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Obedience To The Law Of The Land

Question

We have heard that a muslim must abide by the law of the country.

Please advise if this is correct and on what authority.

The above fatwa is mentioned frequently and seems to be agreed upon. It is a huge statement as the law regulates most portions of life and these laws do not coincide with Shariah.

Is this rule correct?

If it is then what are the surrounding laws as it cant be a blanket rule as applied by most people.

Are there principles that govern Islam practiced in secerecy? 

(Some states do not allow religion or any religious beliefs or talk.)

Answer

Following the laws governed by the government could be divided into three categories,

1.     The laws are contrary to what Allāh Taʿālā has prescribed, such as a man giving his wife the power of divorce, giving a daughter the same share of the inheritance as a son, allowing the drinking of alcohol, the taking of interest, and so on. It is not permissible to act upon these laws or approve of them. A Ḥadīth states:

«لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الله عز وجل»  

“There is no obedience of the creation wherein there is disobedience to the Creator.” (Musnad Aḥmad, No. 1095).

  «السمع والطاعة على المرء المسلم فيما أحب وكره ما لم يؤمر بمعصية، فإن أمر بمعصية فلا سمع عليه ولا طاعة»

“It is necessary upon a Muslim to listen to and obey the ruler in all matters, as long as one is not ordered to carry out a sin. If he is commanded to commit a sin, then there is no adherence and obedience.” (Sunan at-Tirmidhī, No. 1707)

2.     The laws are in accordance with what is mentioned in Islāmic teachings. In this case, one must abide by them, intending the obedience of Allāh Taʿālā and His Nabi (Ṣallallāhu ʿAlayhi Wa Sallam).

3.   The Islāmic texts have not said anything about the laws, but they are in the best interests of the people, such as laws having to do with driving, paying of rates & taxes for services, etc. These laws must be adhered to, in accordance with the Qurānic texts which enjoins being faithful to contracts and covenants. Allāh Taʿālā says: “O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations” [al-Mā’idah: 1]. Being a citizen of a country, one has agreed, by default, to abide by the laws of the country; as such, it would be imperative for every person to remain true to his agreement as long as it does not contravene the laws of the Supreme Commander – Allāh Ta’aala.

 

However, if a law of the country is contrary to Sharīʿah and it is imposed on an individual without him having any choice in the matter, then reluctantly and grudgingly, a person may follow that law out of necessity. For example, it is impractical to live in a country without an Identity Document (I.D.); he will therefore be permitted to make an I.D. even though it entails the taking of a photo (which is generally regarded as impermissible). 

A person should endeavor to the best of his ability to practise on the laws of Sharīʿah in the manner prescribed. However, if there is a fear of falling into problems with the authorities and a person does not have the capacity to endure the difficulties of being imprisoned etc., or he fears for his life, then in such a case, he may practise his religious duties secretly, if that is possible.

If a person, however, is unable to practise upon his Dīn at all, then he must make Hijrah – migrate to another country wherein he will not face this problem. Allāh Taʿālā says in the Qur’ān: “O My slaves who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth (so if you cannot worship Allāh at a place, then go to another)! Therefore worship Me. (Alone)” [al-ʿAnkabūt: 56].

The sole purpose of this worldly life is to worship Allāh Taʿālā. As such, if a person is unable to fulfil his duties to his Master, he will have to forgo and sacrifice some of his worldly luxuries and pleasures, and at times, his hometown and close associates in order to fulfil this objective of his.

The best precedent we have of this was Nabī himself. Nabī left the Holy Land of Makkah Mukarramah wherein he was born and raised, and migrated to Madīnah Munawwarah. In Madīnah Munawwarah they were at total ease in worshipping Allāh Taʿālā. Similarly, the Ṣaḥābah Radhiyallahu Anhum migrated to Abyssinia, simply so that they may practise on their Dīn. Therefore, if we find ourselves in a similar situation, we will be bound to migrate to another city or country wherein we can freely practise on our Dīn.

