Which of The Four Orthodox Madhabs Has The Most Developed Fiqh For Muslims Living As Minorities?

For example, in reference to whether Muslims can live in Western countries, I pointed out to Dr. Taha that al-Wanshirisi mentions in his Miyar al-mughrib a fatwa given by a Moroccan scholar after the fall of Andalus that it is not permissible for a Muslim to remain in a non- Muslim land where shari’a does not rule “for even a single hour of a single day”. Dr. Taha replied that such fatwas were given in view of the need of the Muslim polity to sever all ties and ways of compromise with the non-Muslim occupiers. This was also the main interest, he said, in fatwas given by Maliki scholars at the beginning of this century of the unlawfulness of North-African Muslims taking French citizenship, at a time when France wanted to buttress its hegemony over the area by offering citizenship and passports to Muslims; whereas today, North Africans living in France and elsewhere may very well have a valid need for taking such a foreign nationality.

We should remember, among the other points mentioned above, that issuing a fatwa on the exceptional rulings we have mentioned (or interpreting the present relevance of past fatwas given under such exceptional circumstances) requires a mufti qualified to do ijtihad–I have mentioned elsewhere the qualifications needed by such scholars, and in consequence, how rare they are–and is a path to hell for anyone else. Secondly, an exception made to protect a “vital interest” (darura) cannot exceed the minimum necessary to obviate harm to that interest.

(c) Nuh Ha Mim Keller 1995


Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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