Hijrah: Hijrah to non-Muslim Lands Part 2

2012 Fall Session (October 28 to December 23 2012)

Class taught by Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo

Required or Recommended Reading:

There is actually a great deal of related literature available on in English that could be classified as “interesting.”

One book that I plan on referring to a great deal is: Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus by Andrew March

The following books all contain material that we may wish to benefit from or comment on:

To be a European Muslim by Tariq Ramadan.

Western Muslims and the Future of Islam by Tariq Ramadan.

The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and Britain by Kathleen Moore.

Citizenship and Accountability of Government: An Islamic Perspective by M. Hashim Kamali

Muslim and American? Straddling Islamic Law and U.S. Justice by Mark Hanshaw

Liberal Democracies, Citizenship and Muslim Loyalties

Islamic Identity, al-Walaa, Imitation

Basic Outline of the Quarter

The following items will be discussed this quarter although some may be left for next quarter:

Particular Fiqh Issues

Taking Citizenship

Participation in Military

Participation in Political Process

Issues of Marriage, Divorce, Child Custody, etc.

From the Theoretical to the Real: Islamophobia

Islam in Western Media


No final exam for nine-week courses, with the possible exception of a take-home exam.

2012-10-28 Class Notes

A few conclusions from last quarter on the fiqh of Muslim minorities. This concept of Muslim minorities has been heavily critiqued by many Ulema. Some of these critiques came from (unfortunately) other extreme groups who even go as far as doubting the intentions of the people of the fiqh of minorities.  (Footnote: The above remark was made in reference to a specific criticism that Shaykh did not discuss in the class last quarter.)

One of the arguments that has been made is that it is yet another attempt to invent a new system that diverges from true Islam that leads to conclusions that have never been sanctioned in the Shariah. Muslims are obliged to obey Allah (SWT) no matter where they are. This should be a premise of a Muslim. And you have to apply the Shari’ah of Allah (SWT) no matter where you are.

There may be conditions of necessity, but they are not general and they should not be creating new forms of fiqh.

Criticism of Fiqh of Minorities by Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al Booti

One critic is Muhammad Saeed Ramadan Al-Booti -- what makes this interesting is that he is the father of Tariq Ramadan. He used very strong words.  Hani Ramadhan also has a very strong criticism of Tariq’s position (Hani takes an extreme approach in the process).  He said that it is not a coincidence that the Fiqh of Muslim Minorities has come at the same time to divide Islam. This ideological attack follows the calls to Fiqh of Minorities. He goes on to say that this is an attack on Islam using the garb of Islam.

What he is saying is that eventually you will create an Islam that is different from the Islam of the rest of the world.

The fiqh of Muslim minorities also touches on questions of loyalty. There’s no question that it’s creating a kind of muslim diaspora that may not have that attachment to the Muslim community as a whole.

Qur’an 49:10

Sahih International: The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy

One of the books we will be discussing is the book by Andrew March, Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus by Andrew March.

Another criticism is based on some of the non-Muslims who also critique the fiqh of Muslim minorities. One of them wrote, Muslim minorities are trying to gain political power at the expense of the sovereignty of the western powers. They say it is geared towards separation from the societies. They say that it is an ulterior motive that is anti Western, so they say it is basically a plot to subvert the West by introducing the fiqh of Muslim minorities.

[Footnote: It seems odd to the Sheikh that Muslims can be both imbecilic and corrupt, and yet be accused of being a major threat who will take over the power structures in the West].

[Footnote: Once you are questioning the intentions of the opposite party then you are not on the objective academic grounds. If one should question one’s sincerity then one should have clear evidence to believe so].

As an example of using intentions of people to attack them, is the attack by Fatima Mernissi on the narrator of the hadith that says that a nation will not succeed if it is led by a woman, the critic goes into unsubstantiated attack on why the Sahaba narrated that hadith -- called Abu Bakra, explaining his situation in Basra. We should avoid this type of criticism, where we discuss somebody’s intention without any basis for this type of reasoning.

In the end of the Taha Jabir Alwani’s book (we discussed last quarter) discusses Hijrah to Abysinnia. The Hijrah to Abysinnia is the one where Muslims stayed there for a very long time even after Prophet (pbuh) established Islam in Medina. This Hijrah has no relevance to the fiqh of Muslim minorities. We have to realize the difference between the kind of systems they had and the kind of what we have today. The system in that region of the world (including Abysinnia) a Dhimmi system where the minority was recognized as a minority which practices it own religion and lives in a certain portion (another example is a ghetto, which literally means an enclave). People stuck to their own areas. Today in civil and liberal democracies, there are demands which are put on you. The interaction of the societies back then was very different compared to today. It is not known, but it is possible that Muslims went into some kind of some pact with the Abysinnian authorities. However, this Hijrah cannot support by any means on the fiqh of Muslim minorities.  

We Muslims are now living in a liberal democracy. And this idea of the liberal democracies is one of the greatest fitnahs that Muslims are dealing with these days. Francis Fukuyama’s hypothesis is that liberal democracy is the be-all and end-all of what a state should be.

Unfortunately, many Muslims authors are accepting liberal democracies as the final system for the society. Even with Arab spring the majority want democracy (even though they do not use the word liberal in front of it). There are many many types of democracies in the first place. Which one to implement is another big question. Even the Marxist are extreme democrats. The workers are part of the decision making. They believe in participatory democracy and not only in representative democracy (like we have USA).


Free market economy and democracy are the biggest enemies of each other. Free market economy makes a few so rich that they control all the information resources and they use media to brainwash the masses. What are the demands that this liberal democracy putting on us Muslims? This and similar questions InshaAllah we will study this quarter. First we discuss liberal democracy and what is it. How is liberal democracy critiqued by people here in the West.

2012-11-04 Class Notes

We are living under Liberal Democracy. This paradigm is being spread even throughout the Muslim world. We Muslims have to understand our position with respect to this dominant paradigm. The authors who are writing about this in English have strong Modernist leanings. It is need of time that Muslims who clearly understand the position of Quran and Sunnah in Islam, study and write about this topic. We need to study this topic in good detail.

Andrew March book talks about whether Liberal Democracy compatible to Islam.Today, inshaAllah, we first discuss something about Liberalism. Keep in mind that Liberalism does not mean that those who do not agree with Liberalism will be tolerated. So keep that in mind when discussing Liberalism.

What is Liberalism? It is a political philosophy based on two basic principles

1) Liberty or Freedom

2) Equality

It is not based on revelation from Allah (swt). So one needs to understand why this human philosophy exists. It developed in the Age of Enlightenment and was a reaction to the philosophies of the time. The political philosophy of the time was the divine right of kings -- that kings were chosen by God and have absolute authority and these kings are also head of the state religion. The Christians who came to USA were those Christians who were not part of the government and felt oppressed so they came to USA.

Locke came up with theory of natural rights. The right of ownership, liberty and life. The political authority is the social contract between the ruler and the citizen. Secularism came about in Europe when the man made religions started to become oppressive. So the reaction started against all religions and every religion was considered man-made. Liberalism has been met with many criticisms and many critiques.

One book is “Getting what you want?: A critique of liberal democracy” by Bob Brecher. In both Liberalism and Democracy there is empty space of morality. This author argues that morality is whatever people want and this is what becomes acceptable and author concludes this is not a good goal. If people want pornography then this is what they will get. This type of liberalism, e.g. in UK and USA will not have any form of accountability. Morality is not defined by the government in such societies. They may gives laws but they do not define morality.

Another book is by Maureen Ramsay “what is wrong with liberalism”. She critiques it.

Another book is by John Gray “two faces of liberalism”. He is a philosopher who was classical liberal philosopher. He started to say that liberalism is what promises good life but then if majority decides what is good life then you have removed liberty and you are making the minority to live by what they may not agree upon hence the minority loses the liberty and does not have the freedom to believe in what they think is right. For example, in Belgium, there is a Muslim Political Party. Some members of Parliament have problem that such a Muslim political party exists. In Germany there is Christian Democratic Party, so religious people can have their party. So the Muslim party should be acceptable.

Liberal worldview is a philosophy and it is a kind of Aqeedah. Another book “Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law: Dhimmis and others in the Empire of Law” by Anver Emon, professor of Law at University of Toronto. The biggest concern is if we get Islamic State, then what will happen to minorities. These people forget that throughout the history non-Muslims had very good and productive lives under Islamic rule, even though these non-Muslims did not agree with Muslims in their Aqeedah. Every society has to have rules how to deal with people of minority ‘Aqeedah’ and Islam has also detailed laws on how to deal with them.  

By definition if there is a conflict between what you believe in and what the state believe in, then there will be a conflict.

It is taken as a given that in a liberal democracy that minorities are treated better than dhimmis in the Islamic world. If you proposed this today, you’d be laughed at. What is generally accepted is that liberalism (for example as mentioned in the Fukuyama book ‘the end of history’) is the best paradigm, the one that is best for everyone in the world, and many Muslim writers and thinkers buy into this. Implicitly, they are accepting that this system is compatible with Islam.

Footnote: There was time when socialist and communist parties were very strong in USA. The gov’t made sure that they are restricted so much that they cannot rise again.

Few example, related to use of religion in US. Concerning a graduation ceremony, in 1995 in Texas. A US judge said that the opening prayer must not refer to a specific deity by name, whether it be Buddha, Shiva, Jesus, Muhammad (notice how judge does not even have the knowledge of Islam straight) or whatever. Then the judge says: “Make no mistake, the court shall have a US marshall present. Anyone who violates this law will wish he died as a child.”


The above are from Persecution: Liberals Waging War Against Christians.

We are less than Ahlul Dhimmah in the West -- we can’t practise our own laws within the West.

Shaykh mentions the only problem is not restricting the religions, but the bigger problem is that once they restrict (as they are restricting) then one is not allowed to say that liberalism or liberal governments are restricting the religious people. This is not allowed to be mentioned in public so the liberalism keeps it’s positive image alive.

2012-11-11 Class Notes

Few points to avoid misunderstandings:

At no point we are saying that liberal democracy is all bad. It is possible that it has lots of good things in it. Just like gambling and alcohol has benefits but Allah (swt) makes it haram since it’s harm outweighs its benefits.

Quran: When they ask you about alcohol and gambling, they have some benefit, but their sins are more than their benefits.

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ ۖ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا ۗ وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Sahih International

They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, "In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit." And they ask you what they should spend. Say, "The excess [beyond needs]." Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought.

Democracy gives one a feeling of empowerment sometimes a false empowerment. This is what makes it a fitna (and this is what makes any trial a fitnah really). If there is something that everybody hates, then it is not a fitna. So there has to be something in it that appeals to people. And we have to be aware of it and not be blinded by it.

Most societies see no problem with premarital sex any more. Just because it is appealing to people and they like, it does not mean that we as muslims should fall into it, since such things will have heavy cost in the hereafter.

We have to find out what is acceptable in shariah. One scholar made a point, it is mistake on our point to use the term democracy, we have to use our terms such as shurah. Because when you use their terminology, we are signalling to others that we believe in it.

We have to study liberal democracy and understand it as a whole. We have been in the west and have seen elections and we are role models for others. It is important for educated Muslims to study it. However it is not interesting to study western philosophy, John Locke, and other topics.

Origins of Liberal Democracy

When talking about liberalism and liberal democracy that it grew out of response out of authority of the religion of the Divine right of the kings, and it was a response to a particular religion, Christianity, and a particular culture at a particular time and hence it cannot be of universal value. So it cannot be applied to Islam.

It was a revolt against religion and they said human affairs should be guided by reason.

Doesn’t Allah swt say that Afala Taqiloon (Do you not think).

There is a limit to human reasoning, and is human reasoning is not unlimited. It is rational to believe that human reasoning has limits. Most people have read the Quran and seerah of the Prophet (saws) and believe in it because of human reasoning or a rational process.

But you cannot say that religion is out of the bound of human reasoning. It becomes irrational to say that we will reject a religion which can be defended on clear rational grounds. The situation in Europe was that the leaders of church were anointed and they made rules. They were revolting against the specific clergy of the Church. And this has no relevance to Islam.

Our deen is consistent with sound aql. Ibn Taymiyyah wrote seven volumes (title: dar ul aql wa taarud wa al naql) over 900 hundred years ago. If your aql is sound then it is consistent with naql according to ibn Taymiyyah.

From the Muslim perspective, is liberal democracy consistent with Islam?

Andrew March in his book, Islam and Liberal Citizenship, he is dealing with these essential philosophical questions, which most of the scholars are sidestepping. There are some key questions that need to be answered and if things continue the way they are in the US and Europe, we need to be ready to answer and respond to them.



Footnote: If you read the book it will be good.

The book raises that can Muslims as a religious people regarded as religiously and morally can be considered citizens of liberal democracy. From the shariah perspective is citizenship in liberal democracy acceptable by Islam. Is it halaal from its very essence, without invoking any exceptions.

