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LIVING FOREIGN COUNTRIES.

 

1)     IMMIGRATING TO A NON-MUSLIM COUNTRY

 

2)     LIVING IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES

 

3)     IGNORANCE OF ISLAMIC FIQH

 

4)     EATING IN RESTAURANT

 

5)     MUSLIMS PARTICIPATING IN NON-MUSLIM COUNTRIES ELECTION

 

6)     VOTING FOR NON-MUSLIM

   

7)     HOW CAN MUSLIM WOMEN PRACTICE HER RELIGION IN A WESTERN COUNTRY

 

8)     CAN A MUSLIM BE A SINCERE FRIEND TO A KAAFIR ?

 

 

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1. IMMIGRATING TO A NON-MUSLIM COUNTRY

Question :

I am a Muslim and I think of immigrating to a non-Muslim country for work, is that permissible?

Answer :  

Muslim Shari`ah scholars have divided hijrah, or immigration, into five categories: fard (obligatory), haram (forbidden), mustahabb (recommended), makruh (disliked), mubah (permissible).

Immigration is obligatory when you are forced to change your religion and establish you faith freely in your location, in which case you have to move to another area where you can worship Allah without restraint.

It is haram when you immigrate for evil purpose, to corrupt your faith, or cause mischief in the land of Allah.

It becomes makruh when you feel your religion will become under great risk.

And it is mubah if you make sure your faith will remain strong and you will benefit from the new location you want to move to.

Therefore, before you immigrate to any country, you have to make sure your faith will be solid and that you will be able to keep the religious identity of your children safe in face of temptations and evil surroundings, and then you can move to any place you want.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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2. LIVING IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES

Question:

I live in a western country, and I can practice my religion without much difficulty, praise be to Allah. I have seen on your site some ahaadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which forbid Muslims to settle in kaafir lands or to live among the kuffaar. I am now confused about whether to go back to my country or to stay in this country, knowing that if I go back to my country, I will encounter hardship and persecution because of my adherence to the laws of Allah, and I will not be able to find freedom of worship such as I enjoy in the country where I live now.

I hope that you can answer my question and explain the ruling on my staying in this country, especially since the Muslim countries are no longer very different from others with regard to adherence to the laws of Islam.

Answer: Praise be to Allah.  

The basic principle is that it is not permissible for the Muslim to settle among the mushrikeen. This is indicated by evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and on the basis of common sense.  

In the Qur’aan, Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (angels) say (to them): “In what (condition) were you?” They reply: “We were weak and oppressed on the earth.” They (angels) say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?” Such men will find their abode in Hell — what an evil destination!” [An-Nisa’ 4:97] 

In the Sunnah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I disown every Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2645; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood

With regard to common sense, the Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen cannot carry out many of the rituals and visible acts of worship of Islam, in addition to the fact that he is exposing himself to temptation because of the permissiveness in those countries that is protected by their laws. The Muslim should not expose himself to temptations and trials. 

This is if we look at the evidence of the Qur’aan and Sunnah without paying attention to what is really happening in Muslim countries and kaafir countries. But if we look at what is really happening in Muslim countries, we cannot agree with the questioner when he says, “Especially since the Muslim countries are no longer very different from others with regard to adherence to the laws of Islam.” But this generalization is not correct. The Muslim countries are not all the same with regard to how closely or otherwise they adhere to the laws of Islam. Rather they vary in that, and even within one country, regions and cities may vary in that regard. 

Similarly the kaafir countries are not all the same with regard to their permissiveness and moral laxity; they also vary in that regard. 

So given that the Muslim countries vary, as do the kaafir countries, and given that the Muslim cannot go to a Muslim state and settle there because of visa and strict settlement laws etc, and that a Muslim may not be able to practice his religion in some Muslim countries, when he may be able to do so in whole or at least in part in some kaafir countries – for all these reasons it is impossible to issue a general ruling that will cover all countries and all individuals. Rather we should say that each Muslim has his own unique set of circumstances and his own ruling that applies to him, and each person is accountable for himself. If he is able to practice his religion in the Muslim country in which he lives more than he can in a kaafir country, then it is not permissible for him to settle in a kaafir country. But if it is the other way round, then it is permissible for him to settle in a kaafir country, subject to the condition that he is confident that he can resist the desires and temptations to be found there by taking the precautionary measures prescribed in sharee’ah. 

There follow some comments of the scholars which support what we have said above: 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about this matter and he said: This is one of the most difficult issues nowadays because countries vary, as stated above, and because for some Muslims, if they go back to their homelands they will be persecuted for their religion whereas they are safe from that in the kaafir countries. But if we say that it is haraam for them to settle among the kuffaar, then where is the Islamic state that will accept them and allow them to settle there?! This is the meaning of what he said, may Allah have mercy on him. 

Zakariya al-Ansaari al-Shaafa’i said in his book Asna al-Mataalib (4/207): 

It is obligatory to migrate from the kaafir lands to the Muslim lands for those who are able to do that, if they are unable to practise their religion openly. 

Ibn al-‘Arabi al-Maaliki said: Hijrah (migration) means leaving dar al-harb [non-Muslim lands] and going to dar al-islam [Muslim lands]. This was obligatory at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and remains so after his time for those who fear for their lives. From Nayl al-Awtaar, 8/33, by al-Shawkaani. 

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said concerning the hadeeth, “I disown every Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen”: 

This is to be understood as referring to those who are not safe to practice their religion there. Fath al-Baari, commentary on hadeeth no. 2825 

In al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (20/206) it says: 

Dar al-harb refers to every place in which the rule of kufr prevails. One of the rulings that have to do with dar al-harb is hijrah (migration). With regard to migration from dar al-harb, the fuqaha’ divided people into three categories: 

(a) Those who are obliged to migrate: they are those who are able to migrate and who cannot practice their religion openly in dar al-harb. It is obligatory upon a female even if she does not have a mahram, if she thinks she will be safe when traveling, or if the risk of traveling is less than the risk of staying in dar al-harb… 

(b) Those who are not obliged to migrate: they are those who are unable to do so, either because of sickness or because they are forced to stay in the kaafir land, or those who are weak, such as woman and children, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Except the weak ones among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way” [An-Nisa’ 4:98]

(c) Those for whom migration is mustahabb but not obligatory: they include those who are able to migrate but are also able to practice their religion openly in dar al-harb. It is mustahabb for such a person to migrate so that he can participate in jihad and increase the numbers of the Muslims. 

In a fatwa issued by the Standing Committee (12/50): One may also migrate from a mushrik land to another mushrik land that is less evil and where there is less danger to the Muslim, as some of the Muslims migrated from Makkah at the Prophet’s command to Abyssinia. 

What will your excuse be tomorrow before Allah?

Praise be to Allah Who has created us to worship Him and has prescribed His religion and sharee’ah for us to adhere to, and Who accepts our excuses for our mistakes and for what we forget or are forced to do.

