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I hear that counter-argument to moving back all too often ("How can I leave my family and friends?!"). And my counter is that our parents took an even more extreme sacrifice when they initially moved to the West 50 years ago. They left their comfort circles for the REAL unknown, at a time when communication was limited to writing letters. They came to a land with pennies in their pockets. They left their parents, many of whom passed away in their absence. They sacrificed all this to secure a materialistically comfortable future for their progeny.

My question is why can't we do the same (by backtracking our parents' footsteps) for the spiritual and everlasting security of our progeny? The challege is only a fraction of what our parents went through, what with universal internet, affordable airfare, and a globalized economy that allows many to earn dollars while living in the East.

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founding

Man you write beautifully; I just love it. I honestly wish I had the courage to do what you've done. I think I'm out of the window with my oldest now 15. I couldn't agree more with you though--the stakes couldn't be higher, it's like the iman of all direct subsequent generations is in play (lol). One (optimistic) scenario that could play out in the US is where the institutional strength of Muslims gains momentum and we live somewhere between the Amish and the Mormons in terms of our engagement with society at large. But the other scenario is that we fail and end up losing a ton of people (kids) in the process. I have been to Istanbul for scientific conferences and my hosts were so kind and generous. However, I wonder what your experience has been with nationalist/nativist thought among Turks with respect to immigrants. Things seem not very good (based on nothing other than my Twitter feed).

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author

Turks are definitely pumped full of nationalist kool-aid from Day 1, though the more religious ones are far more welcoming.

I have found that if you make an effort to learn Turkish, even if broken at first, they find that very endearing. You must also speak with respect and adab. You must smile and not be too loud and obnoxious on public transportation (they hate this). You must be clean and not so overtly religious that you stick out like a sore thumb (if you want to go full turban mode 24/7, you basically have to live near or around certain neighborhoods in Fatih, like Ismailaga.

Whenever I tell a Turk I am of Pakistani background, they almost always get very happy and say "Brothers! Pakistan and Turkey are brothers!" Many discounts gotten just because I'm a Pakistani brother.

This is just my experience with my small corner of Istanbul. Your experience will vary neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city.

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“We all love our parents, but we have to realize that they were part of a self-selecting group of people who's entire raison d'être for coming to the West was not an appreciation of its supposed ideals of liberty or freedom or whatever. That may have come later. But the initial motivation was fat stacks. Cash money. Racks. It was a mathematical choice for financial betterment. And to psychologically justify to themselves their decision to leave most of their family and culture behind, they felt the need to denigrate the "old country" and its supposedly "backward" ways to their children.“

So true. I’m an American convert of non-immigrant descent and in my experience with talking to American Muslims, not many will freely admit that the primary purpose in their family coming to the West was economic. Frankly, it’s hard to find an Islamic justification of immigrating to lands ruled by Jews and Christians when considering ayat 5:51 and 3:118.

As long as Islam appears as a foreign religion of Dunya-chasing economic transients, Islam will not succeed in America. It’s going to take the heritage populations of America and Europe (white people) to convert to Islam in large numbers for an Islamic cultural victory. And God knows best.

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author

I agree with your sentiment - I think Euro-American Whites are more open to Islam than they ever have been in my lifetime. But getting them to convert is perhaps the hardest thing in my view, moreso than other ethnic groups. European identity was forged in opposition to the figure of the menacing Muslim -- for more on this I would point you to Noel Malcolm's "Useful Enemies" -- an excellent book on Islam/Muslims in the European mind from 1450 to 1750.

As for immigration to lands "ruled by Jews and Christians," there is obviously precedent for doing so in the hijra to Abyssinia. With that said, I am a fan of the Darul Islam vs Darul Kufr bifurcation, something I will write about later. Most of the Hanafi fuqaha I am familiar with were explicit about the reasons for leaving Darul Islam: you should be da'i, a PoW, temporarily traveling for business, on jihad, etc. But moving out there for money was not on the list.

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Nicely said brother. I had the same thoughts about 2 years back, trying to figure out where to raise my 2 little ones. I could not find a way to do this without properly accounting for extended family. Did you have a group of friends/family that you emigrated with, or did you do it with just your immediate charges?

BTW, I lol'd at that hyper cringe music video you linked. Reminds me of that Planet of the Bass video, except they took themselves seriously.

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The hardest part of leaving for most of us raised here in America is being far from our parents and siblings. However, I think many of our parents (depending on where you end up) would be more open to joining us back in Darul Islam upon retirement. Neither myself nor my parents are thrilled at the idea of dying in America, far from the graves of their ancestors, in a place where few will stop by our graves to read the Fatiha.

As for hijra, I suggest to people to do a dry run. Come out to a place you're considering moving to over the summer for 2-3 weeks, maybe Istanbul, maybe somewhere else. Experience daily life, potential neighborhoods, etc. See how you fare, if you can hack it. Meet those of us out here who have, get insights, etc. That's what we did, and thankfully we feel pretty prepared for whatever we have faced so far. alhamdulillah

Please do let me know if you ever come out here. I am anonymous, but I'm also not doing anything super crazy, I'm not an Edward Snowden or anything. I'd be happy to put a face to name at that time.

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