Are there any exceptions to Residing in the Lands of Disbelief? – By Shaykh ‘Abdur Rahmaan al-‘Adanee

Question 6: Are there any exceptions to residing in the lands of disbelief?

“After we have come to know the ruling of hijrah, and the rule defining the land from which hijrah is made, are there any circumstances considered exceptions to this, and if so, what is the condition on this resident?”

The Answer:

Allaah (Ta’ala) says in His Noble Book:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنفُسِهِمْ قَالُوا فِيمَ كُنتُمْ ۖ قَالُوا كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ قَالُوا أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا ۚ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا – 4:97

إِلَّا الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ سَبِيلًا – 4:98

فَأُولَٰئِكَ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَن يَعْفُوَ عَنْهُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا – 4:99

“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 (angels) say (to them): ‘In what (condition) were you?’ They reply: ‘We were weak and oppressed on earth.’ They (angels) say: ‘Was not the earth of Allaah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?’ Such men will find their abode in Hell – What an evil destination! Except the weak ones among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way. For these there is hope that Allaah will forgive them, and Allaah is Ever Oft Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.” – An-Nisaa (4):97-99

So those who are excused for not making hijrah when it is obligatory upon them, they are these people, the people who have excuses, those who are in no way able to make hijrah. So these people, they are the ones in which an exception is made, and this incapability is under certain circumstances:

1. It could be because of an illness. Either because he is sick with an illness that forces him to stay in bed, and with this illness he is not able to mount any means of transportation required to leave the land he is in, this person is then excused, or likewise if he has an illness that he can’t find treatment to stay alive except in the land of disbelief which he is in, this person is also excused.

2. Or this incapability could be because of compulsion, like a prisoner for example, or likewise some countries prevent its citizens from leaving to go somewhere else except under extremely difficult measures as we saw and witnessed in the south of Yemen in the days of Communism.

3. Or it could be because of weakness as is the case of the women and children who are unable to travel from one land to another because of their weakness and lack of experience. So these also are from those for whom an exception is made.

However, if there exists from the women one who is rational, and resolute, and possesses insight and comprehension, and is able to travel and leave the land of disbelief to go to the land of Islaam, and she feels safe for herself from fitnah (tribulation), then this woman, it is obligatory upon her to leave and make hijrah when she is in the circumstance where it is obligatory upon her, and it is not a condition that she have a mahram (a guardian who, because of ties, she is never able to marry) because of the statement of Allaah (Ta’ala):

“O you who believe! When believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them” – Al-Mumtahanah (60):10

For verily Umm Kulthoom Bint ‘Uqbah Ibn Abee Mu’ait justify, and also Zainab the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) justify, they both justify without a mahram, and likewise many women justify from Makkah to Madeenah without mahaarim, so the ahadeeth which mention the condition of having a mahram for a woman to travel don’t apply in the particular case of hijrah.

4. Or this incapability could be because of the obstacles which have been put in place today, from the visas and things similar to that, thus if he is not able to enter the lands of Islaam because of the likes of these obstacles, and this is rare that all of the Islaamic lands shut their doors on he who comes from Europe, and America, and other lands of disbelief, however, whatever the case may be, if something like that were to happen to a Muslim, then it would be an excuse for him.

5. Also, there are some extremely rare cases where the person has fled from an oppressive Muslim ruler who wants to kill him, or he wants to do something to him that he can’t handle, and he could not find a land where he is safe from the evil of this oppressor other than a land of disbelief. This is a rare case, otherwise, the Islaamic countries are many, however, sadly you find many of these people who flee from their oppressive rulers choose the countries of disbelief over the Muslim countries without necessity. They only desire easy living and luxury, and Allaah is the one whose help is sought.

Whatever the case may be, it is upon these people who are excused to avoid falsehood and the people of falsehood, and stay far away from the tribulations as much as they are able to do so, and it is upon them to hold firm to the truth and the Sunnah in those lands which they were forced to stay in. And we ask Allaah (‘Azza Wa Jall) for grace.

