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A. Muhammad Ma`ruf


HIJRA STORIES, NEW AND OLD.

Prepared for the Middle East Section Panel, "Rethinking Migration Processes and Practices in the Middle East and Beyond", American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Nov 15-19, 2000, San Francisco.

 

Migration OR Hijra.


I want to, first, express my sincere thanks to Dr Hsain Ilahiane for his encouragement toward completing the version of this paper presented here. 
The paper is based on two kinds of data: 1. Anthropological and other English language texts describing the Hijra of the early period of the history of Islam in Arabia; and 2. My ethnographic log, which contains among other things, stories of the migration experiences of present day Muslims. I have listened to such stories over a long period of interactions with them as part of research undertaken toward understanding present day Islamic trends.
I have drawn on my notes of interactions with Muslims in the US, the UK, and Malaysia in thinking about this paper. (More than 200 men and women). I have myself been an “immigrant” in the US for many years. The Muslims I have talked to are from many parts of the world including the Middle East - or West Asia as it is sometimes known in the Asian English press - North Africa and many other areas of the world. Some of them have degrees beyond the college level. I have talked to some of them only in the US, or UK. With others I have had continued conversations in Malaysia. The set of observations that have influenced my thinking about this paper have been accumulated during intermittent periods, mostly during summer breaks, since 1995.
 

The observations of, and interviews with, Malaysians that have been helpful in the preparation of this paper include interactions with individuals from a population of observably Malaysianizing, descendants of Arwi speaking Muslims (see Shu‘ayb ‘Alim, Arabic, Arwi, and Persian in Sarandib and Tamil Nadu, Madras, 1993), a concentration of whom live in the Jalan Masjid area in Kuala Lumpur. Arwi speaking Muslims in Malaysia and elsewhere believe that their ancestors left West Asian points of origin to settle in south India more than a thousand years ago, prior to the beginning of the world wide migrations that the rise of Europe in world history is said to have brought about. Subsequently they left those “homelands” to re-settle in other southern and southeastern parts of Asia, beyond India, during the years of European domination in that part of the world.
I know their migration history well enough to know that in their case (as it may also be in other cases), and in the way they remember and tell their migration stories, some of the assumptions behind the neat tables that demographers and geographers present in describing migration (see e.g. “Millennium in maps. Population”, Supplement to National Geographic, October 1998) as data about peoples who have come to a place S from another place K can be questioned. That is to say that the identification of place of origin of a people who have migrated to, let us say, Singapore (at the entrance to the Chinese, Indian, and Malay worlds of southeast Asia) from Kayalpattinam in South India, in the Dravidian world, ignores the history of the Kayalpattinam people before their settlement there. To the present day,Singapore based descendants of a people who may be identified as having migrated there “from India” by Singaporeans, it is very significant that at a time in their past, they had a history in Cairo, from whence they had brought Semitic linguistic and other “cultural” features into the Dravidian world.
A critical knowledge of the history of a people who are believed to have ‘migrated’ to S must also include the knowledge of where the people were before they had a history there. The ethnographic observation of any community in the present day world is likely to reveal many layers of migration all of which may not have been migrations to that particular location.
Unlike many other peoples of the world, Muslims, to the extent that they indulge in the self construction of their ‘migrant’ situations, as psychology or history, in story or other form, have to take account of the fact that at the bottom of the chronological table of their story are stories of the migrations of the first Muslims from Mecca to, at first Abyssinia, and later to Medina. That “flight” or “emigration” (Carleton Coon, 1958, Caravan, the story of the Middle East: 91), to Medina continues to be the base line for the time reckoning employed by Muslims in many activities.

In my research of the ‘mixed’ speech and orthographic systems of Malaysian and other Arwi speaking Muslims, I have also become aware of the usefulness of the knowledge of the history of words and of patterns of word formation, such as when 'hijrah' becomes 'hijrath' in Arwi, and of the contexts in which such formations take place. This is something interesting in itself. My goal in re-reading the anthropological texts utilized in this paper as well as in using my field notes has been to find meanings of words like Hijra and Muhajireen, among English speakers and writers of varied backgrounds, and thereby try to relate to the problems that present themselves to those who attempt to translate such Islamic ideas into English meanings.


