Islamic theology and political theory makes use of a distinction comparable to Augustine’s city of God and city of man. In Islam, this is the distinction between dar al-islam and dar al-harb. These two terms mean the house (or territory) of submission and the house (or territory) of war, respectively. Specifically, dar al-islam refers to all the territory that is under Islamic control—where, at least in theory, the ruler upholds shari’a (Islamic law) and enables the umma to live in accordance with God’s laws. Dar al-harb refers to all territory that is not under Islamic rule. This land is opposed to God and His ways and must eventually be made to submit to Him. Dar al-harb must not be left alone, but must be actively brought into submission to God. The Qur’an states, “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever you find them” and, “And fight them [disbelievers] until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah” and again, “Now when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when you have routed them, then making fast of bonds.”

The justification for entering into war with dar al-harb is because the unbelievers possess God’s land, and by extension the land of His people. The Qur’an unequivocally states that the earth belongs to God, “Unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth.” Further, the earth is promised to believers as their reward for believing in God and being obedient to Him. Thus, ultimately the entire world will be brought into submission to God’s will and dar al-harb will have no boundaries.

The fundamental contrast between Christian and Islamic theories of state…just around the daily corner.

Other posts in the Jihad and Justice series:

Islamic and Christian Theories of War

Christian Just War Theory, Part 1

Christian Just War Theory, Part 2

The Islamic Conception

The Islamic Context

Islamic Just War Theory, Part 1

Islamic Just War Theory, Part 2

The Two Cities

Augustine’s Citizens

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