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Divisions of the world in Islam

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Different divisions of the world have existed in Islamic religion and culture.The idea of divisions was suggested by Imam Abu Hanifa. Some are geo-political divisions that are derived from non-Qu'ranic traditions in Islamic culture. These conventions delineate several divisions of the world called "Houses" or "Dar" - literally "place" in Arabic. Other geographic divisions of the world are described in the Qur'an.

Major Division

Dar al-Islam

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Dar al-Islam (Arabic: دار الإسلام‎ literally house/abode of Islam; or Dar as-Salam, house/abode of Peace; or Dar al-Tawhid, house/abode of Union) is a term used by Muslim scholars to refer to those countries where Muslims can practice their religion freely. These are usually Islamic cultures wherein Muslims represent the majority of the population, and so the government promises them protection. Most Dar al-Islam areas are surrounded by other Islamic societies to ensure public protection.

The late Sheikh Muhammad Abu Zahrah mentioned two main scholarly opinions concerning this matter. He then chose the Imam Abu Hanifas, 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 . [1] [1][2]

The two requirements for a country to be part of Dar al-Islam are according to the founder of this concept, Abu Hanifa, the following two:[2]

  1. Muslims must be able to enjoy peace and security with and within this country.
  2. It has common frontiers with some Muslim countries.

If the former does not apply then physical means such as Jihad can be used to correct the situation and in the latter case, individuals are required to do hijra to where they can practice their religion.

Muslim scholars maintain that the labeling of a country or place as being a part of Dar al-Islam revolves around the question of religious security. This means that if a Muslim practices Islam freely in his place of abode despite that the place happens to be secular or un-Islamic, then he will be considered as living in the Dar al-Islam.

Dar al-Salam

Dar al-Islam is also known and referred to as Dar al-Salam, or house/abode of Peace.

The term appears in the Koran in 10.25 an 6.127 as a name of Paradise.[3]

Dar al-Harb

Dar al-Harb (Arabic: دار الحرب "house of war"; also referred to as Dar al-Garb "house of the West" in later Ottoman sources; a person from "Dar al-Harb" is a "harbi" (Arabic:حربي)) is a term classically referring to those countries where the Muslim law is not in force, in the matter of worship and the protection of the faithful and Dhimmis. Territories that do have a treaty of nonaggression or peace with Muslims are called dar al-ahd or dar al-sulh. [4]

[5] The term refers to the relationship between an Islamic state and neighbouring non-Muslim states with whom it has not signed a peace treaty or pact.[6]

In Reliance of the Traveller, point w43.2, a hadith is referred to containing the exact word Dar al-Harb. Scholars have, nevertheless, disagreed on its reliability as is commented in Reliance of the Traveller.

Dar al-Kufr

Dar al-Kufr (Arabic: دار الكفر, "house/domain of disbelief") is a term used by Muhammad to refer to the Quraish-dominated society of Mecca between his flight to Medina and his triumphant return.

For much of Islamic history, the preferred term used to describe non-Islamic societies has been dar al-Harb, emphasizing various Islamic countries' aspirations to conquer such territories and render them part of dar al-Islam.

A traditional Arabic saying attributed to Muhammad goes: "Unbelief is one community", or in other words, "infidels are of one nation", can be taken as expressing the view that distinctions between different types of non-Muslims are insignificant in relation to the overriding distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim. A more sound interpretation of this statement bases itself on the fact that the Qur'an and the Prophet himself treated the polythiests of Arabia, the People of the Book and the rest of the religions differently. The first group did not enjoy the right to live in Arabia after the Qur'an claimed that the truth was made clear to them and they rejected it only due to arrogance. The second group and also the third were allowed the right to live but as submugated humble people, paying a tax called jizyah. This means that not all the religions are equal. They are equal only being non-Muslims. The Prophetic statement should therefore be taken to refer only to the obvious fact that being non-Muslims all are another party.[7]

Other Ideological Perceptions and International Relations

Dar al-Hudna

Dar al Hudna (Arabic: "house of calm"): The land of non-believers currently under a truce, which is a respite between wars. A truce is bought by tribute by harbis. If the harbis refuse to pay tribute in exchange for the truce, hostilities are resumed. Furthermore, only treaties that conform to Islamic prescriptions are valid; if these conditions are not fulfilled, the treaty is worthless.

Dar al-'Ahd

Dar al-'Ahd (Arabic: دار العهد "house of truce" or Dar al-Sulh "house of treaty") was invented to describe the Ottoman Empire's relationship with its Christian tributary states. The invention of Dar al-Ahd was necessary, as the worldview prevalent at the time did not allow for a protracted peace with non-Muslim states, even those under Muslim domination.

Today, the term refers to those non-Muslim governments which have armistice or peace agreements with Muslim governments. The actual status of the non-Muslim country in question may vary from acknowledged equality to tributary states.

Flag of Taliban
Flag of the Islamic Courts Union
Islamic flags, known as the Flag of Islam ('Alam al-Islam) or Flag of Shahada ('Alam al-Shahada) feature a script of the first Kalimah, the Shahada. White flags with black lettering represent 'Dar al-Salam/Islam' (such as the Taliban), and black flags with white lettering represent 'Dar al-Harb/Kufr' (such as the ICU). It was used by the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

Dar al-Dawa

Dar al-Dawa (Arabic: دار الدعوة "house of invitation") is a term used to describe a region where the religion of Islam has recently been introduced. Since the population had not been exposed to Islam before, they may not fit into the traditional definition of dar al-Harb. On the other hand, as the region is not yet Muslim, it cannot be dar al-Islam either. The most frequent use of the term dar al-Dawa is to describe Arabia before and during the life of Muhammad commonly referred as Jahiliyyah period, era of ignorance of divine guidance.

More recently, the term dar al-Dawa has been proposed by Western Muslim philosophers to describe the status of Muslims in the West.

The term dar al-Dawa may be used in conjunction with, or in opposition to, the older terms dar al-Islam and dar al-Harb, from which it is derived, or simply be seen as just another sub-category of dar al-harb.

Dar al-Amn

Dar al-Amn (Arabic: دار الأمن "house of safety") is a term proposed by Western Muslim philosophers to describe the status of Muslims either in the West or other non-Muslim societies.

The term dar al-Amn may be used in conjunction with, or in opposition to, the older terms dar al-Islam and dar al-Harb, from which it is derived.

Scriptural references

The house of divisions in Islam such as "Dar al-Islam" and "Dar al-Harb" does not appear in the Qur'an or the Hadith, but is a view supported by Abu Hanifa, a high profile Sunni Imam who founded the Hanafi school of thought.[1][2]

See also

References

Additional reading

External links

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