Nowadays the number of Muslims in the world is large and is still increasing. Either we, Muslims, are now found all over the world for survival in this world or because that is where we were born. This has made we, Muslims, find ourselves deeply rooted within the non-Muslim people (land). It is therefore important for every Muslim to know what a non-Muslim land is. A non-Muslim country/land is the country or land where Muslims are in minority hence they have either limited freedom to practice their religion or have none at all. The same applies to any land in which the people belong to the religion of Islam, but those who are in authority govern by laws other than those revealed by Allaah, and the Muslims are not able to establish the rituals of their religion.
For Muslims who live in the non-Muslim land and find themselves oppressed spiritually, physically, economically e.t.c, are commanded to make hijra (immigrate) to another land. This is compulsory to anyone who is under the conditions stated above. Allah says in Chapter 4 of Qur’an verse 97
“Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves – [the angels] will say, “In what [condition] were you?” They will say, “We were oppressed in the land.” They [the angels] will say, “Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?” For those, their refuge is Hell – and evil it is as a destination”.
The rule of Hijra (emigration) of Muslims did not end in the time of the prophet, it still exists till now.
Of course this rule does not apply to those who are weak among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan and those who unable to direct their way. This is so because Allah says
“Except the weak ones among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way. These are they whom Allaah is likely to forgive them, and Allaah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving” [Qur’aan 4:98-99]
Islamic scholars have also discussed some conditions that can make a Muslim stay in a non-Muslim land, viz:
First, that the person must be secure in his religious commitment, so that he has enough knowledge, faith and will power to ensure that he will adhere firmly to his religion and beware of deviating or going astray, and that he has an attitude of enmity and hatred of the kaafirs and will not befriend them and love them, for befriending them and loving them are things that contradicts faith. Allaah says
“You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people)” [Qur’aan58:22]
Secondly, that he should be able to practice his religion openly, so that he can observe the rituals of Islam with no impediment.
And, also receiving medical treatment makes it permissible to stay (as much as it is needed) in the non-Muslim land because this issue falls in the category of necessity.
One thing that Muslims should know is that hijra (emigration) does not necessarily mean that Muslims should migrate from one country to another. This can also mean migrating within the same country from non-Muslim community to a Muslim community wherein you will be more free to practice your religion. Muslims should not fear immigrating to muslim community because they are afraid of worldly loss rather they should fear Allah and reflect on the verse that says
“…And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out” [Qur’aan 65:2]
It is therefore also very important to islamically purify and have a strategy to survive in our Muslim communities. This can be done by:
Establishing quality educational institutions in our community. Of course, the primary knowledge should be of that of Islam to make the community survive spiritually. On the other hand, we should also establish secular Muslim schools to survive in this world. To save money of infrastructures, this can be done by establishing schools that combine both Islamic and secular studies. In Malawi we have such examples namely Lilongwe Islamic Secondary School, Mama Khadija, Dedza Girls Islamic Secondary, Al Bakir Secondary School, Assalam Boys and Girls Secondary Schools, Nkhotakota Primary Islamic Center e.t.c
Muslims should also establish institutions like interest-free banks, Hospitals and other important Islamic organisations.
Another strategy is to remove any culture from our community that opposes Islam. This helps Muslim community to be built based on authentic Islamic knowledge and culture hence developing successful Muslim community. It is haram (not allowed) to cling to culture that opposes Islamic culture just because you found your fathers doing the same thing. Allah says in the Qur’aan 7 verse 28
“And when they commit an immorality, they say, “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has ordered us to do it.” Say, “Indeed, Allah does not order immorality. Do you say about Allah that which you do not know?”
In addition, Allah says in another place “And when it is said to them, ‘Follow what Allah has revealed’ they say, ‘Rather, we will follow that upon which we found our fathers.’ Even if Satan was inviting them to the punishment of the Blaze? [Qur’aan 31:21]
Therefore, in summary that is how we, Muslims, can achieve the success in this world and the hereafter.
Allah knows best.