Dar al-Harb and Dar al-Islam (the Abodes of War and Peace)
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Wikipedia's article on the divisions of the world in Islam contains very little information about the dar al-harb. This article seeks to expand upon Wikipedia's information and tie it to the modern world.
Dar al-Harb (دار الحرب "house of war"; also referred to as dar al-Garb "house of the West" in later Ottoman sources) is an Islamic term used for countries which are not under Islamic rule.
According to The New Encyclopedia of Islam, the dar al-harb (lit. the "abode of war") is:
- the territories where Islam does not prevail. During colonial rule in India, the 'uluma decided that as long as the laws of Islam were not prohibited, or as long as the peculiar institution of Islam existed, the country could be considered to lie within dar al-islam ("abode of Islam"). Symbolically, the dar al-harb is the domain, even in an individual's life, where there is a struggle against or opposition to, the Will of God.
History and use of dar al-harb
According to Professor Gamal M. Badr, Adjunct Professor of Islamic law at New York University, in his article titled "A Survey of Islamic International Law", during the Islamic age of expansion jurists elaborated the theory that the rest of the world outside the domain of Islam was collectively dar al-harb, and the normal relationship between it and the Muslim state was considered to be war. Any truces could not exceed a duration of ten years (a precedent set during Muhammad's lifetime).
During the age of expansion, the rationale for waging war against non-Muslims centered around the legal thought that it was justified by the mere fact of their disbelief. After over a century of expansion, Muslim leaders came to the realization that carrying Islam to the four corners of the world was unattainable. What was once dar al-Islam vs. dar al-harb became dar al-Islam, dar al-sulh ("territory of peace"), and dar al-harb. The territories of peace were states that did not recognize Islamic rule over them but were not hostile towards Muslim states and made friendly treaties with them.
According to Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Muslim reformer, academic, and theologian:
The following excerpt is from the full-text indictment of the "Detroit Five":
However, Tariq Ramadan argues that the concept of dar al-harb is not found in the Qur'an or Sunnah, but rather it was the ulama who began to classify and define the various areas in and around the places which they lived. He asserts that it was a human attempt, at a moment in history, to describe the world and to provide the Muslim community with a geopolitical scheme that seemed appropriate to the reality of the time. He explains that some ulama use the Shafii concept of dar al-ahd ("abode of treaty") or dar al-amn ("abode of safety") when discussing the situation of Muslims in the West.
Several popular Islamic websites continue to use the term dar al-harb. Islam Q&A defines it as "every place in which the rule of kufr prevails" and explains that it is obligatory for Muslims to migrate from the dar al-harb to Muslim lands (also known as a Hijrah) if they are unable to practice their religion openly. According to Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, a former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, in a fatwa on IslamOnline, the late Sheikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah mentioned two main scholarly opinions concerning the definitions of dar al-Islam and dar al-harb. Sheikh Abu Zahrah then chose the Imam Abu Hanifah’s opinion that the question revolves around the matter of security. That is if a Muslim is safe and secure in the place he lives, then the place is Dar Islam, and if not, then it is Dar al-Harb . He also said that this opinion conforms well to the Islamic principles of war, described as a defense strategy.
Khilafah.com provides a rather thorough definition but states near the end of the article that "it is clear that the whole world is Dar al-Kufr as no country including every single Muslim country implements Islam. We see the laws of Allah abandoned as if they were worth nothing, the Sunnah of the Prophet betrayed and the example of the Sahaba ignored by the rulers of our countries."
Dar al-Kufr is the land which is governed by the laws of Kufr, and whose security is not maintained by the security (Aman) of Islam, i.e. by other than the authority and security of Muslims, even if the majority of its inhabitants are Muslims.So what matters in determining whether the land is Dar al-Islam or Dar al-Kufr is neither the land itself nor its inhabitants, rather it is the laws and the security. So if its laws are Islamic and its security is maintained by Muslims then it is Dar al-Islam. When its laws are the laws of Kufr (disbelief) and its security is not maintained by Muslims then it is Dar al-Kufr. The term Dar al-Harb (land of war) is synonymous with Dar al-Kufr as in origin the aim of Islam is to spread to all lands until the Islamic state encompasses the whole globe. However there is a difference between those nations which are considered as Dar al-Harb Fi’lan (actual land of war) like the state of Israel which occupies Islamic land and Dar al-Harb Hukman (potential land of war) which include other states which are not occupying Islamic land or engaged with a direct war against our lands. These definitions have been derived from the Islamic evidences and discussed by the Ulema (scholars) in history.
In apparent denial of the historical facts regarding violent Islamic expansion under Muhammad, the Khilafah.com article concludes with this statement (followed by a quote from At-Tabarani which is not included):
Who is a harbi?
