Sources:

  • Three fundamental principles of Islam by Shaikh Muhammad bin al-Uthaimeen
  • Jami’ Shurooh al-Usool ath-Thalathah by many prominent Shaikhs.

Definition of Hijrah (Migration):

Shaikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab (Rahimahullaah) mentioned migration as a part of the third principle which is the knowledge about the Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam).

He (Rahimahullaah) said: “Hijrah is migrating from the land of Shirk (polytheism, i.e. the land where polytheism is practiced) to the land of Islam. Hijrah is an obligation upon this Ummah and it continues until the establishment of the Hour, and the proof for it is the statement of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) in Surat an-Nisa’ (4:97-99):

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ قَالُوا فِيمَ كُنْتُمْ قَالُوا كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالُوا أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا فَأُولَئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا (97) إِلَّا الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ سَبِيلًا (98) فَأُولَئِكَ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَعْفُوَ عَنْهُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا (99

“Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (the angels) say (to them): ‘In what (condition) were you?’ They reply: ‘We were weak and oppressed on the earth.’ They (the angels) say: ‘Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?’ Such men will find their abode in Hell – what an evil destination! Except for the weak ones from the men, women and children who were unable to migrate or find a way to do so. As for such, it may be that Allah will pardon them, and Allah is ever One Who pardons and forgives the sins of His servants.’”

Shaikh bin ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “Al-Hijrah in the (Arabic) language is derived from al-Hajr which means abandonment. As for its meaning in the Shari’ah, then it is as Shaikh Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhab said: ‘Migrating from the land of Shirk to the land of Islam.’ The land of Shirk is the land where the signs manifesting Shirk are upheld; and the signs manifesting Islam, such as the Adhaan, the prayer in congregation, the ‘Eid prayers and the Jumu’ah prayer, are not commonly and universally established. Not established commonly and universally means to exclude those signs of Islam that are established restrictedly such as by the Muslim minorities in the lands of the unbelievers. These lands do not become the land of Islam due to the signs of Islam that the Muslim minorities establish therein. As for the land of Islam, then it is the land where these signs are established commonly and universally.

One may ask, if Hijrah means moving from the land of Shirk to the land of Islam, then why is the migration of the Companions of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) from Makkah to Abyssinia called Hijrah? Abyssinia was not a land of Islam; it was a land of Kufr (disbelief). Its people were Christians and the Companions (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) ran away from the persecution of the disbelievers of Makkah to Abyssinia by the command of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam).

Shaikh Muhammad Aman al-Jami’ answered this doubt by the following: “The Hijrah linguistically means moving or transferring from one place to another place. And the linguistic meaning is more general than the conventional meaning (idiomatical meaning).

The Hijrah of the Companions (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) was not called a legal migration because it was not from the land of Kufr to the land of Islam, but it was a journey of Da’wah and calling to Islam and explaining the new religion to the African continent; and this is what bothered the people of Makkah. They said: ‘The Da’wah of the man has gone further to Africa, to As-hama, the Negus or king and he was known and famous to them. Therefore, they chose a delegation lead by ‘Amr bin al-’Aas, supported with gifts to the kings of Abyssinia, to bribe these kings, but their effort went in vain and they were expelled and returned with failure to Makkah. Through the Companions of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam), amongst whom were some of the daughters of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam), Allah honored the Negus with Islam. He became the first king who believed in the Messenger of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and he declared his faith. This is the meaning of the first Hijrah to Abyssinia; it was not the known Hijrah but it was a call to Allah and conveying the Message of Allah.”

Shaikh al-Jam’i also added: “Hijrah linguistically means moving from one land to another land, and conventionally (legally) it means transferring from the land of Kufr to the land of Islam, or transferring from the land of fear to the land of peace. This second definition has been added by Imam an-Nawawi, and accordingly the Hijrah of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) to Abyssinia was transferring from the land of fear, anxiety, fear for the religion and self to the land of peace and security, in which they would be safe as regards their religion, selves and worship Allah freely. Conventionally, it is correct to call the journey of the Companions to the Abyssinia Hijrah; the aim behind it was to spread the new Islamic Da’wa (call) to the people in Africa.”

