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:: Issues > Development
Abode of Islam & Abode of War: Still Applicable?
Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shinqiti, Director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas
Tuesday, January 9,2007 16:32
by IOL
Guest Name Muhammad Al-Mukhtar  Al-Shinqiti, Director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas
Subject Abode of Islam & Abode of War: Still Applicable?
Date Thursday,May 11 ,2006
Time Makkah
... 15:00...To... 17:00
... 12:00...To...14:00
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Huseyin    - 
Profession research assistant
Today, Presidents or kings of almost all Muslim countries are controlled by non-Muslim countries, and without the permission of non-Muslims all the means of development are non-available. If any Muslim country are to gain power, they are destroyed. Taking into account these and other realities, do you think Muslims have any chance of fighting ‎n the same way as non-Muslims do? Should not Muslims fight for their high values like morality, honor of their women in Iraq, honor of Islam, honor of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), the right to living in better conditions and the right to enjoying the resources of their own countries? If we can not have the means to fight in the same way as non-Muslims, should not we fight? All the ways of development are hindered. While democracy is proposed and dictated to some countries, Some non-democratic Muslim countries are supported since they are doing everything non-Muslims want.
Thank you for raising such an important question.

First of all, your description of the control of non-Muslim countries over Muslim ones is overrated. Secondly, blaming others is not the solution nor is it an Islamic concept. Allah Almighty taught Muslims upon the end of the Battle of Uhud to think of what happened as being "from yourselves" (Aal-`imran 3: 165)

So we should start with blaming ourselves and trying to solve the internal problems, as the external problems are like the symptoms of a disease and not the disease itself. As Malik Ibn Nabi put it, "the acceptance of colonialism opens the doors to it, the same way dead ideas open the gate to deadly ones."

Also, Allah Almighty teaches us that He "will not change the situation of a people until they change themselves." (Ar-Ra`d 13: 11)

Ajmalulddin    - Ireland
Are non-Muslims living in Muslim countries subject to paying jizya nowadays and why?
No, they are not subject to paying jizya, because religion is no longer the foundation of citizenship as in the old empires, but geography is now the foundation.

Secondly, we should never look at the system of jizya even in the old application as something discriminatory because while Muslims were obliged to pay the zakah as a religious duty the non-Muslims were subject to paying the jizya, which is a non-religious tribute.
M Fathi    - 
Many people do not know much about this categorization of Dar Al-Islam and Dar Al-Harb. Could you enlighten us on what does this classification mean, what is its historical context, and most importantly, what is the Islamic stand on this categorization, I mean is it a genuine inherent in Islam that it is of a permanent nature, and not open to any question, or is it merely an ijtihadi view by some scholars and therefore can be revisited and re-thought by contemporary Muslim scholars.
First of all, we should know that this categorization is not mentioned in the Qur"an or in the Sunnah. However, it is just an attempt from some Muslim scholars to conceptualize the world they were living it, a world that lacked international law to govern nations and language of force was the norm. Therefore, we are not religiously obliged to accept this categorization as it is part of history and not revelation.

Secondly, even among the early jurists who used this terminology there was a difference in the definition and application. For example, some jurists defined dar al-Islam as a nation with a majority of Muslim population, while others defined it as any place where Muslims are protected and given freedom to practice their faith. According to the Hanafi school of fiqh, security and freedom of worship is what makes one land Islamic or not. Al-Kasani is his book Bada"i` As-sana"i` said: "The view of Abu Haneefa is based on the assumption that the criterion in the land of Islam/land of disbelief division is not belief and disbelief, but rather it is security and insecurity (from oppression)."

The great Shafi`i scholar Al-Mawardi went further and said: "wherever the Muslim can worship Allah openly, the land he is living in is an Islamic land (dar Islam)"

This view of al-Mawardi seems to be applicable to our world today, and based on this we can say that 99% of the countries today are part of the abode of Islam.
Hadal    - Mauritania
Profession Jusnalist
Well, Do you think that the abode of Islam could be applicable in the age of pluralism?
The great Muslim scholar of Nigeria Usman Dan Fodio was asked whether Nigeria of his time was an abode of Islam or dar kufr (abode of disbelief). He said "it is not a land of Islam nor a land of disbelief, it is Dar Takhleet (a land of confusion or mixture)."

This great scholar realized that in the 19th century the world has become so complicated that the old categorization has become too simplistic.

