Monday, August 19, 2019

Lidasan: Darul Harb and Darul Islam: Ijtihad is key

A FEW days ago, I received a SMS, "Initial report re recovery of (IED). OOA 070830H Oct 2017, an IED was recovered at BrgyKuden, Talitay, Mag by the peers of Talitay MPS, 19IB, 6ID PA, and DatuAnggalMidtimbangmps at said place believed to be planted by unident members of BIFF targeting government troops passing the said area. IED was composed of 60mm mortar rds and a cp cherry mobile found near the IED. Safety procedure was conducted by EOD Tm, PA."

This SMS reminded me of the question, "what is in the mind of these groups (violent extremists)? And, "why do they keep on doing these attacks against the government and harming the civilians?"

As a Muslim, I learned that there are two conditions where a society, community, or a nation can be described according to the Islamic perspective after the death of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). These two conditions are "Darul Harb" and "Darul Islam".

Oxford Islamic Studies Online describes "Darul Harb" as a "Territory of war". This term "denotes the territories bordering on dar al-Islam (territory of Islam), whose leaders are called upon to convert to Islam. It is also referred to a territory that does not have a treaty of nonaggression or peace with Muslims; those that do are called Dar al-ahd or dar al-sulh".

Based on Islamic jurists, this term refers to the regions where Islam does not dominate and where "divine will" is not observed. In contrast, "Darul Islam", is the name for those areas or territories where Islam does "dominate" and where "submission to the Will of God" is observed. Thus, it is where "peace and tranquility reign".

What are the political, social, and theological implications of these two concepts? The implications of these two definitions may seem complex. For some Muslims, they interpret these two literally and apply its political and legal implications. For them, Darul Harb is not separated from Darul Islam by things like the popularity of Islam or divine grace. They are too idealist in looking at things and interpret this concept literally without looking at the present conditions of states and their governments which have control over a territory.

Because in reality, a Muslim majority nation, not ruled by Islamic law may be still be Darul Harb. Or, a Muslim minority nation ruled by the principles of "Islamic law" could qualify as being part of Darul Islam.

Unfortunately, even the word Islamic Law or Shariah law is being misunderstood by many of us. By essence, Islamic law calls for social justice, transparency, and respect of human dignity.

Going back to the main topic, the need to clarify these terms is a must. Violent extremists cloud the minds of every Muslim saying that we are in a state of Darul Harb, they will say "therefore we need to do everything to establish a Darul Islam".

These are the dangers we are facing now. The violent extremists are taking these old ideas and doctrines much more literally and seriously than the Aleems or learned Islamic Jurists. The violent extremists look into modern secular governments in the Gulf countries are not sufficiently Islamic to be considered a part of Darul Islam. Because of this, in their view they will use force in order to remove the infidels/kafirs from power and restore Islamic governance to the population.

This mindset is exacerbated by the belief that if any territory that was once a part of Darul Islam comes under the control of Darul Harb, then that represents an attack on Islam. It is, therefore, incumbent upon all Muslims to fight in order to retrieve the lost land.

Ahmed Khalil, Muslim scholar, clarifies that there is a third state/condition. According to him, "today, the majority of Islamic scholars agrees upon a classification into three." He mentioned, "Shaikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi says, in Al-Shari'ah Wal-Hayah (Islamic Law and Life), Al-Jazeera Channel, dated Tuesday February 6th 2001, these three categories are: A. Dar Al-Islam: The abode of Islam, the Muslim nation. B. Dar Al-Harb: The abode of war, those that have declared war against the Muslim nation. C. Dar Al-'Ahd: The abode of the covenant, the countries that have diplomatic agreements and covenants with the Muslim nation."

He added, "The concept of Dar Al-'Ahd (Abode of Covenant) is obtained from the judicial rulings of manslaughter, as outlined in the Quran:
"Never should a believer kill a believer; but (If it so happens) by mistake, (Compensation is due): If one (so) kills a believer, it is ordained that he should free a believing slave, and pay compensation to the deceased's family, unless they remit it freely." Al-Nisa': 92 (Abdullah Yusuf Ali).

I agree with Ahmed Khalil's concluding statement in his article that says, "It is fair to say that the door of Ijtihad (religious endeavor) is always open. The Islamic decrees that are introduced through Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) into the Shari'ah (Islamic law) are reflective of the social, economic, and environmental circumstances of the time. These circumstances change as time continuously elapses." Corresponding to the change, the Shari'ah (Islamic law) is updated as new decrees are introduced by the appearance of newer issues. The key condition is compliance with the Qur'an and Sunnah (tradition of the Holy Prophet (P)).

It is in this context where we need to provide safe space for Muslims to apply ijtihad to discuss religious or theological matters that our community is facing today.
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