Shaikh Salih al-Shaikh said that Hijrah linguistically means abandonment and legally means abandonment of what Allah hates and is displeased with to what Allah loves and is pleased with. Under this legal meaning comes the abandonment of Shirk, and abandonment of the land of Kufr, because living in it displeases Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and Allah hates it.

The land of Shirk is every land that Shirk becomes manifest in and prevails.

Some scholars said: “The land in which the Adhan is pronounced five times a day is a land of Islam, because before the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) conquered any town, he would wait until morning and say to his Companions to wait; if they heard the Adhaan then they would not invade them, and if they didn’t hear the Adhaan then he would give the order to fight.” However, this opinion is debatable (or disputable). In this Hadith there is an indication that when the Arabs pronounce the Adhaan loudly (or openly), this means that they confess to the Shahadah of truth, because they know its meaning and they fulfill the Tawheed which the Adhaan comprises, and they free and dissociate themselves from Shirk. In other words, they act upon its meaning. However, lately this cannot be a restriction, because there are nowadays Muslims who say “La ilaha illa Allah” but do not know its meaning nor act upon it, and you see that Shirk has spread among them. Therefore, this definition for the land of Islam is not correct. We say that the judgment on the land of Shirk is when Shirk prevails and becomes manifest.

This is the special Hijrah, about which the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said “There is no Hijrah after the conquest (of Makkah) but only Jihad and Niyyah,” as is affirmed in the Sahih. His statement meant that there is no Hijrah from Makkah after the conquest (meaning no special Hijrah), because Makkah became a land of Islam after the conquest. However, the verdict of general Hijrah remains until the establishment of the Hour, when the sun will rise from its point of setting.

Verdict of Hijrah:-

It is obligatory upon every believer who is not able to manifest his Religion (Deen) in the land of the disbelievers to perform Hijrah. If he is unable to manifest his Religion, then his Islam will not be complete until he performs Hijrah. This is because whatever is essential for the attainment of an obligation is itself obligatory.

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) enjoined the Hijrah upon His Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions before enjoining the fasting and Hajj upon them. This is because it is obligatory upon the believers to show their religion, be proud of it, call others to it and to the word of Tawheed (Shahadah of Laa ilaha illa Allah). Therefore, it is obligatory upon the Muslim who cannot practice or show his religion or follow the Sunnah, to migrate.

The evidence for this is Allah’s Statement in Surat an-Nisa’ (4:97-99):

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ قَالُوا فِيمَ كُنْتُمْ قَالُوا كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالُوا أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا فَأُولَئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا (97) إِلَّا الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ سَبِيلًا (98) فَأُولَئِكَ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَعْفُوَ عَنْهُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا (99

“Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (the angels) say (to them): ‘In what (condition) were you?’ They reply: ‘We were weak and oppressed on the earth.’ They (the angels) say: ‘Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?’ Such men will find their abode in Hell – what an evil destination! Except for the weak ones from the men, women and children who were unable to migrate or find a way to do so. As for such, it may be that Allah will pardon them, and Allah is ever One Who pardons and forgives the sins of His servants.’”

This verse consists of a proof that those who do not migrate even though they are able to do so, will be rebuked by the angels who  take their souls, and they will say to them: “Was Allah’s earth not spacious enough for you to migrate therein?!” But as for the weak ones, those unable to migrate – then Allah has pardoned them due to their inability to migrate, and Allah does not place a burden on any soul greater than it can bear.

They wronged themselves by living among the disbelievers and abandoning the Hijrah while having the ability to migrate and the disability to show (practice) the Religion [This is a minor Dhulm – wrongdoing].