The harbi is a non-Muslim living in an area which is not subject to Islam and consequently considered a land of war. According to the Muslim jurists, the harbi has no rights: his blood and his property being licit prey to any Muslim.
This classical position is reflected in the statements of those representing modern Islamist movements, such as Al-Qaeda:
The Reliance of the Traveller recognizes the dar al-harb as "enemy lands" and provides Muslims with instructions and rules regarding such territory. For example, it explains that based on the Prophet's words: "There is no usury (riba) between the Muslim and the hostile non-Muslim in enemy lands (dar al-harb)," it is permissible (according to Abu Hanifa and Muhammad) for Muslims to take interest from non-Muslims in enemy lands, so long as it is not done through deception, because their property is lawful to Muslims in their own lands. According to this manual of fiqh, Muslim authorities whose land borders enemy territory (dar al-harb) are obligated to undertake jihad against enemies, dividing the spoils of battle among combatants, and setting aside a fifth for deserving recipients.
The following is an excerpt from an essay published in September 2001, titled “The Truth of the New Crusader War," by an author who calls himself “The Crusader Vanquisher Salah Al-Din":
Perhaps someone will say that if those who died [on September 11, 2001] are innocent women, elderly, and children, who must not be harmed even if they belong to a group from Dar Al-Harb, then how are these operations permitted by religious law?
We say [in response] that the sanctity of the blood of women, children, and the elderly [from among the people of Dar Al-Harb] is not absolute. Moreover, there are certain cases in which it is permitted to kill them when they [belong] to the people of Dar Al-Harb…
The first case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels [that is, children, women, and the elderly] in order to repay in kind. If the infidels target Muslim women, children, and elderly, then it is permitted for Muslims to repay them in kind and kill [their women, children and elderly] as they killed. This is because of the word of Allah the Supreme, 'Anyone who attacks you, attack him as he attacked you,' and also because of other evidence.
The second case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels in the event that they [the Muslims] attack them and cannot differentiate between those with immunity and the warriors or fortifications and, accordingly, they are permitted to kill them as a result [of inability to distinguish] and not with premeditation. This is because of what the Messenger said when asked about the offspring of the infidels [whom Muslims attacked] in an ambush and [during it] harmed their women and their children and said: 'They [the children] are of them [the warriors].' This proves that it is permissible to kill women and children because of [the deeds of] their fathers when it is not possible to distinguish between them [and the infidel warriors]…
The third case: It is permissible for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels if they are aiding the fighting in deed, word, opinion, or any other way. This is because of the Prophet's order to kill Duraid ibn Al-Simma, who was 120 years old and went with the Hawazin tribe [to fight against the Muslims] to give them counsel.
The fourth case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels when there is a need to burn the fortifications or the fields of the enemy in order to weaken his strength, to breach the ramparts, or to topple the country, even if the inviolable ones die as a result, such as the Prophet did in the case of Banu Al-Nadhir.
The fifth case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels if they need to use heavy weapons that cannot differentiate between those who are inviolable and the warriors, as the Prophet did at Taif.
The sixth case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels if the enemy uses women and children as a human shield and it is not possible to kill the warriors except by killing this shield. In such a case it is permitted to kill them all.The seventh case: It is permitted for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels if the latter had an agreement with the Muslims and broke the agreement, and the imam had to kill the inviolable ones to make an example of them, like the Prophet did with Banu Qurayza.
Islamic scholars and leaders
...If Al-Qa'ida indeed carried out this act [the London Bombings], it is a great victory for it. It rubbed the noses of the world's eight most powerful countries in the mud. This victory is a blow to the economy..."
The United States
The following fatwa (translated from the Arabic), was posted on the Al-Muhajiroun website in Arabic, as well as in an English version. It was also signed, in the Arabic version, by Muhammad bin Abdallah Al-Musa'ari "Abu Majed," Secretary General of the Committee for the Protection of Legitimate Rights (in Saudi Arabia), and appeared under the emblem of the "Shari'a Court of the UK."
Answer: There is no doubt that America attacked, and is still attacking, the Muslims in every place and is carrying out massacres against them… It is the obligation of all Muslims to be in a state of war with it. The minimal obligation is a complete boycott, by means of avoiding diplomatic relations [with the U.S.]… The only ones who claim that 'diplomatic relations' [with the U.S.] are allowed are the clerics of the treacherous sultans (i.e. the rulers of Arab and Islamic countries), most of whom are donkeys bearing books, and some are like dogs: they have renounced the verses of Allah and become like dogs, that should be left to pant, as a place is already reserved for them, surely on the lowest level of the fires of Hell.
