It is permissible for Muslims to be a citizen of a non-Muslim country. As long as their Islamic identity is not threatened and that they can raise their children as Muslims but they have to abide by the law of the land.

Citizenship in non-Muslim Countries

Similar Questions

  • Holding citizenship of a non-Muslim country;

  • Residence outside the land of Islam;

  • To be naturalized in a non-Muslim country.

The Issue

Citizenship is defined as a mutual relationship between the members of a human community living on the same land with the framework of a constitution, regulations and laws which determine the rights and duties of such individuals. How can a Muslim be a citizen of a non-Muslim country, or permanently reside there, and reconcile the requirements of citizenship with the essential principles of Islam?


There is no harm in being a citizen of a non-Muslim country, whether one is an original citizen or naturalized. Muslims are duty-bound to honour the conditions of residence and citizenship in the countries where they live as Muslim minorities, provided that these do not threaten their Islamic identity.

Among the most important duties of Muslims is to believe that the life and honour of non-Muslims have sanctity, to abide by the law of the land and to remain committed to moral values such as justice and cooperation in good causes. They must also do their best to raise their children as Muslims and establish schools and educational centres for the purpose.

It is perfectly appropriate for Muslims to contribute to social, political and economic activities that do not contravene basic Islamic principles. This applies more strongly if citizenship requires such participation.

Decisions 1-17 and 4-16 of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and Decision 155 (4-17) of the International Fiqh Academy endorse this ruling.


The fact is that most of the laws and regulations in non-Muslim countries ensure rights of citizenship and residence. These include the freedom of belief and practising one’s religion. As such there is no reason to prevent belonging to such countries so long as they guarantee freedom of belief.

God says:

‘Believers, be true to your contracts. Lawful to you is the [flesh of the] beasts of cattle, other than that which is announced to you herein. But you are not allowed to hunt while you are in the state of consecration. God decrees what He will.’

(5: 1)

He also says:

‘Be true to all your promises, for you will be called to account for all that you promise.’

(17: 34)

Citizenship imposes conditions and commitments which must be honoured as the general meaning of both these verses make clear.

Citizenship does not contravene the Islamic principle of loyalty. The fact that a Muslim lives in a non-Muslim country does not impose on him any contravention of the teachings of his faith.

Naturalization will be discussed under a separate heading.


  • Decisions of the European Council for Fatwa and Research.

  • Decisions of the International Fiqh Academy.

  • Abdullah Bin Bayyah, Sina'at al-Fatwa wa Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat.

  • Sulaiman Muhammad Topoliyak, Al-Ahkam al-Siyasiyyah lil Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah fi al-Fiqh al-Islami.

  • Khalid Abd al-Qadir, Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah.