Islamic law and international humanitarian law : An introduction to the main principles

This article gives an overview of the principles regulating the use of force under the Islamic law of war in the four Sunni schools of Islamic law. By way of introducing the topic, it briefly discusses the origins, sources and characteristics of the Islamic law of war. The discussion reveals the degree of compatibility between these Islamic principles and the modern principles of international humanitarian law, and offers insights into how these Islamic principles can help in limiting the devastation and suffering caused by contemporary armed conflicts in Muslim contexts, particularly those conflicts in which Islamic law is invoked as the source of reference.

About the author

Ahmed Al-Dawoody

Dr Ahmed Al-Dawoody, born in Egypt, is the Legal Adviser for Islamic Law and Jurisprudence at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Prior to joining the ICRC, he was an Assistant Professor in Islamic Studies and Islamic law at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He also taught in the United States, UK, UAE and Switzerland. He has published many articles, including on the relation between Islamic law and IHL, and is the author of The Islamic Law of War: Justifications and Regulations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).