Those people… their situation is clear and there is no need for any doubt among any of the Muslims: They are Murtaddun [who were Muslims] who left Islam for heresy, if, at all, they were Muslims to begin with. They all are involved in the war against Islam and against Muslims and therefore the sentence of Murtadd Harbi [a Murtadd who should be fought] applies to them, as follows:
1)His blood becomes permissible, and he must be killed, as an obligatory punishment, without possibility of forgiveness, because he fights against Allah and his Prophet…
2)His marriage becomes invalid, as does his guardianship of his children and relatives…
3)His property is permissible … he will not be able to bequeath [it]…
4)He cannot be buried in a Muslim cemetery, because burying Muslims is an honor that is fitting only those who are Muslims, while they, male and female alike, are Murtaddun Harbiyun [who should be fought] and are not Muslims
5)He must be treated with animosity and hatred, exactly like the Harbi heretic is treated…6)There is no distinction between a man and a woman with respect to this verse. The blood of a woman Murtadda Harbiya who fights is permissible, exactly like that of a male Harbi – even if her fighting is limited to singing: thus acted the Prophet against the fighting women of the Quraysh tribe. He permitted their blood and ordered them killed, although he generally prohibited killing women, and was even strict about this…
The following year Sheikh Bakri clarified his stance regarding dar al-harb, and in an article posted on the Al-Muhajiroun website he appeared to deviate from the Al-Qaeda ideology of jihad against those Muslims who do not put Shari'a into practice. He asserted that it was vital for Muslims to establish the Khilafah (Caliphate), and explained that jihad becomes a religious obligation only "when the enemy enters Muslim land, such as Palestine, Chechnya, Kosova or Kashmir." Bakri also argued that the well-known Islamic concepts of Dar Al-Islam versus Dar Al-Harb no longer apply, meaning that the implicit obligation of Muslims to wage war on Dar Al-Harb ("The Abode of War," i.e. territory ruled by non-Muslims) is no longer applicable. He argued that the concept of Dar Al-Islam implies the existence of a Khilafa (Caliphate) and that because there is no Khilafa nowadays (since the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in March 1924), there is no Dar Al-Islam and, consequently, no Dar Al-Harb. Nevertheless, he continued, when the kuffar (infidels) occupy Muslim land, then this occupied land becomes, to all practical purposes, Dar Al-Harb, and Muslims are required to fight for its liberation, "as in Palestine, Chechnya, Bosnia, etc." Such territories may also be defined as Dar Al-Ghasab ("usurped land"). Among such territories he listed Kashmir, Palestine and Northern Spain.
...It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar Al-Harb [the Domain of Disbelief where the battle for the domination of Islam should be waged] is not protected.
When asked "Is it permitted to kill an Israeli traveling outside the borders of his land?" Sheikh 'Ali Gum'a replied:
In 2008, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a decree to act against Israel, which he called "an infidel that should be warred against" (Kafer-e-Harbi ) because of the "slaughter of the Palestinian Muslims" and the "plunder of Islamic lands". He stated: "All Palestinian fighters and all believers in the Islamic world must help the defenseless [Palestinian] women, children, and people in Gaza. Anyone who dies in this legitimate and sacred defense is a shahid [martyr]."
On December 13, 2006, Islamist websites posted a new hour-long video from the Caucasus, produced by Nuriddin Media, called "Dar Al-Harb of Dagestan." The video had many disturbing images that MEMRI felt it necessary to edit.
Later in the video, to the song "Where are those who want martyrdom?" and other songs of praise to martyrs, the video shows attacks on various civilian targets, including one on a bus and another on a group of wedding guests. In addition, two suicide attackers are shown reading out their last wills while driving a car en route to their mission.Towards the end, the video shows images of the aftermath of the November 26, 2006, Russian raid on the mujahideen safe house near Dagestan - a raid in which Abu Hafs Al-Urduni, the commander of the foreign mujahideen in the Caucasus, was killed.
in a "holy war" against all international and peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan, 2002
Dar al-Islam (دار الإسلام house/abode of Islam) or Dar al-Salam (دار السلام house/abode of Peace), are Arabic terms used to refer to lands that are under the rule of Muslim governments.
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- Director of London's Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies Hani Sibai: There are No 'Civilians' in Islamic Law; The Bombing is a Great Victory for Al-Qa'ida, Which ‘Rubbed the Noses of the World's 8 Most Powerful Countries in the Mud' - MEMRI: Special Dispatch - No. 932, July 12, 2005
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- Khamenei Decrees: Israel is Kafer-e-Harbi; Iranian Martyrdom Seekers Await Khameini's Orders; Iranian Student Organizations Threaten to Take Over Egyptian, Jordanian Diplomatic Representations - MEMRI: Special Dispatch - No. 2169, December 31, 2008
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- Interview With Afghan Islamist Leader On Jihad Against U.S. - MEMRI: Special Dispatch, No. 455, January 3, 2003