Sunday, 26 September 2010
Territoriality is intrinsic to Islam. Muslims divide the world into two categories: Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam, defined as those places where Islam has achieved ascendancy and now dominates life) and the Dar al-Harb (the House of War, defined as the places where infidels are in the ascendant, infidels who must be warred upon until they are killed or subjugated and forced to acknowledge the supremacy of Islam).

Many expressions commonly used by Muslims reflect this sense of territorial proprietorship. For example: "Muslim soil", "Muslim lands", "the Muslim world", "Muslim countries".

Many Westerners, including those who are strongly antipathetic to Islam, often unthinkingly lend credence to this Muslim concept of territorial proprietorship by casually adopting some of these expressions into their own discourse.

It is worth pointing out therefore:

There is no such thing as Muslim soil. Soil cannot be affiliated with a particular superstition.

There are no such things as Muslim lands. Land cannot be affiliated with a particular superstition.

There is no such thing as the Muslim world. The world, or part of it, is not the exclusive preserve of a particular superstition.

There are no such things as Muslim countries. Countries cannot affiliate themselves with particular superstitions. No matter how dominant a particular superstition appears to be in one country, there will be people whose allegiance is with other superstitions or with none at all among its population. They may not declare their allegiance, or lack of allegiance, openly because of fear of the consequences; but their silent dissent should be acknowledged.

If you are tempted to use any of these phrases in your own speech or writing, consider using alternatives instead.

Rather than talk about "the Muslim world", use the term "Umma" - the community of Muslim believers.

Rather than talk about "Muslim countries", use the term "Muslim-majority countries" instead.

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