Allah has commanded us to adhere firmly to His religion, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“....Hold fast to that which We have given you...” [Al-Baqarah 2:63].

Religion is a serious matter that distinguishes truth from falsehood, it is not a thing for amusement [cf. Al-Taariq 86:13]. Many people do not take the matters of their religion seriously, and they offer feeble excuses. This is one of the signs of the Munaafiqoon (hypocrites), who take their religion for mockery and fun [cf. Al-Maa’idah 5:57], and when they are rebuked or advice is offered to them, they come up with excuses which in fact are worse than the sin for which they are offering these excuses. 

Often we hear strange responses from people when we seek to offer advice or confront them about their evil actions and sins. For example:

 Why do you not give up this sin?

-    These are difficult times, and everyone is like this.

-    I have not been guided yet.

-    My intention is sound, and I only meant to have some fun.

 How can you work in this haraam job?

-   I can’t find any other job. Do you want me to die of starvation?

 How could you shake hands with a woman who is a stranger?

-    My heart is pure.

 Why do you not wake your child up to pray Fajr?

-   Poor kid, he didn’t get enough sleep and he has to go to school.

 Your daughter has passed the age of ten and she is still wearing short clothes; why don’t you tell her to wear hijaab?

-   She is still young. When she reaches the age of puberty we will tell her to wear hijaab.

 Wear the correct Islamic hijaab.

-    It doesn’t look good on me. What will people say about me? The cover restricts my breathing.

 How can you bring the means of forbidden entertainment (TVs etc.) into your home?

-    Our wives and children put too much pressure on us.

 Why don’t you pray in the mosque?

-    The Imaam’s voice is off-putting, and there are too many offensive smells.

 Why do you shave off your beard, my brother?

-     Because it doesn’t look nice, I can’t grow a full beard.

Thus people come up with excuses one after another, for major and minor sins alike, in a failed attempt to avoid feeling guilty and avoid the advice of sincere people. In order to find out the rulings on this matter and to learn more about this dangerous phenomenon, we will refer to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and the words of the scholars.

Some of the incidents of false excuses referred to in the Qur’aan:

Allah has mentioned in His Book some examples of false excuses, many of which were made by the Munaafiqoon, such as their excuses for failing to perform obligatory duties, the chief of which was jihaad for the sake of Allah, and other duties.

(1) Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“They (the hypocrites) will present their excuses to you (Muslims), when you return to them. Say (O Muhammad) ‘Present no excuses, we shall not believe you. Allah has already informed us of the news concerning you. Allah and His Messenger will observe your deeds. In the end you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, then He (Allah) will inform you of what you used to do....’” [At-Tawbah 9:94]

Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Here Allah states that when the Muslims returned to Madeenah, the Munaafiqoon would offer excuses. Say (O Muhammad) ‘....Present no excuses, we shall not believe you....” means, we will not accept it as true. Allah has already informed us of the news concerning you means, Allah has already told us about you. Allah and His Messenger will observe your deeds means, your actions will be made known to people in this world. In the end you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, then He (Allah) will inform you of what you used to do means, and He will inform you of your deeds, both good and bad, and will requite you accordingly.

Ka’b ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) explained what happened when he stayed behind from the campaign to Tabook. He said:

“When I heard that (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was on his way back from Tabook), I was filled with remorse and I began to think of a lie that I could tell so as to escape his anger and I consulted some of my relatives to ask for their advice. But when I heard that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was close at hand, thoughts of falsehood left me and I knew that I would never find a way out by lying, so I resolved to tell the truth. In the morning, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) entered (Madeenah), and whenever he returned from travelling he would always go to the mosque first. So he prayed two rak’ahs there, then sat down to await the people. When he did that, those who had stayed behind came and began to make excuses, swearing oaths. There were eighty-odd of these men. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) accepted their public declarations and oaths of allegiance, and prayed for forgiveness for them, referring their secret thoughts to Allah. Then I came to him and greeted him with salaam, and he smiled as a person who is angry smiles, then he said: ‘Come here.’ So I came and sat down before him. He said, ‘What kept you back? Did you not buy a mount (riding animal)? I said, ‘Yes. By Allah, if I were sitting with anyone else in this world, I would think that I would be able to escape his wrath by making some excuse, for I am skilled in argument. But by Allah, I know that if I told you a lie that you would accept, then soon Allah would provoke your anger against me. But if I tell you the truth, which will make you angry with me, I hope that Allah will forgive me for it. By Allah, I had no excuse. I have never been stronger or richer than when I stayed behind.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘As far as that is concerned, he has told the truth. Get up (and wait) until Allah decides concerning you.’ So I got up, and some men from Banu Salimah got up and followed me, saying, ‘By Allah, we have never known you to commit any sin before this. How come you were unable to offer an excuse to the Messenger of Allah  (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as the others who stayed behind did?  It would have been sufficient if the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had asked for forgiveness for your sin.’ By Allah, they kept at me until I wanted to go back and give the lie to myself. Then I asked them, ‘Is there anyone else who is in the same position as I am?’ They said, ‘Yes, there are two men who said something like what you said, and the same answer was given to them. I said, ‘Who are they?’ They said: ‘Muraarah ibn al-Rabee’ al-‘Amri and Hilaal ibn Umayyah al-Waaqifi.’ They had told me the names of two righteous men who had been present at Badr and who were exemplary characters. I remained silent when they mentioned them to me.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4066).

When Allah mentioned those who told lies to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and offered false excuses for staying behind, He mentioned them in the Verse:

“They (the hypocrites) will present their excuses to you (Muslims), when you return to them. Say (O Muhammad) ‘Present no excuses, we shall not believe you. Allah has already informed us of the news concerning you. Allah and His Messenger will observe your deeds” [At-Tawbah 9:94].

(2) Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And when a party of them said: ‘O people of Yathrib (Al‑Madinah)! There is no stand (possible) for you (against the enemy attack!) Therefore go back!’ And a band of them ask for permission of the Prophet saying: ‘Truly, our homes lie open (to the enemy).’ And they lay not open. They but wished to flee.” [Al-Ahzaab 33:13]

This is the excuse that the Munaafiqoon used when they wanted to stay behind from the campaign of al-Ahzaab and go back to their houses, claiming that the houses were unprotected. Their excuse was unacceptable, because they did not really want to protect their houses; what they actually wanted to do was to run away. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): And they lay not open. They but wished to flee.”

And a band of them ask for permission of the Prophet.” It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) that they said: “We are afraid that our houses may be robbed.” This was stated by more than one (of the scholars). They used the excuse of going back to their houses, claiming that they lay open (to attack), i.e., there was nothing to protect them from the enemy, so they were scared that the enemy may attack their houses. Allah said (interpretation of the meaning):

And they lay not open – it was not as they claimed. They but wished to flee – i.e., to run away from battle.

(Tafseer  Ibn Katheer).