If we add to this the fact that "About one third of the estimated 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today are living as religious and political minorities in non-Muslim societies" (The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World 3/120, 1995), we will come to the conclusion that the categorization of dar al-Islam and dar al-harb is no longer applicable or even desirable. I even have my own doubt that it was applicable in the past because the Muslim society was never purely Islamic, but it always had non-Muslim minorities from the people of the Book and other faiths. This pattern has been established by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself when he accepted the Jews of Madina, the Christians of Najran and the Magians of Hajar as part of the Muslim society without giving up their own faiths.
Qum    - 
Is the definition of Dar Al-Harb and Dar Al-Islam still applicable?
Please refer to previous questions.
Hamid    - 
I have a question about countries whose governments are at war with Muslims but their peoples are not necessarily involved in these wars, how Muslims should deal with such nations? Some Muslims maintain that these countries and their respective peoples are Dar Harb or abode of war and uses this as a pretext for bombing and targeting the innocent people though the most blame lay on the governments. What is your comment.
In the old time, they used to say, "People follow the religion of their kings," but in the world of liberalism and pluralism this statement is no longer acceptable. Now people oppose their leaders categorically and voice their opposition out loud, so it is not fair to blame those people for the decisions and wrongdoings of their own leaders. For example, the statement of bin Laden that "all Americans, military and civilians, are legitimate targets of attacks because America has launched a war against Muslim countries," has no basis neither in Islamic jurisprudence nor in war ethics.

Before starting this session today, I was reading an article about the unprecedented decline of popularity of both Bush and Blair. So by what sense I should hold the two societies, the American and the British, the responsibility of the wrong decisions taken by those two leaders?
MFR    - 
The problematic issue of dar al-Islam & dar al-Harb takes us to an important point, namely why do some Muslim scholars restrict themselves to certain principles that were not stipulated by the Qur"an or Sunnah, but rather ijtihadi principles that have been intended to respond to some temporary issues. I understand that principles established definitely by the Qur"an and Sunnah are not open to question. But do you not see that restricting oneself to irrelevant ijtihadi rulings is very harmful to Islam?
This is a very good point. One of the serious challenges of religious thought is to distinguish clearly between tradition and religion, between divine principles and man-made terminologies. The issue of these terms is a good example here; they were not mentioned by the Qur"an or the Sunnah of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and therefore the Muslim mind should not stick to these terminologies, especially if we take into consideration that we live in a completely different world, with different system and context. We are only obliged to follow revelation and not historical categorization.
Eman    - 
Is it fair to put all the western countries in one basket and consider them the abode of war?
Definitely, it is not fair. I believe that none of the western countries today can be considered an abode of war according to the principles of Islamic jurisprudence. I would consider Yugoslavia in the midst of 1990s as an abode of war where genocide of Muslims was the norm. But this is an exceptional judgment of a particular time (1990s) and place (Yugoslavia). As for the other western countries, they are to be put in the category of those countries that Al-Kasani and Al-Mawardi spoke about (please refer to question of M Fathi).
Hasan    - 
Could any changes be made to the classifications of Dar Al-Islam and Dar Al-Harb in terms of adding more categories, say for example; the abode of peace, the abode of treaty.. etc
The abode of treaty is not a new terminology because it is mentioned in the ancient fiqh. The abode of treaty includes all nations that hold diplomatic relations and peace treaties with Muslims as in the case of most of the countries nowadays. Some contemporary Muslim jurists and intellectuals suggest new terms such as

- Dar Ash-shahada suggested by Dr. Tariq Ramadan which means any country where Muslims can preach Islam freely.

- Ummat Ad-Da`wah suggested by Dr. Taha Jabir Al-`Alawani which means that the whole world is a potential Islamic land
SSS    - 
Now Muslims are controlled, invaded, and humiliated by non-Muslim countries. You say we should not attack the western peoples because they are innocent. but they actually participate, at least implicitly, by voting for such tyrant administrations. and what are the other alternatives to attacking these countries? Nothing!
Voting for a leader is a judgment of a particular situation and not prediction of the future. To vote for a leader does not mean that you agree with all what he is going to do because no body knows what the future will bring about. Islam is against the concept of collective guilt. Allah Almighty says: "No soul should be blamed for the faults committed by another." (Al-Israa" 17: 15)

Islam is also against wars of extermination that are meant for targeting all people. Just read this message from the Prophet and his successors for military leaders: "Do not betray, be treacherous or vindictive. Do not mutilate. Do not kill the children, the aged or the women. Do not cut palm trees or fruitful trees. Don"t slay a sheep, a cow or a camel except for your food. And you will come across people who confined themselves to worship in monasteries, leave them alone to what they devoted themselves for."
Laro    - 
Profession Bussiness tycon
What is your opinion regarding the applicability of abode of war and abode of peace, in view of the fact that the war is launched against many Muslim countries such as Iraq, Darfur crisis in Sudan. Please comment fully on it mentioning the Shari`ah position and what is expected of Muslims.
Basically speaking, if people of any Muslim country are invaded by a foreign enemy or oppressed by their own leaders they have the full right to defend themselves against aggression. But in the world of interdependence we are living in today if this happened it does not make all Muslims at war with all non-Muslims. Each case should be judged according to the circumstances of specific Muslim groups and countries without generalization or simplification and without dragging Muslims into endless wars.
Mariam    - 
Profession Graduate Student
Do you not think it is time to update our concept of dar al-harb and dar al-Islam. Muslims live in "the abode of war" in great numbers now, and Muslim countries are friends with non-Muslim countries. Can"t we just refer to these two terms as Muslim and non-Muslim countries?