This verse was revealed regarding some Muslims living in Makkah, who did not emigrate. At that time, Hijrah was obligatory and one of the conditions of accepting Islam. Whoever embraces Islam should join the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) in Madinah. When the disbelievers of Quraish came out to fight the Muslims, these weak Muslims joined the disbelievers and were killed in the Battle of Badr, so this verse was revealed.

The angels of death will ask them, “Why did you stay behind and not emigrate?” [This is a rebuke and reproach from the angels]

They will say: “We were weak and oppressed and could not show our religion or leave the country and go to another land.” Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) knew that this excuse was falsehood, so He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) did not accept their excuse.

The angels will say: “Was not the earth spacious to emigrate therein?”

The angels also did not accept their excuse. The statement of the angels indicates that Hijrah is obligatory upon the believers, because the punishment is Hell-Fire. In the Hadith, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever accompanies a Mushrik and lives/ dwells with him, he is just like him.” [Abu Dawoud]

So Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said:

فَأُولَئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ

“Their abode is in Hell-Fire, what an evil destination.”

This verse indicates: (1) that whoever leaves Hijrah after it has been enjoined upon him, will be committing a major sin; (2) the obligation of Hijrah; (3) that Allah did not accept their excuse.

Accordingly, the verdict of Hijrah is as follows:

1-      Obligatory Hijrah:

Hijrah becomes obligatory on two conditions:

  1. When the Muslim who is living in a non-Muslim land is unable to show his religion, such as Salat, congregational prayer, following the Sunnah, etc., nor can he practice his religion freely.
  2. When the Muslim is able to emigrate. If he stayed while having the ability to migrate, then he wronged himself and has committed a sin. However, if the Muslim is unable because of weakness, illness, incapacity, etc. then Hijrah is not obligatory upon him. In this case, he has to abandon the disbelievers as much as he can and show his religion and be patient with their harm.

2-      Recommended Hijrah

If the believer is living in a land of Shirk and is able to practice his religion and show it openly, then Hijrah is recommended in his case.

3-      There is another kind of Hijrah, which is to migrate from a land in which sins and Bid’ahs (innovations) are prevalent to a land in which there are less sins being practiced. The Hanbali Jurists mentioned that this kind of migration is recommended, because staying in such a land may lead one to be amongst those who may be inflicted with a torment because of their wrong-deeds.

Most of the Scholars migrated from Baghdad when the Mu’tazilah (one of the deviated sects) and the people of Bid’ah overpowered Baghdad, and sins, adultery and drinking wine were committed profusely. Therefore, they left Baghdad for other countries. However, some of Ahlul ‘Elm (scholars) stayed behind to establish the Right of Allah in that land by making Da’wah and teaching the religious knowledge and by forbidding the Munkar (evil). Similarly, the Scholars left Egypt when the country of Ubaidiyyah ruled it. This kind of Hijrah could be categorized as obligatory or voluntary according to the state at that time.

The weak men, women and children (below the age of puberty) who are incapable of Hijrah, have no means for emigration, cannot afford the expenses, nor have the strength to emigrate, nor t they know the way from Makkah to Madinah; these people Allah said that they might be pardoned and forgiven, and Allah is Oft-Pardoning and Forgiving for those who repent. And He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) does not overburden the self beyond its scope. This includes those who do not have a visa to travel.

Ibn ‘Abbas (Rahimahullaah) said: “Me and my mother were among the weak ones and the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) was praying for the weak in his Salat.” Allah exempted the weak ones who are forced to stay behind and who have no means for emigration, like the food when Allah forbade eating dead meat, and the pig, but exempted those who are forced to eat the forbidden (i.e. to survive).

If a man is truthful with Allah, Allah knows his excuse and incapacity and that he has no means, in which case Allah might accept his excuse and pardon him.

This is a rule in everything: Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) knows the truthfulness of people, who is truthful as regards his excuse, his Islam and holds fast to it.

