I'm going to add wcoastbaba and brkhalid's comments that were well written here for discussion purposes
Wow Sis Jannah – heavy topic and as you said, very complicated. To be honest, I wasn’t aware that many families were going back to their country of origin in a significant number. The one thing I saw soon after 9/11 was Arab students from our public university here in Portland leaving, as there were large of them, to go back home. It’s true what you said about being able to practice here vs. the home country, especially in Muslim minority countries (of course, same issue as you have, going back to India – heck no! Love my family there, but no way – being somewhat second-class citizens, that’s why my Amma and Abba left). Yes, while there are discrimation issues here, I feel we are pretty free to move around and as long as we abide by the law, which is Islamically required of us, no matter in which land we live, life in the US isn’t too bad, by Allah’s Grace. Afterall, in times of difficulty, He is the one that Provides and unless the situation here really takes a dive in terms being able to live as Muslims, then yeah, my family as a whole would probably consider it; but for now, seems like things are ok and the bigger problem, as you alluded to, is making sure our youth stick to the Deen.
When I go to my Islamic Instituion gatherings here when I get a chance, I am very proud of the youth. They are so enthusiastic about their Islam – and it shows in the little things, which I think really reflects, insha’allah, how they will carry their Islam into the future. For example, making sure they give their salams and making sure that others respond accordinly. At one such gathering, the young daughter of the founder of the organization gave salams to the crowd and when we didn’t do a good job of returning her wishes, she said “This is an Islamic gathering people, louder Salams!!” and we promptly fulfilled that and gave the proper reply. There was even some cheering if I recall.
This may be a small thing, and a bit of wishful thinking on my part, but I do hope that this is a sign that at least American Muslims, if not my generation, the ones coming up behind us will be great torch bearers of Islam as we move forward in this 21st century or shall I say, 15th century of our existence.
I surely hope it doesn’t come to the point where we would have to have some sort of mass and final exit from the US/America anytime soon; and that our children will be able to live in a time where they won’t have to face the difficulties our community is facing now; it seems as though they will be part of the solution if things take time, but I pray that for the majority of their lives, they won’t have to worry about such things. In other words, that those of us in our prime now and as well as the younger ones I mentioned, will help make the situation here livable and that with Allah’s (swt) Help, we will come out having survived any obstacles that may present themselves in the coming years.
Anyways, looking forward to seeing what others have to say.
PS. Not sure if this fits the topic, but I was reminded of the following ayah, though this clearly applies to our overall condition in the world today:
“Truly, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [13:11]
A lot to ponder on here and ultimately I do not think there is a universal right or wrong answer!
(Yes, that was me firmly sitting on the fence)
But a few things in particular do spring to mind:
The first is our longing and desire for wealth; indeed this was something our Prophet
warned us about and it is clear in this day age that it is a danger that exists in both Muslim and non Muslim lands.
There is also the famous hadith in respect of actions being based on intentions and the fact that each of us is rewarded according to our intentions. Obviously you can make an Islamic case for both staying and going using this hadith.
Moreover, in another famous hadith, a man who killed 100 men was told to go to another town where hopefully he could repent.
If we want to better ourselves, there is both an external as well as an internal transformation that needs to take place in order for us to keep moving forward. External actions such as quitting the nightclub or the local bar, for example, are just as important as inward actions like making sincere dua and repentance. The two go hand in hand.
The real question then, is the extent one goes to in *both* aspects if one really wants to change?
For some, a new life can only be attained by going abroad but if there is no inward transformation complementing this external, they’ll find themselves in a new country but still facing the same old issues (yes unfortunately there are many nightclubs and bars in Muslim countries)
Conversely when an internal transformation occurs but there is no external component, a person could find himself struggling and, possibly, falling back into error because the negative environment surrounding him has not changed and draws him back in.
Both need to be addressed *at the same time* for things to get better.
The real question then becomes whether you need to fly half way across the world to do this?
My own personal view is that some people need that journey whilst others can change and improve perfectly happily where they are.
The *success* of any journey, however, will ultimately depend on the *balance* between the internal and external and not the *actual* internals and externals themselves.
As ever Allah knows best