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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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Chapter 6: Conclusion

Khaled R. Bashir


This chapter highlights the extent of Al-Shaybani’s contribution to Siyar and to the field of international law. It concludes that, although they were theologians, Al-Shaybani, Grotius and Vitoria had offered what legal historians should never exclude. Al-Shaybani, in the eighth century, provided a manual of legal rules on all international law topics related to his time. His book is still very much relevant to today’s international legal system and is sometimes a clear anticipation of what humanity has finally reached in the field. In addition, this chapter surmises some of the outstanding principles (e.g. the principle of reciprocity) put forward by Al-Shaybani as legal obligations to be respected in international relations and not mere moral teachings. This chapter also raises some serious questions about the history of international law and challenges many of the current assumptions about the history of the contemporary international law.

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