Staying in an unlawful environment.

Q. With respect to the prohibition of eating halal food from places that sells alcohol or have a bar, what would be the Islamic ruling with regards to staying at a hotel in another country? It is obvious that the majority of these hotels sell or serve alcohol, eg. if I am a salesperson who travels to buy goods.

A. Staying in an environment where there are haram/unlawful activities would not be allowed for a Muslim. A Muslim is not only required to stay away from sins but he is also required to hate them and avoid witnessing them. Places in which sins are committed attract the wrath of Allah and it is not becoming of a Muslim to present himself in such places. It is for this reason Imam Bukhari has dedicated a chapter in his Saheeh which states, ‘It is part of Imaan for one to run away from sinful and haram acts’.

With this guideline, it becomes clear that while traveling and residing (temporarily) in different cities and countries, one should look for such places that are free from these unlawful things. If one cannot find such a place and the only available ones are those that are involved in the sale of alcohol etc, then he can stay there to the extent of necessity. As soon as he has fulfilled his need, he should move out from such places.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan