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Obedience To The Law Of The Land

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Darulifta Azaadville


We have heard that a muslim must abide by the law of the country.

Please advise if this is correct and on what authority.

The above fatwa is mentioned frequently and seems to be agreed upon. It is a huge statement as the law regulates most portions of life and these laws do not coincide with Shariah.

Is this rule correct?

If it is then what are the surrounding laws as it cant be a blanket rule as applied by most people.

Are there principles that govern Islam practiced in secerecy? 

(Some states do not allow religion or any religious beliefs or talk.)


Following the laws governed by the government could be divided into three categories,

1.     The laws are contrary to what Allฤh Taสฟฤlฤ has prescribed, such as a man giving his wife the power of divorce, giving a daughter the same share of the inheritance as a son, allowing the drinking of alcohol, the taking of interest, and so on. It is not permissible to act upon these laws or approve of them. A แธคadฤซth states:

ยซู„ุง ุทุงุนุฉ ู„ู…ุฎู„ูˆู‚ ููŠ ู…ุนุตูŠุฉ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนุฒ ูˆุฌู„ยป  

โ€œThere is no obedience of the creation wherein there is disobedience to the Creator.โ€ (Musnad Aแธฅmad, No. 1095).

  ยซุงู„ุณู…ุน ูˆุงู„ุทุงุนุฉ ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ู…ุฑุก ุงู„ู…ุณู„ู… ููŠู…ุง ุฃุญุจ ูˆูƒุฑู‡ ู…ุง ู„ู… ูŠุคู…ุฑ ุจู…ุนุตูŠุฉุŒ ูุฅู† ุฃู…ุฑ ุจู…ุนุตูŠุฉ ูู„ุง ุณู…ุน ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆู„ุง ุทุงุนุฉยป

โ€œIt is necessary upon a Muslim to listen to and obey the ruler in all matters, as long as one is not ordered to carry out a sin. If he is commanded to commit a sin, then there is no adherence and obedience.โ€ (Sunan at-Tirmidhฤซ, No. 1707)

2.     The laws are in accordance with what is mentioned in Islฤmic teachings. In this case, one must abide by them, intending the obedience of Allฤh Taสฟฤlฤ and His Nabi (แนขallallฤhu สฟAlayhi Wa Sallam).

3.   The Islฤmic texts have not said anything about the laws, but they are in the best interests of the people, such as laws having to do with driving, paying of rates & taxes for services, etc. These laws must be adhered to, in accordance with the Qurฤnic texts which enjoins being faithful to contracts and covenants. Allฤh Taสฟฤlฤ says: โ€œO you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligationsโ€ [al-Mฤโ€™idah: 1]. Being a citizen of a country, one has agreed, by default, to abide by the laws of the country; as such, it would be imperative for every person to remain true to his agreement as long as it does not contravene the laws of the Supreme Commander โ€“ Allฤh Taโ€™aala.


However, if a law of the country is contrary to Sharฤซสฟah and it is imposed on an individual without him having any choice in the matter, then reluctantly and grudgingly, a person may follow that law out of necessity. For example, it is impractical to live in a country without an Identity Document (I.D.); he will therefore be permitted to make an I.D. even though it entails the taking of a photo (which is generally regarded as impermissible). 

A person should endeavor to the best of his ability to practise on the laws of Sharฤซสฟah in the manner prescribed. However, if there is a fear of falling into problems with the authorities and a person does not have the capacity to endure the difficulties of being imprisoned etc., or he fears for his life, then in such a case, he may practise his religious duties secretly, if that is possible.

If a person, however, is unable to practise upon his Dฤซn at all, then he must make Hijrah โ€“ migrate to another country wherein he will not face this problem. Allฤh Taสฟฤlฤ says in the Qurโ€™ฤn: โ€œO My slaves who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth (so if you cannot worship Allฤh at a place, then go to another)! Therefore worship Me. (Alone)โ€ [al-สฟAnkabลซt: 56].

The sole purpose of this worldly life is to worship Allฤh Taสฟฤlฤ. As such, if a person is unable to fulfil his duties to his Master, he will have to forgo and sacrifice some of his worldly luxuries and pleasures, and at times, his hometown and close associates in order to fulfil this objective of his.

