If a Muslim is able to practice his religion openly in a kaafir country where he is staying for work, but there is no mosque or (Muslim) community, is he sinning thereby?.
The evidence indicates that it is haraam to settle among the mushrikeen, and it is obligatory to migrate from the kaafir country to a Muslim country if one is able to do that. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“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 the 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!”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have nothing to do with any Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (2645) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
This is the general basic principle: otherwise it is permissible to go to those countries in cases of need, such as to do business, study and so on, so long as one is able to practise Islam openly.
But if it is not possible to practise Islam openly, then it is haraam to remain there, and one must migrate from there if possible.
See also the answer to question no. 13363.
What is meant by practising Islam openly is proclaiming Tawheed, and disavowing shirk, and establishing the symbols of Islam without fear. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem Aal al-Shaykh (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: Please tell us of the meaning of the hadeeths: “Whoever lives with a mushrik and mixes with him is like him” and “I have nothing to do with any Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.”
“Whoever lives with a mushrik and mixes with him is like him” and “I have nothing to do with any Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.” These two hadeeths contain a stern warning and emphatically forbid living with the mushrikeen and mixing with them. They also indicate that it is obligatory to migrate from the land of shirk to the land of Islam. This applies to the one who is not able to practise his religion openly. As for the one who is able to practise his religion openly, he is not obliged to migrate, rather it is mustahabb in his case, but it may not be mustahabb if his remaining among them serves a religious purpose such as calling them to Tawheed and the Sunnah, and warning them against shirk and bid’ah in addition to being able to practise his religion openly.
Practising the religion openly does not only refer to praying and minor issues of religion and avoiding haraam things such as riba, zina and so on. Rather practising the religion openly means proclaiming Tawheed and disavowing the ways of the mushrikeen, such as associating others with Allaah in worship and other kinds of kufr and misguidance. End quote from Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem (1/77).
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) was asked: What is the ruling on one who fears the aggression of the kuffaar and mushrikeen, and shows approval of some of their evil actions for fear of them, and not because he agrees with or approves of what they do? He replied: It is not permissible for the Muslim to show approval of the kuffaar at the expense of his religious commitment, or to agree with their actions and deeds, because their actions may be kufr, shirk and major sins, so it is not permissible for the Muslim to agree with what they do or to join them in that of his own accord, rather what he must do is to practise his religion openly.
And it is not permissible for him to live with the kuffaar and stay in their land unless he is able to practise his religion openly, such as enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and calling to the way of Allaah, and that is what is meant by practising Islam openly. If he cannot do that, then he must migrate to the Muslim lands from the kaafir land, and not stay there at the expense of his religious commitment and belief. End quote from al-Muntaqa (1/254).
Practicing one’s religion openly in this manner is not usually possible for the one who lives alone in these countries, or with a small community of Muslims.
Even if we assume that you are able to practice your religion openly, then staying isolated from the Muslims obviously has its bad effects on you, your family and children. It is known that there are generations of Muslims who have lost their religion, language and values because of staying in those countries, where you do not hear the adhaan, attend the prayers in congregation or see the believers, and kufr surrounds them on all sides and evils are common and are assailing these Muslim communities from all directions.
Hence we advise you to flee for the sake of your religion and to protect yourself and those who are with you, and move to a Muslim country or to a place where there are a lot of Muslims, and you can pray Jumu’ah and prayers in congregation with them, and broadcast the adhaan openly, and manifest the symbols of Islam.
We present to you advice written by Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) that is appropriate to this topic. He said in a letter addressed to a Muslim who was living in Italy:
With regard to your letter in which you say that you are a young Muslim man living in Italy and that there are many young Muslim men there and that most of them responded to the crusaders’ wishes by keeping far away from the religion of Islam and its noble teachings, so most of them do not pray and they have bad morals and do evil deeds which they regard as permissible, and other things that you mention in your letter…
I advise you that living in a land in which shirk and kufr, and Christianity and other religions of kufr are prevalent, is not permissible, whether you are staying there for work, business, study or some other purpose, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“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 the 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!
98. Except the weak ones among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way.
99. These are they whom Allaah is likely to forgive them, and Allaah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving”
And because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have nothing to do with any Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.”
