Section 14: Believers remaining with the enemy
Too weak to fly to their homes – those who fly to their homes not to fear strait ness
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلآئِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ قَالُواْ فِيمَ كُنتُمْ قَالُواْ كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالْوَاْ أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُواْ فِيهَا فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسَاءتْ مَصِيرًا
97. "Verily (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their own selves, they (the angels) will ask: 'In what state were you?' They will reply: 'We were oppressed in the land'. (The angels) will say: 'Was not Allah's land vast so that you could have migrated therein?' So these (are those) whose abide is Hell, and an evil destination it is! "
Before the occurrence of the Battle of Badr, the pagans of Mecca called the citizens of Mecca to fight against the Muslims. They ordered that all men should participate in the war.
They threatened people that the houses of those who might offend the issue would be ruined and their property could be confiscated. Some of the Muslims, who were still living in Mecca and had not immigrated to Medina, for the fear of their lives, accompanied the pagans in the war against the Muslims in the Battle of Badr, where they were killed.
The verse was revealed and counted guilty those who did not migrate and stayed in the environment of infidelity. The verse blamed them because they had wronged against themselves. Thus, it is obligatory to migrate from the centre of infidelity, and staying there to be a multitude of the soldiers of disbelievers, is unlawful.
If you can change the circumstances of the environment, do it, else you should migrate from there in order not to be called to account, because justification of faults will not be accepted.
We should know that the principle is the goal and belief, not the life and the house. Or, in other words, we must be careful that theism is the principle, not patriotism.
By the way, according to the Islamic literature, an oppressed person is he who cannot recognize the path of responsibility and the difference between right and wrong. 1
Some Islamic traditions denote that he who migrates a distance, even as long as a span, in order to protect the religion, will be admitted to Heaven and will be companion of the holy Prophet (S) and Abraham (as). 2
إِلاَّ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاء وَالْوِلْدَانِ لاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً وَلاَ يَهْتَدُونَ سَبِيلاً
98. "Except the feeble among the men, women, and children, who neither have in their power the means nor do they know any way."
Those who know the truth and are able to move around and change the environment are not among the oppressed. These persons have not any excuse for the abandonment of emigration.
Then, those who have neither any device to ward off infidelity nor any way toward the right, are the oppressed nor such people have no religious oblation. (A tradition narrated from Imam Baqir (as), cited in Tafsir-us-Safi, vol. 1, p.454.)
However, the real apologies are accepted, but seeking excuses are not.
فَأُوْلَـئِكَ عَسَى اللّهُ أَن يَعْفُوَ عَنْهُمْ وَكَانَ اللّهُ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا
99. "So, perhaps, Allah will pardon them and Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving."
In this verse, the Qur'an implies that these people may receive the forgiveness of Allah, because He (s.w.t.) has always been pardoning and forgiving the servants.
وَمَن يُهَاجِرْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ يَجِدْ فِي الأَرْضِ مُرَاغَمًا كَثِيراً وَسَعَةً وَمَن يَخْرُجْ مِن بَيْتِهِ مُهَاجِرًا إِلَى اللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ يُدْرِكْهُ الْمَوْتُ فَقَدْ وَقَعَ أَجْرُهُ عَلى اللّهِ وَكَانَ اللّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
100. "And whoever migrates in Allah's way, finds much refuge and abundance in the earth, and whoever goes forth from his house migrating unto Allah and His Messenger and death overtakes him, his reward is indeed with Allah and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
It happened that one of the Muslims, who was living in Mecca, became sick. He asked to be taken out of Mecca in order to be counted as emigrants. As soon as he was taken out of the city, he died in the way. Then, this verse was revealed.
Following the discussion about emigration and those who, as a result of some shortcoming in doing the duty of emigration, yield to any kind of a basement and humiliation, in this verse, the words are earnestly stated upon the quality of emigration.
The subject of emigration has been discussed from two points of view. At first, it has pointed to the good results and effects of emigration in the life of godly people in this world. It says that those who emigrate in the vast land of Allah (s.w.t.), in the way of Allah (s.w.t.), and for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.), will find many secure and bountiful sites. The verse says:
Then, it pays to the spiritual aspect of emigration; and points to this fact that if some ones get out of their houses and leave their home with the intention of emigration towards Allah (s.w.t.), and His Apostle, and die before reaching their destination, their reward is with Allah (s.w.t.), and He, the Forgiving, the Merciful, will forgive their faults.
Thus, the emigrants are victorious in both cases.
It is interesting that emigration, not for self protection but for preserving Islam, is an origin of date for Muslims. It forms the foundation of our political, social and propagative events totally. And, in any time and any place, if the same conditions come forth, Muslims are ordained to emigrate.