IN FOREIGN LANDS
by Dr. M. Hamidullah
An excerpt from The Muslim Conduct of State by Dr. M Hamidullah
published by Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 4th ed. Lahore © 1961
(a) In Another Muslim
(697) In classical times,
not much importance was attached to the origin of a Muslim. The mere intention
of stay for a couple of weeks rendered him a local citizen, forfeiting
all concession in devotional services, etc., recognized for one [who] travels.
(698) Ibn Jubair, the famous
traveller, however, mentions that he saw in Cairo that Sultan Salahuddin
had appointed a monitor from among the Maghribis to adjudicate between
his compatriots residing in Egypt.
(699) In our present time,
political nationality has come into play, largely due to the fact that
nonMuslim States of Europe and others, even if they concede it to Israel
and Jews, would not tolerate that their Muslim subjects should be considered
in Muslim States anything except citizens of their political denomination.
Even the Orthodox Saudian Kingdom has passed laws of nationality applicable
to Muslim pilgrims and immigrants wishing domicile and naturalization.
(b) Muslims in Non Muslim
(700) In classical times,
Muslims have enjoyed extra-territorial privileges in many lands. The story
begins with Muslim refugees in Abyssinia of the time of the Prophet, and
repeats itself in China, in Turkistan, in Malabar (India) and in many other
(701) I have contributed
a special monograph 21 on the subject to the Urdu section
of the Osmania Magazine (Osmania University), 1943, and I need not give
details here. Briefly, however, in those days there was no established
legal notion to concede extra-territorial privileges, but the treatment
varied with the whims and interest of individual monarchs of non Muslim
lands. Muslims have alike seen favours and hardships. A curious story is
told by Masudiy that in a certain Caspian region, the local non Muslim
ruler had employed Muslims in his bodyguard 22 and had
instituted a most elaborate judicial system. Since his subjects consisted
of peoples of many communities, there were many “communal courts” with
seven communal judges. Whenever there was some difficulty in solving difficult
problems, the matter was referred to the Muslim section and they abided
by what Muslim law provided for the case. 23 I [would
suppose] that inter-communal matters were also one of those difficult matters
referred to the Muslim judges for adjudicating and this for their impartiality
(702) Thus it will
be seen that the question of conflict of laws according to Muslim jurists
is a very rich field yet quite an untrodden path promising very interesting
discoveries for patient researchers.
(703) I conclude with
the last remark that a work called Ahkam Ahl adh-Dhimmah by the erudite
savan Ibn al-Qaiyim has been discovered in MS. Form in Hyderabad. Its first
volume consists of more than six hundred pages. It is incomplete and refers
to the succeeding volume or volumes which, however, are unfortunately missing.
This single volume has now been ably edited at Damascus by Professor Subhi
as-Salih. The work is very rich in material bearing on our subject. If
any of my readers happen to know of the missing volumes and kindly take
the trouble of informing me it will be gratefully acknowledged.
in English “Extra-terriitorrial Capitulations in Favour of Muslims in Classical
Times;” The Islamic Review, Vol. XXX VII, January 1950, pp.32-36, Cf, also
was the practice of General Franco, in Spain, before the evacuation of
the “Spanish Zone” of Morocco.
Muruj-udh-Dhahab (ed. Europe). II 10-12.