The best precedent we have of this was Nabฤซ ๏ทบ himself. Nabฤซ ๏ทบ left the Holy Land of Makkah Mukarramah wherein he was born and raised, and migrated to Madฤซnah Munawwarah. In Madฤซnah Munawwarah they were at total ease in worshipping Allฤh Taสฟฤlฤ. Similarly, the แนขaแธฅฤbah Radhiyallahu Anhum migrated to Abyssinia, simply so that they may practise on their Dฤซn. Therefore, if we find ourselves in a similar situation, we will be bound to migrate to another city or country wherein we can freely practise on our Dฤซn.

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

1095 โ€“ ุญุฏุซู†ุง ุนุจุฏ ุงู„ู„ู‡ุŒ ุญุฏุซู†ุง ุนุจูŠุฏ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุจู† ุนู…ุฑ ุงู„ู‚ูˆุงุฑูŠุฑูŠุŒ ุญุฏุซู†ุง ุงุจู† ู…ู‡ุฏูŠุŒ ุนู† ุณููŠุงู†ุŒ ุนู† ุฒุจูŠุฏุŒ ุนู† ุณุนุฏ ุจู† ุนุจูŠุฏุฉุŒ ุนู† ุฃุจูŠ ุนุจุฏ ุงู„ุฑุญู…ู† ุงู„ุณู„ู…ูŠุŒ ุนู† ุนู„ูŠุŒ ุนู† ุงู„ู†ุจูŠ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู…ุŒ ู‚ุงู„: ยซู„ุง ุทุงุนุฉ ู„ู…ุฎู„ูˆู‚ ููŠ ู…ุนุตูŠุฉ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนุฒ ูˆุฌู„ยป.

[ู…ุณู†ุฏ ุฃุญู…ุฏ (2/ 333) ุทุจุนุฉ ุงู„ุฑุณุงู„ุฉ] 

   1707 โ€“ ุญุฏุซู†ุง ู‚ุชูŠุจุฉุŒ ู‚ุงู„: ุญุฏุซู†ุง ุงู„ู„ูŠุซุŒ ุนู† ุนุจูŠุฏ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุจู† ุนู…ุฑุŒ ุนู† ู†ุงูุนุŒ ุนู† ุงุจู† ุนู…ุฑุŒ ู‚ุงู„: ู‚ุงู„ ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู…: ยซุงู„ุณู…ุน ูˆุงู„ุทุงุนุฉ ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ู…ุฑุก ุงู„ู…ุณู„ู… ููŠู…ุง ุฃุญุจ ูˆูƒุฑู‡ ู…ุง ู„ู… ูŠุคู…ุฑ ุจู…ุนุตูŠุฉุŒ ูุฅู† ุฃู…ุฑ ุจู…ุนุตูŠุฉ ูู„ุง ุณู…ุน ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆู„ุง ุทุงุนุฉยป.

[ุณู†ู† ุงู„ุชุฑู…ุฐูŠ (3/ 261) ุชุญู‚ูŠู‚ ุจุดุงุฑ]

