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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

For Muslims, the concepts Dar al-Islam (Abode of Islam) and Dar al-Harb (Abode of War) serve most generally to differentiate Muslim spaces from non-Muslim spaces. Dar al-Islam designates a territory where Muslims are free to practice their religion, though this often implies the implementation of Islamic law, whereas Dar al-Harb represents those lands ruled by non-believers. Since the latter are not subject to Islamic governance, it was deemed incumbent upon Muslim rulers – specifically the Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphs who often continued the expansion begun by the Prophet Mohammad – to extend the Dar al-Islam vis-à-vis jihad. It is important to note that the objective of this jihad was not to forcibly convert non-believers to Islam, but to extend the jurisdiction of Islamic government, i.e. Dar al-Islam (Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, entry: Dar al-Harb).

Posted at Feb 19/2009 10:35AM:
ian: Dar al-harb could be "civilized" such as the Byzantine empire - it just had not submitted to God's will as defined in terms of Islamic theology and jurisprudence. It is also important to note that these terms were fluid and developed over time with levels of disagreement among scholars and rulers about what actual physical territory they described.

Posted at Feb 19/2009 10:35AM:
ian: So what does this mean in terms of the 'clash of civilizations' thesis?