There are many people who embrace Islam, and talk about Islam, but when calamity befalls them, they turn upside down; they become opponents against Islam, secularists, etc.

As another evidence for Hijrah, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Ankabut (29:56):

يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِنَّ أَرْضِي وَاسِعَةٌ فَإِيَّايَ فَاعْبُدُونِ

“O My slaves who believe! Certainly, spacious is My Earth. Therefore, worship Me (Alone).”

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) orders His believing slaves to emigrate from the land in which they cannot establish their religion (Islam), to a spacious land. He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) mentioned that the land is not constricted but rather it is spacious, enough for all the creation.

If a person could not practice his religion openly, then Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) had expanded (extended) for him the land in order for him to worship Allah as He ordered.

Also this includes any one working in a land in which sins are committed and he is unable to change it, in which case he should emigrate from this land.

Allah’s statement “Therefore, worship Me (Alone),” means “by declaring Allah to be One and worshipping Him Alone as He has commanded  in His land which He has created and all what is therein.”

Shaikh Ali bin Khudair al-Khudair said: “The land of Kufr or Shirk is the land in which the authority and the power is in the hands of the disbelievers or the Mushrikin (polytheists). Even if there were Muslims living in that land and some Islamic practices appear in that land, this is by the permission of the disbeliever’s government, not because of the power of the Muslims.

Whereas the land of Islam is the land in which the power and authority belongs to the Muslim ruler and the Muslims, even if some disbelieving practices appear because of the negligence of the Muslims.

Imam Malik said: ‘If a man was living in a land in which the righteous predecessors are abused and he cannot stop them, then it becomes obligatory upon him to emigrate from that land.’

Shaikh ul-Islam ibn-Taymiyah (Rahimahullaah) said: ‘No one can be safe from Shirk except by abandoning its people.'”

Shaikh Abdullah al-Fawzan said, “The Hijrah has been mentioned with the three principles to indicate that it is one of most important requirements of Walaa’ and Baraa’ (i.e. loyalty and dissociation). The land of Shirk is a land in which the symbols of Kufr (infidelity) are practiced and no symbols or rites of Islam are practiced publicly. The land of Islam is the land in which the Islamic law and rites appear generally. The most important of rites is Salat. If Salat is practiced publicly and announced publicly, then it is considered a Muslim country. However, if the Salat is established by individuals or groups and it is not one of the manifestations of the country, then it is not considered a Muslim country. Such a country in which the Muslim minorities establish the Salat only in the community in which they live or they belong to, and the Salat is not established publicly nor is there Adhan; this is not considered a Muslim country. For example, in France there are Muslim minorities who offer Salat, but not publicly and it is not considered one of the manifestations of the country.”

Shaikh Salih al-Shaikh said: “Hijrah is of two kinds: (1) General Hijrah, which is to leave the land of Shirk to the land of Islam and this is continous till the establishment of the Hour. (2) Special Hijrah, which is from Makkah to Madinah. When the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) migrated from Makkah, it was a land of Shirk. He (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) went to Madinah because Islam prevailed there and it became a land of Islam.”

Al-Baghawi (Rahimahullaah) said: “The reason behind the revelation of this verse was concerning the Muslims who were living in Makkah and did not emigrate. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) addressed them with the title of Iman:

O My slaves who believe!

To indicate that the person who is abandoning the Hijrah after becoming obligatory is not considered a Kafir or a Mushrik but a sinner. He is a believer but with deficient faith.

The evidence for the Hijrah (being obligatory) from the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam), whom we are ordered to follow:

His (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) statement “Hijrah will not be discontinued until the Tawbah (repentance) is discontinued and the Tawbah (repentance) will not be discontinued until the sun rises from its place of sunset.”.[1] 1[Ahmad and Abu Dawoud and authenticated by al-Albani]

i.e. the Hijrah will not be discontinued from the land of Shirk to the land of Islam until the Tawbah is discontinued, i.e. the Tawbah will not be accepted.

