Are Visas and Passports the Modern Equivalents of Covenant of Security? Some say that the visa is an Aqd Aman (Covenant of Security) from the visa-granting country to a Muslim entering it. Accordingly, it is incumbent upon a Muslim to counter its safe-conduct to him with a safe-conduct from him to it. If he interferes with the wealth of that country or its people’s lives, he is a perfidious betrayer who deserves Allah’s threatened punishment.
First off, visas are a recent issue with no textual provision in al-Qur’an, al-Sunnah, the consensus or any quotes by our previous Ulama. This is a matter of Ijtihad that has been discussed, researched and studied by many scholars as it is a new issue. So which scholar should the Muslim follow? This is like when a person falls sick and he looks for the most trustworthy and knowledgeable physician so that he can go to him, because he is most likely to give him the right treatment than anyone else.
The same things applies on Fiqh al-Jihad, you cannot seek such knowledge from those who live in Dar al-Kufr or in the laps of al-Tawaghit and never fired a single bullet for the cause of Allah, nor have they witnessed a single scene or episode on the battlefield. Fiqh al-Jihad should be taken from al-Mujahideen or those who on the battlefield. Imam ibn Taymiya said that both Imam Ahmad and ibn al-Mubarak used to say if you differ on an issue; seek the answer from al-Mujahideen in the front lines, as Allah (ﷻ) said:
“وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ”
“And those who strive for Us, We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed Allah is with the doers of good (69)” (Surat al-Ankabout)
This Aya is telling us that those who are struggling in the path of Allah will be guided. Many Ulama of al-Jihad have issued Fatwa that a visa should not be considered a security covenant. Among these Ulama are al-Shaykh Nasir al-Fahd, al-Shaykh Hamoud al-Oqla, al-Shaykh Hussayn Omar bin Mahfouz and al-Shaykh Abdullah al-Rushoud.
Then Muslims are not bound by the covenants of citizenship and visa that exist between them and nations of Dar al-Harb. It is the consensus of our Ulama that the property of the disbelievers in Dar al-Harb is Halal for the Muslims and is a legitimate target for al-Mujahideen. Again this is a matter of consensus so there is no need to elaborate further on this point. If one would research our classical books of al-Fiqh, one would find that out of the four Mazahib, the Hanafi School has covered such topics the most. This is probably because the Hanafi School was the official state Mazhab for the longest period in our history compared to other schools. It therefore covers issues relating to al-Jihad in more detail because the foreign policy of the Islamic state was al-Jihad in the path of Allah.
Even if we granted that a visa is a contract of “safety in return for safety”, this contract would be invalid because the real meaning of a covenant of security is protection of property and life, which means anyone who enters the West on a visa, this country should protect his property and life. Where is this alleged security if the Westerners give themselves the right to arrest any Muslim without examining his visa, residency permit, or passport. Here are some examples of this:
- The kidnapping of Abu Talal al-Ansari (Tal’at Fou’ad) from Croatia. Although he was carrying a Danish passport and an entry visa for Croatia, American intelligence kidnapped him and turned him over to Egypt, where no one knows his fate until now!
- The incident of Jama’at al-Jihad members who were deported from Albania and elsewhere. These brothers were deported from Albania to Egypt, where they were subjected to torture and imprisonment. Two of them were executed, Ahmad al-Najjar and Ahmad Isma’il, may Allah have mercy on them.
- The kidnapping of Shaykh Abu Hajir al-Iraqi. He was arrested a few days after he arrived in Germany with a formal visa. He had committed no violation of German laws. Indeed, the German judge told him frankly, “Your problem is with America, not with Germany!“
- The kidnapping of Shaykh Abu Omar from Italy and his deportation to Egypt, where he was tortured, although he was carrying a valid visa and legal residence permit.
In all these incidents and innumerable others the victims were carrying valid passports, formal visas, and sound residence permits, but that did not protect them from deportation, torture, imprisonment, and murder. Where, then, is the visa’s safe-conduct?
