Praise be to Allaah.
Firstly: there is no doubt that staying in the kaafir lands poses a grave danger to the religion and morals of the Muslim. Hence we should beware of that and try to avoid it, and set out conditions which will prevent the Muslim from falling into that great danger. The Muslim who stays in a kaafir country must meet two conditions, as follows:
1 â His religious commitment should be secure, in the sense that he should have sufficient knowledge and faith to give him the strength to remain steadfast in his religious commitment and to avoid going astray.
2 â He should able to practise his religion openly by establishing the symbols of Islam with no impediment. Otherwise it is not permissible for him to stay there and he must migrate (hijrah) in that case. Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, when discussing the different categories of people with regard to migration:
The first group is those for whom migration is obligatory; these are the ones who are able to migrate and who are not able to practise their religion openly, who are not able to establish the duties of Islam whilst remaining among the kuffaar. These people have to migrate because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
âVerily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (angels) say (to them): âIn what (condition) were you?â They reply: âWe were weak and oppressed on the earth.â They (angels) say: âWas not the earth of Allaah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?ââ
This is a stern warning which indicates that migrating is obligatory. Establishing the duties of Islam is obligatory for the one who is able to do that, and migration (hijrah) is a necessary part of these obligatory duties: whatever is essential to the fulfillment of an obligatory duty is also obligatory.
See al-Mughni, 8/457; Majmooâ Fataawa Ibn âUthaymeen, 3/25-30
Whatever is essential to the fulfillment of an obligatory duty is also obligatory. But there are some cases in which it is permissible for a Muslim to stay in a kaafir country. Please see question no. 13363
2 â For those who stay among the kuffaar for a reason, such as studying, the danger is even greater, because the student feels a need for his teacher, which may lead to him being friendly towards him and pretending to approve of his ways. Moreover, the student usually feels inferior to his teacher, then he starts to venerate him and adopt his views. Moreover the student will inevitably have friends during his period of study. For all of these reasons we must be very cautious indeed, and in this case in addition to the conditions mentioned above there are other conditions, which include the following:
1 â The student should be very mature, so that he can distinguish between truth and falsehood. Hence sending students who are very young involves a serious danger to their religious commitment, morals and beliefs.
2 â The student should have sufficient knowledge of Islam to be able to distinguish truth from falsehood, lest he become confused and be deceived by them.
3 â He should have enough religious commitment and faith to protect him against kufr and immorality, because those who are weak in these areas will not be safe.
4 â He should have a need for the knowledge for which he is going there, in the sense that learning this will serve the interests of the Muslims and there is no equivalent available in Muslim schools, otherwise it is not permissible for him to stay among the kuffaar.
Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: âI disavow myself of any Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.â Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2645; al-Tirmidhi, 1604; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwaâ, 1207.
For all these reasons it is essential to be cautious with regard to this matter, especially when sending the young to their schools and even kindergartens, because that poses a threat to their behaviour and morals.
You are well aware that the danger to your children is not restricted to their joining them in their festivals, rather the danger is there simply because of their mixing with them and living among them. So you, as a father, have to be wise in that and understand these dangers, and protect your children from being contaminated with their ideas or being influenced by them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
âO you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell)â¦â
Your children are a trust that have been given to you; if you can educate them only in Islamic school or with Muslim teachers, then do so, and it is better to err on the side of caution. Beware of everything that could damage their religious commitment and behaviour. I ask Allaah to help you and to protect you and to make goodness easy for you wherever it is. And Allaah is the source of strength.