 
Equivalence is often assumed between the Islamic concept of the Hijra and some or all of the meanings of the English word ‘migration’. Thus e.g. Daniel Bates and Amal Rassam in their Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East, Prentice Hall, 1983: 39 say “ The migration or Hijra, marks a new phase in the evolution of the Islamic community”. Kemal Kerpat in a later, important addition to the understanding of ‘the Islamic concept of migration’ has also used the two words synonymously. (“Muslim migration: a response to Aldeeb Abu-Salieh” International Migration Review, xxx.1: 79-89).
Word and meaning problems, are a large category by themselves. We cannot go into all of them here. I am interested in the way in which an English ‘translation’ of the idea of Hijra fits a meaning it is said to have in the Qur‘an and elsewhere in Arabic and other languages of Muslims. I am more interested in how the translated meaning, as in a sentence or longer text, refers and relates to a meaning and knowledge of that idea, as it may be already present in English and how the imported form may fill a meaning space, which was not covered previously by an English word. As such my task is related to, but unlike the one posed by Talal Asad, 1993, Genealogies of religion, 171-236. Moreover as Eric Wolf put it, “…. It is not enough to invent or import new words; we need to take a closer look at our intellectual armamentarium”. (“Inventing society”, in The American Ethnologist, p. 752). This may also mean taking a closer look at English itself, which I attempt to do in this paper by examining older works in the anthropology of the Middle East which have attempted to translate and contextualize some of the meanings of the Islamic idea of Hijra. Anthropology books and papers are a type of specialized thought. In addition they are also English language reading material, which inform the non-anthropologist, academic and non-academic public.


 
 2. The Hijra in the anthropology of the Middle East.
 
Statements and discussions about one of the Hijras of the early Meccan Muslims - the one leading to the establishment of the Medinan settlement - are to be found in several anthropology text books dealing with the Middle East, as part of what may be called the chapter 2 problem of such books: i.e. to tell the story of Islam during the period of its genesis, in the new anthropologist-author’s own words (e.g. Daniel Bates and Amal Rassam, op. cit.: 29-82, Carleton Coon, op. cit.: 86- 119, and John Gulick, The middle-east: an anthropological perspective,1976: 19-20). These are of varying length and cannot be said to indicate a consensus regarding an anthropological point of view regarding the Hijra or about other aspects of knowledge pertaining to this period of the Islamic history of the Middle East. Different authors seem to have picked different strands of the story.  
 
Dale Eickelman’s, 1998, The Middle East and Central Asia; An anthropological approach refers to a growing bibliography of ‘major revisions’ currently underway in the “social and economic understanding of events in 7th century Arabia” (319-20). Carolyn Fleuhr-Lobban pays more attention to the significance of the Hijrah for the “Muslim calendar”, of which, as we have noted, it is the beginning (Islam in Practice: 1994: 19).

In all of the works readers are referred to additional works by historians, orientalists, and occasionally Islamologists. The anthropological study of this period of Islamic history, or more properly the criticism of studies of this period of Islamic history that anthropologists themselves have done or have adopted from other scholars, could develop in the future as a new area of knowledge.

There is more than one type of knowledge discernible in the development of this discourse. At one level these studies represent opinion trends: the modern criticism of Islam in Western languages, sometimes as voiced by powerful critics. At another level they present the problems of translation, description, and analysis that anthropologists have found to be interesting in their uses of historical materials in the formulation and criticism of their evolutionist, diffusionist or other forms of speculations regarding, and constructions of, migrations and other aspects of the culture and civilizations of mankind.
 