Also, the Muslim, might be wanted by a Western country in a certain case without his knowledge. If he goes to the country’s embassy and applies for a visa, they might give it to him without informing him of anything; and, when he arrives at their airport or port, they will arrest him. If the visa were a safe-conduct, they could not do this to him. The story of Shaykh Muhammad al-Mu’ayad al-Yamani is well-known and famous. He was lured to Germany on the pretext that contributions for Hamas would be delivered to him. There he was arrested and deported to America, where he is still imprisoned. Also well-known is the story of Muhammad al-Nafi’ al-Sudani, who was lured to Germany by his treacherous in-law, the spy Jamal al-Fadl. There he was offered work as an FBI informant; when he refused, he was deported to America, where he is still imprisoned. The stories are endless.
Westerners do not think that the entry visa or political asylum prevents them from taking any measure of this kind. Indeed, they think that they are free to deal with those who live among them or enter their country, it is their right to issue any laws that restrict the freedom of such people without honouring, considering, or even imagining any contract of safe-conduct.
Subhanallah, if the Westerners give no consideration to a visa or to a passport, why should we give any consideration to it? Even if the visa were a contract of security and they were violating it, would we not be entitled to treat them in like manner? What is the matter with you? How do you judge?
Once again, if we grant that a visa is a safe-conduct for the sake of argument, does the Kefir’s grant of safe-conduct to the Muslim imply a grant of safe-conduct by the Muslim to the Kafir?
Imam ibn al-Qayyim said: “If treaty-holders wage war on those who are under al-Imam’s protection and care, they thereby become his enemies and no treaty remains between them and him; he may attack them by night in their homes without distinction and with no need to give them notice. He will give them notice only if he fears treachery by them; and if that comes to pass, they have abandoned his treaty”.
Ibn Humam al-Hanafi also said: “If the people of war who have Muslims living among them on safe-conduct attack agroup of Muslims, take their children captive, and pass with them by those Muslims living among them on safe-conduct, the Muslims have a duty to break their agreements and fight them, if they can. This is because they do not have control of their persons, and confirming their right to them would be an acquiescence in wrongdoing; to which thing they gave them no guarantee”.
Even if we grant that the visa is an Aman (promise of safety) from the issuing country, the peoples of Westerners have all broken their promise by virtue of what some of them have done and the others have consented to. Or they have not denied its legitimacy and have considered it as a constitutional action because the majority approved it. Thus, the promise of America’s allies in its war, such as the NATO alliance, has been broken.
As ibn al-Qayyim said in Zad al-Ma’ad: “His way (Prophet ﷺ) was that if he made peace with a people and some of them broke his covenant and treaty, and the remainder approved of them and consented to it, he attacked all of them. He treated them all as having reneged, as he did with Quraysh, al-Nadir, and the Banu Qaynuqa, and as he did with the people of Mecca. This was his procedure with people who had a treaty”. For this reason, ibn Taymiya issued a Fatwa that the Christians of the east should be attacked because they had helped the enemy of the Muslims fight them and had supplied them with money and weapons, although they themselves had not attacked us or waged war on us. He saw them as having broken their treaty in this way, exactly as Quraysh had broken its covenant with the Prophet (ﷺ) by helping the Banu Bakr to make war on his allies.
This is the state of the Westerners at this time. They have harmed Muslims. They have waged war on them and has occupied their countries in al-Sham, al-Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and Chechnya. They have stolen their oil and honoured those who have reviled their Prophet. They besieged the Muslims in al-Sham, bombed them and killed hundreds of thousands of them. Thus it has become the duty of Muslims to repel its harm and punish them.
Summary: If we assume for argument’s sake that a visa from from any crusader country is an Aman, this Aman is void for two reasons. First, no Aman protects the life of someone who wages war against Allah and His Prophet, harms Muslims, and insults their Prophet and religion. Second, Westerners violate the Aman every day.
Finally, it should be remembered that this is a disputed question, a matter of opinion, and individual judgment. Anyone comfortable with this opinion can make use of it, and anyone who is uncomfortable with it or does not find it congenial, let him look for other means whereby to struggle against the crusaders occupying the lands of al-Islam.