Jus Ad Bellum and the Rules of Engagement in the Islamic Law of Nations — Shaybānī's Siyar

Islam, Politics and Law: Perspectives on International Humanitarian Law between Universalism and Cultural Legitimacy, A conference Organized by T.M.C. Asser Institute and The Hague Institute, 2009

7 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2012

See all articles by Hilmi Zawati

Hilmi Zawati

International Centre for Legal Accountability and Justice (ICLAJ)

Date Written: November 7, 2009

Abstract

A closer look at the provisions of the Islamic law of nations, embodied in the primary sources of Islamic law and in the treatises of prominent Muslim jurists, particularly Shaybānī’s Siyar, reveals that the laws governing the doctrine of jihād are realistic and practical. They regulate conduct during jihād and setup rules of engagement on the basis of human principles. As peace is the rule and war is the exception, jihād is based on the premise that an armed conflict should not arise between a Muslim state and other states unless it is for the purpose of: deterring aggression; eliminating oppression, extortion and injustice; achieving the human ideas that are considered as the aims of life, including the right to life and to respect one’s religious beliefs; and securing people against torture, terror, and inhuman treatment.

The Islamic law of nations recognizes that war, by its nature, implies violence and suffering. Therefore, it instructs Muslim leaders to accept the enemy’s offer of peace even at the risk of a possible deception. As a practical and realistic law, it strictly lays down humane rules governing the conduct of war and the treatment of enemy persons and property. Limiting violence to the necessities of war, Islamic law differentiates between combatants and civilians, as well as between military and civilian targets in time of war.

Keywords: Islamic law of nations, jihād doctrine, Islamic jurisprudence, humanitarian law, human rights law, war crimes, crimes against humanity

Suggested Citation

Zawati, Hilmi, Jus Ad Bellum and the Rules of Engagement in the Islamic Law of Nations — Shaybānī's Siyar (November 7, 2009). Islam, Politics and Law: Perspectives on International Humanitarian Law between Universalism and Cultural Legitimacy, A conference Organized by T.M.C. Asser Institute and The Hague Institute, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2193122

Hilmi Zawati (Contact Author)

International Centre for Legal Accountability and Justice (ICLAJ) ( email )

404 - 2340 Gold Street
Montreal, Quebec H4M 1S4
Canada

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