The restudy of such prior contributions can be a means by which anthropologists can delve deeper into their self-understanding of the nature of their specialization, their particular perceptions, and skills of interpretation, or “reading”, which can complement and may also contrast with the skills and approaches with which other Islamologists, journalists, historians of Islam and the Middle-East (see e.g. Abdallah Laroui, 1974, The crisis of the Arab intellectual: Traditionalism or historicism: 44-80), world historians, orientalists, religionists, and other such neighbors bring to the study of this period. Can the anthropological adherence to the principles of cultural relativism and a kind of universalism, differing forms of which have characterized the ethos of anthropologists since the early years of its European beginnings add anything to this “discourse” in which scholars of many types of outlook, and discipline background, are active participants today? This may be something to ponder in this year of the celebration of the “public face” of anthropology.    

 
 3. Eric Wolf.
 
Eric Wolf’s “The social organization of Mecca and the origins of Islam”, Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 1951: 329-355 is an anthropological journal article devoted to this period of Islamic history, which among other things, opens the door to such a possibility. Eickelman (op.cit.) has noted the “explicitly anthropological” character of Wolf’s analysis, as well as that of his own study – on Musaylima - and of Barbara Aswad’s analysis: “Social and ecological aspects of the formation of Islam” (in Louise E Sweet ed., Peoples and cultures of the Middle East, 1970: 53-73). Aswad’s paper includes additional and somewhat different answers to the problem posed 20 years earlier in Wolf’s paper. Carleton Coon has provided an example of another way in which one could approach the study of this subject, although not in a journal article. His “… Story of the Middle East” was first published in the same year as Wolf’s paper. However, even the 1958 re-issue of the book does not refer to Wolf’s work. His “wisdom” about the Middle East is unlike that of the general cause and effect speculations of Eric Wolf and Barbara Aswad.
 
Talal Asad, in his “Ideology, class and the origin of the Islamic State,” Economy and Society, 1980, 9(1): 467 has referred to Wolf’s paper as being “remarkable but little known…” The observation that the paper is not much noticed may still be true in the sense that it is not cited very often, even in later anthropological writings on the history of that period. We may note, however, that in 1970, the paper was “easily available in commercial reprint” (Louise E Sweet, "Introduction" to Peoples and Cultures Middle East, op. cit.: xiv). However, the suspicion that earlier work is ignored, not critiqued, nor built on by later writers may be disconcerting to those who look for sustained efforts from one generation to the next, toward the development of a disciplined anthropology of Islam. Neither Charles Lindholm’s “historical anthropology” of the “Islamic Middle East” published in 1996, nor Akbar Ahmed’s “Discovering Islam. Making sense of Muslim history and society” (1988), which discuss the Hijra, refer to the work of Wolf, or Aswad, or to Asad’s critical comments. Nor do they refer to each other! ‘Middle east’ anthropology, which some may think of as an interrelated body of knowledge, may in fact have very different, perhaps contradictory, historical and ideological roots.
 
Before I go into further details of Wolf’s, Coon’s and Aswad’s contributions it may be appropriate to say a word or two here in appreciation of the Islam and Middle-east related segments of the anthropology of the late Eric Wolf, who died on the 6th of March last year. The combined reading of his 1951 paper on Islam and his later presidential address to the American Ethnological Society of the 1990s, published as “Inventing Society” in The American Ethnologist reveals a 3 to 4 decade continuity of concern over a single problem, which some anthropologists may consider not a problem at all, but a given, a taken-for-granted assumption or conclusion. The problem he attempted to solve early in his career, of the nature of social organization and social change, by analyzing historical materials dealing with the rise of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, apparently continued to hold his attention.

‘Middle East Anthropology’ may owe something to Eric Wolf, for having given the journal article start to a possible general anthropological discussion of the early history of Islam, and for his later study of Algerian struggles. His wider interest in Islam as part of his observation of world historical “structures” is also reflected in the Islam related pages of his bibliographical review of the sources for his 1982 publication, Europe and the People without History. Eric Wolf was interested in Islam as part of his interest in the “Mediterranean world” (ibid: 395), which was possibly one of the “areas” (see also Ralph Linton, The Tree of Culture, 1955: 154-159) in which the “Middle East” was placed in the anthropology of his generation, i.e. of the time before the creation of the “petrodollar” sector of the fast changing world economy of our time. 
 
