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Islamic International Law

Historical Foundations and Al-Shaybani’s Siyar

Khaled R. Bashir

In this work, Khaled Ramadan Bashir presents and discusses the precise nature of Mohammad Al-Shaybnai’s contribution to Siyar (Islamic International Law). He compares his work to other great contributions on international law made by renowned scholars including Augustine, Gratian, Aquinas, Vitoria and Grotius. Bashir affirms the view that Al-Shaybnai made a major contribution to the field of International law, which was unparalleled until Grotius wrote The Law of War and Peace. To date, Al-Shaybnai’s Siyar is still a cornerstone of the Islamic perspective of international law.
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Glossary

Khaled R. Bashir

Ahil-al-dimah

Non-Muslim subjects of the state.

Ahl al-Kitab

(People of the book); Scriptuaries.

Al’aqid shari’at almuta’aqedyan

A term equivalent to pacta sunt servanda.

Al-Kufah

A city in Iraq.

Al-Madinah

The city of Medina, the birthplace of the Muslim State.

Al-Siyar Al-Kabīr

The grand siyar (a book was written by Al-Shaybani on international law in the eighth century).

Ama’an

Al-Ama’an (definite), also written as Amān: guarantee of safety, pledge of security or safe conduct. A contract or grant that can be made by any Muslim and would be binding upon all subject and rulers, in which a foreigner/group of foreigners or a whole state is granted a pledge of security over his/her life and property, normally with permission to enter the country.

Ar’ay

The opinion: this refers to the Hanafi School’s method of reasoning.

Baiet alm’al

Literally the house of money referring to where public money was held.

Caliph (Khalifah)

Ruler of the Muslim State considered as a successor of the Prophet Muhammad as head of state.

Dar al-harb

Territories that are not controlled by Muslims.

Dar al-Islam

The territory controlled by a Muslim state.

Dhimmi

A member of the people of the book (such as Christians and Jews) who lives in the Muslim State with a covenant granting him/her protection and obliging him/her to pay poll tax and not to commit treason.

Fata

Man or boy; for women, fatah is girl.

Fatwa

An opinion, or responsum, issued by Islamic jurists.

Fay

Wealth acquired from the enemy without fighting.

Fiqih

Islamic jurisprudence. It is wider than the mere study of what is lawful and unlawful. It contains rules concerning what is detested or abhorred as well as what is liked, preferred or encouraged.

Ghanimah

Legally obtained spoils of war in a legally permissible action.

Ghazw

Raid.

Hadieth

(Also Hadith.) Sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Harbi

Alien (from Dar al-harb which is: territories that are not controlled by Muslims.)

Ijma’a

General consensus among scholars.

Ijtihad

Analogical extraction of rules. It is a scholarly tool that allows jurists to weigh arguments, evidence and sources of the Law to come up with a certain rule. This can only be done by professionals.

Imam

A leading person: including in congregational prayers or in scholarly achievements.

Istihsan

Juristic preference.

Istinbat

Elicitation used in the processes of inferring rules from sources.

Istinqaad

Humanitarian intervention upon request and under defined rules.

Jihad

Struggle or fighting a legitimate war.

Jiziyah

Tax levied on non-Muslim subjects of a Muslim state who will not have to pay Islamic obligatory charity. Similar to Roman poll tax.

Kharaj

A type of tax usually levied on cultivated lands.

Makrooh

A detested act that is not punishable yet unacceptable.

Mu‘ahadah

Treaty.

Mujtahid

A person conducting ijtihad.

Musta’aman

A person who is granted ama’an.

Musta’amanoon

Plural of musta’aman.

Qiyas

Analogical or systematic reasoning.

Qura’an

Also Quran or Qur’an: Holy Book; Islamic book of divine revelation.

Ra’y

Juristic opinion.

Ribat

Holding steadfast in the frontiers to respond to any attack by any enemy; it also refers to making the bordering areas safe for passers-by.

Shari’ah

Islamic law or way of life.

Siyar

Al-Siyar in the definite form, and the plural of sirah. It is used by scholars to refer to Islamic international law.

Sulih

Reconciliation, conciliation or armistice.

Sunnah/Sunna

Prophetic traditions: a collection of sayings and actions of the prophet Muhammad.