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Divisions of the world in Islam

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Title: Divisions of the world in Islam  
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Divisions of the world in Islam

The idea of geographical divisions along religious lines i.e. the dur is neither mentioned in the Qur'an nor in the sayings of the Prophet (called Hadith), which are considered the primary sources in Islamic jurisprudence.

The singular form dar (دار), translated literally, may mean "house", "abode", "structure", "place", "land" or "country".


The notions of "houses" or "divisions" of the world in Islam such as Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb does not appear in the Qur'an or the Hadith. Early Islamic jurists devised these terms to denote legal rulings for ongoing Islamic conquests almost a century after Muhammad. The very first use of the terms was in Iraq by Abu Hanifa and his disciples Abu Yusuf and Al-Shaybani. Among the Sunni in the Levant, Al-Awza'i was leading in this discipline and later Shafi'i.

Contemporary Islamic scholars have argued the inapplicability of this early philosophical division of the world, citing its lack of scriptural backing.

Major religious divisions

Dar al-Islam

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 monotheism) is a term used by Muslim scholars to refer to those countries where Muslims can practice their religion freely. It's the area of the world under the rule of Islam, literally, "the home of Islam" or "the home of submission." [1] 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.

Muslim scholars maintain and believe 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 even though that place happens to be secular or un-Islamic, then he will be considered as living in the Dar al-Islam.

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 and 6.127 as a name of Paradise.[2]

According to Abu Hanifa, considered to be the originator of the concept, the two requirements for a country to be part of Dar al-Islam are:[3][4]

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

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" (Arabic: دار العهد "house of treaty/covenant/pact") or Dar al-Sulh (Arabic: دار الصلح "house of conciliation").[5]

Dar al-Amn

Dar al-Amn (Arabic: دار الأمن "house of safety") refers to 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. This region usually refers to countries where Muslims have the right to practice their religion. Many countries with Muslim minorities have been declared as Dar al-Amn at different points in time.

Other ideological perceptions and international relations

Dar al-Hudna

Dar al Hudna (Arabic: دار الهدنة "house of calm"): The land of non-believers currently under a truce, which is a respite between wars. A truce is bought by tribute or agreement. If the harbis break the conditions for the truce, hostilities are resumed or after ten years, which ever comes first. 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 coined to refer to the Ottoman Empire's relationship with its Christian tributary states.

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.

Dar al-Dawa

Dar al-Dawa (Arabic: دار الدعوة "house of invitation") refers to 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 refer to 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 for 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.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition. Brill, Leiden. Vol. 2, p. 128
  3. ^ Fatwa by Sheikh `Atiya Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, about the concept of Dar al-Harb and Dar al-Islam
  4. ^ """Ahmed Khalil: "Dar Al-Islam And Dar Al-Harb: Its Definition and Significance. Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  5. ^

Further reading

External links

  • Sects in Islam
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