Category: Psychological and Social
Fatwa#: 37796
Asked Country: Bangladesh

Answered Date: Oct 12,2017

Title: Can i migrate from a Muslim Country?

Question

Assalamualaikum. I am a Muslim from Bangladesh and follow the Hanafi madhab. As far my understanding goes, the general ruling regarding immigration is that one should not leave a Muslim majority country to settle in a non-Muslim land unless the person i) does it for dawah purpose, ii) fears for his life, or iii) is not able to find a decent job to earn a living.

Due to the above understanding, I have returned to my homeland few years ago from a western non-Muslim country despite me and my wife having citizenships of two different non-Muslim countries. However, as days are going by, the condition of my home country is getting from bad to worse, and I am considering leaving the country. Below are some of the key reasons that are forcing me to think otherwise:

1. Law and order situation is rapidly declining throughout Bangladesh, so much so that unless emergency, we avoid going out from home. Hijacking, pickpocketing, kidnapping is very common, even in broad day lights. In last 3 years alone, 3 thefts/attempts happened in my very own house. When at home it feels like we are living in a jail, with reinforced window grills, doors with multiple locks and a constant fear that someone might be sneaking in.

2. Adulteration of food with toxic chemicals has reached an epidemic proportion in Bangladesh; be it fruits, vegetables, dairies, meats, bakeries, oils or processed food. Use of poisonous color, formalin, and various other forms of harmful chemicals and antibiotics have become the norm than exception. Everyone is worried about this deteriorating situation and one of the main reasons people are leaving the country, especially considering the health risks of children.

3. Air quality of Dhaka city is very poor as it is full of thick dust and harmful elements like carbon and lead, resulting from unusually congested traffic, and uncontrolled industrialization.

3. Supply water is filthy, and it doesn’t even feel good to use the water for shower or cleaning purpose, let alone drinking.

4. After travelling and living in many different cities of the world, I can safely say that Dhaka has one of the highest levels of sound pollution, be it from constant honking or sounds blasting from loud speakers without any consideration for others.

5. Traffic congestion is unbearable as Dhaka is often referred as the traffic capital of the world. For example, I have to spend two hours every day on the road to travel to office, whereas the distance is hardly of 20 minutes by car.

6. Despite all the above issues and challenges, I returned to this country considering that at least I will be living in a Muslim majority country where it will be easier to practice and uphold my religion. However, one of the key reasons that is forcing us to think about emigration these days is that while Bangladesh had a predominantly conservative culture in the past, in recent years things are worsening very rapidly and prevalence and acceptance of non-Islamic culture and rituals are becoming widespread. Our long held Islamic and conservative values are diminishing just in front of our very eyes and being substituted with haram western and hindu traditions and practices. And this makes us worried as how this will impact our future generation.

Considering the above circumstances, will it be permissible for me to immigrate to a non-Muslim country so that I can keep my family away from all the pollutions and insecurities,  provided I safe-guard me and my family’s Islamic identities and practices, and avoid haram aspects/lifestyles of non-Muslim land to the best of my abilities?

Sorry for the long post. And I would appreciate if you just reply me privately instead of posting it on the website if possible. Jazakallah Khair.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

In principle, if a person migrates to a non-Muslims country, then the ruling will differ according to the situation. Mufti Taqi Usmani has outlined some of these situations:

1)     If a Muslim is forced by his circumstances to emigrate, e.g. he is persecuted in his country or imprisoned, or his property is confiscated etc, without his having committed any crime, and he sees no way other than to emigrate to a foreign country, then he would be permitted to do so in such a case without any Karahat (abbhorence) whatsoever, as long as he keeps himself away from widespread evil found there.

 

2)     Similarly, if a Muslim is forced to emigrate due to his financial situation, i.e. he cannot find the necessary means of substinence despite extensive effort and he sees no alternative other than emigration to s non-Muslim country then he is permitted to emigrate subject to the above conditions. Earning a livelihood through permissible means is also a duty for a Muslims, after his other Fard duties, and the Shari’ah has not specified a certain place for it, Allah Ta’ala says:

{هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ ذَلُولًا فَامْشُوا فِي مَنَاكِبِهَا وَكُلُوا مِنْ رِزْقِهِ وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ} [الملك: 15]

“He is the one who has made the earth manageable for you. So traverse ye through its tracts, and enjoy of the sustenance which He furnishes; and unto him is the resurrection.” (Surah Al-Mulk, v.15)

 

3)     If a Muslm adopts the national of a non-Muslim country for the purpose of calling its people towards Islam, or to convey Islamic laws to the Muslims residing there, and to encourage them to stay firm on their faith, then this is not only permissible, but also a source of reward. Many of the Sahabah and Tabi’een settled in distant Kuffar lands for this very purpose, and this action of theirs is counted amongst their citrus and points of merit.

 

4)     If a person has enough means of a livelihood available to him in his native country to be able to live according to the (average) standard of its people, but he emigrates in order to raise his standard of living and live a life of luxury and comfort, then emigration for such purpose has at least some degree of karahat in it, because such a person is throwing himself into a storm of evil, and endangering his faith and moral character without there being any necessity for it. Experience shows that the people who settle in non-Muslim countries for luxury and comfort find their religious restraint diminishing in the face of many temptations of evil.

 

Thereafter, Mufti Taqi Usmani states:
Finally, if a person adopts a non-Muslim nationality solely for the purpose of increasing his standing in society, and as a matter of pride, or in preference to a Muslim nationality, or in imitation of the Kuffar, then all such actions are Haram without exception, and there is no need to cite evidence for this. (Contemporary fatawa p295 – Idara-e-Islamiat, Lahore)

Points 1 and 2 explaining your reason to emigrate are valid.

If you decide to reside in a non-Muslim country, then you may do so provided you are able to preserve your Ieman and the Ieman of your family and dependants.

Alhamdulillah, there are many Ulama in non-Muslim countries that have created Islamic environments there with good Islamic education for children. You should search for an Islamic environment in a non-Muslim country to reside in. Furthermore, it is important to personally supervise the Islamic upbringing of your children, wherever they are. If you live in a Muslim dominated country and rely on Islamic education and the facilities there, that is not sufficient. Many children in Muslim dominated countries are very far from deen. On the contrary, there are many Muslims residing in non-Muslim countries with good and sound Islamic conduct and practises. 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Ridhwan Ur Rahman

Student Darul Iftaa
Cardiff, Wales, UK

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

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