Why Make Hijrah to Saudi Arabia?

 Picture of Jeddah from under an archway as salam ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaah,

I know that it has been quite a while since I posted, between being intermittently ill, working, studying, and trying my hand at translating I have been extremely busy with my family.

However, I did want to write something about why one should move to Saudi Arabia if they are able, and I must first point out that you will not find perfection here in the Kingdom. You have all heard the stories about racism, and yes there is lots of that here, you have heard the stories about oppression and admittedly, that too is present. You’ve heard the stories about ignorance and how bad the driving is and for a certainty elements of that exist. Yet again, for all you Saudi haters we do need to point out a couple of things we have observed if we want to be just:

1. In addition to printing Qur’aans, books, fliers, and television programs, did you know that the radio station Qu’aan radio 89.9FM often has Scholars like Shaykh Fawzaan and the Muftee Shaykh ‘Abdul-Azeez Aalush-Shaykh answering questions for listeners who call in? Did you know most of the Da’wah Centres have people who come in and regularly convert to Islaam with much higher regularity than we have seen in other countries?

2. One time I was driving too fast down the highway when a police officer stopped me, pulled me over, and told me to get out of the car. After giving him my passport and speaking together, and promising not to repeat the action, he let me off saying, “Slow down a bit.” If you were wearing your Islaamic Clothes and speeding do you think a police officer in the West would ever let you off with a warning based on your integrity as a Muslim? I know, some people are going to say,”O Brother Aboo Mu’aadh, he only did that because you’re white and had a Canadian passport.” Really? I know a brother from England who is exceedingly dark skinned who promised at the airport he had not meant for his relative to over-stay and that there was a booking problem with the airline in getting the tickets, and once he swore by Allaah the agent said, ‘You swore by Allaah? Khalaas (It’s over), go ahead.’

3. ‘But brother, that only happened because you have passports from the West.’ Listen to this story.

My wife’s Arabic Teacher is from Yemen, while she is getting classes I am often with her husband who treats me like a guest, I get to practice my Arabic with him, learn new words and talk about Islaam. He told me that 13 years ago he was in Saudi Arabia, he came from Yemen without the proper papers and didn’t want to go back to Yemen because the employment situation was so bad. He said that he and his family had bread and a few dates and no other food while his wife was pregnant with their 2nd child. One night he woke his entire family up and said, “We are going to pray Tahajjud and ask Allaah to increase our sustenance.” His son said, ‘I want to sleep.” He said, “How can you sleep when we need food and have no money and no one will hire me?” So they prayed and made du’aa together. A couple of days later he went to Makkah to make Umrah. A friend of his from Yemen was there and told him that a rich man was there who was helping the people and told him to go. He said, “I will not go.” So the brother went on his behalf and asked for him, the man offered him money but the brother took the money back to the man and said, “I have not worked for this money and I am not a beggar, do you have work for me?” The man said, “No.” The Yemeni brother said, “Allaah is my Provider, not you.”

A few days later they went to one of the local lessons and a wealthy man was there, helping the people. The brothers who knew this poor brother’s condition asked on his behalf for the rich man to help, once again the brother asked for work and the rich man said, “I have no work for you.” Once again the brother responded, “You are not my provider Allaah is. I am not a beggar and I will not take this money I haven’t earned.”

At this point in the story he turned to me and said, “You see Aboo Mu’aadh I prayed to Allaah sincerely, and this is patience upon reliance (sabr ‘alaa tawakkul). I knew that Allaah would answer my request, if not in this life then in the next.” He went on to explain that the following week, he saw a Saudi man he knew and that that man was looking for him. The Saudi man said that he needed a business partner, and that he did not have time to run the business yet he had the money to invest. He said that the Yemeni brother had the time yet not the money. He told me that they opened the business together, he left the country and came back with his family with all the correct paperwork. They opened a successful auto scrapyard together and it was very successful.

After a few years the Saudi brother wanted to move to another city, so he offered the Yemeni brother to buy him out of his half of the business, he said it took him one year but he was paid off and was the sole owner of the business. He went on to say that shortly after he was the sole owner he went on to buy a second scrapyard and got married a second time and he and his family were now living comfortably and very happy. He said, “You see Aboo Mu’aadh? Allaah brought me from that to this, Allaahu Akbar. This is the best country in the world and I am not a Saudi.” For a certainty, passports have nothing to do with it. There is lots of good here if you are looking for it.

I know a lot of people would like to focus on the negative. I know a lot will say, “Your experience is different because you’re white.” Oh really? When my wife goes out and the people see my extremely light skinned daughter out with her much darker mother and I hear that she was asked, “Where’s the mother?” as if she is baby-sitting my daughter, do you think I am not affected by that? Do you think that when my students ask me, “Teacher, why did you marry a black woman?” that somehow racism hasn’t touched me? No doubt that it’s on a different level but did we not also experience this in the west, when a man drives up in a car and asks about my wife, “Who’s the Ninja?” and I jump out of the car saying, “The ninja is me! Wanna see?” Only to see the car speed off. Is it so different?

