What does determine one country whether is an Islamic country or not?

Details of the Question
What does determine one country whether is an Islamic country or not?. In Malaysia one party insist to determine whether this country is Islamic or not. We beleive it is, and it is no benefit for us to declare this is not Islamic country since Allah will not ask the country but those individual who rule it. Thanks.
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

We will summarize which conditions are required for a place to be a place of non-Muslim (Daru’l Harb), and the country you live is whether a Muslim country or not according to the Islam scholars.
Firstly, we will give the meanings of the concepts of “Daru’l Harb” and “Daru’l Islam”. Omar Nasuhi Bilmen describes the concepts of “Daru’l Harb” and “Daru’l Islam” in his dictionary, The Islamic Law and The Fiqh (Islamic Law) Expressions as follows:
A Daru’l Islam is a place that Muslims are predominant and in which they can live safely and perform their religious provisions.
A Daru’l Harb is a place in which there is no peace between Muslims and non-Muslims and non-Muslims are predominant (1).
So, while even just looking at those descriptions, it is understood clearly that Malaysia is a place that Muslims live predominantly and there is no reality in the claims of those who say that this country is a non-Muslim country.
As a matter of fact, the views put on this matter are nothing than a subtract claim. And such claims which are subtract (having no reality) and not depended on any proof are not taken in consideration. As in every science, in religious knowledge, too; the claims are depended on certain evidence as a principle. And again, the judgments in every science belong to the scholars who are expert at that field. So the experts of the religious knowledge are the interpreters, the scholars of the Islamic law and the imams –especially the imams of the four great sects (These are Imam Azam Ebu Hanife, Imam Shafii, Imam Maliq and Imam Hanbal). For this reason, whoever speaks in the name of religion has to consider the judicial opinions of those interpreters and the fatwas (Islamic religious law) of those fiqh scholars. Their fatwas are sufficient and enough for every age and time. Historically it is clear that, no one could get through those interpreters. As no expert scholar after them could have dared to claim of parity, so, some exceeders in this century set forth nothing but abstract claims.
Now, we will explain the judgments of Shafii and Hanafi sects about a “Daru’l Harb” and a “Daru’l Islam” after what we mentioned shortly above:
According to the sect of Shafii, after a place or a country had been conquered by Muslims, that place or country is henceforth accepted as a “Daru’l Islam” till the Doomsday occurs. This judgment does not change even if such a country is captured by blasphemers. Even, the countries of non-Muslims who are in peace with Muslims are not a “Daru’l Harb” (2).
The judgment of Imam Shafii is clear enough and is without explanation. That is to say, according to the Shafii sect, not only any Muslim country, but also the countries such as Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Bukhara, Semerkand, and the Crimea are not a “Daru’l Harb”, but they are considered as a “Daru’l Islam”. According to Imam Shafii, in order that a place to be a “Daru’l Harb”, it must not have been fallen under Muslims’ domination and those who live there must not be in peace with Muslims.
According to the sect of Hanafi, a place which is a “Daru’l Harb” is transferred into a “Daru’l Islam” by practicing some of the provisions of Islam (3). And there is an agreement on that case. And on the case of a “Daru’l Islam”s transferring into “Daru’l Harb”, there are two different views. The first view belongs to Hazrath Imam Azam, and the other belongs to Imameyn (Imam Muhammad and Imam Yusuf).  
According to Imam Azam, in order a place of “Daru’l Islam” to be transferred into a “Daru’l Harb”, the following three conditions must occur together at the same time. If one of these conditions does not occur, that place still remains as a “Daru’l Islam”:
1- Blasphemy must cover that place, that is to say, hundred percent of the people must follow blasphemy. A place that blasphemy is not practiced completely, for example; a place in which only Juma (Friday) and festival prayers are performed is not called as a “Daru’l Harb”. Serahsi says as follows in this issue:   
“For realization of that condition, polytheism must be practiced openly and the stipulations of Islam must be abolished categorically. Imam Azam means with that condition that domination and power absolutely must be in the hands of unbelievers.” (4).
That is to say, in a Muslim country, for realization of this condition, domination and predominance has to be completely in the hands of blasphemers. Because of some faults, if there is defectiveness in domination of the blasphemers, that place cannot be a “Daru’l Harb”. As a matter of fact, even just by performing Juma and Festival prayers, that place remains as a “Daru’l Islam”.
And again, according to the judicial opinion of Isticabi who is among the scholars of the Islamic law: “At a place, even if one condition of Islam is applied, that place is accepted as a “Daru’l Islam”.”
According to Ibn-i Abidin, ‘Although - at a place- the provisions of Muslims and polytheists are applied together, that place is again accepted as a “Daru’l Islam” (5).’ In the book of Bezzaziye it is recorded that: “Our prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), when honoring to Medina, despite the judgments of Jews and polytheists were being run, after Our Prophet (pbuh) had begun to acts of Islam, that town transferred into a “Daru’l Islam” (6).”
2- That place must be contiguous to a “Daru’l Harb”, that is to say, the borders and neighbor borders of that place must be girded completely by blasphemers. If any border of that place is contiguous to a “Daru’l Islam”, that is to say, if it is neighbor to a Muslim country, that place cannot be a “Daru’l Harb”. Because according to Imam Azam, ‘Muslims who are neighbor to another Muslim country are not considered as defeated completely. They can carry on their relationship with that Muslim country on religious, moral, faith, social, political, commercial and traditional acts; and they can keep the principle of Islam alive.’
It may be beneficial to explain a point in this case. According to the non-Muslims, the condition of engirding is not for the independent Islam countries, but is for villages, towns and provinces which are subjugated by a non-Muslim country and too impotent to defend themselves (Like Muslim villages in Russia). So, as a matter of fact, in concerning explanations of the interpreters of Islamic law, not the expression of “country/government”, but the expression of “city/town”, “village” is used. Otherwise, a Muslim country which is independent and able enough to defend itself, although being surrounded by non-Muslim countries from all sides, still cannot be a “Daru’l Harb”.
3- There must not be any Muslim or non-Muslim minority who are in safe. That is to say, Muslims or non-Muslim minorities’ security -who were living in safe in that place before- must have been destroyed with a blasphemy invasion.
This third condition is only valid in case of an invasion in which a Muslim town invaded by a blasphemy attack.
In that case, Serahsi says as follows:
“Muslims or non-Muslim minorities’ living in safe in a town is a proof that the domination of polytheists is not in full. Because the interpreters of Islamic law do not consider the thing occurred later, but they consider the actual fact. What is the fact here is that town is a “Daru’l Islam”. Non-Muslims or Muslims’ surviving there is a fact sign. As long as that sign remains, it is understood that there is a trace from that fact and that town continue as a “Daru’l Islam” (7).
Now, we will explain these three conditions that Imam Azam set forth with an example.
Andalusia, which was a Muslim country before, had been occupied by Christians later. And there were in no way remained life and property safety of Muslims, and the blasphemy was being applied hundred percent. And there were no border of that country with a Muslim country. So, because the three conditions that Imam Azam set forth occurred at the same time, that place is a “Daru’l Harb”.
And Imameyn depends transferring a “Daru’l Islam” into a “Daru’l Harb” on performing the polytheism hundred percent and on non-Muslims’ certain predominance over Muslims. And that depends on a complete invasion made over a Muslim area by non-Muslims. For example, Batoum (a city in Georgia) -according to Imameyn- is a “Daru’l Harb”, as it is completely under the domination of Russia and blasphemy is hundred percent applied. However, if any stipulation of Islam were let be performed (such as performing Juma and festival prayers), that place –according to Imameyn- would still be a “Daru’l Islam”.
Accordingly, the countries such as Malaysia have not any possibility to be a “Daru’l Harb”.
Malaysia (Thanks to Allah) is a “Daru’l Islam” for centuries. And it keeps its quality today as well. Except for some applications concerning with practicing, the provisions about faith, moral and worship can be openly and freely complied. Besides, there is no legal obstacle for those who want to apply the provisions of religion when they want to. In the sermons, the religion can be taught and Islam can be expressed. Islamic provisions such as adhan (call to prayer), jamaat worships (congregational worship), Juma and festival prayers and pilgrimage (hajj) are continued to be applied/practiced. From thousands mosques and mascids (small mosque) can adhans be called five times a day; and jamaat prayers, Juma and festival prayers can be performed freely. Those who want can apply for the worship of hajj or umra (visiting Kaba and other holy places of Mecca except the pilgrimage season). The publication of the Qur’an and Islamic works can be done easily. Religious festivals are accepted as a holyday officially. Muslims can put a name however they want to their children. Islamic customs such as hatim prayer (the prayer which is recited after reading the Qur’an from start to finishing up), mavlid (a poetical work written by Suleiman Çelebi celebrating the birth of Our Prophet (pbuh)) and circumcision feasts continue their presence.
If sum up: As it is understood from above explanations, the three-condition that Imam Azam set forward is not a subject of discussion for Malaysia. As a matter of fact, according to the sect of Shafii, a place that had been under domination of Muslims before is a “Daru’l Islam” till the Doomsday (For example, many parts of Russia such as Crimea, Caucasia, Bukhara; Andalusia and Bulgaria).
One more case that is claimed by those who set forward the matter of “Daru’l Harb” is the opinion that all of the worships performed in a non-Muslim country (Daru’l Harb) are superstitious.
This opinion and claim have no proof and evidence that can be based on in religion. 
A Muslim, whether he is in a “Daru’l Islam or “Daru’l Harb” has to comply with the commands of Allah and abstain from what He prohibited. Worship is the purpose of creation and the wisdom of man’s existence. No situation can debar him from complying that exalted duty.  
It is a known fact that Islam has grown up like a snowball all over the world and the number of those who accept Islam is increasing day by day. Those new Muslims, in non-Muslim countries where they live are in determination of practicing the religion tasks intactnessly. If the mentioned claims were true, then there would not be any meaning of the faith and worships of those who are newly Muslim. Their religious efforts would not be any thing than an empty effort. And that case would cause a result that in non-Muslim countries one could not practice Islam and be pious. Further more, there would be one who accepts Islam. (*)
In this case, saying that worship is invalid in non-Muslim countries and depriving Muslims from an important sign which distinguishes them from non-Muslims mean to expose Muslims with possible dangers that will come from non-Muslims.
And one more matter that is misevaluated is the consideration that one can commit sin freely in a non-Muslim country as if it is permissible. Whereas, the result of a sin is same both in Muslim countries and non-Muslim countries. The hideousness of a sin is permanent; and the punishment after death and its responsibility are fixed. But, there is no possibility to apply the worldly punishment of the sins in non-Muslim countries because there is no department or office concerned.
Also, some acts’ being permissible -which are actually haram (forbidden)- such as receiving interest from non-Muslims in non-Muslim countries cannot be a proof that harams are free. Because such acts are permissible just when it takes place between Muslims and non-Muslims in non-Muslim countries, and as long as there is an advantage for Muslims in that application. From this point of view, a Muslim can receive interest from a non-Muslim, but cannot give. However, Muslims cannot do such applications between themselves. (8).
We want to attract attentions to one point before we end our subject:
As in every era today as well, the greatest service that should be done for people is to teach them the realities of faith, and settle the quality, affection and fear of Allah into their hearts; teach them the bases of Islam, settle the good moral, just and straightness into their heart and minds; establish amongst them unity and togetherness, obedience and deference, compassion and mercy; instill the love of homeland and nation, the sense of reverence for the holy things into their conscience. Leaving such important services and putting forward the matter of “Daru’l Harb” as if it is the most important matter of Islam is nothing than annoying people and confusing hearts.
References:
(1). Bilmen, Ö. Nasuhi; Hukuk-u Islâmiye and Istılâhat-ı Fiqhhiyye Kamusu (The Dictionary of Islamic Jurisprudence and expressions related to the Islamic Law); v. M; p. 394.
(2). Bilmen, Ö. N. (the above mentioned work), v. III, p. 335.
(3). Khuhistani, v. II, p. 311.
(4). Serahsi, Mabsut, v. X, p. 114.
(5). Ibn-i Abidin, Durrul Mukhtar Sherhi, v. IV p. 175.
(6). Bezzaziye, v. VI, p. 312.
(7). Serahsi, (above mentioned work), v. X, p. 114.
(*). It is a certain principle that, in a Daru’l Harb, blasphemy, and in a Daru’l Islam, faith is taken into consideration. In consequence of this principle, if an unowned dead is found in a Daru’l Harb, that dead, without hesitation, is accepted to be amongst people of blasphemy. And is taken to burry in a non-Muslim graveyard. To adjudicate that dead whether a Muslim, only does depend on a sign such as hearing of himself/herself that s/he was a Muslim or seeing s/he was practicing the religion.  However, if an unowned dead is found in a Daru’l Islam, without looking for any sign, s/he is regarded as a Muslim. By performing the funeral prayer, s/he is buried to a Muslim graveyard.
(8). Ahmed Nuri, Dini Bilgiler (Religious Information), p. 187, 2nd press, Cihan Publication, Istanbul.
Source: Mehmet Kırkıncı, What is Daru’l Harb?

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