Also, it is upon the Muslims to help their brothers who are not able to make hijrah, while they are in the circumstance where it is obligatory, with everything they can, so they can rescue them from the situation they are in. Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says in His Noble Book:

“Help you one another in righteousness and piety; but do not help one another in sin and transgression.” – Al-Maaidah (5):2

Also, the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) is the one who said, “One of you doesn’t believe until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (This hadeeth is) agreed upon (by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim) from the hadeeth of Anas.

Likewise, in Muslim from the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah on the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) that he said,

“Whoever relieves a believer of an anxiety from the anxieties of this life, Allaah will relieve him of an anxiety from the anxieties of the day of resurrection, and whoever makes things easy for the mu’sir (the one who is in financial straights and is not able to repay his debt), Allaah will make things easy for him in this life and the next, and Allaah supports the slave when the slave supports his brother.”

As for the condition on the one residing in those lands, it is that he have the ability to openly perform his deen, and perform the rituals of his deen, and openly profess it without hindrance. The second condition is that he feels safe for his deen, whereas he has enough knowledge and insight and strength of faith and contentment and conviction and firmness and composure that will help him to stand firm on his deen.

With regards to the first condition, it is the one the Muslims focus on in order to justify them residing in the lands of disbelief, and most of their questions are about that while they are negligent when it comes to fulfilling the second condition, and at the same time the first condition, which is to be able to openly perform the deen in a manner which frees you from guilt, most of the people residing over there, this condition is not possible for them. For example, the Adhaan, to call it publicly out loud is prohibited over there as is well known, and it is from the important rituals of our deen. The Permanent Committee of Scholars (in Saudi Arabia) gave a legal verdict that: “Whoever is not able to call the Adhaan out loud then he has failed to openly perform the rituals of the deen, and it is upon him to make hijrah.”

Likewise, the second condition, which is that, the resident feels safe for his deen, do we truly believe that there is anyone over there who is able to feel safe for his deen, and stand firm upon it with all those tremendous causes of corruption that exist over there.

In brief, in residing in the lands of disbelief there is tremendous danger for the belief of the Muslim and for his deen and for his character. Over there the causes of disbelief and sin are strong and many and of various kinds, and add to that the weakness the Muslims over there have in adhering to their deen. Look how he and his family are brought up amongst the disbelievers and how they then acquire their despicable character and their evil habits. Rather, at times they get affected by them in beliefs and types of worship. So he who lives in those corruptive, bestial societies, he does not take interest in his deen, nor does he take it into account, nor does he pay attention to its commands and its good manners. How sad it is!

How can his soul feel at ease about residing in the land of disbelief in which the rituals of disbelief are publicized, and the unlawful things and despicable things are considered lawful, and in which every wicked person is deemed good, and in which every forbidden act is performed, and in which every secret thing is brought out into the open, and over there every evil and abomination is at hands reach. How can the soul of the Muslim feel at ease about being in a land in which the rule is for other than Allaah and His Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa ‘Alaa Aalihi Wa Sallam). He hears that, and witnesses it, and touches it, and then he persists to remain there with his children.

It is upon the Muslims to beware of the plots, and conspiracies, and plans, and schemes of the enemies of Islaam which aim to turn the Muslims away from their deen and weaken their adherence to it. We must be alert, and we must also ask ourselves: Why did the enemies of Islaam open their lands to the Muslims? So they can reside there, and work there, and study there, and amuse themselves and stroll about there? Did they do that because of their love for the Muslims? Did they do that out of desire for their wealth or for their need for laborers?

The answer: No! By Allaah! They didn’t do that because of their love for the Muslims, for verily they harbor in their hearts hatred and enmity. Also, they opened up their lands to the poor Muslims and the weak Muslims, so this shows us they are not ambitious for their wealth. Also, it is well known that they have unemployment, so they are not in need of laborers. Rather, the goal from that is to attempt to turn the Muslims away from their deen, and to corrupt the Muslims, and wipe out the Muslims’ identity over there.

By Allaah, O my brothers in Allaah’s deen, they envy us because of this deen, and because of this good that we live in, and they are extremely eager for us to become like them in disbelief and misguidance and decadence.

Allaah (‘Azza Wa Jall) says in His Noble Book:

“They wish that you disbelieve, as they have disbelieved, so you all become equal.” – An-Nisaa (4):89

And He (Subhaanahu) is the one who said:

“The Jews and the Christians will not be pleased with you until you follow their religion.” – Al-Baqarah (2):120

And He (Subhaanahu) said:

“… and they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion if they can.” – Al-Baqarah (2):217

So they are bent on making evil and discomfort reach the Muslims. They are saddened by the good that reaches the Muslims, and they rejoice at the calamity that befalls them. Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) has exposed them in His Book, and He has disclosed that which they conceal in their hearts. He (‘Azza Wa Jall) said:

“O you who believe, take not as your advisors those outside your religion since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed, We have made plain to you the proofs if you understand.” – Aal Imraan (3):118

And Allaah (‘Azza Wa Jall) says in His Noble Book:

“Should they gain the upper hand over you, they would behave to you as enemies, and stretch forth their hands and their tongues against you with evil, and they desire that you disbelieve.” – Al-Mumtahanah (60):2

So they, O my brothers in Allaah’s deen, they have not justify the Muslims alone in their (the Muslims’) own lands and inside their own houses, so how much more with someone who lives amongst them, and with someone who goes to them? No doubt, they will not leave off any means or path that leads to diverting him from his deen except that they will implement that. They have plots for that, and tricks, and secret means, and apparent means. There is a war against Islaam and the Muslims, and there are plots, day and night. So because of that they aspire to carry out these schemes on the Muslims with all the might they have and they spend large amounts of money and take great efforts to achieve that.

Also, they have plans to convert people to Christianity in their lands and in the Muslim lands. They have revealed those plans in many Muslim lands like Indonesia, and the Philippines, and Sudan, and Bangladesh, and Uganda, and other Islaamic lands.

They use as a means to do that giving charity to the weak Muslims by building schools and hospitals, and also by forming what are called organizations for humanity, and there goal is not to benefit the Muslims, nor develop the Muslim societies, there goal in that is only to destroy the Muslims’ character and destroy the Muslims’ intellect and break the relationship the Muslims have with their Lord, Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) and give free rein to their desires. So we must beware of these plans.

In brief, residing in the land of disbelief has evil consequences, and it has bad effects on the Muslim’s deen, and this deen is the capital wealth of the righteous slave in this life. So I ask you by Allaah, is there anyone residing in the lands of disbelief who has realized At-Taqwaa (piety and fear of Allaah), and has become from the Muttaqeen (the devout ones who fear Allaah), and thus has performed the commands, and has stayed away from the prohibitions in his eating, and drinking, and in his clothing, and in his house, and in his street, and in his market, and in his school, and in his job.

It is rare that you find someone who has realized At-Taqwaa and has truly become from the Muttaqeen, those who hasten to carry out the commands and stay away from the prohibitions. Rather, how many are the sins which the Muslims over there live in, and infatuation and love of the dunyaa (worldly pleasures), and being attached to it, and putting it before obedience to Allaah and His Messenger, for the disbelievers, as is well known, the splendor of this life has been granted to them, however, it is a small pleasure, and a short lived pleasure designed for tribulation, and test, and trial. Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says:

“Let not the free disposal (and affluence) of the disbelievers throughout the land deceive you. A brief enjoyment; then, there ultimate abode is hell, and worst indeed is that place for rest.” – Aal Imraan (3):196-197

And He (Subhaanahu) says:

“Do they think that We enlarge them in wealth and children. We hasten unto them with good things (in this life so that they will have no share of good things in the Hereafter). Nay, but they perceive not.” – Al-Mu’minoon (23):55-56

And He (Ta’ala) says:

“We shall gradually seize them with punishment in ways they perceive not. And I respite them; certainly My plan is strong.” – Al-A’raaf (7):182-183 and Al-Qalam (68):44-45

The Muslim over there gets amazed and dazzled by the civilization of the disbelievers and by the material goods of the disbelievers which leads to glorifying them.