4. The Hijra in anthropological analyses of the “origin of Islam”. 
 
In his 1951 paper Wolf does not explicitly describe the Hijra. However, he is aware of the “flight” of the Meccans to Medina (p.332). Toward the end of the paper (p. 352) he also quotes from Von Grunebaum from a passage that also contains allusions to some of the different ways in which the Hijra and other forms of migration, occurring in Islamic lands had been read by anthropologists his time: “…the Koran envisages city life. The nomad is viewed with distrust. Migration into town, Hijra, is recommended and almost equalized in merit to that more famous migration, again called Hijra, of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina. To forsake town for country is severely condemned.”

Wolf’s concern is to organize his extensively researched data and present a thesis in which the “origin of Islam” is posited as the result of various kinds of historical facts, including, but not limited to the Hijra from Mecca to Medina. The history of the rise of Islam is analyzed as “one case history” (p. 330) of what the author seems to have perceived as a general pattern of evolutionary, urbanizing changes in the history of mankind, marked by the change from kinship based social relationships to those that are based on other foundations, including the evolution to the type of political mechanism to which we now the give the generic label: “the state”.

The history he has looked at is the history of the Arabian Peninsula through a period of about 700 years, beginning with ‘the first century AD’. One may however, ask the question of the methodology of this paper, and of others like it: why should the beginning date of such a search be the first century AD or any other particular point in the past. To Eric Wolf (p.340), Islam was “an ideological movement” an idea he adopted from a German work originally published in 1864. It was also the accomplishment of a “revolution” (p.353). Both he and Barbara Aswad have theorized the beginnings of a set of Islamic practices in the Arabian Peninsula as part of a culmination of “evolutionary” processes, also active in other local spheres. Wolf does not seem to have considered the problem of dating the beginning and end of the revolutionary and/or evolutionary change. Aswad has provided more chronological information, dating the “formation” of Islam to a date other than the beginning of the Hijri chronology. However the assumptions behind that date are questionable.  

 
 For the purposes of this paper, I prefer to look at the valuable contributions of these anthropologists from a different, Hijra point of view. A storyteller may want to establish antecedent conditions that prevailed during the immediate past of the Hijra. Whether such antecedents, including “the society organized on the basis of kin relationships”, that Wolf described, for instance, were evolutionary causes or not is a different philosophical problem. Instead the change that Wolf was trying to describe, “to a type of society possessed of an organized, if rudimentary state”, is seen here as the outcome of deliberate, volitional actions of human beings, such as the Hijra migration.
Wolf’s reading of the sources he consulted which led him to come to the conclusion of the establishment of a new kind of bond among non-kin, in the Arab society of that time, that between the “Ansar” and the “Muhajjirin” (345-347), is significant. It is in that identification that Wolf’s analysis is linked to the word and the facts of the Hijrah. To Wolf the Muhajjirin and the Ansar represented the origin of a significant new group that accompanied the “origin of Islam” – a group that, to him, was not governed by rights and duties derived from kinship
 
Wolf described this new group relationship, by referring to them in the traditional Islamic phraseology, as the “Ansar” and the “Muhajjirrin”. To him they were a ‘militant brotherhood’, “the Medinese hosts” and “the Muslims who fled from Mecca” respectively. They became “the core of the new” Islamic “society”. They were (a) an “armed” “guard”; (b) a group for whom Islam attempted to “invent” a new functional kind of kinship; and (c) a “new aristocracy”.

