Settling In A Non-Muslim State

Question

I want to find out that can a Muslim live in a non-Muslim country (for example UK? A scholar holds that one's prayer will not be accepted if one says in a non-Muslim country. He says that one can stay in non-Muslim country only for preaching Islam. Please advise me according to Mr Ghamidi's research.


Answer

Some scholars hold the view you have mentioned in the question. They usually base their view on the following verse of the Holy Qur'an:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلآئِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ قَالُواْ فِيمَ كُنتُمْ قَالُواْ كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالْوَاْ أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُواْ فِيهَا فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسَاءتْ مَصِيرًا

Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they have been unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah's earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So these it is whose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort. (4:97)

In order to appreciate the meaning of the verse we need to determine the addressees. Consider their response:

Kunnah mustazhafeena (we were weak and helpless). This shows the group was a weak party in the state. They could not act upon their religion openly. They were not able to discharge basic religious obligation in that society. They could migrate from the place and settle in Madinah where Muslims state had been established but they did not. They merited sin by choosing to live where they were not allowed to practice religion and not trying enough to abandon that situation.

Therefore, we understand that this severe retribution can only be extended those who act similarly these days. If the state one has settled in does not allow him to keep his faith known and discharge the religious obligations then he must leave that state for the Muslim community unless he has no means to do so. Merely living in a non Muslim state under any reasonable excuse cannot be connected with the situation depicted in the verse.

We understand that Islam has not held it forbidden the believers from settling in any non-Muslims state unless it does not allow him fulfill his obligations towards God. In this case he must try to settle in a country where he can freely act upon the divine directives.

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