(3) Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And among them is he who says: ‘Grant me leave (to be exempted from Jihaad) and put me not into trial.’ Surely, they have fallen into trial. And verily, Hell is surrounding the disbelievers.” [At-Tawbah 9:49]

 Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: Allah says, and among the Munaafiqeen are those who will say, O Muhammad, Grant me leave to stay behind and do not put me into trial by making me go out (to fight) with you, because of the young women of the Romans. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): Surely, they have fallen into trial meaning, they have fallen into trial (fitnah) by their saying that. Muhammad ibn Ishaaq narrated that Az-Zuhri, Yazeed ibn Roomaan, ‘Abd-Allah ibn Abi Bakr, ‘Aasim ibn Qutaadah and others said: One day, when he was preparing to go out [to fight the Romans], the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to Al-Jadd ibn Qays, the brother of Bani Salimah, “O Jadd, how do you feel about going to fight Bani’l-Asfar (the Romans)?” He said, “O Messenger of Allah, will you grant me leave to stay behind and not expose me to trial (fitnah)? For by Allah, among my people there is no man who is more tempted by women than I am, and I fear that if I see the women of Bani’l-Asfar I will not be able to control myself.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) turned away from him and said, “I give you leave (to stay behind).” Then there was revealed concerning al-Jadd ibn Qays the following words (interpretation of the meaning):

“And among them is he who says: ‘Grant me leave (to be exempted from Jihaad) and put me not into trial.’…” i.e., because he feared the temptation of the women of Bani’lAsfar. But this is not the case. The trial into which he fell by staying behind from accompanying the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and preferring his life to the life of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was a far greater trialAnd verily, Hell is surrounding the disbelievers means, they will not be able to find any way out or means of escape from it.

(4) Allah also says concerning the excuses of the Munafiqeen (interpretation of the meaning):

“If you ask them (about this), they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allah, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ (65) Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed. If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you because they were Mujrimoon (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, criminals).” [At-Tawbah 9:65-66]

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

If a person says words of kufr or divorce (talaaq) in jest, his wife is thereby divorced and he is counted as a kaafir, even if he was only joking, because when he said it he meant to say it. The fact that he was joking is not an excuse. This is unlike the case when a person is forced to do something, or he makes a mistake, or he forgets – all of which are excused. A person who is forced to say something is excused, and what he said may be deemed as allowable, but the one who jokes is not allowed to utter in jest words of kufr or of divorce. When he said the words, he meant to say them, and he cannot claim that he was forced or that he made a mistake or said it out of forgetfulness or ignorance. Allah and His Messenger do not accept joking as an excuse that will ward off the punishment; indeed, the one who jokes is more deserving of punishment. Do you not see that Allah accepts the excuse of the person who is forced to speak words of kufr if his heart is filled with true faith, but He does not accept any excuse from the one who jokes. On the contrary, He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“If you ask them (about this), they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allah, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ (65)” Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed...” [At-Tawbah 9:65-66]

(I’laam al-Muwaqqi’een, 3/63)

We say to every heretic and hypocrite who propagates kufr and clearly makes statements of kufr in works of fiction or journalistic articles and song lyrics, then gives that excuse that he did not intend to insult religious symbols or the things that Islam holds sacred or the person of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), we say to these munaafiqeen in every place and time: Present no excuses, we shall not believe you” [At-Tawbah 9:94]. We say to them: wait until the Day comes when it will be said to you:

“O you who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allah — Islamic Monotheism)! Make no excuses this Day! You are being requited only for what you used to do” [At-Tahreem 66:7].

(5) Another of the foolish excuses of which Allah has told us in His Book, is that which the Children of Israel made to their Prophet Moosa (peace be upon him) when he was leading them towards the Holy Land (Palestine).

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said concerning these Jews: One of the ways in which the Shaytaan played with them is when Allah had saved them from the tyranny and oppression of Pharaoh, and had parted the sea for them, and had shown them the signs and miracles, and had helped them and protected them and granted them glory, and given them what He had not given to any other among the ‘Aalameen (mankind and jinns, in the past) (cf. Al-Maa’idah 5:20),

Then He commanded them to enter the town which Allah had decreed was to be theirs. This included the glad tidings for them that they would prevail and conquer the land, and that that town would be theirs, but they refused to obey his orders, and they responded to this command and these glad tidings by saying: “...So go you and your Lord and fight you two, we are sitting right here” [Al-Maa’idah 5:24 – interpretation of the meaning].

Think about how kind the Prophet of Allah Moosa (peace be upon him) was towards them, and how gently he treated them, and how he reminded them of Allah’s blessings towards them and His promise that the town would be theirs. He told them not to disobey him by turning on their heels, and warned them that if they disobeyed him, they would be losers. So he combined commands and prohibitions, glad tidings and warnings, encouragement and threats, and a reminder of previous blessings. But they responded in the worst manner and rejected the command of Allah by saying:

“....O Moosa! In it (this holy land) are a people of great strength… [Al-Maa’idah 5:22]. They showed no respect to the Messenger of Allah, the one with whom Allah had spoken, and they even addressed him by his first name, instead of saying “O Prophet of Allah”. They said that there were strong people dominating that town, and they forgot the power of the One Who dominates the heavens and the earth, Who could subjugate those tyrants to the people who obeyed Him. Their fear of those tyrants, whose forelocks were in the Hand of Allah, was greater than their fear of the Compeller, the Most High, may He be exalted, and they had more fear in their hearts of them than of Him.

Then they clearly stated their disobedience and their refusal to obey:

“....and we shall never enter it till they leave it when they leave, then we will enter." [Al-Maa’idah 5:22] Thus they confirmed their disobedience in several ways:

(1) They stated the reason for their disobedience: In it (this holy land) are a people of great strength”.

(2)They stated that they would not obey; the sentence starts with the word “inna” which signifies affirmation (e.g., verily, indeed), followed by the word “lan”, a negation which implies “never”, i.e., we will not enter it now or in the future.

Then they stipulated a condition for their entering the town, which was that the tyrants should leave. Then Two men of those who feared (Allah and) on whom Allah had bestowed His Grace ….” [Al-Maa’idah 5:23] – by obeying His command, from among those who feared Allah – this is the view of the majority and this is correct. “[They] said: ‘Assault them through the gate…..’ [Al-Maa’idah 5:23], i.e., the gate of that town: attack them, for they are filled with fear of you. “for when you are in, victory will be yours…..” [Al-Maa’idah 5:23]. Then they guided them to that which would bring them victory, namely putting their trust in Allah. But the people’s response was to say:

“They said, O Moosa! We shall never enter it as long as they are there. So go you and your Lord and fight you two, we are sitting right here.” [Al-Maa’idah 5:24]

Glory be to the One Whose patience was so great that when they responded to His command in this manner and addressed His Messenger in this way, He was forbearing towards them and did not hasten to punish them. His patience and kindness was so great that the worst punishment He gave them was to make them wander in the desert for forty years, with the clouds shading them from the heat and with manna and quails sent down for them.

