Friday 1st of July 2022
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Emigration at the Expense of Religion is Forbidden

Emigration at the Expense of Religion is Forbidden

On the other hand, Islam takes a negative stance on emigration, forbidding it if it leads to a weakening of the religion-be it in personal or family observance, in any non-Islamic country he goes to where the essential conditions for Islam are non-existent. The conditions which run distinctly against an Islamic upbringing abound. In this situation, emigration may mean "assimilation after immigration"-which is rejected by the Shariah, for Islam does not intend Muslims to put themselves in a position of vulnerability in respect of culture, religious conduct, after they have enjoyed both, along with other factors that render them superior in thought and deed.

If emigration leads to a person falling into the clutches of the oppressors, either through the intelligence agents or the like who will exploit his needs and his weaknesses in the host country, forcing him to become a member of their group or to spy on his coreligionists, to establish espionage activity among the Muslims on behalf of the oppressors, then emigration is forbidden.

Analysis of Refugee-Status Emigration

In the light of the foregoing discussion, what is termed "political asylum," to which many of our Muslim coreligionists who live in countries under despotic rule have resorted, needs be studied from several perspectives.

The first perspective: Because of the methods often used to initiate the process of political asylum, or at different stages of this process, the fleeing Muslim believer may be reduced to a state of degradation, by having to resort to forbidden (haram) activities-e.g., forced by circumstance to take haram food and drink, and other illicit deeds. In cases such as these, the emigration is not permissible, since it is forbidden for a person to abase himself, just as it is forbidden for him to go to a place where he knows beforehand that he will be compelled to commit illicit acts. The exception to the ruling is where the situation wherever he now lives is such that he will encounter more evil by staying than by emigrating.

Is it up to the individual to assess what constitutes oppression?

If the individual has the appropriate knowledge and experience, then he is capable of assessing his position, since the issue relates to his personal responsibilities and satisfaction. However, if he has none of the requisite knowledge and experience, he must seek recourse to the experts who can clarify and assess the matter for him. The second perspective: Political asylum may lead to a state where the refugee lives in a morally licentious society which discourages worship, in which respect he has no freedom; or he does not possess the outlets that would protect him from falling into the temptations of this society. Society may not see fornication, homosexuality, or any form of moral depravity as being wrong. Seeking asylum in such a place is forbidden.

Associated with this is whether his staying in the country will lead to his children having an upbringing that is not Islamic. So much so, he is forced to leave them in schools which misguide them in terms of beliefs and conduct; or where they live in a situation where he has no authority over them before adolescence, or after adolescence. This is especially true of those places where the child who reaches adolescence is entitled to complain to specific authorities and lodge against his own father or mother, and can have their parental authority revoked on the grounds that they are too severe towards him, or some such reason.

The third perspective: Where remaining in this country may cause him to join the espionage apparatus operating against Islam and the Muslims, or to engage in the commerce of illegal commodities like drugs-and in such a situation, emigration is seen as a prohibited (haram) action.

If however, we are able to find in the country of political asylum Islamic nurseries which allow the child or youth to establish a life where he can develop Islamically, then there is nothing against emigration. In fact, such emigration may be a commendable act, or better, according to the Shariah-when the Muslim's search for asylum in this country leads to calling to the path of God, and to serving in God's cause in the areas of freedom that one or another country allows, or similar activity which rate as service to Islam and the Muslims.

From this, it is obligatory for those who are forced by Islamic considerations to flee-whether it be for reasons of doctrine, politics, or function (autocratic ruling or oppressive authority)-to study the proposed country of asylum, to see if it offers a milieu for calling to the path of God; to see how well it could incorporate Islam in thought, conduct, ethics, and practice. They also have to respond to the words of God: "O you who Believe! Protect yourselves and your families from a fire, the fuel of which is people and stones" (al-Tahrim, 66:6).

They must work on the principle of maintaining themselves, their children, their families by embarking on their own education projects and religion, by creating an attractive Islamic atmosphere for the immigrants and their children to live an Islamic life with the proper development. They also have to call to the way of God, in conduct, so that people who go to them will find them exemplary in their productive life, enriching the country through a fruitful contact with Islam-thanks to how Islam deals with life, freedom, justice, and (other) human issues. They must work on the principle that they have to be outstanding in truth, trust, piety, and harmonious interaction with the people there. They must do so until people there recognize that upright conduct is what Islam calls its followers to adopt in order to be exemplary in righteousness, the best of people living the human experience before God in a manner that enriches others and enriches life.

It is incumbent on those Muslims who emigrate, to protect themselves against the threat to their security in their homeland, not to disturb the order of things. They may find that the people have certain ideas, concepts, or habits which do not agree with Islamic principles. In this case, they must stay away, without creating a negative, tense atmosphere which causes them to be rejected in that country. This is because, on the one hand, such conduct detracts from being perceived by the people of that country as being compatible with the general order; and on the other hand, it may lead the country in which they now reside to opt for their expulsion or deportation, thereby returning them to the original problem.

I invite my emigrating brethren in the way of God to the saying of Imam al-Sadiq, when he said: "Be to us as the callers to the path of God, without using your tongues, so that honesty, goodness, and piety may be evident in you."