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

References

1095 – حدثنا عبد الله، حدثنا عبيد الله بن عمر القواريري، حدثنا ابن مهدي، عن سفيان، عن زبيد، عن سعد بن عبيدة، عن أبي عبد الرحمن السلمي، عن علي، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، قال: «لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الله عز وجل».

[مسند أحمد (2/ 333) طبعة الرسالة] 

   1707 – حدثنا قتيبة، قال: حدثنا الليث، عن عبيد الله بن عمر، عن نافع، عن ابن عمر، قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «السمع والطاعة على المرء المسلم فيما أحب وكره ما لم يؤمر بمعصية، فإن أمر بمعصية فلا سمع عليه ولا طاعة».

[سنن الترمذي (3/ 261) تحقيق بشار]

  ثم اعلم أن الهجرة عن بلاد الكفر والمعاصي أتت عليها درجات متفاوتة في الإسلام، فكان أول أمرها أن المسلمون لما أمروا بالهجرة من مكة كان فرض عين عليهم، بل وإمارة الإسلام بحيث لا يقبل منهم الإسلام بدون الهجرة كما شهدت به آيات الكتاب، ثم يسر الله تعالى الأمر على المسلمين فبقيت مستحبة من بلاد الكفر والفسق مطلقًا، كيفما كان، وإن كان فيها قادرًا على إقامة الدين، وسواء ذلك في دار الإسلام ودار الحرب. وهذا التفصيل ذكره الحافظ في «فتح الباري»، وقواعد الحنفية رحمهم الله لا تأباه. [أحكام القرآن للتهانوي: 3/141]

  هَذَا أَمْرٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِعِبَادِهِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِالْهِجْرَةِ مِنَ الْبَلَدِ الَّذِي لَا يَقْدِرُونَ فِيهِ عَلَى إِقَامَةِ الدِّينِ، إِلَى أَرْضِ اللَّهِ الْوَاسِعَةِ، حَيْثُ يُمْكِنُ إِقَامَةُ الدِّينِ، بِأَنْ يُوَحِّدُوا اللَّهَ وَيَعْبُدُوهُ كَمَا أمرهم؛ ولهذا قال: ﴿يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ أَرْضِي وَاسِعَةٌ فَإِيَّايَ فَاعْبُدُونِ﴾. [تفسير ابن كثير]

 ذِكْرُ الْهِجْرَةِ الْأُولَى إلَى أَرض الْحَبَشَة

إِشَارَة رَسُول الله صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ على أَصْحَابه بِالْهِجْرَةِ:

قَالَ ابْنُ إسْحَاقَ: فَلَمّا رَأَى رَسُولُ اللهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – مَا يُصِيبُ أَصْحَابَهُ مِنْ الْبَلَاءِ. وَمَا هُوَ فِيهِ مِنْ الْعَافِيَةِ. بِمَكَانِهِ مِنْ اللهِ وَمِنْ عَمّهِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ وَأَنّهُ لَا يَقْدِرُ عَلَى أَنْ يَمْنَعَهُمْ مِمّا هُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ الْبَلَاءِ. قَالَ لَهُمْ: “لَوْ خَرَجْتُمْ إلَى أَرْضِ الْحَبَشَةِ، فَإِنّ بِهَا مَلِكًا لَا يُظْلَمُ عِنْدَهُ أَحَدٌ. وَهِيَ أَرْضُ صِدْقٍ حَتّى يَجْعَلَ اللهُ لَكُمْ فَرَجًا مِمّا أَنْتُمْ فِيهِ”.

فَخَرَجَ عِنْدَ ذَلِكَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ رَسُولِ اللهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – إلَى أَرْضِ الْحَبَشَةِ، مَخَافَةَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَفِرَارًا إلَى اللهِ بِدِينِهِمْ. فَكَانَتْ أَوّلَ هِجْرَةٍ كَانَتْ فِي الْإِسْلَام. [الروض الأنف للسهيلي (3/ 120)]


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