Also, (there is) the temptation of the women. It is well known the nudity, and the decadence, and the lack of morals, and the lack of values in those bestial societies. They have no deen, no shame, no morals, no obstacles, nothing preventing them from the forbidden things, and the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam), he is the one who said as has been transmitted in the two Saheehs from the hadeeth of ‘Usaamah, “I have not justify a fitnah (trial) more harmful on the men than the women.

And the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed on the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) which has been transmitted by Imaam Muslim,

“Verily, the dunyaa (this life) is sweet and succulent, and indeed Allaah has made you successors to one another in it, so beware of the dunyaa, and beware of the women, for verily the first fitnah (trial/temptation) for the children of Israa’eel was in the women.”

And his (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) statement,

“I have not seen from the females who are deficient in their intellect and deen she who has more power to take away the heart of the prudent man than one of you.”

The highlight is that the Muslim over there is in serious danger, he, and his family, and his children. It has to amaze you how can the Muslim feel safe for his children, boys and girls, in those societies, in the schools, and in the streets, and in the different sections of town, and in the roads, everywhere! These little ones who are like moths, they don’t distinguish between that which is beneficial and that which is harmful, nor between guidance and misguidance, nor between what is permissible and what is forbidden. Rather, whoever directs them to the path of good, they follow it by the success granted by Allaah, and likewise, whoever directs them to the path of evil, they, in most cases, rush to it, except for he who Allaah protects.

So the infant over there from his infancy is being led to that which has evil in it, and that which has corruption in it, and to decadence, and to being detached from the deen, and from morals, and from modesty. From kindergarten to the highest grades; while it is incumbent upon those in charge of their affairs to fear Allaah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) in dealing with these offspring and these families, and they must take care of the responsibility facing their children and their families, and they must show them the path to paradise and help them follow that path, and it is also upon them to warn them from the path to the fire, and warn them from these paths, and help them to leave alone these paths, and help them to stay far away from them.

It is also upon them to raise their children a righteous upbringing, and bring them up in a good way, and order them to observe the Islaamic rituals and codes of behavior, and it is also upon them to forbid them from despicable forms of behavior and the forbidden things and all means which lead to that, and that is not possible except by keeping them far away from evil companions, and far away from criminal groups and places of corruption. It is also upon them to implant in them outstanding character. All of that must be done in compliance with the statement of Allaah (‘Azza Wa Jall):

“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones.” – AtTahreem (66):6

Likewise, the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam), he is the one who said, “Each one of you is a herdsman, and each one of you is responsible for his flock.”

So I ask you, by Allaah, is the one who resides over there able to do that with his family and his children, or is it the reality that the Muslim over there is subject to the systems of the disbelievers and to the laws of the disbelievers?

Over there he does not have true authority over them (his family). Rather, how often are the incidents of rebellion, and dispute, and quarrel between the man and his family, for verily if he does not respond to their demands, the disbelieving police force is the judge, and because of that you notice that he sees the abomination and the indecency in his family, and he is not able to do anything about it. O how distressing it is! O how sad it is!

Also, from the dangers is the existence of complete social intercourse with the disbelievers which causes him and them to come closer together, and brings about love through the perception that he is a fellow citizen, and this is a dangerous matter because it is incumbent upon the Muslim to hate the disbelievers because they are the enemies of Allaah, and the enemies of His Messenger, and the enemies of Islaam and the Muslims. Allaah has ordered that, and He has warned against loving them and befriending them. He (‘Azza Wa Jall) said:

“You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred (people). For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Rooh (proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself.” – AlMujaadilah (58):22

And He (‘Azza Wa Jall) said:

“Let not the believers take the disbelievers as Auliyaa (supporters, helpers, etc.) instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allaah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allaah warns you against Himself (His Punishment), and to Allaah is the final return.” – Aal Imraan (3):28