Having read the aayat in which Allah mentions the false excuses and responds to them, we should go back and think about our duties and what is required and expected of us. We should think of our own shortcomings and the excuses that we have in mind or that we give to others.

Allah has sent down His Book to us Muslims and He has obliged us to obey Him and follow His commands. We have no excuse not to follow the sharee’ah, and we have no option when it comes to Allah’s commands.

Let us remember what Sa’d ibn al-Rabee’ said to Zayd ibn Thaabit with his dying breath: “Tell my people the Ansaar that they have no excuse before Allah if some harm reaches the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and their eyes are still blinking (i.e., they are still alive).” Then his soul slipped away; may Allah be pleased with him.

People’s excuses for not adhering to Islam 

There are many things that a lot of people say to excuse themselves for not obeying the commands of Allah and His Messenger:

“The rulings are too difficult; these are difficult times; I haven’t been guided yet”… and other examples such as those given above. Another thing that they say is: we are afraid of people!

They fear the people, but Allah is more deserving of being feared. Is He not the One Who says to us (interpretation of the meaning):

“....Therefore fear not men, but fear Me....” [Al-Maa’idah 5:44]

Is it not a form of Shirk for a person to fear other people as he fears Allah or even more so?

Mu’aawiyah wrote to ‘Aa’ishah Umm al-Mu’mineen (may Allah be pleased with her) saying: “Send me a letter and advise me, briefly.” So ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) wrote to Mu’aawiyah saying: “Peace be upon you. I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, whoever seeks to please Allah by making people angry, Allah will protect him from people; whoever seeks to please people by making Allah angry, Allah will leave him to the people. Peace be upon you.” (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 2414).

People come up with many foolish reasons for not implementing the commands of Allah and His Messenger, in an attempt to make excuses so that they will not feel guilty, and in order to justify what they are doing by saying that they are under pressure or by misinterpretating things to suit themselves. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said, refuting that:

No one has any excuse whatsoever for disobeying Allah and going against His commands when he knows of them and is able to do what he is commanded and avoid what is forbidden. If there (really) was an excuse, he would not deserve to be punished and blamed, either in this world or in the hereafter.

(Madaarij al-Saalikeen, 1/189)

Blame yourself, done not blame someone else * and die of regret, for you have no excuse.

Some people use the Shaytaan as an excuse. Some people use al-qadaa’ wa’l-qadar (divine decree) as an excuse.  This is the worst kind of excuse.

Allah connected the adornment of this world and sin to the shayaateen, as He said (interpretation of the meaning):

“....and Shaytaan (Satan) made fair‑seeming to them that  which they used to do” [Al-An’aam 6:43]

“And so to many of the Mushrikoon (polytheists) their (Allah’s so‑called) ‘partners’ have made fair-seeming the killing of their children....” [Al-An’aam 6:137]. This does not contradict the aayah.

“....Thus We have made fair‑seeming to each people its own doings”   [Al-An’aam 6:108] – because when this is connected to Allah, it means that it is the matter of al-Qadaa’ wa’l-Qadar (divine decree), but when it is connected to the Shaytaan it means that he is the means by which it happens. Moreover, when sin is made attractive, this is a punishment for them liking and accepting that which the Shaytaan made fair-seeming to them, because the punishment for sayi’aat (bad deeds) is more bad deeds, and the reward for hasanaat (good deeds) is more good deeds.

 What is meant is that using al-qadar as an excuse contradicts the idea of repentance, and it is not an acceptable excuse at all. In some reports it is stated that if a person commits a sin, then says, ‘O Lord, this was Your decree and this is what You ordained for me,’ Allah says, ‘You did this, you earned it, you wanted it and you strove for it, and I will punish you for it.’ If he says, ‘O Lord, I did wrong and I erred and I transgressed,’ Allah says, “I decreed it and ordained that it would happen, and I will forgive you for that.’ If he does a good deed and says, ‘O Lord, I did it and I gave in charity and I prayed and I fed others,’ Allah will say to him, ‘I helped you and I guided you.’ And if he says, ‘O Lord, You helped me and supported me and blessed me,’ Allah will say, ‘You did it and you wanted it and you earned it.’

So there are two kinds of excuses: those in which a person does not admit that he was wrong – which contradicts the idea of  repentance, and those in which a person does admit that he was wrong – which makes repentance complete.

(Madaarij al-Saalikeen, 1/184)

Some people may have some kind of excuse, but it is very slight and it will not be of much use if they want to use that excuse before Allah. If you want to know how valid an excuse is, ask yourself, will this be of any benefit to me before Allah? And fear

“The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to Zaalimoon (polytheists, wrongdoers and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah). Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode (i.e. painful torment in Hell‑fire)” [Al-Ghaafir 40:52 – interpretation of the meaning]

Each person knows best about himself and whether his excuses are genuine or false. On the Day of Resurrection all matters will become clear, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Nay! Man will be a witness against himself [as his body parts (skin, hands, legs) will speak about his deeds], (14)Though he may put forth his excuses (to cover his evil deeds)” [Al-Qiyaamah 75:14-15]

 Acceptable excuses

On the other hand, there are some sincere people who Allah knows that they did not do some of the things that were enjoined upon them because of something that prevented them from doing so. These are some examples:

It was reported from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was on a campaign and he said: “There are some people in Madeenah and we did not travel through any valley or mountain pass but they were with us, and they were prevented from coming with us for a genuine reason.”  (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2627).

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

And those who made excuses from the Bedouins came (to you, O Prophet) asking your permission to exempt them (from the battle), and those who had lied to Allah and His Messenger sat at home (without asking the permission for it); a painful torment will seize those of them who disbelieve” [At-Tawbah 9:90]

Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Allah explained the situation of those who had excuses not to go out for jihaad and who came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to make their excuses and explain to him that they were weak and unable to go out for jihaad. They came from Arab tribes who lived around Madeenah. Ad-Dahaak said that Ibn ‘Abbaas used to recite it “jaa’a al-ma’dharoon” – without a shaddah – meaning those who had excuses… This meaning is more apparent, because Allah then says: and those who had lied to Allah and His Messenger sat at home meaning, others from among the Bedouin stayed at home and did not come to offer excuses. Then Allah warned them of a painful torment and said: a painful torment will seize those of them who disbelieve”.

(Tafseer Ibn Katheer).

It was reported from Ibn Abi Maleekah that Ibn ‘Abbaas recited (interpretation of the meaning):

Except the weak ones among men, women and children....” [An-Nisaa’ 4:98.] He said: my mother and I were among those who were excused by Allah… (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4222).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to accept the excuse of those who had valid excuses. It was reported that al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah said: I ate garlic then I came to where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to pray, and I had already missed one rak’ah. When I entered the mosque, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) noticed the smell of garlic. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) finished his prayer, he said, “Whoever has eaten from this plant, let him not come near us until the smell has gone away.” When I finished my prayer, I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, give me your hand.” And I put his hand inside the sleeve of my shirt so that he could feel the wrapper around my chest. He said, “You have an excuse.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3330. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, may Allah have mercy on him; Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2/726).

