Dar al-Islam

From Academic Kids

Dar al-Islam (Arabic: literally house of submission) is a term widely used in the Islamic world to refer to those lands under Muslim government(s). In the conservative tradition of Islam the world is divided into two components: dar al-Islam, the house of submission or the house of God, and dar al-Harb, the house of war; the home of the infidels or unbelievers (Arabic: kufr). The terms are usually understood to refer, respectively, to those lands currently administered by Muslim governments and those administered by non-Muslim governments. The exact definitions of these territories can vary widely according to the viewer's concept of who is and is not a Muslim, and which governments are or are not Muslim in practice.

The Muslim worldview espoused by the terms dar al-Islam and dar al-Harb is further confused by the addition of a third 'house' during the Ottoman era. The term dar al-Ahd, meaning the 'house of treaty', was invented to describe the Ottoman Empire's relationship with its Christian tributary states. See dar al-Ahd.

The goal of some aggressive Islamist organizations, such as Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, is to expand the borders of dar al-Islam at the expense of dar al-Harb, and to create a universal Islamic community. According to their philosophy, this is the meaning of the term jihad. Another philosophy that espouses this terminology is the Saudi Wahhabist tradition. However, bin Laden and the Wahabbis differ on the important point of whether jihad may be pronounced and undertaken by individuals, or is a power reserved to the state. Bin Laden takes the former view, most likely emanating from his readings of Sayyed Qutb.

Recently, prominent Western Muslim intellectuals have challenged the dar al-Islam (Dar-Essilm)/dar al-Harb worldview, suggesting additional 'houses' to describe differing situations. See dar al-Amn, dar al-Dawa, dar al-Kufr, dar al-Shahada.

See also: Baghdad, Ibn Battuta, Hezbollah, Dar es-Silm,Dar al-Harb, Dar-al'Ahd, jihad, Christendom

Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, by Tariq Ramadan, was a significant source in the updating of this article.

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