And Allaah (‘Azza Wa Jall) says:

“O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely.” – Aal Imraan (3):118

And He (Subhaanahu) says:

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliyaa (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but Auliyaa to one another. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliyaa, then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allaah guides not those people who are the wrong-doers.” – AlMaa’idah (5):51

And our Lord (Subhaanahu) says:

“You see many of them taking the disbelievers as their Auliyaa (protectors and helpers). Evil indeed is that which their ownselves have sent forward before them, for that (reason) Allaah’s Wrath fell upon them and in torment they will abide.” – Al-Maa’idah (5):80

And our Lord (Subhaanahu) says:

“Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibraaheem (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: ‘Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allaah, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred for ever, until you believe in Allaah Alone.’” – Al-Mumtahanah (60):4

So when he (the Muslim) loves them, then, no doubt, he will agree with them, and follow in their footsteps, and blindly follow them and imitate them, while the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam), he is the one who said, “Whoever imitates a people then he is from them.”

Also, from the evils of residing in the lands of the disbelievers is, in doing so, their masses are increased, and their societies are stimulated, and it also strengthens their economy, while we are ordered to irritate them, and show enmity to them.

In brief, it is almost impossible for the Muslim to feel safe for his deen in most lands of disbelief. Add to that, the enemies of Islaam over there who are eager to make the Muslim doubt about his deen, and his creed, and his faith in his Lord and His Messenger. And it is known that faith does not accept doubt, rather, it is the certain belief. So if the Muslim becomes doubtful, and uncertain, and irresolute about that which it is incumbent upon him to be firmly convinced about, then he, and Allaah’s refuge is sought, becomes a disbeliever.

They spread their specious arguments, and their falsehood, and their ways of skepticism everywhere, and with every means, and because of that, it is from the conditions of the one residing in those lands that he feel safe for his deen, and this does not happen except if he learns his deen with its proofs, and evidences and arguments, so he will be able to defend it, and so he can refute the specious arguments of the disbelievers which they have spread everywhere. Yes, it is upon him to have knowledge of the legislation and know that which will enable him to distinguish between truth and falsehood, so he won’t be deceived by the falsehood and the people of falsehood, and so the truth won’t be made obscure to him.

So it is a must that the Muslim have knowledge to protect himself from the specious arguments, and so he can use it to protect himself from disbelief and disobedience. It is well known that the hearts are weak, and the specious arguments are strong and grabbing, and when it was the case that most of the people going and residing over there were not strong in deen, and were lacking in knowledge and insight, many of them returned to us with something different from what he went with. He would return deviant in his deen, and in his manners and behavior. He would return as a sinful person, far astray, rather, some of them would return, and Allaah’s refuge is sought, as an apostate disbelieving in his deen, the deen of Islaam.

Rather, he would also disbelieve in the rest of the religions whereas he would be upon total disbelief, and he would mock the people of Islaam. He would return imitating the destructive ideology of the disbelievers, and he would follow their way in lifestyle, and in clothing, and in appearance, and in all of their affairs, and they would become spokesmen for the enemies of Islaam in the lands of the Muslims. So it is upon every Muslim to strive to reside in the lands of Islaam in which the abominations are few in comparison to the lands of disbelief. Indeed, in that is good for him, and security and protection for his deen.

Nevertheless, we would like to point out, it is possible that there exists remote lands of disbelief in which the Muslim is able to openly perform his deen, and openly perform the rituals while feeling safe for himself from tribulations, so if there are lands of disbelief out there upon this description, then Al-Hijrah from it is mustahab (highly recommended) for the Muslim, and residing there is makrooh (disliked). However, as is well known, most of the lands of disbelief in the east and the west are not like that.

SourceQuestions and answers concerning al-Hijrah – By Shaykh ‘Abdur Rahmaan al-‘Adanee

Related Link: Hijrah (Migration to Muslim Lands) – abdurrahman.org/hijrah