I am a young Muslim man. I came to Canada four years ago for the purpose of study, and I have acquired permanent residence in this country, as well as a university degree. During my stay, I have learned a lot about Islam, and one of the things I have learned is that it is not permissible to settle in a non-Muslim country, and I decided not to stay here. But some brothers and my father, who is still living in our original homeland, advised me to take Canadian nationality, because of the persecution we face in our homeland, and because of the harrassment of those who are religiously-committed and have beards. According to their claim, this is taking necessary means so that we can be safe from the evil of those people. Is it permissible for me, in this case, to take Canadian nationality? If it is permissible, then is this contrary to putting one’s trust in Allah?
Praise be to Allah
It is not permissible to settle in a non-Muslim country, except for one who is able to practice his religion openly. If he is not able to practice his religion openly, he must migrate, if he is able to do so. In reality, the application of this ruling differs from one person to another, and from one country to another.
We have discussed this previously in the answer to question no. 13363.
With regard to obtaining the nationality of a non-Muslim country, that is not permissible except in the case of necessity, because of what results from it of grave evils, such as being subjected to the rule of the disbelievers, and so on.
The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas was asked:
Many of the Muslims who come to this country intend to stay here and to obtain American nationality. Is it permissible for them to do that? Please note that it is a land of disbelief, shirk and promiscuity. How can they give their allegiance to its government by giving up the nationality of their Muslim homeland and accepting the nationality of this country? What is the Islamic ruling on that, noting that they justify that by saying that they are active in spreading Islam?
They replied: It is not permissible for a Muslim to adopt the nationality of a country whose government are disbelievers, because this will lead to them giving allegiance to it, and agreeing with what those people follow of falsehood.
As for settling in a country, without taking on the nationality, the basic principle is that doing so is disallowed, because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
““Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves - [the angels] will say, "In what [condition] were you?" They will say, "We were oppressed in the land." The angels will say, "Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?" For those, their refuge is Hell - and evil it is as a destination.”Except for the oppressed among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan nor are they directed to a way -”
[an-Nisa; 4:97, 98].
And because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “I disavow any Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.” And there are many other hadiths which speak of that. And there is consensus among the Muslim scholars that it is obligatory to migrate from the land of shirk to the land of Islam when one is able to do so. But if someone who is well-versed in knowledge of Islam settles among the mushrikeen in order to convey the message of Islam to them and call them to it, then there is nothing wrong with that, so long as there is no fear of him becoming confused and tempted away from his religion, and he hopes to have an influence on them and guide them. End quote.
‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdillah ibn Baz, ‘Abd ar-Razzaq ‘Afeefi, ‘Abdullah ibn Qa‘ood
Fatawa al-Lajnah ad-Daimah (2/69)
Ash-Shaykh Ibn Jibreen (may Allah preserve him) said: Whoever has no choice but to seek the nationality of a non-Muslim country, such as one who cannot go back to his homeland for fear of persecution and imprisonment, and cannot find any safe haven, it is permissible for him to do that, on condition that he is able to practice his religion openly. As for obtaining nationality for the sake of purely worldly interests, I do not think that is permissible. End quote.
Please also see the answer to question no. 6247
Based on that, if you are not persecuted in your country, and you can live there, even with some kinds of annoyance and pressure, then it is not permissible for you to take this nationality.
If someone has no other choice, and he takes the nationality (of a non-Muslim country), this is not contrary to putting his trust in Allah, because that – in such cases – comes under the heading of taking measures to avoid being harmed.
And Allah knows best.