Territory of war. Denotes the territories bordering on dar al-Islam (territory of Islam), whose leaders are called upon to convert to Islam. Refers to 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. Jurists trace the concept to Muhammad, whose messages to the Persian, Abyssinian, and Byzantine emperors demanded that they choose between conversion and war. When the leaders of dar al-harb accept Islam, the territory becomes part of dar al-Islam, where Islamic law prevails; conversely, according to the majority of jurists an Islamic territory taken by non-Muslims becomes dar al-harb when Islamic law is replaced. Like other classical legal concepts, dar al-harb has been affected by historical changes, and with the fragmentation of the Muslim world into numerous states, the concept has little significance today.
See also Dar al-Islam; Dar al-Sulh