Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
The persecution of Muslims in my country has been getting worse by the day. Recent incidents related to banning hijabs in schools make me less confident about the safety of freedom of religion for Muslims in the future. That makes me wonder.
What is the significance of my national citizenship in light of Sacred Law?
How should I be dealing with the state? When does one have to leave one’s country, if possible? Etc.
In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Especially Merciful. We pray that Allah facilitates ease for people of Faith across the world.
When circumstances in one’s country don’t allow the freedom to practice Islam, and it is possible to emigrate to a better one, fleeing with his religion becomes obligatory.
Our nationalities, races, genders, languages, etc., are secondary matters with no real significance in the Afterlife or the ranks of Allah.
Allah says, “O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Quran 49:13]
Allah says, “When the angels seize the souls of those who have wronged themselves —scolding them, “What do you think you were doing?” they will reply, “We were oppressed in the land.” The angels will respond, “Was Allah’s earth not spacious enough for you to emigrate?” It is they who will have Hell as their home—what an evil destination!” [Quran 4:97]
Being concerned for one’s religious freedom is an important consideration. When practicing one’s religion is challenging in one’s country, though still possible, it may be advisable to practice patience since there are challenges for people of faith the world over.
If the conditions are unbearable, meaning one cannot practice one’s faith or fears that the faith of one’s offspring may be compromised in the future and change seems improbable, they are not obliged to rise against the rulers. Instead, in such a case, a Muslim is obliged to emigrate from his country if he can find a better one, fleeing with his religion. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]
I pray that this helps.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.