The Hadith indicates that as long as the Tawbah is accepted then the Hijrah remains obligatory.

The Hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas (Rahimahullaah) : “No Hijrah after the conquest but Jihad and Niyyah” means: There is no emigration after the conquest of Makkah because Makkah became a Muslim country (land).

When some people wanted to emigrate from Makkah to Madinah, thinking that it is a recommended act, he (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) clarified that he (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) encouraged the emigration when Makkah was still a land of Kufr, but when it became a land of Islam, then Hijrah is meaningless.

So there is no more Hijrah from Makkah to Madinah, but the ruling of Hijrah is affirmed from the land of Shirk to the land of Islam and it remains till the end of time.

The Tawbah will not be accepted when the sun rises from its place of setting because this is the time of the establishment of the Hour. The evidence for this is Surat al-An’am (6:158):

يَوْمَ يَأْتِي بَعْضُ آَيَاتِ رَبِّكَ لَا يَنْفَعُ نَفْسًا إِيمَانُهَا لَمْ تَكُنْ آمَنَتْ مِنْ قَبْل

“The Day that some of the signs of your Lord will come no soul will benefit from its faith as long as it had not believed before.”

He (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “I am free from every Muslim who lives among Mushrikeen (polytheists). The fires of each of them should not be seen by the other.” [Authenticated by al-Albani in al-Silsilah as-Sahiha and Irwa’ al-Ghalil].

“The fires of each of them should not be seen by the other,’ means the fire of the Muslim does not see the fire of the Mushrik, nor should the fire of the Mushrik see the fire of the Muslim, which indicates (expresses) nearness, i.e. they should not be close enough to be visible (the Arabs use this form of speech and say, my house sees his house, and his house sees my house” if they want to express the intensive nearness.

The verdict of travelling to the land of Kufr:

Shaikh Bin ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “Travelling to the land of the disbelievers is not permissible unless three conditions are met”:

(i)           That the person has knowledge in order to repel doubts.

(ii)          That he is a person adhering to the Religion such that it will prevent him from following his desires.

(iii)        That he has a need to do so.

If these three conditions are not present, then it is not permissible to travel to the lands of the disbelievers due to the trials and enticement to evil that it entails or are to be feared.  It also would involve wasting of wealth since a person will have to spend a great deal of money upon such journeys.

However, if there is a need for that, due to a requirement for medical treatment or to acquire some (technical) knowledge that is not to be found in his own land, and he is a person having knowledge and he adheres to the Religion, as we have described, then there is no harm in that.

But as for travelling to the land of the unbelievers for tourism, then this is not a need. It is possible instead to go to the lands of Islam whose people uphold the manifest signs of Islam.  Furthermore, our land [i.e. Saudi Arabia] has become, and all praise is for Allah, suitable for tourism in some areas, so a person may go there and spend the time of his vacation there.” [Sharh al-Usool ath-Thalatha]

Shaikh Abdullah al-Fawzan said: “Travelling to the land of Kufr as a tour is not permissible and there is great risk in doing that:

(1) The person will be contradicting the texts which order with Hijrah and forbid the travel to it such as the Hadith of Samurah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu):

“Whoever gathers with a Mushrik and lives with him then he is just like him.” [Sahih Abu Dawoud]

(2) He will lose the Ghirah (anger for the Sake of Allah) when one lives in a country where sins are committed profusely and he is used to seeing the Munkar; his Ghirah will become weak or dies completely. He will be agreeing with them in (much of) what they do or say.

(3) Travelling usually accompanies waste of money and this will strengthen their economy.

(4) He will feel that he is one of them, has rights like them and in addition to that their women and children will be affected with their characters.”