“the wrapper around my chest” – their custom was that when a person was hungry, he would wrap something tightly around his stomach, and sometimes they would place a stone beneath the wrapper.

(Awn al-Ma’bood, Kitaab al-At’imah; transmitted from al-Nihaayah by Ibn al-Atheer).

Excuses have a great impact on the soundness of good deeds and the application of the rulings. Some texts were narrated concerning those who have excuses, and if these texts are not connected to people who have excuses they will be open to misinterpretation. An example of this is the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah which states that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said; “Whoever catches up with one rak’ah of Subh (Fajr) prayer before the sun rises has caught up with Subh, and whoever catches up with one rak’ah of ‘Asr prayer before the sun sets has caught up with ‘Asr. (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, who said: the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah is a saheeh hasan hadeeth). This is the hadeeth on which our companions and al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad and Ishaaq based their opinion. They interpreted this hadeeth as referring to a person who has an excuse, such as a man who sleeps and misses the prayer, or forgets it and then wakes up and remembers it just before the sun rises or sets. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 545; al-Tirmidhi, 171 – this version was narrated by him).

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3. IGNORANCE OF ISLAMIC FIQH

Question:

Who are the ones who will be excused for ignorance? Will a person be excused for ignorance about matters of fiqh, or about matters of ‘aqeedah and Tawheed? What is the duty of the scholars with regard to this matter? 

Answer:

Claiming that one is ignorant or using this as an excuse is a matter which needs further discussion. Not everyone can be excused for his ignorance. With regard to the things which were brought by Islam, which the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained and which were made clear in the Book of Allah and are widely known among the Muslims, no claim of ignorance will be accepted in these cases, especially in matters with have to do with ‘aqeedah and the basics of religion.  Allah sent His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to teach the people their religion and explain it to them, and he conveyed the message clearly and explained to the ummah the truths of their religion. He explained everything and left them with a clear path which is always obvious.

In the Book of Allah there is guidance and light. If some people claim to be ignorant about things which are known to be essential parts of the religion and which are well known among the Muslims, such as claiming to be ignorant about shirk and worshipping anything other than Allah, or claiming that salaah is not obligatory, or that fasting Ramadaan is not obligatory, or that paying zakaah is not obligatory, or that doing Hajj when one is able to is not obligatory – in these and similar matters, claims of ignorance are unacceptable from those who live among the Muslims, because they are matters which are well known among the Muslims. They are known to be essential parts of the Muslim religion and are widely known among the Muslims, so the claim of ignorance of these matters is unacceptable.

This is the case if a person were to claim that he does not know that what the mushrikeen do at the graves or idols is wrong, when they call upon the dead, seek their help, offer sacrifices to them and make vows to them, or offer sacrifices to the idols, stars, trees or rocks; or seek healing or help against their enemies from the dead or idols or jinn or angels or Prophets… All of these are things which are known essentially in the religion that they are major shirk (al-shirk al-akbar). Allah explained this clearly in His Book, and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained it clearly. He remained in Makkah for thirteen years warning the people against this shirk, and he preached the same message in Madeenah for ten years, explaining to them that it is obligatory for their worship to be purely and sincerely for Allah Alone, and reciting to them the Book of Allah, such as the verses (interpretation of the meaning):

“....And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him....”  [Al-Israa’ 17:23]

“You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). [Al-Faatihah 1:5]

“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him....) [Al-Bayyinah 98:5]

“...So worship Allah (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allah’s sake only. (2) Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only.... [Az-Zumar 39:2-3]

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Verily, my Salaah (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists). (162) He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.’” [Al-An’aam 6:162-163]

And Allah says, addressing His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, We have granted you (O Muhammad) Al‑Kawthar (a river in Paradise). (1) Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).” [Al-Kawthar 108:1-2]

“And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah” [Al-Jinn 72:18]

“And whoever invokes (or worships), besides Allah, any other ilaah (god), of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely, Al‑Kaafiroon (the disbelievers in Allah and in the Oneness of Allah, polytheists, pagans, idolaters) will not be successful” [Al-Mu’minoon 23:117]

The same applies in the case of those who make fun of the religion, attack it, mock it and insult it – all of these are forms of major kufr and are things for which none may be excused on the grounds of ignorance, because it is well known in the religion that insulting the religion or insulting the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are forms of major kufr, as is making fun of the religion or mocking it. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“...Say: ‘Was it at Allah, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ (65) “Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed” [At-Tawbah 9:65-66]

It is obligatory for the scholars in every place to spread this knowledge among the people and to make it known so that the common folk will have no excuse and so that this important knowledge will become widespread among them; and so that they will give up their attachment to the dead and seeking help from them whether that is in Egypt, Syria, Iraq or in Madeenah at the grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), or in Makkah or anywhere else; and so that the pilgrims and the people will be aware, and will know the laws and religion of Allah.

The silence of the scholars is one of the reasons for the loss and ignorance of the common folk. The scholars, wherever they are, must convey to the people the religion of Allah and teach them about the unity of Allah (Tawheed) and the kinds of shirk, so that they will give up shirk out of understanding and so that they will worship Allah Alone with understanding. Similarly, they must speak out against the things that happen at the grave of al-Badawi, the grave of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him), or at the grave of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qaadir al-Jeelani or at the grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in Madeenah and at other graves. The people must know that worship is due to Allah alone, and no one else has any right to it, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him)” [Al-Bayyinah 98:5]

“So worship Allah (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allah’s sake only. (2) Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only [Az-Zumar 39:2-3] 

“....And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him....” [Al-Israa’ 17:23]

i.e., your Lord has commanded. So the duty of the scholars throughout the Muslim world and in the areas where there are Muslim minorities and in every place is to teach the people about the unity of Allah (Tawheed) and to educate them about the meaning of worshipping Allah, and to warn them against associating anything with Allah (shirk), which is the greatest of sins. Allah has created the two races (of mankind and the jinn) to worship Him, and He has commanded them to do that, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):  

“And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)” [Ad-Dhaariyaat 51:56]

 Worship means obeying Him and obeying His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), devoting worship sincerely and purely to Him, and focusing one’s heart on Him. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious)” [Al-Baqarah 2:21]

 With regard to matters which may be unclear, such as some transactions and some matters of prayer and fasting, the one who is ignorant of them may be excused, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) excused the man who entered ihraam dressed in a cloak and wearing perfume. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to him, “Take off the cloak and wash off the perfume, and do in your ‘umrah what you do in your Hajj.”