This settling among the kuffaar is not done by one who knows the real meaning of Islam and faith, or who knows what Allaah has enjoined upon the Muslims, or who is pleased with Allaah as his Lord, Islam as his religion, and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) as his Prophet and Messenger.
Being pleased and content with that means loving Allaah, giving precedence to seeking His pleasure, being very concerned about following His religion and keeping company with His close friends, which means that one must completely disavow and keep far away from the kaafirs and their lands. rather faith as defined in the Qur'aan and Sunnah cannot coexist with these evils. It is narrated in a saheeh report from Jareer ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said: O Messenger of Allaah, accept my oath of allegiance and stipulate conditions. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Worship Allaah, establish regular prayer, pay zakaah, be sincere towards the Muslims and keep away from the mushrikeen.” Narrated by Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Nasaa’i. It is also narrated in a saheeh report that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have nothing to do with any Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.” And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah will not accept any deed from a mushrik after he becomes Muslim until he leaves the mushrikeen.”
The scholars have clearly stated that this is not allowed, and have warned against it, and stated that it is obligatory to migrate if one is able, except for a man who has knowledge and insight, and goes there to call people to Allaah and bring people forth from darkness into light, and explain the teachings of Islam to them. A verse in Soorat al-Tawbah – (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allaah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allaah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allaah guides not the people who are Al‑Faasiqoon (the rebellious, disobedient to Allaah)”
[al-Tawbah 9:24] –
indicates that seeking worldly gains is not a legitimate shar’i excuse, rather the one who does that is a faasiq (rebellious evildoer) who is subject to the warning of not being guided if these matters, or some of them, are dearer to him than Allaah and His Messenger, and jihad for the sake of Allaah. What good can there be in seeing shirk and other evils and keeping quiet about them, or even doing them, as has happened to some of those whom you mentioned who are supposedly Muslim?
If the Muslim who settles there claims that he has some worldly aims such as study, business or work, that is even worse.
In the Book of Allaah there is a stern warning against merely failing to migrate (hijrah), as in the verses of Soorat al-Nisa’ quoted above, where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves”. So how about the one who travels to a kaafir land and agrees to settle there? As you mentioned, the scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) forbade settling and going to a land where the Muslim will not be able to practise his religion openly. The one who are there for study, business or work come under the same ruling as the one who settles there, if they are not able to practise their religion openly and they are able to migrate.
As for the claim of some of them that they hate them and despise them, yet they are settling in their land, that is not sufficient, rather it is haraam to travel and settle there for many reasons, including the following:
1 – It is not possible to practise the religion openly in a way that means one has discharged one’s duties fully.
2 – The texts and clear statements of the scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) indicate that if a person does not know his religion with its evidence and proof, and he is not able to defend it and ward off the specious arguments of the kaafirs, it is not permissible for him to travel to their land.
3 – One of the conditions of it being permissible to travel to their land is that one should be safe from the fitnah of their power, control, specious arguments and attractions, and be safe from imitating them or being influenced by their actions.
4 – Blocking the means that may lead to shirk is one of the most important principles of Islam. Undoubtedly what you mention in your letter about things that happen with Muslim youth who settle in these lands is the result of their staying in the land of kufr. They should be steadfast in adhering to their religion, practising it openly, following its commands, heeding its prohibitions, and calling others to it, until they are able to migrate from the land of shirk to a Muslim land.
Allaah is the One Whom we ask to set straight all your affairs and to bless you with understanding of His religion and make you steadfast in following it. May He help us and you and all the Muslims to do all that He loves and that pleases Him, and to protect us and you and all the Muslims against things that may lead us astray and against the tricks of the shaytaan. May He help us to do all that is good, and support His religion, and make His word supreme, and reform the leaders of the Muslims and bless them with understanding of His religion, and help them to rule according to the sharee’ah of Allaah in their lands, and refer to it for judgement, and be content with it and beware of that which goes against it, for He is able to do that. Peace be upon you and the Mercy of Allaah and His blessings.
End quote from Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (9/403).
We ask Allaah to guide you, make things easy for you and help you to find that which is good wherever it may be.
And Allaah knows best.