DOI :10.26650/B/SS30AA25.2024.003.002   IUP :10.26650/B/SS30AA25.2024.003.002    Full Text (PDF)

Analyzing Push and Pull Factors for the Sustainable Impact of Inbound International Muslims in Malaysia: An Emerging Diaspora of Integrated Transnational Islam

Shamima Raihan ManzoorAbdullah Al Mahmud

The idea of a transnational Muslim community has always had great appeal, perhaps more so now than ever before. The rise of transnational Islamic civil societies in the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country of Malaysia in recent years has deepened its Muslim implantation mostly through educational and expatriate migrations, as well as due to Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa holders. However, this has not been duly reflected in the literature, as most of the studies related to transnational Islam only cover the Western context. Therefore, the current study analyzes under the theory of migration the push and pull factors influencing the international Muslim migration toward Malaysia. A self-administered survey was conducted based on the snowball sampling method among 100 international Muslims residing in Malaysia. Every effort was made to diversify the samples and make them as representational as possible by assigning a certain quota to the respondents’ country of origin, profession, age, marital status, and duration of stay in Malaysia. Six in-depth interviews were conducted based on purposive sampling with the international Muslim immigrants who had been residing in Malaysia for over 5 years. The outcome of this study can provide thoughtful insights into the impact of certain pull factors from the host country of Malaysia on maintaining the same mind frame in the migrants even after migration and thus building optimism for a sustainable transnational Islamic diaspora. This study may also inspire ideas among Muslim scholars and activists on how to initiate a sustainable integrated public sphere that is beneficial for the ummah at large.