He did not tell him to pay a penalty (fidyah) for his ignorance. By the same token, some matters which may be unclear should be taught to the one who is ignorant so that he will come to understand them. But as far as the basics of ‘aqeedah, the pillars of Islam, and things which are clearly haraam are concerned, claims of ignorance cannot be accepted from anyone who lives among the Muslims.

If anyone who lives among the Muslims were to say, “I did not know that zinaa is haraam”, this is no excuse. If he were to say, “I did not know that disobeying my parents is haraam,” this is no excuse; rather he should be beaten and disciplined. Or if he were to say, “I did not know that homosexuality is haraam,” this is no excuse. These are matters which are clear and are well known among the Muslims and in Islam.

But if he lived in a land far away from the Muslim world or in a remote part of Africa where there are no Muslims around him, then the claim of ignorance may be accepted from him, and if he dies in that state his case will rest with Allah; he will come under the same ruling as those who lived during the fatrah (time between two Prophets).

The correct view is that they will be tested on the Day of Resurrection: if they respond and obey they will enter Paradise, and if they disobey they will enter Hell. But the one who lived among the Muslims but did actions of kufr and neglected the well known obligations, has no excuse, because the matter is clear and there are Muslims around him, who fast and perform Hajj. All of this is well known and widespread among the Muslims, so the claim of ignorance in this case is a false claim. And Allah is the One Whose help we seek. 

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4. EATING IN RESTAURANT

Question:

I know that this question has been addressed, but I am still confused as to all the circumstances in which it is permissible. Basically, is it permissible to eat meat from restaurants if it is not known whether the name of God has been pronounced at the time of slaughtering of the animal.

Answer: Praise be to Allah.  

If these restaurants are in a country where the slaughter of meat is taken care of by Muslims or People of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians), or the restaurant owners take care of the slaughter themselves and they are Muslims or people of the Book, then it is permissible to eat there, even if we do not know whether they mentioned the name of Allah over the slaughter or not, because the basic principle is that their meat is allowed. Al-Bukhaari (2057) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that some people said, “O Messenger of Allah, some people bring meat to us and we do not know whether they mentioned the name of Allah over it or not.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Say the name of Allah over it and eat it.” 

But if the slaughter of meat is taken care of by people other than Muslims or people of the Book, such as atheists and Hindus, then it is not permissible to eat it. 

It should be noted that meat slaughtered by a Muslim or a Jew or Christian is permissible if it was slaughtered in the manner prescribed in sharee’ah or if we do not know how it was slaughtered. But if we know that it was slaughtered in a way other than that prescribed in sharee’ah, such as by strangling, electric shock, etc, then it is maytah or dead meat and it is haraam to eat it regardless of whether the one who killed it was a Muslim or a kaafir, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al‑Maitah (the dead animals — cattle — beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering (that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols) and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns — and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal — unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death)…..” (Al-Maa'idah 5:3)

Shaykh Ibn Baaz in Fataawa Islamiyyah, 3/414

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: 

One of the following three scenarios must apply to this meat: 

1 – We know that it has been slaughtered in the proper manner. This meat is halaal. 

2 – We know that it has not been slaughtered in the proper manner. This meat is haraam. 

3 – We are not sure; we do not know whether it has been slaughtered in the proper manner or not. The ruling in this case is that the meat is halaal, and we do not have to ask about how it was killed, or whether the name of Allah was mentioned over it or not. Rather it seems from the Sunnah that it is better not to ask or try to find out. Hence when they said to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “we do not know whether they mentioned the name of Allah over it or not,” he did not say to them, Ask them whether they mentioned the name of Allah over them or not, rather he said: “Say the name of Allah over it yourselves, and eat it.” This tasmiyah or saying of the name of Allah which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told them to do is not the tasmiyah of slaughter, because the slaughter is over and done with. Rather it is the tasmiyah of eating, because what is prescribed is for the person who is eating to say the name of Allah when he eats. The correct view regarding saying the name of Allah when eating is that it is obligatory, because the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) enjoined it, and because if a person does not say the name of Allah, the Shaytaan shares his food and drink. 

If a person wants to be cautious and forego eating this meat, there is nothing wrong with that, but there is also nothing wrong with eating it. 

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5. MUSLIMS PARTICIPATING IN NON MUSLIM COUNTRIES ELECTION

Question :          

Is it permissible for Muslims living in non-Muslim countries to take part in elections held in those countries? Keeping in mind that such elections may make Muslims be members of the legislative organs in countries where there is no any consideration for the Shari’ah, is that permissible?

Answer :             

Reflecting on the practices of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, as stated in the Prophetic Biography, we will notice fine examples set by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, making it clear that forming some sort of cooperation with non-Muslims in worldly affairs is permissible as long as that will bring benefits to Muslims, and will help establish justice or ward off injustice. Hence, there is nothing in Muslims' participating in elections run in non-Muslim countries, especially when such participation accrues benefits to Muslims or ward off harms.

In response to the question, the European Council for Fatwa and Research issues the following Fatwa:

Before answering this question, we will shed light on the following three aspects:

1)  Al-Walaa’ (loyalty)

2)  The Prophet’s participation in some activities in Makkan and Medinan societies.

3) The Constitution of Madinah.

- The first aspect:

Al-Walaa can be divided into the two sections:

1- Loyalty in religious matters. It refers to creedal loyalty, which lies in believing in Allah and shunning other beliefs that run counter to the Oneness of Allah. This kind of Al-Walaa is due to Allah, His Messenger and the believers. Almighty Allah Says: Your friend can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor due, and bow down (in prayer)  (Al-Ma’dah 5: 55)

2-Loyalty as regards worldly matters: This refers to transactions between people living in the same society or between different societies, regardless the distance and the religion. It is permissible for Muslims to engage with non-Muslims in commercial transactions, peace treaties and covenants according to the rules and conditions prevalent in those countries. Books of Jurisprudence do contain many references about such kind of dealings.

- The second aspect:

The Prophet’s participation in activities in the Makkan and Madinan societies.

Throughout his life before and after the Prophetic mission, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, participated in many events that took place in the Makkan and Madinan societies. Following are the most prominent events he participated in before being a Prophet.

- First: The Fujjar War:

This war was waged against some Arab tribes who violated the sacredness of the holy sanctuary in the sacred months. Hence, the Makkan people had to defend the holy sanctuary; this was a good custom they inherited from the upright religion of Prophet Abraham. This fight lasted for four years, and the Prophet’s age at that time was around 15-19 years. He participated in this war side by side with his uncles. That is, he would defend his uncles against the enemies’ attack. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, did so out of his sense that he should share in defending his homeland and ward off aggression and injustice

- Second: Al-Fudul Alliance:

This incident occurred in the house of Abdullah bin Jad`an between the greatest tribes in Makkah. One of the principles they agreed upon was backing up any oppressed person in Makkah, regardless of his origin and the purpose behind his visit; they vowed to help him regain his rights. At the advent of his mission, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said (i.e. while referring to this alliance): “If I am invited to join a similar (alliance) after the spread of Islam, I will, surely, join it.”