Questions raised by citizenship in liberal democracies as discussed in the aforementioned book

1. Loyalty: Being loyal to non Muslim state

2. Treating non muslims as political equal in your interactions

3. Contributing to non Muslim welfare

4. Participating in political process

5. Defending non muslim land, fighting on behalf of the land. If you are a full citizen you are expected to defend it. There are some exceptions.

Part 3 of the book discusses each of the above points.

BTW this question can be asked of Christians and the Jews as well. However, for other religion has been compartmentalized so much that this question is not asked for them.

For example, Christian evangelicals believe that the founding fathers were inspired by God when they wrote the constitution. So they believe it is a Christian country and that is the reason why they are upset when other religions or people became citizens and influence the direction of the country (e.g. elections etc)

Footnote: An intended built in efficiency, because the journey is better than the destination. This is the reason why when Shaykh makes notes he does not make note of line numbers. It is better to go and look for it again.

Andrew March says on page 10, public deliberations should be conducted publicly and made accessible to others regardless of their religious beliefs.

Let us say that when you are discussing abortion, you can discuss it without bringing in any religious doctrine. This he says is the separation of church and state.  You can have religious beliefs but you cannot base an argument based on scripture, you can reason it in completely secular sense.

Secular public reasoning is limited, you are free to believe whatever you want, but you cannot bring it into public discussions. You cannot try to influence others based on your religious beliefs. For many believers that itself it tantamount to disbelief and denying religion.

How can you justify leaving Islam from public discourse?

Can you imagine if Mitt Romney said this is my tax policy because it is based on John Smith’s (Founder of Mormon church) teachings, how would you feel about it?

If you try to prohibit pork on what basis would you do it?

How are you going to prohibit pornography? You could try to base it on social morality, but that is changing rapidly.

Andrew says there are only two ways for religious citizens to be liberal citizens. The first one, they replace everything in religion by new ones, the second choice is to augment their religious beliefs. So a believer may come to believe apostasy ..... by acquiring new belief from outside the religion.

He asks is there a third option? He says can you look into religious doctrine whether the questions that he raised earlier about citizenship  can be answered by religious texts.

Can you look into Islam and find out if Islam is willing to accept all of the above questions. Proof that it is okay and it is halal. Andrew says that this knot is unsolvable even in Christianity.

Overlapping Consensus

Search for an overlapping consensus paper by Andrew March http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1168682

He is looking for something known as Overlapping Consensus, which was also put forward by John Rawls.  It is a religious philosophical concept.

Concept of justice is a key concept for John Rawls, this concept of justice is accepted by all of the parties on their own grounds, they can use their own belief systems or religious doctrine to prove it, the concept of justice is not forced upon anybody.

Andrew says on page 10, concessions of living in such societies are accepted with a hope that someday  the societies will become Muslim societies. Sh mentions that this is not happening in the West.

Andrew asks is there any way Islamic texts can sanction blasphemy, attacks on the Prophet, etc. Sh mentions that he will have a hard time finding justification for it in the Islamic texts.

Reasonable justification

You cannot just say that a doctrine is good, there has to be reasonable justification. And then Andrew asks what makes a doctrine reasonable?

It is a circular reasoning, it is reasonable because they are compatible with human reasoning under the normal requirements of reasoning?????? ..... I missed it......

The foundation of liberal democracy is that human reasoning is superior.

But what happens if human reasoning were to point to belief in religion.

Next we will discuss empty space. Liberal reasoning will not tell you what is good or bad,

2012-11-18 Class Notes

We continue with Andrew March’s book. In his book there is a large portion page 24-98 which discusses philosophical questions that we will go over very quickly, since these pages are not very important for what we are discussing.

Overlapping Consensus

Concepts that are accepted by all parties on their own grounds (their own justifications). We are discussing common ground between liberal democracies and Muslim citizenship. Andrew March discusses both points of views, why should liberal democracies care about Muslim citizens and vice versa.

Footnote:The author has a good grasp of the various sources. However Shaykh has issues about how he has broken up the book into sections where the same topic is discussed in multiple chapters.

The empty space of liberalism

The last time we were discussing the empty space of liberalism. There is issue of stability in the liberal society. One source of instability is if people may oppose the concept of liberal democracy and the second source is that liberal political order does not call itself to be a rational and philosophical order. They are not making any claims for the hereafter either. They are just claiming that this political order works and they make no claim that it is true. So the questions becomes important that those who have a complete philosophy of life (like Muslims) will fit into this. They have a big problem about truth.

Wrong Political Agreement - Accidental Agreement

The author also raises the question that we do not want to reach a situation where we agree politically in a wrong way, i.e. we agree on ideas but not goals. So politically right way is where we agree on idea and the goal as well. If someone says that human reasoning should be above even the revelation then it is kind of Aqeedah.

Catholics would have to face the same issue, when John F Kennedy was elected as president of the US, would he be beholden to the Pope? The Catholics and Protestants will have to face something similar.

Muslims have unique problem of making liberal democracy compatible with texts

For us Muslim one thing is unique to us that in Quran and Sunnah we have much more guidance for political matters compared to any other religion (since teachings of Prophets Jesus (pbuh) and Moses (pbuh) are not available in so much details). Later intellectual Christians did some work to fill this gap (e.g. St. Thomas Aquanius did some serious work to fill such gaps by bringing rational arguments for existence of God and to develop the theory of natural law to justify the issues related to just war and politics). However, we Muslims are unique since our teachings are universal and the text directly is dealing with many crucial issues related to Politics.

Andrew March is not worried about Modernists, he says Tariq Ramadan is a modernist. The neo classical are the ones who follow the text and see how to answer questions of today’s society, he puts Yusuf al Qardawi in the category of neo classicals.

Important questions to answer by March

The question to answer is do we Muslims (or other religions) have to reject your own aqeedah in order to accept liberal democracy, or does it need just some viewpoint adjustment.

Another question raised is does liberalism have to change something in order to accept different religions.

How are you going to accept the dominant views or are there some limits on dominant views?

Even within liberalism this is a difficult issue, how much to demand of the others. This is a big issue in Europe, how much does a Muslim have to become a German before he is accepted as a German citizen, similarly for French, British, etc. This brings up the question of loyalty and allegiance to the country, fighting for the sake of your country, etc.

When you are a citizen of a country, there are some demands of you, specially those who had a choice and became naturalized citizen of the country, he cannot act and hate the country of his residence. Are those demands acceptable from the shariah perspective?