  ุซู… ุงุนู„ู… ุฃู† ุงู„ู‡ุฌุฑุฉ ุนู† ุจู„ุงุฏ ุงู„ูƒูุฑ ูˆุงู„ู…ุนุงุตูŠ ุฃุชุช ุนู„ูŠู‡ุง ุฏุฑุฌุงุช ู…ุชูุงูˆุชุฉ ููŠ ุงู„ุฅุณู„ุงู…ุŒ ููƒุงู† ุฃูˆู„ ุฃู…ุฑู‡ุง ุฃู† ุงู„ู…ุณู„ู…ูˆู† ู„ู…ุง ุฃู…ุฑูˆุง ุจุงู„ู‡ุฌุฑุฉ ู…ู† ู…ูƒุฉ ูƒุงู† ูุฑุถ ุนูŠู† ุนู„ูŠู‡ู…ุŒ ุจู„ ูˆุฅู…ุงุฑุฉ ุงู„ุฅุณู„ุงู… ุจุญูŠุซ ู„ุง ูŠู‚ุจู„ ู…ู†ู‡ู… ุงู„ุฅุณู„ุงู… ุจุฏูˆู† ุงู„ู‡ุฌุฑุฉ ูƒู…ุง ุดู‡ุฏุช ุจู‡ ุขูŠุงุช ุงู„ูƒุชุงุจุŒ ุซู… ูŠุณุฑ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ ุงู„ุฃู…ุฑ ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ู…ุณู„ู…ูŠู† ูุจู‚ูŠุช ู…ุณุชุญุจุฉ ู…ู† ุจู„ุงุฏ ุงู„ูƒูุฑ ูˆุงู„ูุณู‚ ู…ุทู„ู‚ู‹ุงุŒ ูƒูŠูู…ุง ูƒุงู†ุŒ ูˆุฅู† ูƒุงู† ููŠู‡ุง ู‚ุงุฏุฑู‹ุง ุนู„ู‰ ุฅู‚ุงู…ุฉ ุงู„ุฏูŠู†ุŒ ูˆุณูˆุงุก ุฐู„ูƒ ููŠ ุฏุงุฑ ุงู„ุฅุณู„ุงู… ูˆุฏุงุฑ ุงู„ุญุฑุจ. ูˆู‡ุฐุง ุงู„ุชูุตูŠู„ ุฐูƒุฑู‡ ุงู„ุญุงูุธ ููŠ ยซูุชุญ ุงู„ุจุงุฑูŠยปุŒ ูˆู‚ูˆุงุนุฏ ุงู„ุญู†ููŠุฉ ุฑุญู…ู‡ู… ุงู„ู„ู‡ ู„ุง ุชุฃุจุงู‡. [ุฃุญูƒุงู… ุงู„ู‚ุฑุขู† ู„ู„ุชู‡ุงู†ูˆูŠ: 3/141]

  ู‡ูŽุฐูŽุง ุฃูŽู…ู’ุฑูŒ ู…ูู†ูŽ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ู„ูุนูุจูŽุงุฏูู‡ู ุงู„ู’ู…ูุคู’ู…ูู†ููŠู†ูŽ ุจูุงู„ู’ู‡ูุฌู’ุฑูŽุฉู ู…ูู†ูŽ ุงู„ู’ุจูŽู„ูŽุฏู ุงู„ู‘ูŽุฐููŠ ู„ูŽุง ูŠูŽู‚ู’ุฏูุฑููˆู†ูŽ ูููŠู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุฅูู‚ูŽุงู…ูŽุฉู ุงู„ุฏู‘ููŠู†ูุŒ ุฅูู„ูŽู‰ ุฃูŽุฑู’ุถู ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุงู„ู’ูˆูŽุงุณูุนูŽุฉูุŒ ุญูŽูŠู’ุซู ูŠูู…ู’ูƒูู†ู ุฅูู‚ูŽุงู…ูŽุฉู ุงู„ุฏู‘ููŠู†ูุŒ ุจูุฃูŽู†ู’ ูŠููˆูŽุญู‘ูุฏููˆุง ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ูŽ ูˆูŽูŠูŽุนู’ุจูุฏููˆู‡ู ูƒูŽู…ูŽุง ุฃู…ุฑู‡ู…ุ› ูˆู„ู‡ุฐุง ู‚ุงู„: ๏ดฟูŠูŽุง ุนูุจูŽุงุฏููŠูŽ ุงู„ู‘ูŽุฐููŠู†ูŽ ุขู…ูŽู†ููˆุง ุฅูู†ู‘ูŽ ุฃูŽุฑู’ุถููŠ ูˆูŽุงุณูุนูŽุฉูŒ ููŽุฅููŠู‘ูŽุงูŠูŽ ููŽุงุนู’ุจูุฏููˆู†ู๏ดพ. [ุชูุณูŠุฑ ุงุจู† ูƒุซูŠุฑ]

 ุฐููƒู’ุฑู ุงู„ู’ู‡ูุฌู’ุฑูŽุฉู ุงู„ู’ุฃููˆู„ูŽู‰ ุฅู„ูŽู‰ ุฃูŽุฑุถ ุงู„ู’ุญูŽุจูŽุดูŽุฉ

