Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
In western countries like Canada, is it permissible for Muslims to sing the national anthem, to rise or pay respects to the Canadian flag and celebrate it’s national independence day?
In the Name of Allāh, Most Merciful, Most Kind
Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question. May the Almighty bless us with the correct understanding and practice of religion.
In general, from the Islamic point of view, to sing the national anthem of one’s country is permissible and encouraged, provided there are no words or statements contrary to the fundamental teachings of Islam.
The great faqīh (Islamic jurist), Shaykh Khalid Saifullah Al Raḥmānī writes,
“It is permissible for Muslims to sing the anthems that display the love of state lands and loyalty to them, for indeed loving the home-land falls in the diameters of righteousness and this is not objectionable in light of Islamic law.” (Nawāzil Fiqhīyyah Mu’āsirah)
Again, if the raising of the flag, saluting it, and paying homage to one’s country are practiced with the correct intention, while not engaging in anything contrary to the Islamic principles, there is no objection in it. Regarding this Shaykh Khalid also writes,
“I believe the purpose of pausing, standing and saluting during the raising of the flag, is to display respect, honour, love, and loyalty to the homeland. Worship is not intended nor is absolute submission [as one would to the Creator], therefore it is permissible.” (Nawāzil Fiqhīyyah Mu’āsirah)
The Prophet of Islam, Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) also displayed great love, loyalty and attachment to the lands he regarded as home, both in Makkah, as his birth place and also in Madīnah where he stayed as an immigrant.
Ibn Abbās (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) addressed the city of Makkah, “How pleasant a city you are, how beloved are you to me, had it not been for my people who expelled me from you, I would not have lived in any other city”. (Tirmidhī)
‘Alī Ibn Abī Ṭālib (may Allāh be pleased with him) relates, we left with the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings upon him) until we were at the rocky field of Al-Suqya, which belonged to Sa’ad ibn Abī Waqqās (may Allāh be pleased with him). The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said, “Bring me water for the ablution”. The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) performed ablution, thereafter stood up, faced the qibla, then said, “O Allāh, certainly Ibrahim (peace and blessings upon him) was your slave and friend who supplicated for blessings for the people of Makkah. I am also your slave and messenger, I pray to you for the people of Madīnah that you bless for them their mudd and sa’a (food measuring utensils), the same way you had blessed for the people of Makkah, numerous blessings”. (Tirmidhī)
There are several examples in the reliable ḥadīths to stand out of respect for someone or something, obviously without the intent of worship, or how we stand before Almighty Allāh, the Creator. Just to quote a few, kindly see below:
“The people of [Banā] Quraydhah agreed to accept the verdict of Sa’ad bin Mu’ādh (may Allāh be pleased with him). So, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) sent for Sa’ad (may Allāh be pleased with him), and the latter came [riding] a donkey and when he approached the mosque, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said to the Anṣār, “Get up for your chief or for the best among you!” (Saḥīḥ Bukhārī)
‘Āishah (may Allāh be pleased with her) narrates, “I have never encountered anyone that had emulated the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) in manners (character), likeness and speech, more than Fāṭimah (may Allāh be pleased with her). When she came in to visit him, he (the Prophet) got up to [welcome] her, took her by the hand, kissed her and made her sit where he was sitting; and when he went in to visit her, she got up to [welcome] him, took him by the hand, kissed him, and made him sit where she was sitting”. (Abū Dāwūd)
Abū Hurayrah (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, “the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) was seated with the Companions in the mosque and speaking to them. When he rose to depart, they all rose with him and remained standing until he entered any of the houses of his family (may Allāh be pleased with them).” (Mishkāt)
And Allāh Knows Best