In Islamic history and tradition, Ethiopia (Abyssinia or Al-Habasha) is known as the “Haven of the First Migration or Hijra.” For Muslims, Ethiopia was synonymous with freedom from persecution and emancipation from fear. Ethiopia was a land where its Christian king, Negus or Al-Najashi, was a person renowned for justice and in whose land human rights were cherished.
The meaning and the significance of “Hijra” is embodied in the Islamic calendar. Since its inception, the Islamic calendar represents a history of perpetual struggle between truth and falsehood, freedom and oppression, light and darkness, and between peace and war. The migration to Ethiopia and generous of political asylum to the oppressed companions of Prophet Muhammad ( ) was the birth of freedom of expression and beliefs, whereas, the Second Migration of the Prophet Muhammad to the Madinah celebrates the end of oppression.
The First Hijrah Foundation is a community based organization that was established in 1986 by Ethiopian Muslims residing in Washington Metro area. Initially, it was named the Foundation of Ethiopian Muslims in North America [FEMNA]. Based on the above historical connection of Ethiopia to Islam and to enliven the history, in 1995 the name changed to the First Hijrah Foundation [FHF].
Among the goals FHF was formed on is to seeks and promote and preserve the Islamic heritage; the cultural and social values of the First Hijrah community in order to foster the Islamic principles of brotherhood, equality, mutual assistance and teachings of peace, love and justice.
FHF develops and maintains positive relations between its members and other local Muslim communities, as well as regional and national organizations; establishes and maintains positive relations with the local and regional non-Muslim community and acts upon humanitarian causes and advocate for human right issues of Ethiopian Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The First Hijrah Foundation is a non-profit, non-political, humanitarian Islamic organization established by a community of Ethiopian Muslims in North America in order to advance and protect the Islamic way of life as well as safeguard the interests of Ethiopian Muslims around the world.
Mission 1: To create the appropriate environment for worship and education. Spearhead the effort to establish an Islamic Center in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area. Secure an educational resource center for the Muslim youth by organizing internal groups such as the Youth and sisters’ club.
Mission 2: Coordinate Islamic activities. Acquire Islamic knowledge through the interpretation of the Holy Qur’an, the Hadith and Seerah Conduct Da’wa for Ethiopian Muslims and other Muslims. Perform Nikah (marriage) ceremonies.
Mission 3: Promote and preserve the Islamic heritage as well as the cultural and social values of the First Hijrah community. Collect and disseminate relevant information about community members. Initiate dialogues among members with respect to Ethiopian. Islamic history and its relationship to the history of the ummah. Participate in community activities that include fundraising, as well as volunteering for other Muslim organizations and humanitarian groups. Conduct workshops, seminars and meetings. These might include presentations on various subjects such as business opportunities, health-related issues, computer literacy, etc.
Mission 4: To advocate for the equal rights of human beings in general and Muslims in particular Participate in peaceful rallies and demonstrations. Support legislative and public policies advocating the protection of civil rights.
Mission 5: To provide social services to First Hijrah members Render general guidance such as marriage counseling, immigration consultation, voting rights, civil rights, etc Allow the use of FirstHijrah Center for social and religious gatherings.
Mission 6: To strengthen the fraternal bond among Muslims. Develop ties with other Muslim businesses and organizations. Create social network among Muslims of various organizations. Support Muslim businesses and humanitarian organizations.