If a Muslim is here because he cannot find citizenship anywhere, he says that those are not the kind of citizens that we want.

Political philosophy has so many branches of liberalism, including the extremes of Bill O’Reilly and Noam Chomsky.

Discussion of Chapter 2: Comparative Ethics

You can try to skim through this chapter quickly. His goal is to identify the areas that will give a basis for the final conclusions.

Discussion of Political Neutrality

Political liberalism will try to avoid aqeedah issues. John Rawls wants non liberals to endorse political liberalism without making any belief statement about it. The key constraint is that you have to accept others and their views as equals. That is accept the duties and others as political equal. So from Islamic perspective a disbelievers view has to be given equal weight. This extends to any religious community as well i.e. any religious community cannot endorse it’s religion even on it’s own people.

For example, so one cannot do anything to a Muslim who chooses to make blasphemous statements about Prophets. The key components of liberalism means that if somebody wants to apostatize or make blasphemous statements, everybody has to accept it. Suppose you accept this concept but do not believe it in your heart, what does John Rawls or others have to say about it?

Shaykh says that it is impossible to ask somebody to remove their religion from what they think is right or wrong. This is the part of liberalism that does not make sense. Vast majority of the religious people in America do not think this way, Shaykh quoted statistics about religious views in US, they have secular views about religion.

The Anglican church is still the official religion of the UK, not sure what happened in Spain after Franco.

Footnote: Chomsky is critical of political liberalism, he has some strong comments about it.

Comparative Ethics

Here Andrew March lays out the framework for further discussions. He is seeking something comparable in Islamic law that would allow Islam to embrace political liberalism.

On page 92, he says, we have clearly have the right to say Islamic punishment never be carried out in Western democracies. Shaykh asks let us say that you reach the conclusion that Islamic punishment is the best punishment without resorting to the text of Quran and Sunnah, would you still not carry it out?

He asks, do we have the right to insist that a religious person should have the view that these punishments have a certain epistemological ..... he says that you should believe that these punishments have certain benefits, and he asks the liberals do we have the right to ask the believers should not even accept the idea of shariah?

On page 96, he covers the ultimate goal of the book, .... grounds exist in Islam to reject liberal citizenship...... he says that there is plenty of evidence that there is evidence against liberal citizenship. Later on he discusses evidences for liberal citizenship.

So he starts with the evidences of why muslims should reject liberal citizenship, and then says what would Islamic affirmation of such a citizenship would look like.  He says that such a Muslim citizen of liberal democracy should  be both acceptable by the liberal society and sufficiently Islamic and plausible by shariah.

The case for liberalism is strengthened by demonstrating in man of ?profession?, commision and omission or rights on both the state and its citizens.. However, no other moral tradition is like Islam and Islam always comes out unique.

Liberal here means liberal political thoughts dating back to John Rawls. So he sees citizen as an individual only and not as part of any other group. However, he restricts the state as well, i.e. state cannot force it’s Aqeedah on it’s citizens.   

Liberalism puts limits both on the state as well as its citizens, and religious teaching cannot be force e.g in marital affairs or coerce marital restrictions on its citizens (you cannot force a Muslim woman to only marry a Muslim man), we cannot force harm to the children (such as genital mutilation this is his example), you cannot deprive children of medical care (there were some religious sects that would not take their children for medical care) ....

Every liberal society has to have the limits. In UK you get in trouble to insult the Queen. In France questioning holocaust has punishment. Then he repeats that Laws cannot be derived from religious texts. The laws cannot be justified on metaphysical grounds (i.e. Paradise or Hell) either. For Islamic doctrine there are two broad problems with citizenship and liberal states: 1) The state is not Muslim and 2) the state is liberal.

Even the US gave rights gradually over a period of time. Earlier only white men who owned land were allowed the right to vote. After the 13th amendment was passed, the southern states complained that now the freed slaves would also have a vote equivalent to their vote. They passed bills that tried to limit the rights of the freed slaves, such as a freed slave is equivalent to 3/5 of a white man, they passed various Jim Crow laws to segregate. Eventually those laws are repealed and women were allowed to vote. The point being made over here is that rights were granted gradually over time by liberal democracies to their citizens.

2012-11-25 Class Notes

Shaykh is not following the order of Andrew March’s book. One reason is that there is a lot of repetition in his book, so this avoids the repetition for us. It also allows us to comment on his points more. He first starts with objections to liberal democracy and then he writes different propositions from point of view of liberal democracy and then he does what is acceptable of liberal democracy from Islamic perspective. In English, it is a good book. There is lot of stuff in Arabic on this topic but in English this is the only one known to Shaykh.

Instead of doing all of the objections and the acceptable propositions, we are going to do topic by topic. In his book, Andrew March first presents opinion of various Muslim scholars who found Muslims residing in non Muslim lands as problematic. He presents their views first and later presents his solutions or work arounds.

Andrew March - “Idea of liberal democracy and Muslim citizenship is problematic”

Today we start with chapter 3 (pg 103). He starts out saying that from the idea of liberal democracy the idea of Muslim citizenship is deeply problematic. These are not mere legalism of medievalism but it is based on the Islamic Principles. He starts with the objections from various Muslim scholars???

He starts by discussing Wanshareesee, who is quite an extreme scholar from Islamic perspective. Wanshareesee says that it is obligatory for every Muslim to migrate from a non muslim land to a muslim land. This scholar believed in hijrah very strictly. He first discusses all the ideas which are against living in the non-Muslim lands.

Problems with the idea of residing in Non Muslim Lands

#1: Subjugation to non Muslim laws

The first objection he raises is that they will be subjected to non muslim laws on page 109. He says that even whether the judges themselves are valid and whether their judgements can be valid.

He quotes another Maliki scholar from North Africa who discusses the adala (criteria or acceptance) of Muslim judges. Footnote: In jarh wa tadeel you are critiquing narrators, so the adala means you are not accepting the validity of their judgement. So Adala means integrity and trustworthiness.

The Maliki scholar quoted above says that if the person is there by choice, then his adala is in question. Wanshareesee says that judges cannot accept appointment of even a Muslim judge.

#2: Manifestation of deen is incomplete.

Wanshareesee says that you cannot manifest your deen in non Muslim lands. If you are making that declaration in a non-Muslim land, you’re having to hide it.

Wanshareesee says that prayer said in non Muslim lands is not complete. He says that you cannot fulfill zakat, since you have to pay it to Imam and there is no Imam and hence you cannot pay it. He continues that you cannot fast. He says basically that you cannot perform any of the pillars of Islam.

