Praise be to Allaah.
Every land or region in which the rulers and those in authority uphold the limits set by Allaah and they rule their people in accordance with Islamic sharee’ah, and the people are able to carry out what Islam has enjoined upon them, is considered to be dar islaam (the abode of Islam). The Muslims in such lands have to obey their rulers with regard to that which is right (ma’roof) and be sincere towards them, helping them to take care of the affairs of state and giving them moral and practical support. They should live there, and not go to live anywhere else except to another place which is under Islamic rule where they may be better off. This is like the case of Madeenah after the Hijrah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), when the Islamic state was established there, and like Makkah after the Conquest, when the Muslims took power there and it became daar islaam after it had been daar harb and it had been obligatory for the Muslims there who were able to leave, to migrate from it.
Every country or region in which the rulers and those in authority do not uphold the limits set by Allaah and do not govern those who are under their care by the rules of Islam, and in which the Muslims are not able to establish the rituals of Islam, is daar kufr (the abode of kufr). This is like Makkah al-Mukarramah before the Conquest, when it was daar kufr. The same applies to any land in which the people belong to the religion of Islam, but those who are in authority govern by laws other than those revealed by Allaah, and the Muslims are not able to establish the rituals of their religion. They have to migrate from that place, fleeing so that their religious commitment will not be compromised, to a land which is ruled by Islam and where they will be able to do that which is required of them by sharee’ah. Whoever is unable to migrate – men, women or children – will be excused, but Muslims in other lands are obliged to save them and bring them from the kaafir lands to the Muslim land. 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! Except the weak ones among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way. These are they whom Allaah is likely to forgive them, and Allaah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving” [al-Nisaa’ 4:97-99]
“And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allaah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.” [al-Nisaa’ 4:75]
But whoever is able to establish the rituals of Islam within his family and establish evidence against the rulers and people in authority, and bring about reform, making them change their ways, then it is prescribed for him to stay among them, because there is the hope that by staying there he may be able to convey the message and reform them – so long as he is safe from temptation and fitnah.
And Allaah is the source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.