Islamic Ethics of the Conduct of War
Forthcoming Chapter in the Handbook of Islamic Ethics, Edited by Prof Mohammad Jafar Mahallati (expected to be published by Bloomsbury Handbook of Islamic Ethics, hopefully 2021)
42 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2021
Date Written: March 19, 2021
War has also been a part of the history of Muslims ever since the time of Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ. The Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah (teachings) have addressed the virtue and rules of conduct of jihād (fighting in the path of Allah). The present chapter addresses Islamic teachings regarding the ethical conduct of war through a brief, skeletal discussion of seven principles: maṣlaḥat (exigency), iḥsān (beneficence), not transgressing the limits, deception without treachery, humane treatment of war captives, respect and contribution towards the law of nations, and sincerity of intentions and its consequences. While the essence of the seven principles still continues to be valid in our times, it is nevertheless deemed imperative that Muslim scholars and jurists need to further refine and elaborate these principles vis-à-vis the exigencies and necessities of an ever-changing complex world.
Keywords: jihad, conduct of war, Islamic ethics, seven major principles
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