#3: Predominance of non Muslims over Muslims

Wanshareesee also has problems with predominance of non-Muslims over Muslims. Islam and Muslims should have predominance over non Muslims. Wanshareesee was concerned about balance of power between Muslims and Christians.

Residing in non Muslim lands leads to strengthening the non believers. Here the evidence of the verse of Quran where some of the Muslims stayed behind in Makkah and did not make Hijrah and then took part on the side of the mushrikeen during battle of Badr.


إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنفُسِهِمْ قَالُوا فِيمَ كُنتُمْ ۖ قَالُوا كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ قَالُوا أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا ۚ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا

Sahih International

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." 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.

On this point there are other scholars such as ibn Qudamaah and Ibn Taymiyyah are mentioned in the book. These two scholars do not require hijrah to be made but they say it is recommended to migrate...... ibn Taymiyyah says they must avoid it as much as possible using tuqiyaah.....

#4: Friendship with Non Muslims

Friendship with non-Muslims (i.e. question of al Wala wal Bara).

لَّا يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلَّا أَن تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً ۗ وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ ۗ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ

Sahih International (3:28)

Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing with Allah , except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the [final] destination.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۘ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

Sahih International (5:51)

O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا بِطَانَةً مِّن دُونِكُمْ لَا يَأْلُونَكُمْ خَبَالًا وَدُّوا مَا عَنِتُّمْ قَدْ بَدَتِ الْبَغْضَاءُ مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَمَا تُخْفِي صُدُورُهُمْ أَكْبَرُ ۚ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

Sahih International (3:118)

O you who have believed, do not take as intimates those other than yourselves, for they will not spare you [any] ruin. They wish you would have hardship. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater. We have certainly made clear to you the signs, if you will use reason

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا عَدُوِّي وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ تُلْقُونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِمَا جَاءَكُم مِّنَ الْحَقِّ يُخْرِجُونَ الرَّسُولَ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۙ أَن تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ رَبِّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ خَرَجْتُمْ جِهَادًا فِي سَبِيلِي وَابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِي ۚ تُسِرُّونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَأَنَا أَعْلَمُ بِمَا أَخْفَيْتُمْ وَمَا أَعْلَنتُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْهُ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ

Sahih International (60:1)

O you who have believed, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies, extending to them affection while they have disbelieved in what came to you of the truth, having driven out the Prophet and yourselves [only] because you believe in Allah , your Lord. If you have come out for jihad in My cause and seeking means to My approval, [take them not as friends]. You confide to them affection, but I am most knowing of what you have concealed and what you have declared. And whoever does it among you has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way.

#5: Living in sinful environments

Wanshareesee says that living among non Muslims should not be allowed for even one day .....

Even scholars allowing residing in non-Muslim lands say that you have to avoid the sinful activities.

When you step outside your house, you are exposed to munkar, the dress, the beliefs, the environment around us is not conducive to Islam. What Wanshareesee says is harsh but he does have a point to make about the munkar that surrounds us in non-muslim lands.

#6: Promotion of virtue and morality

The bare minimum is that one’s children should be raised in an Islamic environment and should not acquire the morals of the non Muslims.

He quotes Abu Hassan Al-Nadwi -- should not migrate to lands where their children’s iman might be at risk and it could become makrooh, and in some cases haram.

In a liberal democracy, you cannot control your kids, so if they apostatize or do something else, they are free to do whatever they want.

These are the six points made by Andrew March in opposition to the idea of Muslim citizenship in liberal democracies.

Chapter 4, page 135. Here Andrew March moves to laying the framework for the idea of Muslim citizenship in liberal democracies.

For chapter 4 goal is to establish what the liberal states establishes for the Muslims. He asks how can we create an Islamic view of the citizenship in liberal states which will be acceptable to the Muslims. Good thing is that his book is only theory.

Requirements of Justice versus the requirements of citizenship

One important question is that what are the requirement of justice versus the requirement of citizenship. If one does not break the just laws of the society then one has fulfilled the requirement of justice. However, it does not mean that one has fulfilled the requirement of citizens. He wants that citizen has to be emotionally attached to the state.

Idea of alienated citizen

We need to distinguish between a citizen and an alienated citizen: someone who lives within a state, accepts some of benefits, respects its laws, but does not engage in its polity, and in some cases resents its role.

He quotes a modern scholar who says that the modern society breeds aliens. This problem is highly manifested in Europe.

Footnote: In Russia after the fall of communism, the ballot has a choice for “None of the above” which was a binding selection if it receives a majority of votes, so if we had this choice and the majority selected it, we would not have a president elected at all for the last three or four decades in this country.

For each of these topics March sets forth propositions which are acceptable to Muslims and liberal democrats. He also makes a point that liberalism does not have problems with sub-national communities and such communities can exist within liberal democracy. However, March cares about what each community is identifying itself as. He says that Liberalist cannot have problem with seeking and gaining adherents to their way of life. However, if the community exists just to advance the growth of the adherents then such community will not look at others as equal citizens but it will see others as potential converts. In this case he argues, it will have shallow commitment to the liberal state. According to March, you cannot be a good citizen of liberal democracy if you are working against the system itself.  

Around page 140, March requires affirmation of the following positions:

R1: We can prove from Quran and Sunnah that Hijrah is not obligatory.

R2: Idhaar ud deen is possible for Muslims in non-Muslim land (or  living under liberal democracy).

R3: Living in non-Muslim lands does not have to be of benefit to the Muslim community/Islam.

March says if we can prove these three then this will solve the problem of Muslims living under liberal democracy. Next time we will see if these can be proven through Quran and Sunnah.

2012-12-02 Class Notes

Andrew March presented postulations for what the Muslims have to do that they are the citizens of the liberal democratic state.

Andrew March’s Propositions can be stated as:

R1: We can prove from Quran and Sunnah that Hijrah to Muslim lands is not obligatory.

R2: Idhaar ud deen is possible for Muslims in non-Muslim land (or  living under liberal democracy).

R3: Living in non-Muslim lands does not have to be of benefit to the Muslim community/Islam.

He says that if you can prove these propositions from Quran and Sunnah, then you can say that liberal democracy is compatible with Islam. He is not trying to prove that it is permissible to live in a non-Muslim land. He is particularly concerned about the liberal democratic state.

Part 3 on page 163 and then comes chapter 5 on residence in non-Muslim state. These points above are not coming as clear as Shaykh has made. March convolutes the ideas too much in his writings.