  • Abdurehim, M. (2015). Transnational Migration and Religious Practice: Uyghur Students in Malaysia, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 35, No. 4. google scholar
  • Ahmed, A. (1992) Postmodernism and Islam. London: Routledge. google scholar
  • Ahmed, A. & Donnan, H. (eds) (1994) Islam, Globalization and Postmodernity. London: Routledge. google scholar
  • Aitamurto, K. (2019) Discussions about indigenous, national and transnational Islam in Russia, Religion, State & Society, Vol 47, No 2, 198-213. google scholar
  • Al Ariss, A., Koall, I., Ozbiligin, M., & Suutari, V. (2012). Careers of skilled migrants: towards a theore-tical and methodological expansion, Journal of Management Development, 31(2), 92-101, DOI: 10.1108/02621711211199511 google scholar
  • Baruch, Y., Dickmann, M., Altman, Y. and Bournois, F. (2013), “Exploring international work: types and di-mensions of global careers”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 24 No. 12, pp. 2369-2393. google scholar
  • Bashi, V.F. (2007). Survival of the Knitted: Immigrant Social Networks in a Stratified World. google scholar
  • Bauer, W., & Zimmermann, J. (1995). Decision-making as regards migration: Wage differential, job opportunity, and the network effect. Social Science Journal, 27(2), 159-180. google scholar
  • Bijak, J., Kupiszewski, D., Kupiszewski, M., Saczuk, K., & Kicinger, A. (2007). Population labor force projecti-ons for 27 European countries, 2002-2052: Impact of international migration on population aging. European Journal of Population, 23(1), 1-31. google scholar
  • Bowen, J. (2003) ‘Two approaches to rights and religion in contemporary France’, in Mitchell, J. and Wilson, R. (eds) Rights in Global Perspective. London: Routledge, 33-53. google scholar
  • Bozionelos, N., Al Ariss, A. & Porschitz, E. (2017). International mobility of workers: new forms, processes, and outcomes, Personnel Review, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp.I-V. google scholar
  • Desker, B. (2002). Islam and society in South-East Asia after 11 September, Australian Journal of International google scholar
  • Affairs, 56:3, 383-394, DOI: 10.1080/1035771022000019714 google scholar
  • Desker, B. (2003) Islam in Southeast Asia: The Challenge of Radical Interpretations, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 16:3, 415-428. google scholar
  • Doris H. G. (2006) Transnational Muslim women: A qualitative study of conceptions of Islam in Morocco and in France, The Journal of North African Studies, Vol 11, No 3. google scholar
  • Eickelman, D. & Piscatori, J. (1996) Muslim Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press. google scholar
  • “Expats”. (2018). 44% of expats in Malaysia are happier since moving here. Human Resources Online, https:// google scholar
  • Favell, A. (2007). Rebooting migration theory: Interdisciplinarity, globality and postdisciplinarity in migration studies. In Caroline, B. & James, H (Eds.). Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines (2nd ed.), Rout-ledge, 259-278. google scholar
  • Grillo, R. (2004). Islam and Transnationalism, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol 30, No 5, 861-878. google scholar
  • Haddad, Y.Y. & Smith, J.I (2002) 'Introduction’, in Haddad, Y.Y. and Smith, J.I (eds) Muslim Minorities in the West: Visible and Invisible. Walnut Creek: Altamira Press. google scholar
  • Karam, A. (ed.) (2004) Transnational Political Islam: Religion, Ideology and Power. London: Pluto Press. google scholar
  • Kim, Y. (2011). Transnational Migration, Media and Identity of Asian Women Diasporic Daughters. NY, USA: Routledge google scholar
  • Kritz, M. M., Lim, L. L., & Zoltnik, H. (1992). International Migration Systems: A Global Approach. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. google scholar
  • Lee, E. S. (1966). A Theory of Migration. Demography, 3(1), 47-57. google scholar
  • Levitt, P. (2003). “You Know, Abraham Was Really the First Immigrant”: Religion and Transnational Migrati-on. International Migration Review, 37(3), 847-873. google scholar
  • Low, C. C. (2017). Malaysian diaspora philanthropy: transnational activism, mobilization and resistance, Di-aspora Studies, 10:2, 152-174. google scholar
  • Massey, D. S. (1993). American Apartheid. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. google scholar
  • Malaysian Higher Education Institutions. (2018). Internationalisation policy for higher education Malaysia 2018. google scholar
  • Kuala Lumpur: MOHE, google scholar
  • Moris, Z. (2003). Revelation, intellectual intuition and reason in the philosophy of Mulla Sadra: An analysis of the al-Hikmah al-’Arshiyyah. London: Routledge Curzon. google scholar
  • Moten, A. R. (2005). Modernization and the process of globalization: The Muslim experience and responses. In K. S. Nathan & M. H. Kamali (Eds.), Islam in Southeast Asia. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies google scholar
  • Muir, M., Wallace, M. & McMurray, D. (2014). Women on the move: the self-initiated expatriate in China, Journal of Global Mobility, 2(2), 234-254. google scholar
  • Nasr, S. H. (1981). Islamic Life and Thought. NY: State University of New York Press. google scholar
  • Nielsen, J. (1999) Towards a European Islam. Basingstoke: Macmillan. google scholar
  • Pew Research Center. (2011). The Future of the Global Muslim Population. google scholar
  • Pew Research Center. (2012a). Muslim Migrants. google scholar
  • Pew Research Center. (2012b). Faith on the Move — The Religious Affiliation of International Migrants. google scholar
  • Portes, A., & Borocz, J. (1989). Contemporary Immigration: Theoretical perspectives on its determinants and modes of incorporation. International Migration Review, 23(3), 606-630. google scholar
  • Ravenstein, E. G. (1889). The laws of migration. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 52(2), 214-301. google scholar
  • Richardson, C. & Wong, H. (2013). “Expatriate academics in Malaysia: motivation, adjustment, and retention”, Journal ofManagement Development, Vol. 37 No 3, pp 299-308. google scholar
  • Roy, O. (1996). Le neo-fondamentalisme islamique ou l’imaginaire de “oummah”. Esprit (1940-), 220 (4), 80-107. google scholar
  • Sedgwick, R. (2004). Middle Eastern students find options at home and elsewhere. World Education News and Reviews, November/December. google scholar
  • Sirat. (2008). The Impact of September 11 on International Student Flow into Malaysia: Lessons Learned. Inter-national Journal ofAsia Pacific Studies, 4(1), 79-95, Malaysia: Universiti Sains Malaysia. google scholar
  • Soares, B. (2000). Notes on the anthropological study of Islam and Muslim societies in Africa, Culture and Religion, 1(2), 277-85. google scholar
  • Tibi, B. (2001). Islam: Between culture and politics. New York: Palgrave. google scholar
  • UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] (2023). Syrian Refugee Crisis Explained. https:// google scholar
  • Werbner, P. (2004). The Predicament of Diaspora and Millennial Islam: Reflections on September 11, 2001. Et-hnicities, 4(4), 451-476. google scholar


Istanbul University Press aims to contribute to the dissemination of ever growing scientific knowledge through publication of high quality scientific journals and books in accordance with the international publishing standards and ethics. Istanbul University Press follows an open access, non-commercial, scholarly publishing.