The ruling of residing in a country of disbelievers for a necessity | The official website of Sheikh Muhammad Ali FERKUS
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Sunday 8 Rabî` Al-'Awwal 1442 H - October 25, 2020 G



Fatwa: 759

Category: fatwas about creed - Al-Walâ' and Al-Barâ'

The ruling of residing in a country of disbelievers for a necessity

The question:

A sister concluded the legal and civil act with a Muslim brother who is born in France and has French citizenship. Among the reasons why he stays in France is to take care of his ill mother, he also promised her to change his residence to a Muslim country. So, is it permissible for him to reside in a country of disbelievers in such conditions and is it permissible for her to go with him with the intention of going away when the conditions fit? May Allah reward you with good.

The answer:

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

We have no doubt that living in a country of disbelievers poses a danger to the faith, behaviors and manners of the Muslim. Saying that travelling and living in a country of disbelievers is not permissible for a person who is not secure from temptation, or who lacks knowledge of his religion, or who is not able to show the ritual practices of his religion in a complete way, is the saying which is safer for his faith and for his protection from melting in the disbelieving society and in order to not fall in its pitfall of corruption and destruction.

However, it will be permissible if the Muslim is able to manifest his faith and the ritual practices of his religion openly, like performing prayers, fasting, performing hajj, the Friday prayer, the congregational prayers and other Islamic rites, and in case he can maintain the creed of Al-Walâ' and Al-Barâ' (alliance and disavowal), by avoiding loving the disbelievers or feeling loyalty to them. He should rather hate them and disapprove of their deeds, since loving the enemies of Allah requires agreeing with them, following and approving of their deeds; and this, of course, goes against the creed of Al-Walâ' and Al-Barâ' which is the most trustworthy handhold of Islam that will never break.

Allah عزَّ وجلَّ said:

﴿لاَ تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ﴾ [المجادلة : 22].

The meaning of the verse:

You (O Muhammad صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم) will not find any people who believe in Allâh and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم), even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred (people).﴿ [Al-Mujâdila (The Woman Who Disputes): 22].

Allah عزَّ وجلَّ also said:

﴿وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ﴾ [المائدة: 51].

The meaning of the verse:

And if any amongst you takes them as Auliyâ' (friends, protectors, helpers), then surely he is one of them﴿ [Al-Mâ'ida (The Table Spread with Food)].

The Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said: “Whoever imitates any nation then he is from amongst them”(1). The Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم also said: “Everyone will be with whomever he loves (on the Day of Judgment)”(2). The Muslim who lives in a country of disbelievers should also know the rulings of his religion so as to allow him to preserve it and be secure from temptation, deviation from the right way.

Hereupon, if these norms are established, it will be permissible for him to reside there according to the need of his mother of medical care, as the person who takes care of a sick person is concerned by the same rulings, especially if he is weak and cannot leave this country because of medical, geographical or political reasons.

Moreover, the wife has the same rulings as her husband since she is under his authority, as the jurisprudential rule stipulates: “That which is subordinate follows under the ruling of the original”. The wife has the right to make as a condition during the marriage contract the fact of not traveling with her to such countries (of disbelievers), and “Muslims are to abide by the conditions upon which they agreed (with one another)”(3).

It should be also known that the residence (in a country of disbelievers) which is not linked with a legal necessity or need is among the greatest harms and dangers upon the faith of the Muslim, as residing with disbelievers may lead to imitate them, and imitating them in their customs, attitudes, behaviors and characters, in addition to what they declare of rulings which go against what Allah عزَّ وجلَّ has revealed and other polytheist practices; all this may lead the Muslim to be like them, as the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم declared: “Anyone who associates with a polytheist and lives with him is like him”(4). This hadith, though judged by some scholars as being weak, its meaning is correct, as its meaning is close to that of the hadith “He who copies any people is one of them” as well as the one who loves them and approves of them.

Ibn Taymiyya رحمه الله said: “The narrowest meaning we can understand from this hadith is that it is forbidden to imitate the disbelievers, although this hadith indicates that the person who imitates disbelievers is considered a disbeliever, in accordance with Allah’s عزَّ وجلَّ saying:

﴿وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ﴾ [المائدة: 51].

The meaning of the verse:

And if any amongst you takes them as Auliyâ' (friends, protectors, helpers), then surely he is one of them﴿ [Al-Mâ'ida (The Table Spread with Food)](5).

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, Safar 26th, 1422H.
Corresponding to: May 20th, 2001.



(1) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Clothes”, concerning the garment of celebrity (hadith 4033), Ahmad (hadith 5232) from the hadith of Ibn `Umar رضي الله عنهما. Al-`Irâqi judged this hadith authentic in “Takhrîj Al-Ihyâ'” (1/359), Ibn Hajar judged this hadith as “Hassan” (good)in “Fath Al-Albâri”(10/288) as well as Al-Albâni in “Al-Irwâ'” (hadith 1269).

(2) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “Good manners”, concerning the sign of one’s love to Allah (hadith 6169), Muslim, chapter of “Virtue, keeping good relations with one’s kith and kin and good manners” concerning the person would be in the company of whomever he loves (hadith 6888), Ahmad (hadith 3790), from the hadith of `Abd Allah Ibn Mass`ûd رضي الله عنه. This hadith is reported by At-Tirmidhi, chapter of “Asceticism” (hadith 2358), Ahmad (hadith 12339), from the hadith of Anas رضي الله عنه, it is also reported by At-Tirmidhi, chapter of “Asceticism” (hadith 2387) and Ahmad (hadith 18579), from the hadith of Safwân Ibn `Assâl رضي الله عنه.

(3) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Judgments”, concerning reconciliation (hadith 3594), Al-Hâkim in “Al-Mustadrak” (hadith 2309), from the hadith of Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه, At-Tirmidhi, chapter of “Judgments” (hadith 1352) from the hadith of `Amr Ibn `Auf رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in “Al-Irwâ'” (5/142) number (1303) and in “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” (hadith 2915).

(4) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Jihad”, concerning living in a land of disbelievers (hadith 2787), from the hadith of Samura Ibn Jundub رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” (5/434) number (2330).

(5) “Iqtidhâ' As-Sirât Al-Mustaqîm” of Ibn Taymiyya (1/270).