He quotes abu Dawud (from sunan) quotes that Hijrah was recommended and not obligatory, i.e. Hijrah to Medina. He quotes Al-Nisaa (104) as well. This he does to show Hijrah is not obligatory. He quotes some Maliki scholars (past and present) to conclude that Hijrah is not obligatory after the first one to Medina. He quotes ibn Uthaymeen also that Hijrah is not obligatory, since there is not Islamic state to receive them right now. So this bothers March that if Islamic state comes then Muslims will make Hijrah to it. So to him this is an important question to ask because Muslims may not be good citizens of the liberal state.

Then he discusses fitnah of deen and manifesting one’s religion. What does ithhaar ud-deen mean? If it means that Muslims will have authority over other communities, then this is unacceptable to the author. The author also finds issues with dawah of Islam.

He quotes several Muslim authorities on the question of ithhar. He quotes Muhammad Al-Hanooti as a place to make arrangements for entering paradise; and thus it is permissible if he can build his way of life, and practise Islam consistently with the Shariah laws and rules. Does “Shariah law and rules” extend to family law? Punitive law? This to the author is pushing the limits of what is an acceptable citizenship. The issue is that most Muslim scholars will support the existence of internal communal codes.  

The problem is that the position of the author is just theory. In Europe they recognize different communities and different religions but in US it is considered a melting pot. He quotes Nawawi that Muslims must have the capability of self-protection. He quotes Abul Hasan Ali Nadawi also on a similar point which points to Nadwi requiring to preserve their identity and making sure that your children are Muslim after you. What Nadwi means by ensuring about next generation that there is plenty comfort for you to think that the next generation will stay Muslims. However, the author seems to be objecting too hard on this point and seems to have problem with this opinion.

Even if you look at it from the perspective of their society then Christian want their children to be Christians, Jews want the to be Jews and Democrats want their kids to be democrats. Very few parents will say that their children are free to choose. So why the author has problem with Muslims is puzzling.

He agrees that in liberal society each group has the right to give dawah to each other. If you can give dawah to others then others can give dawah to you. To spread Islam and live for this purpose is not acceptable in liberal society since you see them as potential converts and not equal citizens. Also dawah confidence means that you may want to convert liberal state to an Islamic state. He quotes Nadwi who thinks that if living for dawah in non-Muslim land then it is an act of worship. He quotes more scholars stating similar opinions. For March such opinions are problematic and calls them ambiguous positions. The Tariq Ramadan’s position is preferred by March since it just presents Islam as knowledge to the “consumer” and then leaves it at that. So Tariq Ramadan position is just to increase their knowledge of Islam and do not care if they are accepting or not of Islam. March likes it since you just give the information out there to the consumer. True dawah is much more than this consumer style dawah since the heart seriously has to care for the well being of the other and his/her success in the hereafter.

Conclusion March makes for this section include (pg 178):

* Hijrah is not obligatory.

* Even if there are reasons to believe that Hijrah is obligatory then masses cannot make Hijrah.

* The point R2 (above) if affirmed and it is possible in some respects.

* Author seems to think that he has affirmed R3 but it is not clear how he is making this claim.

It looks like he makes a good case for R1 and R2. However he does not make a good case for R3.

2012-12-09 Class Notes

The question of loyalty to a non-Muslim state

The next big topic that Andrew March discuss starts on page 113 on loyalty to non-Muslim state. This is a much more controversial topic. We finished discussing the basis of muslims living in non Muslim states and he states that living in a liberal democracy is incompatible, but he finds workarounds for it.

From our point of view, what are the limits of loyalty, solidarity from the shariah perspective. But we also have to know what are the demands of loyalty and solidarity from the perspective of the liberal democracy that we are living in, this is important because many of us are living here and many muslim children are born here and they need to answer this question.

There is difference between living in a non Muslim state and whether the demands of living in this state are incompatible with the shariah.

Footnote: The situation of Egypt is rooted in the idea of a liberal democracy, which is the greatest fitna for the muslims today. The same situation will occur in Libya, Syria, Kuwait, Bangladesh. There was a march by the Islamists in Kuwait. And the masses in the Muslim countries cannot differentiate between democracy and liberal democracy. When Andrew March tries to find the overlapping consensus and the scholars that he quotes is also highly instructive, since it informs us of the opinion of those scholars .....

Democracy is a concept which is open to many interpretations and with many theories and one can easily fit some part of one of the interpretation into the Islamic governance. However, in the liberal democracy which is a particular type of democracy which is based on the equal citizenship for all people and the revelation and religion goes into the private sphere in liberal democracy and only rational and justice based arguments are allowed to be made in the public sphere.

A Muslim should never kill another Muslim

Loyalty is much more challenging a concept than residence. March’s question says that the opinion of scholars meets with “either baffled silence or complete hostility.” One of the most consistent principles across all scholars is that a Muslim should never kill another Muslim.

وما كان لمؤمن أن يقتل مؤمنا إلا خطأ ومن قتل مؤمنا خطأ فتحرير رقبة مؤمنة ودية مسلمة إلى أهله إلا أن يصدقوا فإن كان من قوم عدوّ لكم وهو مؤمن فتحرير رقبة مؤمنة وإن كان من قوم بينكم وبينهم ميثاق فدية مسلمة إلى أهله وتحرير رقبة مؤمنة فمن لم يجد فصيام شهرين متتابعين توبة من الله وكان الله عليما حكيما

And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake - then the freeing of a believing slave and a compensation payment presented to the deceased's family [is required] unless they give [up their right as] charity. But if the deceased was from a people at war with you and he was a believer - then [only] the freeing of a believing slave; and if he was from a people with whom you have a treaty - then a compensation payment presented to his family and the freeing of a believing slave. And whoever does not find [one or cannot afford to buy one] - then [instead], a fast for two months consecutively, [seeking] acceptance of repentance from Allah . And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.

On page 114 and 115 he brings numerous evidences from the Ahadeeth.

وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : " من أعان على قتل مؤمن شطر كلمة لقي الله ، مكتوب بين عينيه آئس من رحمة الله "

This hadith above is Daeef Jidan (very weak) and can be found on page 115 of March’s book.

In the constitution of Madinah which was established by the Prophet, it states that the believer should not kill another believer for the sake of a non believer and he should not make a pact with a non-believer

So the question of loyalty is: what happens when a non-Muslim country goes to war with a Muslim state? Or vice versa?

