Citation for Dār al-Islām

Citation styles are based on the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed., and the MLA Style Manual, 2nd Ed..


Peters, Rudolph . "Dār al-Islām." In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Jan 22, 2022. <>.


Peters, Rudolph . "Dār al-Islām." In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, (accessed Jan 22, 2022).

Dār al-Islām

An essential part of the doctrine of jihād is the division of the world into the “territory of Islam” (dār al-Islām) and the “territory of war” (dār al-ḥarb). The Shāfiʿīs have added a third category, the “territory of truce [or treaty]” (dār al-ṣulḥ or dār al-ʿahd), for enemy territory with whose inhabitants a Muslim government has concluded a truce and on whom it has imposed tribute. The decisive factor for ascertaining whether a region belongs to the dār al-Islām is Muslim sovereignty and the application of the sharīʿah. If these do not exist in a region occupied by unbelievers, it is to be considered dār al-ḥarb. According to the Ḥanafīs, however, there are further conditions. Dār al-Islām becomes dār al-ḥarb after conquest by unbelievers, if the laws of the unbelievers are enforced, if the conquered territory is adjacent to dār al-ḥarb, and if the lives and goods of Muslims and dhimmīs (non-Muslim protected peoples) are not safe. This means that according to the Ḥanafī rules, an Islamic region that has been conquered by unbelievers can remain dār al-Islām as long as the conquerors appoint an Islamic qāḍī (judge) to administer Islamic law and as long as Muslims and dhimmīs are as secure as they were under Muslim rule.

During the colonial period, debates about the status of a colonized country took place in India. The Indian Sunnī Muslims were chiefly Ḥanafīs, and Ḥanafī theory leaves more room for interpretation than do the other madhhabs (schools of law). Before the 1857 Mutiny, the situation in India was somewhat complicated, as there was still a Mughal emperor; his rule, however, was only nominal, and actual power was in the hands of the British. In 1803, a fatwā had been issued by a famous Ḥanafī ʿālim (scholar) to the effect that the northern part of India between Delhi and Calcutta, which was firmly in the hands of the British, was dār al-ḥarb (see M. Mujeebʾs The Indian Muslims, London, 1967, pp. 390–391). Moreover, the Ṭarīqa-yi Muḥammadī and the Farāʿizī movement, two religiously motivated groups active during the first half of the nineteenth century, held the same view. This changed during the second half of the nineteenth century. Because the British regarded the Mutiny as the exclusive work of the Muslims, who allegedly wanted to expel the British and restore Muslim rule, they favored the Hindus in the army and in government employment. The Muslim upper and middle classes wanted to safeguard their opportunities for employment by showing that they could be loyal subjects of the British colonial government.

Crucial in this respect was an irenic reinterpretation of the jihād doctrine, and in its wake the question of whether India was dār al-Islām or dār al-ḥarb. Interestingly, there appeared to be no linkage between the latter question and the question of whether jihād against the British was obligatory. Around 1870 two fatwās were published, both stating that jihād against the British was unlawful; however, one proceeded from the assumption that India was dār al-ḥarb and the other from the assumption that it was dār al-Islām (see W. W. Hunter, The Indian Musalmans, Lahore, 1974, pp. 102–103, 186–187).

In Algeria, by contrast, there was no disagreement about the status of the region: according to Mālikī law, there was no doubt that after the French occupation it had become dār al-ḥarb. If any discussion occurred, it revolved around hijrah, the obligation to emigrate from occupied territory to dār al-Islām.

See also DāR AL-ḤARB; DāR AL-ṢULḥ; and JIHāD.


  • Armstrong, Karen. Islam: A Short History. Rev. ed.New York, 2002.
  • DeLong-Bas, Natana J.Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. Rev. ed.Oxford and New York, 2008.
  • Khadduri, Majid. War and Peace in the Law of Islam. Baltimore, Md., 1955.
  • Krüger, Hilmar. Fetwa und Siyar. Wiesbaden, 1978. A study of Ottoman international law from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century.
  • Kruse, Hans. Islamische Völkerrechtslehre (Islamic international law). 2d ed.Bochum, 1979.
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity. San Francisco, Calif., 2004.
  • Peters, Rudolph. “Dār al-Harb, Dār al-Islām, und der Kolonialismus.” In XIX. Deutscher Orientalistentag vom 28. September bis 4. Oktober 1975 in Freiburg im Breisgau, edited by Wolfgang Voigt, pp. 579–587. Wiesbaden, 1977.
  • Peters, Rudolph. Islam and Colonialism: The Doctrine of Jihad in Modern History. The Hague, 1979.
  • Said, Abdul Aziz, Nathan C. Funk, and Ayse S. Kadayifci. Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam: Precept and Practice. Lanham, Md., 2001.
  • Salmi, Ralph H., Cesar Adib Majul, and George K. Tanham. Islam and Conflict Resolution. Lanham, Md., 1998.

© Oxford University Press 2007-2008. All Rights Reserved