ุฅูุดูŽุงุฑูŽุฉ ุฑูŽุณููˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตูŽู„ู‘ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ู‘ูŽู…ูŽ ุนู„ู‰ ุฃูŽุตู’ุญูŽุงุจู‡ ุจูุงู„ู’ู‡ูุฌู’ุฑูŽุฉู:

ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ุงุจู’ู†ู ุฅุณู’ุญูŽุงู‚ูŽ: ููŽู„ูŽู…ู‘ุง ุฑูŽุฃูŽู‰ ุฑูŽุณููˆู„ู ุงู„ู„ู‡ู โ€“ ุตูŽู„ู‘ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ู‘ูŽู…ูŽ โ€“ ู…ูŽุง ูŠูุตููŠุจู ุฃูŽุตู’ุญูŽุงุจูŽู‡ู ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ุจูŽู„ูŽุงุกู. ูˆูŽู…ูŽุง ู‡ููˆูŽ ูููŠู‡ู ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ุนูŽุงูููŠูŽุฉู. ุจูู…ูŽูƒูŽุงู†ูู‡ู ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู„ู‡ู ูˆูŽู…ูู†ู’ ุนูŽู…ู‘ู‡ู ุฃูŽุจููŠ ุทูŽุงู„ูุจู ูˆูŽุฃูŽู†ู‘ู‡ู ู„ูŽุง ูŠูŽู‚ู’ุฏูุฑู ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุฃูŽู†ู’ ูŠูŽู…ู’ู†ูŽุนูŽู‡ูู…ู’ ู…ูู…ู‘ุง ู‡ูู…ู’ ูููŠู‡ู ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ุจูŽู„ูŽุงุกู. ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ู„ูŽู‡ูู…ู’: โ€œู„ูŽูˆู’ ุฎูŽุฑูŽุฌู’ุชูู…ู’ ุฅู„ูŽู‰ ุฃูŽุฑู’ุถู ุงู„ู’ุญูŽุจูŽุดูŽุฉูุŒ ููŽุฅูู†ู‘ ุจูู‡ูŽุง ู…ูŽู„ููƒู‹ุง ู„ูŽุง ูŠูุธู’ู„ูŽู…ู ุนูู†ู’ุฏูŽู‡ู ุฃูŽุญูŽุฏูŒ. ูˆูŽู‡ููŠูŽ ุฃูŽุฑู’ุถู ุตูุฏู’ู‚ู ุญูŽุชู‘ู‰ ูŠูŽุฌู’ุนูŽู„ูŽ ุงู„ู„ู‡ู ู„ูŽูƒูู…ู’ ููŽุฑูŽุฌู‹ุง ู…ูู…ู‘ุง ุฃูŽู†ู’ุชูู…ู’ ูููŠู‡ูโ€.

ููŽุฎูŽุฑูŽุฌูŽ ุนูู†ู’ุฏูŽ ุฐูŽู„ููƒูŽ ุงู„ู’ู…ูุณู’ู„ูู…ููˆู†ูŽ ู…ูู†ู’ ุฃูŽุตู’ุญูŽุงุจู ุฑูŽุณููˆู„ู ุงู„ู„ู‡ู โ€“ ุตูŽู„ู‘ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ู‘ูŽู…ูŽ โ€“ ุฅู„ูŽู‰ ุฃูŽุฑู’ุถู ุงู„ู’ุญูŽุจูŽุดูŽุฉูุŒ ู…ูŽุฎูŽุงููŽุฉูŽ ุงู„ู’ููุชู’ู†ูŽุฉู ูˆูŽููุฑูŽุงุฑู‹ุง ุฅู„ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ู ุจูุฏููŠู†ูู‡ูู…ู’. ููŽูƒูŽุงู†ูŽุชู’ ุฃูŽูˆู‘ู„ูŽ ู‡ูุฌู’ุฑูŽุฉู ูƒูŽุงู†ูŽุชู’ ูููŠ ุงู„ู’ุฅูุณู’ู„ูŽุงู…. [ุงู„ุฑูˆุถ ุงู„ุฃู†ู ู„ู„ุณู‡ูŠู„ูŠ (3/ 120)]

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This answer was collected from the official Ifta website of Darul Uloom Azaadville, South Africa. Most of the answers are checked and approved by Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

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