Footnote: Nobody would ask this question about the Jews if the US were to go to war with Israel. But if you take the case of USS Liberty which was attacked by Israeli pilots and one of them was a US citizen. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_(AGTR-5) The case of the USS Liberty in the 1967 war is a clear case of this hypocrisy in the sense of US-Israeli relations. But this question would definitely be asked of the Muslims.

Muhammed Rashid Rida, was a student of Abu ... he is called a founder of the Salafi movement by many Western scholars. When the Muslims were colonized, this was the question asked at that time.

Muhammed Rashid Rida says that this is the most abhorrent question about the acceptance of the offer of the French to Algerians of citizenship. “If the situation is as described, then there’s no disagreement that it is a clear sign of apostasy and exit from the Muslim community.”

In the first world war, the Ottoman empire was very much involved. A question was asked of the mufti at that time, if a Muslim citizen of Europe was compelled to fight the Muslim citizens, and he does it; then is he an apostate? The mufti said, yes. The Mufti said, this is because the law of necessity does not extend to taking away the rights of others. For example, if someone puts gun to my head and tells me to kill someone innocent then I cannot kill that innocent individual. I will have to let my life go and I should not commit the act of a murder.

This is the position of a number of scholars, including prominent scholars like Yusuf al Qaradawi.

The question of civic loyalty

Andrew March tries to find exceptions to the above opinions. He starts with the discussion of jihaad against a non Muslim state and the role of a person who is a citizen of that non Muslim state.

He says some fuqaha have agreed that muslims, even those living in a non Muslim state have an obligation to come to the aid of their brothers.

He quotes Al-Sarakhsi a very important Hanafi scholar. If a non-Muslim state captures a Muslim prisoner, then he must announce rescinding his amaan and then work to free those prisoners.

Al-Qurtubi has a slightly different view. When a Muslim land is attacked, it is the duty of all the residents of that land to fight. But if it is not handled, then it grows to the neighboring Muslim lands, until it encompasses all of the Muslim lands, they are obligated to come and repel those who attacked the Muslim land. This is the universal duty to contribute to jihad. This universal duty was invoked by the caliphate during WW I.

The question of engaging in violence against Muslims on behalf of the non-Muslims is not allowed by any of the scholars.

Andrew March then discusses the July 7 attacks in London and the opinion of the extremists groups. They claim that since war has been declared against Iraq and Afghanistan, they ....

He asks, what is the default position of the relationship between daar ul islam and daar ul kufr? He thinks that in essence, for classical scholars the Islamic State is in state of war with non-Muslim state and peace is exception while for many contemporary scholars the default state is peace and war is exception.

On page 121 he starts the discussion of Muslims defending a non-Muslim state. He quotes Ibn Tamiyyah who considers such defence haram.

Sulejman Topoljak’s view was if they are forced, their intention should be to prevent injustice. Helping unbelievers is not to be found amongst the criteria for losing one’s life.

Also gives a fatwa for the Ottomans: it is a great sin for those who were under English and French rule to fight against the Ottomans. The Ottoman demise was in some form a symbolic defeat which we can say impacted the Muslim Ummah and Islam. Even though it had given so many concessions to the Russia, England and France that it was living as a colony anyways. However, despite its weakness it was still standing in some symbolic form for Islam. This has not been done by any government ever since.   

If they are defending themselves, then there is no issue.

Topoljak gives 4 specific cases where it’s permissible for Muslims to fight against non-Muslims. However, these reasons may not be grounded on compatible reasons.

On page 123 he gives the following points (summarized here) by Topoljak:

1. If Muslims are compelled to do this, on pain of death.

2. If they are defending themselves, families and property from the non-Muslims.

3. It is permitted for the Muslims to fight under a leader who is non-Muslim if he gives them their rights and helps to prevent the oppression of the Muslims.

4. If it is possible to help the Muslim community e.g. by fighting people who oppress Muslims.

There’s an argument to be made that if Muslims are defending their own property then maybe that’s OK.

Another part of citizenship is recognizing that your state is proper and that no Muslim forces should be allowed to violate the peace of a non-Muslim state. If a Muslim thinks that a war to spread Islam and enter the land where he is a citizen, then this belief is incompatible with liberal citizenship. Then he discusses the relationship between the non-Muslim state and the Muslim state. The default state according to some scholars is that of war. And therefore some Muslim scholars said it is impermissible to do a perpetual peace treaty. If it does so, then they are accepting the fact that that land may not rule that land. There must be some limit to it. That is why some scholars said that Muslims can not be part of the United Nations.

Islamic modernists have developed a new doctrine where jihad is only defensive (as distinct from radical islamists). On page 126, the author quotes Sayyid Qutb: To revive this non-recognition of non-Muslim polities is one of the important parts of reviving our Islamic beliefs.

On page 127, the author gives 5 specific claims cover the range of incompatible with the question of liberal citizenship.

1. A Muslim can not fight another Muslim in the service of unbelievers, regardless of the cause.

2. A war for the sole purpose of expanding the space ruled by Islam and Islamic law is a just war, a legitimate form of jihad.

3. It may be the duty of every individual Muslim to contribute to Jihad when it is legitimately called by an imam.

4.A Muslim may not advance the cause of unbelievers or uphold non-Islamic rulings and truth-claims

5. A Muslim may not sacrifice his life for other than certain causes, of which defending a non-Muslim society is not one.

Next week inshaAllah we jump to page 140 to discuss his propositions to find compatibility of Islam with liberal citizenship.

2012-12-16 Class Notes

Loyalty to the non-Muslim state

Topic is very important because today we’ll be talking about the information that many of our ulema do not get into -- he’s looking for an overlapping consensus; but it’s from the point of view of the liberal democracy and the demands on the citizen.

Establishing the right to live in some place is not the same thing as establishing the right to defend the place of residence. He points out that many of these topics have been discussed from the perspective of Christians but has not been discussed from the perspective of the Muslims.

What makes Islamic case special?

Islam is different because of loyalty to the Muslim ummah as a whole. Islam is also spread geographically and culturally. It’s the concept of “ummah” that is problematic. Christianity has been broken into nationalistic groups.

5 basic principles (page 141 of March’s book):

1. A Muslim can not combat another Muslim in the service of unbelievers.

2. A war for the sole purpose of expanding Muslim lands is a just war (or legitimate war).  

3. It may be the duty of every individual Muslim, even those residing outside of the Islamic polity, to contribute to a legitimate jihad, if so called by a legitimate imam (i.e jihad can become fard ayn even for those living in non-Muslim state).

4. A Muslim may not advance the cause of unbelievers or to uphold non-Islamic rulings and truth claims.

5. A Muslim may not sacrifice his life for other than certain causes, of which defending a non-Muslim society is not one.

