Europe, the New Abyssinia: On the Role of the First Hijra in the Fiqh al-Aqalliyyāt al-Muslima Discourse

Uriya Shavit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Since the mid-1980s, Muslim jurists and theologians have discussed the permissibility of mass-scale Muslim permanent voluntary settlement in majority non-Muslim countries and the unique challenges Muslim minorities face in secularizing Christian societies. Their efforts constitute a new field in Islamic jurisprudence, fiqh al-aqalliyyāt al-Muslima (the religious law of Muslim minorities). A number of participants in this field have introduced analogies between present realities and the first hijra–the migration to Christian Abyssinia (Ethiopia) with the blessing of the Prophet Muhammad. The objectives of this article are twofold: (a) to point to the roles of these analogies in fiqh al-aqalliyyāt al-Muslima discourse and (b) to demonstrate how Islamic jurists and theologians interpret similar or almost similar mythical narratives to support conflicting arguments. The article draws on a qualitative reading of several dozen religious decisions, treatises and sermons by jurists and theologians collected from mosques, Islamic centres and libraries in Europe, as well as from online resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-391
Number of pages21
JournalIslam and Christian-Muslim Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2018


FundersFunder number
European Research Council


    • Abyssinia
    • Muslims in the West
    • integration
    • religious law
    • the Negus
    • the Prophet Muhammad
    • the first hijra


    Dive into the research topics of 'Europe, the New Abyssinia: On the Role of the First Hijra in the Fiqh al-Aqalliyyāt al-Muslima Discourse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this