Commenting on the aforementioned point regarding the Prophet’s participation in that alliance, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali stated: “Combating an oppressor however brutal he may be, and supporting an oppressed however low he may be, are consistent with the spirit of Islam that enjoins what is right, forbids what is wrong and calls for abiding by the limits set by Allah.

Moreover, Islam aims at putting an end to injustice whether in the general policies adopted by countries or oppression at the individual level. The Prophet’s participation in Al-Fudul Alliance reveals the positive attitude he took, for he considered himself part and parcel of the Makkan society. Besides, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was aware of the fact that if oppression or any form of injustice in the society is not eliminated, their ill effects will befall all and sundry.

Third: The Prophet's Response to SOS Calls:

The humanitarian gestures of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, towards the people of Makkah was not confined to the period he spent with them. This noble attitude continued even after emigrating Makkah to Madinah and establishing the Islamic state there, as he rushed to lend the hand of support when calamities befell the people of Makkah.

It is reported that during the time of Al-Hudaibiyah peace treaty, the Prophet was informed that a famine had afflicted the Makkan people. Thus he sent Hatib bin Abi Balta’a with 500 dinars to buy foods for the poor and the needy among the Makkans. You see, he did this despite that it was the same people that drove him out of the city and even hindered him from entering it.

The third aspect: The constitution of Madinah:

Considering the constitution of Madinah or the treaty held between Muslims, Jews and the Arab polytheists who constituted the population of Madinah at that time, after emigration, one will notice that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, stressed the importance of showing belonging and patriotism to the society. Thus, he made it clear that this is a general duty shared by all regardless of religions, races or complexions. The treaty stipulated the following:

1.  They (those who sign the treaty) should support one another in combating the attacks waged against any of them.

2.  They, together, should back up the oppressed.

3.  They, together, should fight against any enemy attacking Yathrib (Madinah).

We deduce from these three aspects that the early Muslims managed to cooperate with people of other religions, living together in the same society of Madinah, in fighting against anyone who tried to bring about sedition among people. Thus, they maintained peaceful co-existence within the same society.

This form of Al-Walaa comes under what we term ‘Al-Walaa in worldly affairs’. It states that citizens can live together in the same society in spite of their different faiths and religious orientations. Moreover, the Constitution of Madinah regarded the People of the Book as part and parcel of the first Islamic State. For instance, some of its articles state:

1-  The Jews of the tribe of BanuAwf are part of the Muslim community.

2-  Jews have their own religion and Muslims have their own religion.

3-  The rest of the Jewish tribes have the same rights as do the tribe of Banu ‘Auf

Conclusion:

Considering the issue of Al-Walaa, it is evident that there’s nothing wrong Islamically in having some sort of such cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslim as regards worldly affairs. Besides, the Prophetic Biography is abound with fine examples of how the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, dealt amicably with non-Muslims, both in the Makkan and Madinan societies. He shared in many pacts and alliances aiming at eliminating injustice and aggression, in addition, he shared in relieving the impact of adversities and famines.

According to the articles of the Madinah constitution, the residents of Madinah would cooperate in establishing justice, supporting one another in combating aggression and help one another do righteous acts.

So it’s clear that mutual cooperation in worldly affairs goes far to encompass all citizens who share a common destiny, neighborhood and sometimes kinship. This may be extended to include economic and commercial fields. In addition, the teachings of Islam, as deduced from the Qur’an and Sunnah, show that Islam is a religion of mercy, justice, goodness. One of the main goals of Islamic law is to achieve benefits and ward off harms, whether at the level of individuals or at the level of society.

Furthermore, elections in the modern world systems have become a means through which peoples choose candidates and judge the programs they adopt. Muslims living in such societies enjoy rights and are bound to do some duties. If they fail to meet the duties obligated on them, they are no more entitled to receive the rights, for the rights meet the duties.

Thus, Muslims’ participation in elections is a national duty; in addition it falls under cooperation on that which is good and righteous for the society and wording off harms from it, Allah Almighty says: “.… help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty. Help not one another unto sin and transgression ....”  (Al-Ma’dah 5: 2)

Therefore, we can say that Muslim’s participating in elections held in non-Muslim societies is Islamically permissible and there is nothing wrong in doing so. Besides, it is a kind of mutual cooperation with those whom Muslims think as potential candidates who, if they win the elections, will bring benefits for the society in general and Muslims in particular.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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6. VOTING FOR NON MUSLIM

Question :          

Is there any evidence in the Shar`iah to say that we cannot vote for a non-Muslim candidate? Some Muslims believe it is haram to vote for such people because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not do it nor did his Companions.

Answer :

Responding to your question, Sheikh Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti, Director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas, states the following:

According to the juristic rule, the action of the Prophet implies at least permissibility, and his leaving (that is, not doing something) does not necessarily mean that it is forbidden. To say that such and such is haram since the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not do it is not a good way of reasoning.

Voting for a non-Muslim candidate who would serve the Muslim community in the country and deal with Muslim countries on the basis of justice and fairness is not only permissible but required. It is the responsibility of the Muslim minorities in non-Muslim democratic countries to participate in public life, including voting and financing campaigns in order to be able to positively influence the political decision in these countries.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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7. HOW CAN MUSLIM WOMEN PRACTICE HER RELIGION IN A WESTERN COUNTRY?

Question:

Name of Questioner    Bethany - United States Date: 19/Jul/2002

I have questioned some feminine issues dealing with the religion/lifestyle in modern times. If women aren’t supposed to be with men in private (except for immediate family), how is it possible to conduct study, research, job, business and be an independent woman in the West?

I find it very difficult to fathom how young adults of Islam behave properly among the mass media, school systems, and career structures in the West.

Answer:  Name of Counselor : Harfiyah Haleem

 Dear Bethany,

I can understand your confusion and worries about what you have so far learned and observed about the life of Muslim women. The fact is that there are many shades of opinion among Muslim scholars about the limits to be observed by Muslim women. There are many Muslim women who go out into the workplace with or without a headscarf. They do their jobs like anyone else, yet manage to fit in their prayers and interact with the opposite sex in a straightforward and businesslike way, which prevents any improper or un-Islamic relationships.

Not all Muslim scholars forbid handshaking with the opposite gender. This is so long as it is perfunctory and has no sexual overtones. Personally, I will not offer to shake hands, but if a man offers his hand in a businesslike, formal gesture, I will shake it, rather than causing offence by refusing. If a man gets more physical, though, I try to avoid contact with him, and make sure I am not left alone with him.

Some Muslim women feel able to explain to non-Muslim men that they do not shake hands, but although I admire their firmness, and think it would be educational to do this, I would find it intrusive and alienating in most situations. One has to strike a balance one feels comfortable with. These guidelines are only to protect women (and men) from sexual harassment and improper relationships. The many Muslim men I work with can be trusted not to behave improperly towards women colleagues, as they know the limits set by God.

