I want to ask you if I should consider studying in the United States.
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
salam aleikum wa rahmat Allahi wa barakatuhu
Beloved Brother i want to ask you if I should consider studying in the United States. Please answer this; it will clear many other doubts also inshaAllah. I will tell you my situation in detail, please analyse it and tell me what course of action I should take:
I am 17 and an Indian living in Saudi Arabia. Im in my last year at school and I have to decide where I want to study after school. As for my faith, I am regular in prayers and all faraaid alhamdulillah and I have gained knowledge but still, I cannot say i am a very strong muslim, because I have fallen into many sins . My problem has mainly been curbing my lust, and i have shamed myself infront of Allah many times (astaghfirullah!) I am good in studies by the Grace of Allah and there are many expectations from me. I have presently two options, going to India or going somewhere like the U.S. India is a mushrik country, and the situation, as far as I know, is not so good even in India. My cousins studying in U.S are encouraging me to go to U.S; they say you`ll get more receptive people there and your da`wah will be better there,(since people are more open-minded there than the Indian Hindus) and that you can be a better Muslim there than in India. i hear often of this person or that who went there and got ivolved in islamic service.of course, strong Muslims are good anywhere, but I am the type of person who needs a good atmosphere or i may become weak in my Islam. Now the issues about going to U.S are:
1) The general idea that the morality in america is very low and I may become dirty.
2) The oppression of the government against our brothers, because of which many people say that you should not help their economy.
3) My going to a Non-Muslim country to avail of their high standard of education.
4) possibility of making many non-muslim friends there, dressing like them because of the normal fashion there, loving some of them, and thus the danger of becoming one of them(even while holding on to Islam)
5) My intention being only partly and not wholly to do da`wah to christians there, and the other part being getting good education.
please shiekh address all these issues, i`m sorry i have made it long but please help me clear this issue. I have done istikharah, and need your opinion to make a firm decision. Sheikh you might know how that place is and you might have talked to muslims who have lived there, so please advise me whether I should even think of studying in the U.S.
jazak Allah khair dear sheikh.
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
Should one go to us to study
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Islam does not in any way restrict the believers if they wish to go, reside, live and viisit non-muslim nations for a valid reason. There is absolutely no harm and no restriction for a believer to also arm himself with the best worldly knowledge available; regardless of whether the knowledge is learnt from a believer or non-believer, regardless of whether the knowledge is learnt in a muslim nation or a non-muslim nation, etc.
The struggle between choosing the good over the existence of evil is a lifelong struggle for a believer; and one has to fight this struggle regardless of wherever in the world one resides. Your fears regarding morality, etc. are extremely valid when one lives amongst an un-godly and impious population, but brother, unfortunately most of the fears that you possess regarding morality, etc. are also true amongst most of the muslim nations today!
Thus if the question is whether it is Islamically legal or permissible for a believer to travel to a non-muslim nation in the quest of seeking knowledge; the answer would be: it is absolutely legal in its essence. But if one fears that one might put ones faith or ones religion and thus the Hereafter in trial in the quest for gaining more worldly knowledge, then it would be best to abstain from leaving ones secure and protected surroundings.
Thus, the decision of which of the two options to choose to continue ones further studies would be based on which nation has better facilities which would enable one to further not only his quest for knowledge in the life of this world, but also use this knowledge to serve humanity and the Cause of Allah Subhanah.
Thus brother, wherever you go, fear Allah and strive to live your life within the boundaries streamlined by Allah and His Messenger (saws). Our sincere advice is that whichever nation you choose to go, first and foremost immediately associate yourself with good, God-fearing and pious brothers who are foremost in the doing of good deeds; for the company you choose to keep will be the deciding factor in saving yourself from the lures and temptations this transient world has to offer.
Now to answer your specific questions:
Q-1: The general idea that the morality in america is very low and I may become dirty.
Although it is true in many respects that in the false pretext of freedom, morality has taken a back-seat in most of the so-called advanced-educated-modern but un-Godly nations. But the truth is brother, as much as there is a lot of evil in the Western cultures, they also have a lot of good; thus it is the individual himself who decides and chooses whether he wants to accept their good or their evil, and he himself will be responsible for his choice.
Q-2: The oppression of the government against our brothers, because of which many people say that you should not help their economy.