Ruling concerning residing in the land of Kufr:

Shaikh Bin ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “As for residing in the land of the disbelievers, then this is something very dangerous for the Muslim’s Religion, his character, behavior and manners.  We and others have seen many of those who went to reside there being corrupted so that they return in a state different to the state they went in.  They returned as shameless folks, and some even as apostates having left and disbelieved in their Religion and in all religions, and we seek Allah’s refuge, to the point that they came to deny the Religion totally and to mock it and its people, the earlier and the later ones.  Therefore, it is fitting, indeed it is binding that this be avoided and that the aforementioned conditions which prevent one from falling into such destruction are applied.

Residing in the land of disbelief has two fundamental conditions:

(i) That the person’s Religion will be safe, such that he has sufficient knowledge and Iman, and strong resolve as will satisfy one that he will remain firm upon his Religion and beware of deviating or being corrupted away from it.  He must also have within him enmity and hatred towards the disbelievers and must be far removed from affiliation or love for them.  Indeed affiliation and love for them are things that negate Iman, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) says,

لَا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآَخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آَبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ

“You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having love for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger and contradict Allah’s Commands, even if they be their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers or their tribe.” (Surat al-Mujaadilah 58:22)

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَى أَوْلِيَاءَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ (51) فَتَرَى الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ يُسَارِعُونَ فِيهِمْ يَقُولُونَ نَخْشَى أَنْ تُصِيبَنَا دَائِرَةٌ فَعَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ بِالْفَتْحِ أَوْ أَمْرٍ مِنْ عِنْدِهِ فَيُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا أَسَرُّوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ نَادِمِينَ(52)

“O you who believe, do not take the Jews and Christians as friends, protectors and helpers.  They are but friends, helpers and protectors of one another.  So whoever takes them as such then he is from them. Indeed Allah will not guide those who are Dhalimoon (wrong doers and unjust).  So you will see those (hypocrites) who have sickness in their hearts hastening to friendship and alliance with them, saying:  ‘We do so for fear that some disaster may befall us from our enemies causing us to need their assistance.’ So perhaps Allah will bring about victory or some affair to the benefit of the believers.  Then they (those hypocrites) will become regretful for what they have been concealing in their hearts.” (Surat al-Maa’idah 5:51-52)

It is also confirmed in what is authentic from the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) that; “Whoever loves a people is from them, and a person is with those whom he loves.” [Translator: al-Bukhari reports in his Saheeh from ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ud (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Every person will be with those whom he loves.” (Eng. Transl. vol.8, p.122, no.189) and Ahmad reports in part of a longer Hadith from ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha)  that Allah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “… and a man does not love a people except that Allah will cause him to be with them.” [Declared Saheeh by Shaikh al-Albani in Sahih al-Jami no. 3021(].

(ii)               That he is able to openly manifest his Religion, such that he can establish the apparent signs of Islam without being prevented, so he should not be prevented from establishing the prayer, nor the Jumu’ah prayer, nor the congregational prayers – if others (Muslims) are found such that the congregational and Jumu’ah prayers can be established.  Nor should he be prevented from the Zakaah, fasting and Hajj, and the rest of the rites of Islam. If he is not able to establish that, then it is not permissible for him to reside there, rather migration from such a place is obligatory.

The author of al-Mughnee said (vo.8, p. 457), whilst mentioning the categories of people with respect to Hijrah:

“The first of them are those for whom it is obligatory, and that is the case for one who is able to do [i.e. migrate] and he is not able to establish the obligatory duties of his Religion whilst residing amongst the disbelievers. Hijrah is obligatory upon him due to the Saying of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala),

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ قَالُوا فِيمَ كُنْتُمْ قَالُوا كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالُوا أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا فَأُولَئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا

“Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (the angels) say (to them): ‘In what (condition) were you?’ They reply: ‘We were weak and oppressed on the earth.’ They (the angels) say: ‘Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?’ Such men will find their abode in Hell – what an evil destination!” (Surat an-Nisa’ 4:97)

This is a severe threat which proves the obligation, even more so because it is obligatory to establish the obligations of the Religion for one able to do so. Migration is essential for the obligation and for its completion, and whatever is an essential requirement to perform an obligation is itself an obligation.”

Then after these two fundamental conditions are met, residing in the land of disbelief falls into different categories:

THE FIRST CATEGORY: That he resides there in order to call to Islam, and to encourage people to enter into it.  This is a type of Jihad and is thus Fard Kifaayah [i.e. a communal obligation which if performed by some is no longer obligatory upon the rest] upon those able to carry it out, with the condition that one must be able to establish the call, so there is no one who will prevent it or prevent the people from responding to it.  This is because that call (Da’wah) to Islam is one of the obligations of the Religion, it is the way of the Messengers, and the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) commanded that we convey the Message he brought in every place and time.  He (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said:  “Convey from me even if it be a single Aayah.” [Reported by al-Bukhari (Eng.transl. vol.4, p. 442, no. 667)]

THE SECOND CATEGORY: That he resides there in order to study the condition of the disbelievers and to become aware of their state with regard to the corruption of their belief, their false and futile worship, degenerate manners and anarchic behavior.  He does this in order to warn the people against being beguiled by them, and to make the reality of their state clear to those who are attracted to them.  This residence is also a type of Jihad since it covers warning against disbelief and its people, which comprises an encouragement to Islam and its guidance.  This is because the corruption of unbelief is a proof of the correctness of Islam, just as it is said: “Things are made clear by their opposites.” But this is conditional upon his being able to attain his goal without producing greater harm; if he cannot attain his goal due to his being prevented from revealing what they are upon and from warning against it, then there is no benefit in his residing there.  Also if what he intends can be attained, but will also produce some greater evil – for example that they respond by abusing Islam and the Messenger of Islam, as well as the scholars of Islam, then one must withhold from this action due to the Saying of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala),

وَلَا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ كَذَلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ مَرْجِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

” And abuse not those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest, exceeding the limits, they abuse Allah through ignorance. Thus to every people have We made their deeds fair-seeming; then to their Lord is their return so He will inform them of what they used to do.” (Surat al-An’aam 6:108)

Similar to this is his residing in the land of disbelief in order to be a spy for the Muslims, to be aware of the plots organized against the Muslims, and so warn the Muslims.  For this purpose the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) sent Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) to the Mushriks during the battle of the trench (al-Khandaq), so that he could find out about their condition.

THE THIRD CATEGORY: That he resides there due to the need of a Muslim state, and to maintain diplomatic relations with the state of disbelief, such as the workers in the embassies.  The ruling in their regard follows on from the ruling for the purpose for which each of them resides.  So the cultural attaché, for example, resides in order to take care of students’ affairs, and to monitor them, and to encourage them to adhere to the Religion of Islam, its manners and behavior.  So his residence there brings about great benefit and repels great evil.

THE FOURTH CATEGORY: That he resides there for some personal and permissible need – such as business or medical treatment.  Such residence will be permissible in accordance with the need.  So the scholars, may Allah have mercy upon them, stated in their works that it is permissible to enter the lands of the disbelievers for business, and they quote some reports from the Companions (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) in that regards.

THE FIFTH CATEGORY: That he resides there for studies, and this is of the same class as the previous one, due to a need.  However, it is more dangerous and more damaging to a person’s Religion and character.  This is because the students will feel that he is in a position of inferiority with regard to his teacher.  This can result in respect for them and satisfaction with their views, opinions and manners so that he imitates them, except for those whom Allah wills to be protected, and they are few.

Also the student feels a need for his teacher which will lead to love for him and to outward acceptance of the deviation and misguidance that he is upon.  Furthermore, a student may have friends from amongst his fellow students love them, and be influenced by them.  Due to the danger of this category, it is obligatory that one takes greater care with regard to it than the previous category.

