The Debate about Daarul Aman and Daarul Harb and the Question of Hijrah

Often a discussion about Islam in the West draws a blank on the point that Muslims living in non-Muslim countries do not consider these countries as Daarul Aman (abode for peace and obedience to God) but instead, as Daarul Harb (a place of war against Islam), implying that their loyalty to their country of residence is questionable. When faced with this argument, an ordinary Muslim is taken aback because a quick search of the Google will indeed give definitions of Daarul Aman and Daarul Harb precisely as the questioner put it to them. This short essay is aimed at exposing the ignorance of many behind this question and exploring what are the different types of Daars (places of abode) and how a Muslim is required by Islam to conduct himself/herself in the given circumstances based on where s/he has established permanent residence. A Muslim cannot go back to a place where there are more sins and greater disobedience of God compared to where he is already living. If he does so, it is not Islamic Hijrah; it is economic migration. There is practically no country in the world which openly refuses freedom of religion to its citizens guaranteed by the constitution and international human rights instruments. The whole argument about Hijrah and different Daars becomes irrelevant today except when it is applied in a limited sense within the internal boundaries of a country where Muslims are living alongside citizens of other religions. In a closely integrated and interdependent world a discussion on the relevance of Daarul Islam and Daarul Harb is academic, not practical.