There is a huge difference between the designs of the leaders of a nation, and the designs of general population of that nation. There is absolutely no doubt that the Western Powers are absolutely on the opposite tangent of whatever is endorsed by Allah and His Messenger (saws); but rather than get surprised with their attitude, a believer who sincerely believes in Allah and the Last Day must expect such an attitude from those who do not fear Allah.
It is indeed true that a believer who sincerely feels for the oppression of ones brothers and sisters at the hands of the enemy nation must strive not to strengthen them or their economy in any way; but if what they have to offer is exclusive in terms of their education and facilities, and seeking this knowledge will help and enable you to further the Cause of Allah Subhanah better, then there is no harm in making a small investment for a larger and lasting gain.
Q-3: My going to a Non-Muslim country to avail of their high standard of education.
If in your investigation and opinion, there is no other nation which would offer you the same standard of education you seek; there is no harm in seeking knowledge even from an enemy nation.
Q-4: possibility of making many non-muslim friends there, dressing like them because of the normal fashion there, loving some of them, and thus the danger of becoming one of them(even while holding on to Islam)
A believer should always be a sincere well-wisher of humanity, not only for the transient life of this world, but also for the Hereafter. If one is firm in ones belief and fears that Inevitable and Tumultuous Day when each individual will be brought forth in the Majestic Presence of the their Lord Creator to answer for their deeds; and one is sincerely proud to be a slave-servant of his Lord Most Majestic, it would never happen that one would become or take the evil habits that are hated and despised by his Lord.
If one is sincere in ones belief in Allah and the Last Day, it is the ones who are misguided and tempted by the luxuries of this transient world who should be attracted to a believer through his character, his wisdom, his words, his deeds and his example; rather than the other way around! How is it possible that one would leave a way of life which is endorsed and approved by his Lord to one which is despised and hated by Allah? How is it possible that one would leave something superior to one which is inferior?
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surah Maidah verses 54-57:
54 O ye who believe! If any from among you turn back from his faith soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him; lowly with the believers mighty against the rejecters; striving in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the Grace of Allah which He will bestow on whom He pleaseth: and Allah encompasseth all and He knoweth all things.
55 Your (real) friends are (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers, those who establish regular prayers and regular charity and they bow down humbly (in worship).
56 As to those who turn (for friendship) to Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers; it is the fellowship of Allah that must certainly triumph.
57 O ye who believe! Take not for friends and protectors those who take your religion for a mockery or sport whether among those who received the Scripture before you, or among those who reject faith; but fear ye Allah if ye have Faith (indeed).
Beloved brother, we reiterate again, if you sincerely believe that by going and living in an impious nation would put you in trial regarding your faith; it would be best to seek another option of fulfilling your requirement in your quest for furthering your knowledge. Allah is our witness, it would not be a wise or intelligent decision to gain the world but lose the Hereafter!
Q-5: My intention being only partly and not wholly to do da`wah to christians there, and the other part being getting good education.
Every word a believer who sincerely fears Allah and the Last Day utters, every deed he does, every talk he talks, and every walk he walks should be an example for those who have no faith! Dawah is not restricted to sitting and lecturing those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day to accept the Truth; but a muslim should be an example of a walking/talking Dai or inviter to the Truth, where his behavior, his high character, his unshakable morality, his sublime manners, his love for the betterment of humanity and his every word and his every deed should encourage those who have no faith to become like him!
Unfortunately we live in times today where one who calls himself a muslim is more impressed with the talk, behavior, fashion, character, and the way of life of one who does not have faith, and has developed a feeling of inferiority when in their company; when in reality it should be the exact opposite! May Allah Subhanah bless you and us to be amongst those who strive to change this balance and strive to stand firm on the side of Truth.
Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 4284 Narrated by Thawban
The Prophet (saws) said: (There will soon come a time when) the people will summon one another to attack you (believers) as people when eating invite others to share their dish! Someone asked: O Messenger of Allah (saws), will that be because of our small numbers at that time? He (saws) replied: No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be scum and rubbish like that carried down by a torrent, and Allah will take out the fear of you from the breasts of your enemy and put wahn into your hearts. Someone asked: What is wahn, O Messenger of Allah (saws)? The Messenger of Allah (saws) replied: Love of the world and the dislike of death!
If one trusts, obeys, and follows the guidance and commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of never ever being misled; but if one believes, obeys and follows any other guidance, other than that of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of being led astray.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,