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Al-Sarakhsī’s Contribution to the Islamic Law of War +PDF

This paper compares al-Sarakhsī’s interpretations with those of other prominent Ḥanafī, Mālikī, Shāfi‛ī and Ḥanbalī jurists regarding the Islamic law of war.

This paper examines the contributions of the Ḥanafī jurist al-Sarakhsī (d. 483 AH/1090-91 CE) to the development of the Islamic tradition of war. By examining al-Sarakhsī’s treatment of the use of force by both state and non-state actors in al-Mabsūṭ, this paper answers important questions about warfare in Islam. First, it asks whether Islam sanctions offensive war against non-Muslims because of their religious beliefs. Second, it investigates the extent to which Islamic jus in bello rules are consistent with the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols. Third, it examines the circumstances under which it is permissible for Muslims to rebel against their ruler. Fourth, it explores the meaning of terrorism according to Islamic law and whether or not terrorism is punishable under Islamic law. This paper shows that the Islamic law of war has the potential to impact the attainment of peace in our globalized world. More importantly, this paper exposes the need for a reevaluation of specific classical Islamic rules regulating warfare in light of present-day armed conflicts.

This paper compares al-Sarakhsī’s interpretations with those of other prominent Ḥanafī, Mālikī, Shāfi‛ī and Ḥanbalī jurists regarding the Islamic law of war. Al-Sarakhsī’s answers to the questions posed above may provide some insight into the potential impact the law of war of one of the world’s most influential legal systems may have on the peace of our globalized world. This paper argues that certain rules developed by al-Sarakhsī regulating the wartime conduct of Muslim armies ought to be reevaluated by Muslim jurists today in light of present armed conflict in both international and domestic contexts.

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About the Author

Ahmed Al-Dawoody is an Assistant Professor in Islamic Studies at Zayed University in Dubai and a tenured professor at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He was the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies for the Institute for Islamic World Studies and the coordinator of the MA program in Contemporary Islamic Studies at Zayed University. My sincere gratitude goes to Professor Khaled Abou El-Fadl.

Bibliographic Information

Title: Al-Sarakhsī’s Contribution to the Islamic Law of War

Author: Ahmed Al-Dawoody

Published in: UCIA J. Islamic & Near E. L. 29 (2015)

 Language: English

Length: 17 pages

 

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