I am a student in business college, in the fourth year. I would like to finish my studies as quickly as possible so that I can achieve two goals:
1- To respond to urgent family needs
2- To start my own life plans
I have two options ahead of me:
1- To work, starting from next summer (in an area far removed from my speciality), in a seaside resort, for a high salary.
2- To travel to any western country where I intend to complete my studies, and at the same time I will do any work to pay for the cost of my studies as well, until I reach my goal.
I hope that you can advise me as to which I should choose. The problem with both options is that I am a single young man and I fear fitnah for myself, but I am wondering how committed Muslim youth can live in western societies.
We appreciate your keenness to find halaal work and to seek advice, and your eagerness to meet your family’s needs. We ask Allaah to help you to do that which is best for you and will bring you happiness in this world and in the Hereafter.
As you are studying in the business college, you have to look for work that is permissible, because opportunities for halaal work in such fields are few. Most companies and organizations nowadays deal in riba (usury) and insurance and other haraam transactions, which makes working as an accountant in them a kind of helping them in sin and transgression.
Travelling to western countries poses many dangers to man’s religious commitment and morals. It is rare for a person to travel there and preserve his religious commitment and not lose it, because of the false ideas and views that prevail in those countries, and the deviant behaviour and morals that are so obvious to everyone that some of their own wise men are warning against the consequences of them.
If a person is compelled or needs to travel to these countries then he must fulfil certain conditions in order for his travel to be permissible, the most important of which is that he should have sufficient knowledge to protect himself against specious arguments and he should have sufficient religious commitment and taqwa (piety, fear of Allaah) to protect himself against desires. He should take his wife with him if he cannot protect himself against desires in any other way.
You mention that you are a single man, and you fear temptation for yourself. Therefore you should not go ahead and risk your religious commitment.
With regard to working in a seaside tourist area in an area far removed from your specialty, undoubtedly that is better than going to a kaafir land, but you must pay attention to the following:
1- The nature of the work must be permissible.
2- It must be far away from places of fitnah, such as if the work involves free mixing or if the area where it is located is known for corruption and immorality because it is a tourist area.
3- Your work should not be a help to any of those tourists in doing evil, because in that case you would be a partner in sin with them.
If the work is free from these issues, then there is nothing wrong with it, in sha Allaah.
We ask Allaah to help you and guide you.
With regard to your question: how can committed Muslim youth live in western societies?
Undoubtedly they suffer a great deal, and many of them regret going to those countries. You will find many of their problems mentioned in questions submitted to this site. But we do not deny that some of them are committed to their religion and in some cases travel was better for them, but these cases are very few.
We ask Allaah to make us and the Muslims steadfast in adhering to His religion until we meet Him.
And Allaah is the Source of strength.