Another history relevant to the consideration of the Hijra and its outcomes that Eric Wolf paid attention to was of the document that he described as the “town charter” of Medina. The new society of which the Ansar and the Muhajjirin were “the core”, “was given organized form by means of a town charter” (346-347). Wolf notes that the new social organization “was called umma” in that document. Wolf adopted the translation of the use of umma in this context as a “community”, which “comprised the whole territory of Medina, embracing all who lived within it”. It “included not only Muslims, but non-Muslims as well.” The new system that came about under the leadership of the Prophet, that Wolf referred to seems to have been a sort of confederacy of tribes in accepting the kitab that the distinguished Muhammad Hamidullah edited and published (at first in England in 1941) as ‘the First Written Constitution in the World” To quote from the Lahore, 1975, 3rd revised edition, pp.12-13: “…. the Holy Prophet, a few weeks or months after his arrival in Madinah, had a deed drawn up, which has been referred to as a kitab and sahifah in the deed itself, and which obviously was written after consultation with the people concerned… Kitab and sahifah mean a code of action or a chart of rights and duties…. It amounted to a declaration of the city of Madinah as a City State for the first time, and to the laying down of a code for its administration.” 
 
5. Barbara Aswad.
 
Addressing herself to the same problem as that researched by Wolf, Barbara Aswad (op.cit.) has read some of the same materials and some later publications, significantly Montgomery Watt’s biographical accounts of the life of Muhammad (i.e. the personality that the name represented to Watt), to arrive at somewhat different conclusions. Aswad says less about the complex of behaviors that is referred to as the Hijra than Wolf. However her paper clearly separates Mecca and Medina as different places with different physical features, history and social organization and locates the causes of the “formation” of Islam in Medina and not in Mecca as Wolf would have it. She has “sought to illuminate”. that the formation of Islam “did not come directly out of Meccan stratification and urbanization, but rather that the incipient stages of the state organization of Islam took place at Medina and resulted from the interaction of ecological forces with indigenous socio-cultural factors” (p.73). “Since the reorganization at Medina constituted the initial stage in the beginnings of Islam and the Islamic state, more importance should be attributed to elements of nomadic social structure in its effect on Islam than is allowed by such writers as Wolf and those who minimize the influence of the desert on Islam.”
 
For Aswad, Wolf’s Ansar and Muhajjirin, are the Ansar – the “helpers”- and the “Emigrants”. What Wolf had looked at as a new social form, the Ansar –Muhajjirin brotherhood, is viewed very differently by Aswad (65-67). Unlike Wolf she points out that in Medina the Prophet also served as “the chief” of the Meccans. Aswad’s ethnographically biased reading also emphasizes what she perceived as the ‘tribal’ nature of the Meccan Emigrants. She asserts that the “method” by which the Emigrants and the Ansars were made into “brothers” was the “same” as that by which “clients were adopted in Bedouin society” (p.66). Later in the paper we read that the Emigrants were not a kin based unit (p.70) and that they formed a “dominant if fictive kin group among the clans” (p.72).
 
She notes that the Emigrants were listed first among a set of ‘9 clans’, and provides more details of the responsibilities that resulted from the “Constitution of Medina”, one of the sources for the understanding of the “organizational transition”. The “Constitution” is read as a “contract between the Emigrants from Mecca and the Arab tribes of Medina. It was also a covenant with the Jews…” Her reading of the Medinan Kitab, Wolf’s “town charter”, which defined some of the relationships among the local residents of Medina and the newcomers from Mecca, leads her to conclude that the “early umma or community of believers”, -– was “ a function of the” traditional “patterns established among the Arab tribes”, i.e. seemingly not the Jews, “with the exception that the Prophet would be the arbiter in disputes among them”. This is a very different understanding than the one that Wolf developed about that umma.

