Zia Haq , Hindustan Times New Delhi, February 23, 2009
Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband on Sunday said it regarded India as Dar al-Aman or a “Muslim-friendly country”. It ceased to be Dar al-Harb or hostile for Muslims with the end of British rule.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)’s Dharm Raksha Manch, or Forum to Protect Hinduism, last week issued a letter to the Deoband clergy demanding a fatwa, or an edict, to declare India as “friend of Islam to end religion-inspired violence”.
Advertisement “How can a country where you choose your own government be Dar al-Harb?” the seminary’s vice-rector Abdul Khaleque Madrasi said, adding: “If VHP has doubts, a fatwa can be issued, provided the organisation follows the prescribed procedure for obtaining a religious edict.”
Darul Uloom Deoband is a widely respected centre of Islamic education in Uttar Pradesh. Its rulings on religion, philosophy and lifestyle are obeyed and followed by Muslims all over the sub-continent.
Vice-rector Madrasi said according to some scholars, Dar al-Harb conditions automatically take effect if the state snaps a Muslim’s right to pray. “Does such a condition exist in India? The VHP’s demand stems from lack of knowledge. We have already said conditions for jihad don’t exist (in India),” he added.
In Islamic theology, geographical territories are often described as Dar al-Harb, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Aman. The distinctions have been crucial in Muslim thought and action, said Qari Mohammed Usman, one of Darul’s senior-most teachers.
Dar al-Harb literally means “abode of war” or territory that is not under Islamic law and, if threatening to Islam, can be brought into Islam’s fold by jihad.
In contrast, Dar al-Islam denotes territory under Islamic law, he said. Dar al-Aman or “abode of peace” is used to describe territory that is not under Islamic law but where Muslims can live in peace and harmony without interference in their practice of Islam.
One example was India, Usman said.
The VHP had also asked clerics to state that Hindus were not kafirs or unbelievers and therefore jihad did not apply to them. Madrasi said the term kafir meant a person who did not follow Islam and not necessarily an enemy of Islam.
Around 1803, Maulana Shah Abdul Azis, a Delhi cleric, had declared India Dar al-Harb to drive out the British, said Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind secretary Niaz Farooqui. Apart from Darul Uloom seminary, the VHP had addressed its letter to the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind and the All-India Milli Council.