The First Anchor:
“There is no obligation in Sharı’ah in the face of weakness.”
Sheikh al-Islām ibn Taymiyyah wrote:
“Allāh the Most High, informs us in many places that He does not burden a person more than he/she can bear.
“Allāh does not burden a soul more than it can handle.”
Allah ordered people to be dutiful to Him according to their ability:
“And Fear Allāh as best you can.”
The Case of the Mujtahid
These verses illustrate that Allah does not burden any person with what he/she is unable to bear. Thus, the mujtahid………if he struggles to derive a ruling-seeking evidences- then (in doing so) he should fear Allah as much as he can as this is what Allah has obligated upon him. He is (considered) obedient to Allah and deserving of His reward if he observes this condition.
The New Muslim Unable to Migrate
The same holds true for a disbeliever who received the message of the Prophet in the land of the non-Muslims; learns what the Prophet brought, believes in it and in what was revealed to him [صلى الله عليه وسلم] and fears Allah as best he can similar to Najāshi and others. This recent convert is unable to hold onto the totality of Islamic rulings since he is unable to migrate, profess his religion in its entirety and there is no one there to teach him the faith.
This person is a believer from the people of paradise just like the believing man who hid his faith during the time of Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s wife who hid her faith as well. In fact, this person is like the Prophet Yusuf with the Egyptians! They were disbelievers and it was impossible for him to implement all of his religious knowledge with them. He called them to the oneness of Allah and faith, but they did not respond.
Allāh, the Most High, says:
”And Joseph had already come to you before with clear proofs, but you remained in doubt of that which he brought to you, until when he died, you said, ‘Never will Allah send a messenger after him.’ Thus does Allah leave astray he who is a transgressor and skeptic.” al-Qur’an [al-Ghafir]: 34
Simillar is the case of Najāshi, although he was the ruler of the Christians, they did not obey him and enter into Islam. Only a small group did so, and because of that, when he died, there was no one there to pray [the funeral prayer] for him. Thus the Prophet [sa] prayed upon him in Medina with the Muslim community; aligning them in rows, informing them of Najāshi’s death saying, “Indeed, one of your righteous brothers from Ethiopia has died.” There were a large number of Islamic rites, or most of them, that Najāshi was unable to observe because of this weakness. Therefore, he did not migrate, fight in the cause of Allah nor observe pilgrimage.
In summary: there is no difference amongst the scholars regarding a person who resides in the lands of the disbelievers; accepts Islam finding that he/she is unable to migrate, that there is no obligation upon him/her regarding things he/she is unable to fulfill. The obligatory acts are conditioned upon ability.”
Majmū al-Fatāwa vol. 10 pg. 216-220
Translated by Suhaib D. Webb