Ambivalent Universalism? Jus ad bellum in Modern Islamic Legal Discourse
European Journal of International Law, Vol. 24, No. 1 (2013) [Symposium issue on "Just and Unjust Wars."], pp. 367-389.
31 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2012 Last revised: 2 Aug 2015
Date Written: July 4, 2012
In this paper, we discuss the trajectory of modern Islamic legal discourse on jus ad bellum questions, challenging the ideas that the choice is between either a defensive or an aggressive jihad doctrine, and that declaring and waging war is regarded in Islamic law as properly a matter to be monopolized by legitimate state authorities. The dominant modern doctrine of just war in Islamic legal thought is not quite as simple as a bare doctrine of mutual non-aggression. While it is understandable that many Muslims have been eager to conclude that the proper understanding of jihad in Islam is that it authorizes only defensive or humanitarian war, virtually indistinguishable from modern international norms, the reality of modern Islamic just war thinking is somewhat more interesting than this. In this paper, we introduce a third modern Islamic concept of just war that would permit war against a country that does not allow for peaceful proselytization of Islam within its borders, and discuss some of the ambiguities of this doctrine.
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