Issue of Migrating while Being Able to Practice their Religious Duties in Non-Muslim Country
Fatwa No: 446227

Question

My parents came to live in the US from Pakistan then got US citizenship because of better opportunities and education regarding their jobs and work. My parents and I are layman muslims. I was born and raised in the US because my parents became US citizens before my birth and I got US citizenship from them as a result. My parents and I can practice Islam without any hardship or harm. We pray both obligatory and sunnah prayers, fast during ramadan, pray dhikr, give charity, etc. Can we stay permanently in the US or do we have to migrate to a Muslim country?

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.

Migration from the land of disbelief may be obligatory and it may be recommended (desirable) according to the situation of the resident there.

We are going to mention to you the cases where it is obligatory and where it is recommended.

In regard to migration, people are divided into three categories:

The first category are those who are obligated to migrate: they are able to migrate, and are not able to practice their religion and to carry out their religious duties while residing in a non-Muslim country; for such kind of persons, migration is obligatory as Allah Says (what means): {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.} [Quran 4:97]

This is a stern warning that indicates that migration is obligatory, and because performing a religious duty is an obligation for the one who is able to do it. Migration is one of the requirements for performing and completing that duty; if something is a requisite condition for fulfilling an obligation, then this thing is also considered a condition.

The second category are whose who are not required to migrate; they are those who are unable to do so, either due to compelling circumstances such as the sick and the weak among the women, children, and the like; for such persons, migration is not obligatory on them, as Allah Says (what means): {Except for the oppressed among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan nor are they directed to a way – For those it is expected that Allah will pardon them, and Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving.} [Quran 4:98-99] This kind of migration is not described as recommended because one is not able to perform it.

The third category are those upon whom migration is not obligatory, but it is recommended for them. They are those who are able to perform it and are able to manifest their religion and establish their religious rituals, for them it is recommended to migrate in order to be able to increase the number of the Muslims, to assist them, and avoid increasing the numbers of the non-Muslims and mixing with them, and seeing evil among them. It is not an obligation on them because they are able to perform the duties of their religion without migration. For instance, Al-‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him the uncle of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was residing in Makkah despite being a Muslim. [Excepted from Al-Mughni authored by Ibn Qudaamah]

If the matter is as you mentioned that you are able to establish the rituals of your religion and are not afraid, then migration is recommended and not obligatory for you. It should be noted that those who have children and they are not secure from their ideological or moral deviation, then even if they are themselves able to establish the rituals of their religion, migration may be an obligation on them as a way of preserving the religion of their children.

We have seen in non-Muslim countries those who pray the five daily prayers in mosques, fast Ramadan, perform Hajj and ‘Umrah, but they spoilt their children because of schools and their mixing with the non-Muslim children at the different stages of education.

For more benefit on the categories of Muslims who live in non-Muslim countries regarding migration, please refer to Fatwa 86405.

For more benefit on the danger of residing in non-Muslim countries on raising children, please refer to Fatwa 179175.

For more benefit on Muslims living in non-Muslim countries, please refer to Fataawa 81142, 88291, 377986, 81642, 8164281464 and 89879.

Allah Knows best.

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