Likewise the attitude to prayer differs widely among even practicing Muslims, with some considering it a private matter, to be fitted around daily life in an unobtrusive way, whereas others insist on provision being made in the school or workplace for the Muslims to pray, and yet others preferring, if possible, to work within a Muslim environment with other Muslims who understand and recognize their need and obligation to pray and wear a headscarf, whatever work is offered, rather than compromise their religion in order to take a secular job for which they are qualified.

As a point of fact, there is a lot of latitude in the time periods during which each prayer is valid. Usually it is only the zuhr (midday) and asr (afternoon) prayers that fall within a working day. In mid-winter, the maghrib (sunset) prayer in some parts of the world falls within the working day, and this might sometimes be inconvenient, particularly for students. However if you necessarily need to combine maghrib and isha (evening) prayers during the evening, you will need to consult a scholar of fiqh (see Fatwas on combining prayers or submit your own request for a fatwa on particular circumstances of concern through this link).

If you try wearing a headscarf, as some non-Muslim American women did after September 11th in solidarity with Muslims, you will find out how difficult this seems in a hostile environment. Most of the Muslims reporting abuse and attacks after September 11th were women in a headscarf. In many ‘Muslim’ countries the authorities are so westernized and secularized that you can’t go to university or get a government job if you wear a headscarf. I am even told, long before September 11th you could be arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist just for praying too much.

Now that this attitude has become openly expressed in the West as well, where many of these Muslims have come to study without such restrictions, and in view of the numerous arrests without charge of Arabs in the West, I am not surprised some women are taking off their headscarf in some places so that they feel less conspicuous. The danger for Muslims living in the West and in westernized Muslim countries, is that they compromise their religion so much that they lose it, and the invaluable guidance it contains, completely.

Anyhow nowadays Muslims  try to fit in their culture, but still it does not stop others discriminating against them because they are from a Muslim background. Some of the Muslims in Bosnia practiced their religion so little that they could only be distinguished by their names, but that was enough to get them killed!

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://www.readingislam.com/

Added;

Islam does not object to women for going out as long as all abide by the Islamic teachings and manners. If such gatherings abide by the Shari`ah rulings, then there is nothing wrong with them. What is forbidden is khalwah (seclusion or between two members of the opposite sex); tabarruj (revealing women's attractions and `awrahs and all other forbidden acts such as seductive talk or walk); and physical contact between members of the opposite sex 
Our opinion in this matter is that Islamic Shari`ah did not object to men and women being present in one place on condition that three matters are avoided and refrained from:

First: Seclusion (khalwah)

That a man and woman meet in a place where no one else can see them.

Second: Adornment of women

that a woman uncovers what Allah (Mighty and Exalted be He) decreed to be covered of her body, or she wears perfume or jewelry or walks or talks in such a way that draws attention and raises ill-thoughts and feelings.

Third: Physical contact. 

Handshaking, kissing and embracing.

If above three matters are avoided and refrained from, then there remains no legal objection to the congregation, whether it be a co-education (if it under compulsion), marriage ceremony or any other thing else. However, we see that people often do not abide by these conditions, and thus the presence of men and women in one place becomes unlawful.

We all admit that living in Western countries, specially when their media has made their public hostile to Muslims, is a very difficult job. But always remember we have to die and will be accounted about our deeds. Even it is recommended that Muslim should migrate, if necessitated, to those countries where they can practice their religion. This happened in early Islamic age when prophet allowed such migration and Muslims went to Ethiopia.

Anyhow there is no limit of “Taqwa” (piety) and as much possible you can do and act on your religion, as good is for you. There are examples of sacrifices and also of compromises. It depends upon the individual circumstances and also his/her capability to resist or submit. Wearing scarf, not shaking hands with men, praying at its time etc are example of good Muslim, so as much possible you can do, try to do it. Allah will reward everyone on his/her intentions. There is a hadith of prophet (pbuh) :

Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab: I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. …."  (Bukhari)

So basic thing is that you must know the ruling of Islam on a particular subject, then if you are under compulsion to do against it, then if you do it with hate and compulsion, then Allah may forgive you.

Sometimes we cannot stop something which is disallowed in Islam, but at least our behaviour in heart should be displeasing. There is a very good hadith about such condition. Summery of that hadith is as follow:

"When one of you sees an evil he must change it by his hand. If he is not able to do so, he must change it by his tongue. If he is not able to do so, then by his heart and that is the weakest of faith."  (Muslim)

With above in mind, try your best to be a good practicing Muslim and go forward in life. However remember that Islam spread in world not by the teaching itself but by the sound conduct and character of Muslims. People don’t have time to read scriptures but when they see actual model, then they may ask about Islam and then may get attracted. That is the time when you can give Allah’s message to them.


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8. CAN A MUSLIM BE A SINCERE FRIEND TO A KAAFIR?

 Question :  

I have questions about Islam, can you explain to me? Is it permissible for a Muslim to be a sincere friend to a person who is not Muslim?

Answer :  Praise be to Allah.

It is not permissible for a Muslim to make friends with a mushrik or to take him as a close friend, because Islam calls on us to forsake the kaafirs and to disavow them, because they worship someone other than Allah. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O you who believe! Take not as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allah (i.e. the Jews). Surely, they have despaired of (receiving any good in) the Hereafter, just as the disbelievers have despaired of those (buried) in graves (that they will not be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection)”  (Al-Mumtahanah 60:13) 

This was also the teaching of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). 

1 – It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, “Do not keep company with anyone but a believer and do not let anyone eat your food but one who is pious.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2395; Abu Dawood, 4832. Abu ‘Eesa al-Tirmidhi said: this hadeeth is hasan. It was also classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2519). 

Abu ‘Eesa al-Khattaabi said: Rather he warned against keeping company with anyone who is not pious and against mixing with them or eating with them, because eating with a person instills friendship and love in the heart. 

He said: do not make friends with anyone who is not pious; do not take him as a companion with whom you eat and chat. 

(Ma’aalim al-Sunan, Haamish Mukhtasar Sunan Abi Dawood, 7/185, 186). 

2 – It was narrated from Samurah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not live among the mushrikeen and do not mix with them, for whoever lives among them or mixes with them is not one of us.” (Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 9/142; al-Haakim, 2/154. He said, it is saheeh according to the conditions of al-Bukhaari. The hadeeth was also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 2/229 with its corroborating reports). 

But it is permissible to deal with them in a kind manner in the hope that they might become Muslim. 

It was narrated that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: There was a Jewish boy who used to serve the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and he fell sick. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to visit him. He sat by his head and said, “Become Muslim.” (The boy) looked at his father who was with him, and he (the father) said, “Obey Abu’l-Qaasim (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).” So he became Muslim, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went out, saying, “Praise be to Allah Who has saved him from the Fire” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1290).

 And Allah knows best.

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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