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[OPINI] Hijrah: The Pursuit of Identity for Millennials

What hijrah means for Indonesian millennials

As a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia is now facing an Islamic movement called hijrah (hegira or hijra). Despite the origin of the word is based on an Islamic historical event when Prophet Muhammad and his followers were on their migration journey from Mecca to Medina in the year 622, the term hijrah in these days refers to some changes in someone’s lifestyle to leave their less Islamic ways toward a more religious way of life.

Hijrah movement is becoming a trend as some Indonesian actors and celebrities, like Teuku Wisnu, Dimas Seto, Raffi Ahmad, or Dude Herlino were actively promoting their hijrah activities through social media platforms. Not to mention that there are plenty of emerging well-known preachers who have many followers on Instagram, such as Abdul Somad, Adi Hidayat, Hanan Attaki, and Felix Siauw.

Although hijrah is an act of individual shift, it is expanding to be a social movement to persuade others to do the same as many hijrah communities are establishing some frequent religious forums to spread the awareness of hijrah among society.

Baca Juga: Fenomena Hijrah di Indonesia, Membahayakan NKRI Atau Tidak?

1. Align with it, unsurprisingly, based on a survey that IDN Research Institute recently did, 72.8% of millennials said that they were currently doing ‘hijrah’

[OPINI] Hijrah: The Pursuit of Identity for MillennialsIDN Times/IDN Research Institute

We did a survey about hijrah movement among millennials in September 2019. Our survey reached 2190 respondents across 28 provinces in Indonesia and aimed to understand hijrah as part of millennials’ lifestyle and why it matters for their lives.

2. Hijrah, the journey of transformation, and the psychology of millennials

[OPINI] Hijrah: The Pursuit of Identity for MillennialsIDN Times/IDN Research Institute

When we asked our respondents about the definition of hijrah, most of them were mentioning the verb “change” as it was being mentioned 652 times and the preposition word “into” was being mentioned 796 times. The most mentioned adjective word was “better” as it was being mentioned more than 2000 times.

Therefore, if we combined all the most mentioned words, the definition of hijrah based on millennials will be,

“The change or movement into a better version of oneself”
Aligned with their definition about hijrah, the main reason why 72.8% of them were doing hijrah was mostly that they wanted “to change themselves into a better person” as that reason was being mentioned 599 times. “The willingness to be closer to God” as being the second most mentioned reason as it was being mentioned 289 times by the respondents.

So, what makes many millennials decided to do hijrah?

According to a Social Psychologist from the University of Indonesia, Mirra Noor Mila, hijrah is a form of identity transformation which is becoming a trend among millennials because it is being spread by many influencers through social media,

“Young people in their 20s tend to seek the ‘right’ identity to follow and because hijrah is being spread massively, it is being seen as something ‘right’. Young people will then follow anything which is becoming conformity, just because it gives them a secure feeling, certainty, and the feeling of ‘I’m transforming myself into something right’.”

3. Hijrah changed millennials social media and consumption behaviors

[OPINI] Hijrah: The Pursuit of Identity for MillennialsIDN Times/IDN Research Institute

Through our survey, we asked people about what behaviors indicated that someone is doing hijrah were and most of them agreed that some hijrah behaviors were mostly about the changes in their lifestyle on a daily basis.

The data was confirmed by Ms. Mirra opinion, “Nowadays, hijrah is being identified by the changes of someone’s lifestyle as they are now living based on the norms and rules of Islam as part of the identity transformation,” she said.

From those identified behaviors, we spotted an insight that people who are doing hijrah will mostly change their social media behaviors and the way they consume the products of their daily needs.

4. Hijrah is closely related to millennials emotional aspect

[OPINI] Hijrah: The Pursuit of Identity for MillennialsIDN Times/IDN Research Institute

We asked people who were doing hijrah about what they experienced after decided of doing it and the pronoun “more” was being mentioned 933 times and the noun “tranquil” or “calm” was being mentioned 728 times. This means that hijrah is closely related to someone’s feelings and the effect of doing it is mostly affecting someone’s emotional well-being.

So, what kind of people are doing hijrah? Most people voted that people who are currently doing hijrah were usually having the trait of being down to earth (23%), inspirational (18%), smart (15%), family-oriented (14%), chill (9%), and likes to explore things (9%).

As someone who is entering a quarter-life crisis, I feel that this life phase is sucks and full of confusion. And what I feel right now was being confirmed by our Social Psychologist,

“During the phase of seeking identity, it can be stressful for someone as there will be many uncertainties and options along the way. That’s why religion and ‘hijrah’ movement are really helpful to give those identity seekers the feeling of security as it’s becoming something to hold on for them,” said Mirra.
So, yeah, that’s why hijrah is closely related to someone’s emotional state, guys; many people perceived that hijrah = spiritual comfort.

5. Indonesia is a hijrah-friendly country

[OPINI] Hijrah: The Pursuit of Identity for MillennialsIDN Times/IDN Research Institute

It’s not surprising when we found out that 36% of people who were doing hijrah admitted that they didn’t confront any challenges while 27% of respondents felt that they were being observed when they were in a public place. Furthermore, 17% of respondents also felt like their decision of doing hijrah made some of their close relatives avoided them. But, as the majority of respondents said they didn’t confront any challenges, we might say that Indonesia is a hijrah-friendly country where people could feel secure and safe while doing hijrah.

But, while doing hijrah is acceptable in Indonesia, in the other way around, what challenges might be confronted by Indonesia with the emerging movement of hijrah?

Most of our respondents said that the spreading of a hoax about hijrah could be one of the challenges that Indonesia has to confront (20%). Others said that hijrah sometimes was being seen as a separatist movement (18%), hijrah was also being seen as a movement which led to radicalism (17%), and hijrah could be one of the reasons to decrease the level of tolerance in society (17%).

6. So, with hijrah is on the rise in our society, what will happen next?

[OPINI] Hijrah: The Pursuit of Identity for

Based on our Social Psychologist, with the rise of hijrah, there will be a social change that potentially leads to belief superiority.

What is belief superiority? It’s when someone extremely sure that their belief is the most acceptable and correct among any other beliefs which exist within the society. Imagine if someone is forcing you to do what they think is right, it’s annoying, isn’t? Exactly.

Although hijrah is being seen as something positive, it’s also can be potentially harmful to our society if the people who are doing it will force other people to do the same thing, “Why they want others to also follow them? Because they need validation that what they believe and do is something right and acceptable,” said Mirra.

Then, what should we do? We need to realize the importance of embracing diversity. This is not only for the people who are doing hijrah, but all of us, as one society, need to realize that we are all having differences and it’s okay. It’s okay if you like or dislike something.

It’s okay to follow the mainstream or vice versa. It’s okay to have different opinions. Religions. Way of life. Morning routines. Hobbies. Movies. Playlists. Favorite colors. The way you eat your lunch or breakfast. It’s okay to have differences because we were born to be different.
At the end of the day, this has nothing to do with hijrah, any other specific movements, or religions. This is all coming down to tolerance and to compromise differences. Now, the question will be, can we all respect each other’s choices of living their lives? Yes, of course. There are no other answers but to say yes.

Written By

Rayi Noormega

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