Aswad briefly traces the development of her notion of the “Islamic state” as changing from the “community of believers” formed in Medina by the “Constitution” to a further stage of an “embryonic state” – her translation of the Qur`anic hisb Allah to which she assigns the date, 631 A.D. i.e. about 9 years later than the usual calculation for the beginning of the Hijri year system and for the Medinan beginnings of Islam.
One of the statements that Aswad makes in her description of the Ansar - Muhajjirin relationship contains the following: “… after the Emigrants from Mecca lived off their brothers for a while ….” (Emphasis mine). This gives a different picture of the story of their relationship than what Wolf communicates. More attention can be paid to the facts about the conflicts in the relationship and how they are reported to have been resolved (see e.g. Muhammad Husayn Haykal, Hayat Muhammad, in English tr. by Isma’il R A. al Faruqi, The life of Muhammad, Indianapolis, 1976): 328-331). Similar relationships and conflicts within them are to be found in present day stories between refugee type immigrants and the people among whom they attempt to settle in the US as well as elsewhere.
Montgomery Watt, Aswad’s modern, originally English, source for the biography of the Prophet has made the remark that reading the news of Muhammad’s life “involves not only judgments about facts, but also theological and moral judgments” (1974: Muhammad. Prophet and statesman: 3). Alfred Kroeber, whose generation in a sense provided the theoretical background for Wolf’s and Aswad’s problem has expressed a congruent opinion regarding the anthropological analysis of historical changes: “…These big historical situations are not adjudicated so simply…” Anthropology. Patterns and processes, 1963 ed.: 214. If this matter of “living off of their brothers” characterization were to be pursued, it may get to a point where, as anthropologists we have to find new ways to discuss or otherwise resolve issues of difference regarding “theological and moral” judgments. Perhaps it is time for the cultural relativism debates, particularly as concerning this time in world history, to move to a different form of dialectic.

Aswad, (1970: 54) has also noted that Wolf’s paper seems to “overlook” the physical fact that Mecca and Medina are two different places. She has tried to examine some of the physical features of the two places in addition to the social. However, both authors may have overlooked the significance of the fact that the early Muslims had to physically “emigrate” from one place to the other. This minimization of ‘physicality’ in the reconstruction of “social” history may be a clue to the nature of the anthropological imaginations they were working with. 

 
 6. Carleton Coon.
As with many other modern social scientists, in the works of Wolf and Aswad causes are social organizational, economic, or psychological, or in some other single series of factors. To Aswad the question seems to have been, is it Mecca or Medina that caused Islam to be? ("Had it not been for the Medinan situation, Muhammad and his group of followers might never have been heard of again, after their departure from Mecca” Aswad, ibid: 63). To Carleton Coon, if there was a single factor it was the Prophet himself, who was blessed with the knowledge of certain “secrets of success” (op. cit. 93-94), which Coon could surmise.
Wolf’s and Aswad’s studies were not framed as narratives - historical or biographical - the form in which we usually encounter the subject of ‘migration’ in fieldwork. Wolf was not telling a story in his paper. Nor was Aswad. In contrast in archaeologist’s Carleton Coon’s reconstruction of that period, told as part of the “story of the Middle East”, in book form, the physical facts of the Hijrah and the fact that it by itself has social and symbolic significance, has received more attention.
 
Coon’s reconstruction of the period is also remarkable for what it reveals regarding his understanding of the significance of the period for the formation of Islamic law. His pages dealing with the Hijra and the years after it are organized under the heading “The Prophet and the Law”. His consideration of the life and teachings of the Prophet include the brief mention of the years that went into the formation of the various schools of legal thought that developed and solidified during the “second and third centuries of Islam” (100). From that perspective the focus of the authors previously reviewed may seem to have been clouded by the way in which they equated Islam with the “Islamic State”, rather than with Islamic law.
The theoretical side of this law, especially in its important early history, after the end of what may be called the period of the Prophetic Islamic State, has had a dialectical relationship to its practical side, including in practices that affected the constitution, or the laws that make up the state. The Islamic lawyer or faqih has had, and continues to have, the privilege of using his or her legal knowledge to protest, and, as it has happened recently in Iran in our lifetime, to overthrow the “State”.

 
7. True stories.
 
All of these ‘facts’ can also be read in story form; i.e. in the form in which they are remembered in stories told to youngsters as part of their “socialization”. Developing anthropological techniques for the analysis of stories of the Hijra, as they have been told in the past and continue to be told now, with the aid of fast developing “communication” technologies can be a new way of studying the anthropology of this period. There is now even a long movie starring Anthony Quinn and Irene Pappas, produced by Moustapha Akkad, available in Arabic and English versions, enacting a version of the story of the “origin of Islam”. While anthropologists may have developed what may be called the speculative imagination of that history and of the stories from which it is derived, other scholars are beginning to make that history a cue for the exercise of a machine aided technological imagination.