There are few problematic issues here. The key one is that the state he’s in may not even be entitled to exist.

The key question: what would a Muslim have to say so that it could be said that you’re balancing your loyalty to your community while meeting the requirements of a liberal democracy.

Proposition L1: (L is for loyalty) Muslim countries should attack non-Muslim countries only for self-defence and not to spread Islam, so long as they are not being oppressed.

The proposition L1 is for the state which is not oppressing Muslims. However, March argues that some fundamentalist may come and say that living under the non-Muslim laws is oppression in the first place.

Clearly 2 seems to not sit well with L1. So he proposes a modified version of 2 that meets this criteria.

2a. Jihad to spread Islam is legitimate and is a just war, but it is OK for a Muslim living in a non-Muslim state not to participate in it, and the Muslim should not violate the contract with his society.

The most important thing is to reject violence against that society.

Proposition L2: Muslims should not support Muslim forces that are attacking the country they are living in.

Footnote: The author’s (March) position is somewhat ambiguous. What does he mean by the Muslim state? If he means by Muslim state the state which rules by Islam and Shariah is implemented then the Muslims will (at least those who are serious about Islam) make Hijrah and the whole discussion becomes a moot point. However, if he means by them a so called Muslim ruler not implementing Islam then most probably his reason for war is un-Islamic in the first place so Muslims will not help him at all.

Note that even in liberal citizenship does not require you to disagree with government and refusing to fight in an unjust war doesn’t mean a rejection of one’s citizenship in a liberal democracy.

So even in a liberal democracy you can oppose unjust wars and laws.

Aside: what is patriotism?

1. If commander-in-chief says go and we go (regardless of whether the order is just or unjust).

2. The individual is concerned about doing what is best for his own country and others. Those who oppose the Iraq war claimed to be patriots because they believed that going to Iraq would do more harm than good.

So it is perfectly reasonable for a Muslim to say “Our entry into Iraq was unjust because we were going there for oil, or for strategic reasons.”

It’s very possible for a liberal, just country to have an illiberal and unjust foreign policy. So it is perfectly legitimate for a Muslim to have this point of view.

What if you feel that the liberal state is so unjust that you undertake violent actions against your country?

John Brown was a poor white man that ended up living with blacks (died in 1859). He became very anti-slavery to the point that he would start attacking pro-slavery places and he formed an army to attack slavery’s interests -- but he took violent action.

What is fairly uncontroversial is that resisting one’s government’s actions through various means is legitimate.

What if the Muslim said something like: “I pledge loyalty to my non-Muslim state of residence so long as it respects my rights, provides me with security, and does not transgress egregiously against my brother Muslims.”

But violence is going too far -- it may be stepping out of the bounds of citizenship. 

2012-12-23 Class Notes

We continue to discuss the March’s book and the issue of loyalty he raised on page 140 onwards. As a Muslim citizen you can be opposed to war in Iraq and Afghanistan but you cannot be against the wars since inhabitants over there are Muslims but you must say that such a war is bad for economy and so forth. Now we start a more complicated set of questions which include liberty for daily life and will they defend if US is attacked (bottom of page 146).

This is more complicated question since one can say that the attack by US was unjust. However, here the US has the right to defend itself. This has to be done since the land has given you liberty and right to live in it. If you do not fight right now then it means that you do not believe in the right of your nation to exist.

(Page 147) A Muslim country attacks the US and calls it 1’.

(1’) No Muslim is permitted to fight in a non-Muslim army, even to defend a territory in which he lives and is not oppressed, when the opposing force is a Muslim one.

Then on the same page he requires some temporary adjustments labelled 1a. This is saying in essence for the Muslims to stay neutral provided the person lived in the land was not oppressed, given security, treated fairly and allowed to manifest his religion.

If the Muslim army is coming for Jihad, then Is 1a problematic?

He then raises point 1b where he discusses principled position of not to fight so God is not angered and then he moves to 1c. The point 1c, in which since the citizenship is contracted then contract forbids him to harm the non-Muslim society so it is a moral obligation on Muslim citizen.

He raises the question of mandatory armed services and drafts. Say if country is drafting due to need, so due to overriding need now the principle of 1b is to be ignored.

BTW, it is not only Muslims who have this problem is dual loyalties. The Christians (catholics) have this problem, the Zionists have this problem. However, due to current trends in international politics, we Muslims are becoming center of attention. So a Muslim in this case of external attack becomes semi-alien.

Suppose liberal democracy is attacked by a non-Muslim force. According to March, since Muslims do not believe in absolute doctrine pacifism, so the Muslim (according to March) cannot say no to fight. In Shariah the fight has to be for the sake of Allah (swt) and there are no countries in the world which are doing this so Muslims in todays world is going to be a pacifist. This does not include defence that is going on in the Muslim world.

March gets to 4a which means that Muslim will not fight since he does not want to uphold the laws of disbelief. So one is showing attitude of contempt. In 4b, he goes on to say that Muslim life is made sacred and he is not going to fight except for glorification of God. Now this is a principled decision since one is not refusing to fight but is saying that my religion does not allow me to fight except for exaltation of God and this particular war is not falling under this category. This is very close to the argument of the Quakers.

Basically March is saying that one cannot refuse to help one’s country but one must say that “I cannot kill” or “my religion does not allow to fight” etc., but blatant refusal is not allowed.

Then he gives L3 which he calls equilibrium between liberal doctrine and Islamic doctrine which asks to help substantively in some form of self-defence.

Now in Chapter 6 he brings the following ayat to give justification from Islamic view in chapter 6 (page 181):

وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ إِذَا عَاهَدتُّمْ وَلَا تَنقُضُوا الْأَيْمَانَ بَعْدَ تَوْكِيدِهَا وَقَدْ جَعَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ عَلَيْكُمْ كَفِيلًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Sahih International

And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have taken it, [O believers], and do not break oaths after their confirmation while you have made Allah , over you, a witness. Indeed, Allah knows what you do.

لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

Sahih International

Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.

Then he gives new principled loyalty statements. So according to L1 a Muslim may not help in regime change (however liberal democracy can). So March is telling Muslims not to believe in Jihad anymore, since it goes against liberal citizenship.

Towards end of page 183, March argues that the pact or contract or oath with non-Muslims then one has to fulfill those oaths. This March argues, is justifying L2 even for very “orthodox” Islamic Scholars. He argues L3 requires some tweaking. However, L1 according to March is the doctrine where Muslims must accept the claim of the modernists today.