In addition, what makes a country a Muslim country, the population or the government. There are many regimes that have a population of majority Muslims but the governments are connected to the military or secular?

This is a good point because the deep secularization of Muslim political elite and the oppressive way adopted by some Muslim leaders in dealing with religious values and groups raises many questions about the validity and applicability of the term “abode of Islam” to Muslim countries today. Therefore, we need to emphasize the view of Al-Mawardi that the bottom line is freedom and security for practicing Islamic worship and principles and not population. If we apply the principles of Islamic jurisprudence, some of Muslim countries today would not fall under the category of Abode of Islam.
                  NOTE BY SHAH ABDUL HANNAN









 I have been studying for some  time  the issues of international relations from Islamic perspectives.


Modern day Muslim Jurists have concluded that old binary classification( Darul Islam – Darul Harb ) made by early Jurists are no longer relevant and do not represent factual  international situation where all states are now bound by many treaty obligations.(  Reference ,Dr Tariq Ramadan ,To Be An European Muslim, this book has full discussion on this and opinion of many Jurists ; Dr Abdul Hamid Abu Suleman, Islamic Theory Of International Relations )


 Most of them now  classify Muslim states as Darul Islam but they are classifying non- Muslim states as Dar al Dawah/ Dar al Sulh/ Dar al Ahad/ Dar al Shahadah. This is indeed a major improvement and more reflective of situation.


I, however, feel that the following will be a better classification of states of modern times from Islamic perspectives :


  1. Muslim states which accept Islam  as basis of their policy and also ensure civil, political and  human  rights ( including religious rights ) of all citizens


  1. Muslim states which do not acknowledge  Islam as basis of their policy and   Muslim states which do not ensure human  rights ( including  religious rights )of  all citizens,


  3 .Non-Muslim states who grant human rights ( including  religious rights ) to Muslims and other minorities,    



  1. Non- Muslim states who do not guarantee the human rights (including  religious rights ) to Muslims and other minorities.


In a just international order in the light of Islam ,States in the 2nd category (Muslim states which do not acknowledge  Islam as basis of their policy and  do not ensure human and religious rights of citizens) and 4th category (Non- Muslim states who do not guarantee the human and religious rights to Muslims and other minorities.) have to be asked ,in case of violation,( through the UN system and requirements of international and multilateral protocols and conventions ) to comply with human  and religious rights of all citizens. Any action against defaulting state has to be taken only under the international  system.


This classification of modern  Muslim and  Non- Muslim states is better from Islamic perspective for the following two reasons. First is it divides Muslim states in two categories reflecting practical situation. Second, it divides Non- Muslim states on the basis of status of the country rather than on the basis of the duty of the Muslims in those countries.


Name: Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shinqiti.

Born 04/12/1966 in Islamic Republic of Mauritania


1973-1983: Earned an Ijazah (certificate) of memorization of the Holy Qur’an.

1985-1989: Earned a Bachelors Degree in Islamic Jurisprudence.

1988-1994: Earned a Bachelors Degree in Translation (Arabic – French – English).

Work Experience

1989-1996: Teacher of Islamic Education and Arabic literature in Mauritanian high schools. Worked in the same period as editor, translator and chief editor with several Mauritanian newspapers (Al-Kalam, Al-Islah, Al-Diyaa …).

1997-1998: Instructor of Tafsir (Qurلnic exegesis) and Arabic grammar at Al-Eman University, Sanaa, Yemen.

1999-2000: Instructor of Islamic Principles and Arabic at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., American Open University, VA, and the Islamic Center of Modesto, CA.

2001-2003: Director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas. And Head editor of the online Al-Fiqh Al-Syasi magazine: (www.fiqhsyasi.com)


Writes about Political Islamic thought (theory and comparison), Islamic literature, Islamic Movements and dialogue between the Islamic World and the West. He writes regularly on aljazeera.net and fiqhsyasi.com websites.

Books (published)

•“the Islamic Movement in Sudan: Introduction to a Strategic and Organizational thought” (Dar Al-Hikma Publishing & disributing, London 2002).
• “Political discords in Early Islam” (will be published soon insha’ Allah by Dar Al-Risalah, Sana, Yemen)
• “Political legitimacy in Islam: Revelation and History”
• “Sincere Aurora” (a poetic collection)

Articles (published)

•Concept of political legitimacy
•Islamic Revivalism and the West: ways of dialogue and coexistence
•Mosque of Qurtubah in Muhammad Iqbal’s
•Political Sunnah on consultation (shura) and mutual consultation (mushawara) (in Alasr and al-fiqh Assyasi magazines)
•Brief Words on Islamic Art
•Knowledge and power in Islamic history
•Fundamentals of social change in Islam
•Christian Zionism and American policy
•U.S. Muslims and the limits of civil liberties after September 11th.


•translated several articles from French into Arabic.
•translated from English into Arabic a book entitled “training Translators and Conference Interpretors” by W.K. Weber.

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