Dar al-Kufr | Fitrah Tawheed

What is Dar al-Kufr?

Dar al-Kufr is an Arabic term which literally means 'House of Disbelief'. In the Arabic language, the term "Dar" in this context is used to refer to a place or country.

So what makes a country or place Dar al-Kufr? There is a criterion for determining whether a country is Dar al-Kufr. These criteria have been established by various Islamic scholars of the past.

Criteria of Dar al-Kufr:
  • If it is ruled by man-made laws
  • Any country that rules by man-made law falls under Dar al-Kufr. These may also be countries that rule partly with Shari'ah and partly with man-made laws.

    Imam Malik said: "Mecca used to be Dar al-Harb (subgroup of Dar al-Kufr), because it was ruled by the laws of Jahiliyyah." [Mudawwana al-Kubra 3/23 of Ibn Sahnun]

  • If the land contains widespread disbelief
  • As soon as Kufr invades a country and its inhabitants, the country falls under Dar al-Kufr.

    Imam Ahmad said: “If the innovations of 'Quran is created' or 'Qadariyyah' and the like are widespread, then the land is Darul Kufr. [Aqeedah bi Riwayat Abu Bakr Al-Khallal page 124]

Is it permissible to live in Dar al-Kufr?

Yes, living in Dar al-Kufr is permissible as long as the Islamic duties can be practised. If a Muslim is being attacked and oppressed for practising the Islamic duties, were it to be in public or in private, he must move to another country.

Imam Shafi'i said: “The Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) shows that the obligation of Hijrah only applies when one is able to do it and is threatened or oppressed because of his religion. This is proven by the fact that the Prophet (ﷺ) allowed some of the Muslims to reside in Makkah after they accepted Islam, such as al-'Abbaas ibn 'Abdul-Muttalib and others, as they feared no fitnah (trial or torment)." [Al-Umm 4/161 of Imam Shafi'i]

It may also be the case that migration is not possible for financial or safety reasons. In such case, the Muslim must still fulfill his Islamic fundamental duties, and he must keep his religion private.

Truly! To those whose souls are taken by the Angels, having wronged themselves, they (the Angels) say: "What kind of situation were you in?" (when you died) They replied, "We were weak and oppressed on earth." They (the Angels) say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate? Such people find their abode in Hell – What an evil destination!

Except for the weak among the men, women and children who are unable to plan or find a way.

For them there is hope that Allah will forgive them, and Allah is the Most Forgiving. [Surah an-Nisaa verse 97-99]

The negative side of living in Dar al-Kufr is not having the complete freedom to express Islam. Some countries give less freedom to express Islam than others.

How to live in Dar al-Kufr?

Now you may ask how a Muslim is supposed to live in Dar al-Kufr. This may be hard, depending on the country. The Western world has been more open to other religions and forms of living, as they are promoting the freedom to express yourself the way you want.

With the establishment of the United Nations, many countries were open to the idea of having their inhabitants express their religion more openly. This and other factors like multicultural societies, opened the way to express Islam more and more.

The Behavior of a Muslim in Dar al-Kufr

Whatever country you are living in, you must respect their laws and not transgress. This means a Muslim cannot cheat, abuse, or manipulate the system.

Once a Muslim gets access to live in Dar al-Kufr, he must always be respectful and obey the laws that country is ruling with.

Some countries may hinder the Muslim to express his religion fully, like the discrimination of having a beard or wearing a Hijab. The Muslim must still remain respectful, as they have a covenant with the country to obey and to not transgress.

Hate speech and promoting violence towards the authority figure of the country is absolutely forbidden. Muslims must have peace with such an authority figure, as they have been welcomed in peacefully.

Imam Shafi'i said: "If some enemies were to capture a Muslim and imprison him, and after that they release him and give him security, and allow him to live among them, the covenant they give to him is a covenant from him to them (i.e. it is binding on him), it is not allowed for him to assassinate them or betray them, and we do not know any scholar that has mentioned otherwise." [Al-Umm 4/292]

So, any covenant is binding, also the covenant of Dar al-Kufr with a Muslim. Whenever a Muslim is granted access to live in Dar al-Kufr, then this is a covenant that cannot be betrayed.

Expressing Islam in Dar al-Kufr

Obey the rules and laws, even if it might restrict you in some way. If the country allows having a mosque and praying in it, all well and good. This is a sign that the country actually allows you to have your religion and express it on their owned soil.

Celebrate Eid, fast in Ramadan, give the Islamic greeting and fulfill the foundations of Islam. This is sufficient, and if the country allows you to promote Islam peacefully, then this is a gift.

In Dar al-Kufr, Muslims are often allowed to pray their Jumuah prayer. This can be attended, as Jumuah is still obligatory in Dar al-Kufr.

How to promote Islam in Dar al-Kufr

If the country allows Muslims to promote Islam, then this is great. A Muslim must always be respectful with everyone. He cannot attack or violate the rights of others, as this is not allowed according to Islam.

The promotion of hate and violence is absolutely forbidden, also in Dar al-Kufr. Every country is against the premise of hate speech and violence.

Islam does not promote fighting those who grant you permission to live in their country, this is not allowed for a Muslim to do. Any country that allows you to express Islam, is never the enemy, nor is the Muslim allowed to attack or preach hate towards countries that do not allow Islam to be expressed.

The expression and promotion of Islam must always be according to peace. Always be civil and never disrespect others who have a different view of the world.

Some have a misconception that Al-Wala wal-Bara allows preaching hate and promoting violence towards the disbelievers. This is not the case, as Al-Wala wal-Bara primarily has to do with coming near the Muslims and avoiding those of the disbelievers who hurt your religion.

Abu Athari writes about basic principles within Islam. He uses his critical and well-researched way to spread knowledge of the first three Muslim generations.

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