Before concluding this review I would like to add 2 pieces of information regarding the Hijra, which are not included in the studies cited.

The Hijra of the Meccan Muslims from the township of their birth to another settlement, approximately 250 miles to the north, was at that time, a journey of 8-12 days.

The number of people involved in that migration was surprisingly small. According to one account, (Ibn Sa‘id’s Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir, p.279) the first group of Medinan Muslims was composed of “ninety persons, forty-five Muhajirs and forty five Ansars. It is also said: There were one hundred and fifty Muhajirs and fifty Ansars….”
  
In this paper I have indicated some of the steps I have taken toward re-reading the prior anthropologies of the “origin” of Islam as an example of a migration story. It is not only a story of a people or of one or more townships. As a migration story of not only a famous Prophet but also of ordinary people - including a Muhajir whose migration was simply to get married, it contains many biographies.
 
The Hijra story is a story of Mecca, and a story of Medina. But such considerations can be added to by making it also the story of the roads between Mecca and Medina. The Islamic Hijra story is a story of a way, of a distance that had to be crossed. The distance was physical and metaphysical, psychological and political. Anthropologists have tried to explain the covering of the political distance we may say. But their works do not indicate the Hijra part of it, which includes stories of struggles involved in physically crossing the distance and facing the dangers of the way. At some levels all human migration stories are about covering a distance and of facing the dangers of the way.
 
To some the story of the Hijra from Mecca to Medina may seem to be an old story. However, it is not unreasonable to suppose that to many more English readers, it, or aspects of it, continue to be a new story. That category may include many or most anthropologists. I don’t know. But I do know that the knowledge of this Hijra and the “amply documented” (Ralph Linton, op. cit.: 155) larger history of the change from pre-Islam to Islam in the Arabian peninsula, of which it is a part, has been ignored, or when mentioned misunderstood, by most systematizers of anthropological knowledge, e.g. in text-books in their theories of historical change, of prophets, prophetology, of "religion", and of "the origin of the state", and of migrations.

 

8. Historical anthropology of Islam.
 

Finally we should note that the anthropological researches referred to in the paper do not include reference to the argument that some of the Qur`anic guidance regarding the special nature of the ‘inheritance’ rules applicable to the Muhajirin were ‘abrogated’ after the battle of Bedr. See for instance, S. Moinul Haq tr., Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, New Delhi, n.d.pp.279-280: “… After the Battle of Badr the Almighty Allah revealed: ‘And those who are akin are nearer to one another in the ordinance of Allah. Lo! Allah is Knower of all things.’ This verse abrogated the previous order about fraternization which now ceased (to operate) in respect of inheritance; and the inheritance of each of them reverted to their heirs and descendants.” The reference is to Qur‘an 8:75    
 
The Western language history of this document is to be found in Kemal Kerpat, op.cit. 80.
We may also note that in the work of Ibn Khaldun, as described and summarized in Muhsin Mahdi's study of it, (Ibn Khaldun's Philosophy of history, Chicago:1957: see e.g. pp. 204-209; 232-284) the causation of social and other phenomena is assumed to be multiple and hierarchic. In Mahdi's English rendering of the Arabic (and prior Greek) phraseology "causes" are of four types: "the efficient, the material, the formal, and the final" (p. 233). Mahdi's book, can still be read with much profit by those who wish to pursue the anthropological and philosophical basis for the consideration of the origin and causation of the "Islamic state" of that time. Whatever general causation theory one prefers, the priority of the facts of the "emigration" from Mecca to Medina in the story of the creation of the new "political order" at Medina is indisputable. The story like sequences of events has been the concern of this paper. Ibn Khaldun is not among the numerous translations of Arabic works listed in Wolf's bibliography. A translation may not have been available.

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