Traveling To Non-Muslim Countries For Tourism
Fatwa No: 369667

  • Fatwa Date:28-1-2018 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 12, 1439
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Question

Assalamu aleykum va rahmatullah!As we know, it is forbidden to travel to non-muslim countries for purposes of tourism or unless there is a valid shari' excuse.1- What if a country that you want to travel to is a non-muslim country, but it has a region or some regions inside itself where only or mostly muslims live? Is travel for tourism to this region only permitted in this case even though this region is part of a bigger non-muslim country? For example, travelling to Daghestan or Tatarstan that are part of Russia, but in these regions the majority of population is muslim? 2- The same question, but if in this case the muslim country you are living in has more munkar or the same level of munkar than the non-muslim country you're going to travel to? I mean that in terms if fitnah it wouldn't make a difference for you or maybe the non-muslim country you're travelling to will have less fitnah than it is in your country. Is it permissible then to travel to non-muslim country in this case? I'm asking this because scientists forbid going to non-muslim countries because of the fitnah a muslim can get into or because it could influence his imaan, but in this case there will be mainly no infulence for a muslim. 3 - But what should muslims do who were born and are living in those non-muslim countries? These countries are their native countries. Are they also forbidden living in those countries and they all have to move to other muslim countries? For example, americans or russians who were born on those countries and who are muslims?Could you please support your answer with quotes from scientists and from Quran & sunna where possible? May Allah be pleased with you!

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, you should know that in principle it is permissible to travel for tourism, sightseeing, and recreation. Allah Says (what means): {Say, “Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?”.} [Quran 7:32]

The prohibition of travelling to non-Muslim countries is for a reason and it is not the basic principle ruling. The reason for the prohibition is the fear of temptation in one’s religion, whether in misconceptions or desires.

To prevent traveling –whether it means prohibited or disliked– is because of the danger in that country on one’s creed, religion and morals.

It is established that the ruling depends on the reason: if the reason for prohibiting something exists, then it is prohibited, and if does not, then it is allowed.

Therefore, if such a reason exists when travelling to some Muslim countries, such as where immorality and dissoluteness are widespread, and the traveler to these countries will not be safe about his manners and risks getting deviated and falling into the swamp of immorality, then he is forbidden from traveling to them even if they are Muslim countries. The Sharee’ah does not differentiate between two identical things, and it does not consider two different things as being the same.

Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

The Sharee’ah of Allaah is established on the fact that the ruling on something is the same ruling as something that is identical to it. Hence, The Sharee’ah of Allah does not differentiate between two identical things at all, and it never considers two contradictory things as being the same thing. Whoever believes otherwise, then it is either due to his lack of knowledge of the Sharee’ah, or because of his negligence in knowing when two matters are similar and when they are different.” [End of quote]

This is the reality. Many Muslim countries became a resort for dissolute and disobedient people who travel to them in order to fulfill their forbidden desires. There is absolutely no difference between these countries and non-Muslim countries in this regard; it is forbidden to travel for tourism to such countries. It is for this reason that the scholars stated that it is disliked to travel to Muslim countries where sins and innovations are widespread and they considered the ruling of traveling to these Muslim countries and emigrating from them the same as travelling to non-Muslim countries and migrating from them.

Al- Bahooti, from the Hanbali School of jurisprudence, said in his book Kash-Shaaf Al-Qinaa’:

Trade and travel are absolutely forbidden to the land of the enemy and to non-Muslim countries, whether one will feel secured there or fears (for himself and his faith). The same applies regarding traveling to the country of the Khawaarij (Kharijites), tyrants, Raafidhah, or a land where there are misguiding innovations, and the like, because emigrating from these countries if one was living in them is desirable if he is able to practice his religion. However, if he is unable to practice his religion in them, then it is forbidden for him to travel to them (if he is outside) because, by doing so, he subjects himself to disobedience.” [End of quote]

The ruling of travelling to the land of Muslims where evil matters are widespread to the extent that it is almost like the non-Muslim country does not differ from the ruling of travelling to the land of Kufr (non-Muslims). Similarly, the ruling of migrating from those Muslim countries, for whoever lives in them, does not differ from the ruling of migrating from the non-Muslims countries as already mentioned in Kash-Shaaf Al-Qinaa’.

Allah knows best.

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