Further conditions are to be attached to it, in addition to the two fundamental conditions. These are:

(i)                 That the students’ intellect is very advanced so that he is able to distinguish between that which benefits and that which harms, and to look to future consequences. As for sending young students and those with limited intellect, then this is very dangerous for their Religion, character and manners.  It is also a source of great danger for their Ummah to which they will return and then spread the poison which they received from those disbelievers within it.  This is something that is witnessed and borne by reality.  Many of those students who are sent, return in a different state to that which they went upon.  They come back having deviated in their practice of the Religion, in their character and their manners. This causes much harm to them and their society as is well-known and witnessed.

(ii)               That the student should have sufficient knowledge of his Religion as will enable him to distinguish between truth and falsehood; and will enable him to refute falsehood with the truth, so that he does not become fooled by their falsehood and imagine it to be truth, or that he is confused by it, or unable to rebut it, and so either remains in confusion or follows the falsehood.  These occur in the supplication that is reported:  “O Allah, manifest the truth to me as being the truth, and grant me that I follow it; and manifest falsehood to me as being falsehood, and grant me that I should keep away from it, and do not make it obscure for me so that I should go astray.” [Tabaqat ash-Shafi’yah al-Kubra]

(iii)             That the student’s adherence to the Religion is such that it will protect and preserve him from disbelief and wickedness.  So one who is weak in his adherence to the Religion will not be safe there, unless Allah wills; this is due to the strength of the attack against him and the weakness of his defenses.  The causes of disbelief and wickedness over there are strong, many and various.  So if they assault a place where defenses are weak then they will do their work.

(iv)             That there is a need for the knowledge where he resides in order to attain it.  There must be a benefit for the Muslims in what he is learning, and it must be such that it’s like cannot be found in the educational institutions of their lands.  But if it is some superfluous knowledge that is of no benefit to the Muslims, or it can be studied in the Islamic lands; then it is not permissible to reside in the lands of disbelief to attain it, because of the danger to a person’s Religion and character, and due to the pointless waste of large sums of money.

THE SIXTH CATEGORY: That he resides there to take that as a place of residence; this is even more serious and dangerous than what preceded, due to the evils it entails because of complete association with the people of disbelief.  Also because he will feel that he belongs to that land, along with whatever that will entail such as love, alliance, and helping to increase the size of the community of disbelievers. His family will grow and be educated amongst the disbelievers and will therefore take on some of their manners and customs.  They may even follow them in their beliefs and worship.  For this reason it is mentioned in the Hadith from the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) that he said: “Whoever associates with the Mushrik and resides along with him, then he is like him.” [Abu Dawoud and authenticated by Shaikh al-Albani (Rahimahullaah) in Sahih al-Jami’ no. 6186]

This Hadith shows that living with someone encourages you to approve to be like them.  It is reported from Qays ibn  Abee Haazim from Jareer ibn ‘Abdullah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said:  “I am free from responsibility for every Muslim who resides amongst the Mushriks.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, why is that?”  He (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said:  “The campfire of each of them should not be (close enough to be) visible to the other.” [Reported by Abu Dawoud and Shaikh al-Albani (Rahimahullaah) declares it hasan:  Saheehul-Jaami’ (no. 1461)].  Then how can a believing soul be pleased to live in the land of the disbelievers where the signs of disbelief are displayed openly and where judgment is for other than Allah and His Messenger?!  The person who lives there sees all this with his eyes, hears it, and is pleased with it.  Indeed, he may affiliate himself to that land, reside in it with his wife and children, and be satisfied with that, just as would be the case with the land of the Muslims.  So this is something very dangerous for him, his family and children with respect to their Religion and manners.

This is the conclusion that we have reached regarding the ruling about residing in the lands of disbelief.  We ask Allah that it be in accordance with the truth and with what is correct.” [Three fundamentals by Shaikh Bin ‘Uthaimeen]


1 That will be at the time when acceptance of righteous actions comes to an end.


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