parents cannot be found, their relatives should guard them.
- The groundwork should be laid for these people to return to their homelands whenever such movement is considered safe. In all circumstances, they should be treated kindly.
- Muslims and non-Muslims refugees are treated with dignity, respect, and empathy. The African flow of migration towards Madinah can be related to the practices.
- Zakat was critical in such situations because religious organizations and ordinary people of faith alike would not be reluctant to support. They aided the evacuees economically, demonstrating Islam’s humanitarianism. Zakat is playing significant roles in present days also. It is a share of the belongings that the devoted are instructed to provide for charitable reasons.
Current Relevancy of the Islamic Practices
While many European and Western nations are preoccupied with stemming the flow of migrants entering their country, others, such as Turkey and Canada, are more concerned with reintegrating refugees.
Gaziantep is cited in a New York Times article as a model of serving refugees compassionately. “Gaziantep, a wonderful city on the Border area, is claimed to be home to 600,000 Syrians. Around 40,000 of Syrians in Turkey dwelt in the city’s five settlements supervised by Turkey’s Presidency of Disaster and Emergency Management. The remainder of the population resides inside the city.” In Turkey, evacuees are permitted to work and access medical care and schooling. The administration is dedicated to establishing a route to residency in Turkey.ii
Furthermore, Canada has long been regarded as a leading player in refugee protection. Ordinary citizens made headlines in 2015 when they effectively embraced hundreds of Syrian relatives. Approximately gave a year of their money, efforts, and time to mentor them as they transitioned into new surroundings. At the same time, other nations shied away from them. However, the results of Canada’s open-handed initiative are not yet known, Canada is undoubtedly adhering to its UN Refugee Convention commitments.ii
The importance of brotherhood can also be highlighted, remembering the recent drone attacks of Israel on the Palestinians. Though technological diplomacy caused tragic injuries to the plights of the Palestinians, global public support irrespective of any religion, class, and nationality led the Israelis on the way to a ceasefire.
Hosting Rohingya people, another Muslim majority community, Bangladesh became the role model of humanitarianism in 2017. The scenario has changed negatively due to the lack of solidified brotherhood among the locals and the forcefully migrated people there, even though Zakat played a substantial role in mitigating the hardships of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh. As a Muslim majority country, Bangladesh unfolds as a potential source of Zakat that became the reason for relief for the refugees.
An illustration of the article portrays Islamic practices to safeguard the refugees, and asylum seekers empathized on the development of brotherhood, integration of the displaced, and sharing liabilities. However, the prosperous countries leading the refugee issues and improving their living standards are also based on the same ideas.
Strategic Analyst, Act for Displaced
She poses a humanitarian individuality to assist world people in upgrading their life standard physically, emotionally, and ethically.