in category Fiqh (Jurisprudence)

Must Muslims fulfil their contracts in non-Muslim countries?

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The issue is disputed because there are two realities that need to be considered.

The first is for Muslims born in these societies and the second for Muslims who have emigrated there. Furthermore, Western societies are conceptually unclear about the relationship of the citizen and state - documented in the academic research known as "Consent Theory".

In sum the controversial question has been and remains, is there a contract or agreement in place between the citizen and state where one is not explicitly agreed.

Where such a contract is in place, the answer would be yes. Where one is not in place, the answer would be no.

Muslims emigrating to a non-Muslim country usually undergo ceremonies where they enter into oaths, contracts or covenants with the state.

Scholars like Salman al-Oudah think they must therefore comply with the laws of their country of residence without, at the same time, disobeying Islamic Law relying on texts like:

"Oh you who believe! fulfil (your) obligations." [Surah al-Ma'idah: 1]

"And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily! The covenant will be questioned about." [Surah al-Isra': 34]

"And fulfil the Covenant to Allah when you have covenanted and break not the oaths after you have confirmed them." [Surah al-Nahl: 91]

"It is not the case that every time they make a covenant, some party among them throws it aside. Nay! The truth is most of them believe not." [Surah al-Baqarah: 100]

The leading Hanafi jurist on this Mohammad al-Shaybani writes:

"If it happens that a company of Muslims pass through the enemy's front lines by deceptively pretended to be messengers of the Muslim's Caliph carrying official documents - or if they were just allowed to pass through the enemy lines - they are not allowed to engage in any hostilities with the enemy troops. Neither are they entitled to seize any of their money or properties as long as they are in their area of authority. This also applies in case of being truly trusted by the other party."

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