I say to you, with all the love and affection, that you have fled with your religion from oppression, corruption, tyranny, and non-belief; so do not, in the places you now live, abandon your religion. Rather, count on your religion to be the primary personal standard, the main cause for your getting together, the reason for your existence-for the pureness of this life and the hereafter put it on that level.

We wait for you to become the callers to Islam over there, to open for us a new place, and by Islam, to create new horizons for us.

According to the response to the first question, the Muslim who seeks asylum must not degrade himself. There are those refugees who say: "In the place of refuge to which they have gone, there is more respect and honor than in the Islamic countries." What is the response to this?

The issue may appear to be thus long after the search for refuge has begun-when the refugees are crowded into confined places and treated very badly-which may give them the impression that there is degradation. If they suffer degradation from another perspective in the country in which they were, they must compare between the degradation here and the degradation in the other country, to determine their position according to the Shariah with respect to what is halal and what is haram.

When I spoke of degradation, it was in objective terms, not subjective ones. A person may perceive degradation where there is none, or may not recognize degradation where there is every sign of it-because he is looking ahead to what will happen afterwards, knowing that the humbleness of a Muslim before a non-believer is different from the humbleness of a Muslim before another Muslim.

Police Authority

What about the authority of the police, which is recognized in the West as an alternative authority to that of the father, in the case where the son or daughter lodges a complaint against the father?

When we analyze the matter from an objective, human viewpoint, we may find some mitigating points for protecting the children from the abuse of authority. I believe that something of this sort is within our capacity in the Islamic countries. We hasten to protect the child from its parents. The father is a protector of the children in their rearing, good to them, and can interact with them. If, however, paternal authority or guardianship changes into oppression of the child, and you cannot protect the child from its parents as long as the child remain with them, then legal authority has the right to take the child to protect him from his parents, and to put him in the custody of someone who can nurture him. The issue that raises itself here concerns the standards which the West places for judging harshness and gentleness towards children, which may differ from our own standards.

Consequently, we may differ with the Westerners in cases where they see that the father and mother are abusive towards the children, enough for the authorities to take the child in order to protect it from its parents. We may also find that the father may have to discipline his child, sometimes severe, in a way which, while not constituting mental or physical abuse, may still not be compatible with Western views. In view of this, we warn our brethren who live in the West, from falling into these difficult situations. In order to protect themselves, they should desist from severe methods in dealing with their children, and instead try other methods of rearing their children, or seek other ways which will not cause the son or the daughter to lodge complaints with the state against the family. The reason is that when the state takes the child, the child may lose in terms of religion, ethics, etc.

The Problem of Children and Adults

When we bring up the question of foreign refuge or immigration, the topic focuses on the loss of the children and their corruption, as if the adults are somehow exempt in this respect. What is your view?

We do not speak in terms of adults and children. We speak rather in terms of actual authority, which is not essentially the same as the Shariah authority, where the father has effective authority over his son and daughter. The problem which Muslims face in the West is that, if the son or his daughter become corrupted, they cannot be compelled, because the law prevents this; the father is not permitted to employ certain means to order the good and to forbid the evil (al-amr bi-l-maruf wa-n-nahi ani-l-munkar) where his family and children are concerned. This is what residence in the West-as much for refugees as for others-causes as a problem in Islam with respect to corrupted children. In Islam, the father has the right to rid them of corruption, a right he does not possess in the West. But in that event, it is forbidden for the father to remain wherever his children will be led astray.

The Double Lives of the Immigrant Youth

There is the problem of the double lives which youth experience in the West-especially with regards to religiously observant families. In the home, children may be instructed to observe religion, but when they go outside the home they encounter an opposite reality.

This dichotomy may be a normal state of affairs which children experience with their fathers, everywhere that society evolves in a manner different from the way things function at home. The manners and customs of the society may be different to those of the house, which puts the student or youth in a state of mental confusion, bewilderment, and functional dichotomy. This is because this youth does not have well-founded rules in his mind to balance his actions. At the same time, if he wants to give in to the pressures of the street, he will live in a state where he faces pressure at home; or if he is tempted to give in to the pressures of the house, he will be pressured in the street. This causes a mental conflict, leading to an inability to solve the problem-lying around the house if either the street pressure or the pressure of instinct is stronger. This can lead to him facing severe problems in the street if he gives in to the pressure of the household or acts thus.

Therefore, in this situation the family must study the points of weakness in the life of youth, to rescue them from this problem; otherwise we will face, here in the Middle East, the same problems faced by the West, whose manners and customs we are receptive of.

The Child Succumbing to Influences

There are those immigrant fathers who state: "My children are young, only one or two years old. And I shall remain relaxed until they become older," with the assumption that there are no negative influences on the young.

I do not agree with the thinking of these people, because the child who is brought up in that environment will retain this environment whenever he contemplates his childhood. In this manner, he will have emotions and meanings in his personality, albeit in a childlike manner. This will have an effect on his future if he goes elsewhere, because we retain the problems of our childhood after we become adult. Thus, a child can breathe religion as well as he can infidelity (kufr), good as well as he can evil. This means that this method does not work in this respect. We do not wish to exacerbate the problem, insisting that the same influences that affect the child also affect youth. But we cannot deny such influences, which may greatly conflict later in the child's future, in that his nurturing may be retarded in another area. name,

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