At least when I talk to these brothers here and my students at School they listen objectively and submit when evidences are brought. As a matter of fact, they are quite often apologetic once they realize they have offended you. How many countries can you count on your hands will the driver pull up beside you with music blaring, take one look at you and feel embarrassed enough at his own weakness, and out of respect for you turn his music down until it is inaudible? No doubt racism is here, but when explained that it is wrong most usually listen and accept, and in most cases the racism here is perpetrated by the ignorant Muslims.

Now lets look at some of the Muslims from the West who complain about racism and go on to call their white brothers, “weak whiteboys” or “weak white-Muslim Brothers” and “effeminate.” Stranger still is when these offensive remarks come from “white” Muslims still stuck in an anti-Islaamic hip-hop culture and are still clearly confused about their own colour and identities. If the Western culture has Muslims acting like this it is definitely time to move to the East!  

One of the most amazing things about this place is the circles of knowledge, where people of all colors gather. They come together to learn and benefit from Scholars of different colours and backgrounds, and it gives me a sense of eeuphoria to see the rows of students with their smiling black, yellow, brown, red and even white faces. Here you are in an environment where your background doesn’t matter as much as your purpose for attending. Where the Scholar looks out and smiles at all of us and says things like, “May Allaah bless you my sons” or “May Allaah preserve you” or “May Allaah give you success.” Since being here I have had the privilege of sitting with: Shaykh Rabee Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee (in Makkah), Shaykh Ubayd al-Jaabiree, Shaykh Sulayman ar-Ruhaylee, Shaykh Wasee’Ullaah Abbaas, Shaykh Saalih us-Suhaymee, amongst others like, Shaykh Shuraym, Shaykh Aboo Aasim ‘Abdullaah Ghamidee, Shaykh Muhammad Maalikee and others. This is not mentioned by way of bragging because I am in Jeddah, a place not known for lots of learning circles but rest assured, a lot more is going on here than when I was ever living in ANY city in the West! I don’t know a lot but I do know that!  

That’s all for now,

as salam ‘alaykum,


Published in: on May 13, 2007 at 10:23 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Assalaam alaikum

    I am not a Saudi basher, but I do feel you neglected some segments of the population in your account. Your stories dealt with a Canadian, an American, and a Yemeni. However the worst treated people in Saudi are the non-arab workers from poor countries, such as Indians, Pakistanis, Africans, etc. I wonder how many of them would have been let off on their integrity as muslims?


  2. السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بر كاته
    يا اخي العزيز انور دوبويس حفظه الله تعالى
    شلونك ؟ ما سمعت منك من مدة طويلة شو اخبارك؟ وحشتني كثيرا
    كيف شغلك ؟ اتمنى يمشي كل شيئ زين
    البلوج مفيد سلم على ام سعاد و قبل البنت لي حفظكم الله تعالى
    اخوك الفقير الى الله
    ابو عمرآن المكسيكي

  3. wa ‘alaykum salaam wa rahmatullaah,

    Actually, there was also a British person in there, and yes those people you mentioned are from the worst treated segment of the population, without a doubt. What’s wrong is wrong, no matter who is doing it, here some of my friends and I approach it this way: the Saudis usually end up loving the converts and are fascinated by our lives, so what we strive to do is treat those opressed segments of the population with kindness and brotherly love. Also, they often see we are close to them, speak nicely to them and invite them to lectures and talk with them, just like we do the Arabs, more often than not, what happens is they see us all loving each other for the sake of Allaah so they feel they have to do the same, and love us ALL as well. It admittedly is not much, but at least we give Da’wah to those we know, wa Allaahu Alam,


  4. وعليكم السلام و رحمة الله و بر كاته
    !يا ابو عمرآن المكسيكي
    !مازلت بيضاء
    اي اخبار ، حقا
    .عمل جيد. سأقول لكم اكثر عن طريق البريد الالكتروني


  5. As salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    MashaAllah my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting you briefly on our way out from umrah(while in jiddah). I really appreciate your family allowing us to get an inside view of life in Saudi, especially if you have a strong interest in the hijrah aspect of it. Its good to know that you and other bloggers that I visit always put out the “good outweighs the bad” side of things. Thats how we all need to be to keep up the integrity of KSA especially compared to nations in the West. As for what the other writer mentioned about the “not so good” treatment of the other nationalities, we do as Rasoolullah told us..to try and change it with our hands, then if not by our mouths, then if not with our heart (not the full account- please correct this if necessary)…zawjatu furqaan

  6. as salaamu alaika akhee , i just wanted to say shukran for sharing your journey with those of us who have not had the benefit of hijrah . for now i make dua’a and dream vicariously through these blogs . inshaAllah please make dua’a for myself and my family that oneday inshaAllah ta’ala that we will be blessed to also live in the land of the muslims . may Allah Azza wa jall continue to bless you and your family , amin . ummu asad fi amerikki

  7. wa ‘alaykis salaam wa rahmatullaah,

    May Allaah allow you and yours to make Hijrah, ameen. Thank you for the kind words, aameen to your du’aa.

  8. Salam alaikum akhee,

    MashaAllaah good points you brought up. A lot of people look at the Sharr but never look at the khair of Saudia. It would be nice to hear more stories like this inshaAllaah. Perhaps I should share some of mine as well walhamdulillaah

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