Forgiveness in Islamic Jurisprudence and its Role in Intercommunal Relations

16 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2009

See all articles by Russell Powell

Russell Powell

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: December 16, 2009


Some commentators characterize the relationship between Islam and other religions as a clash of cultures. Deep seated senses of harm, whether arising from the Crusades or 9/11, make the process of intercommunal engagement particularly challenging. However, some contemporary Muslim scholars propose a new paradigm for constructive interaction with non-Muslim communities that is authentically rooted in Islamic jurisprudential and textual traditions. The paper explores a number of potential starting points for intercommunal toleration, forgiveness, and reconciliation within Islamic tradition. Islamic jurisprudence contains deep commitments to forgiveness and reconciliation in its textual traditions (the Quran and Sunna), in its classical jurisprudence (particularly in criminal and international law), and in its modern intellectual engagement (e.g., the dialogue work of the Gulen movement).

Keywords: Islam, Jurisprudence, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Dispute, Resolution, Theory, Religion, Dialogue, Muslim, Fiqh

JEL Classification: K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Powell, Russell, Forgiveness in Islamic Jurisprudence and its Role in Intercommunal Relations (December 16, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Russell Powell (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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