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Islam and international law

30-06-2005 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 858, by Sheikh Wahbeh M. al-Zuhili

If war does take place, it is subject to clear regulations under Islamic Shari’a.Religious teachings had an evident effect on the emergence of the rules of war, which attained the status of legal rules based on three fundamental requirements: necessity, humanity and chivalry.


Sheikh Wahbeh al-Zuhili
Dr. Sheikh Wahbeh M. al-Zuhili is professor and head of the Islamic Law (fi qh) and Doctrines Department of the Faculty of Shari’a, University of Damascus. He is the author of several books and studies on major issues related in particular to Islamic law. 

This article by an Islamic scholar describes the principles governing international law and international relations from an Islamic viewpoint. After representing the rules and principles governing international relations in the Islamic system, the author emphasizes the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and the aspiration of Islam to peace and harmony. He goes on to explain the relationship between Muslims and others in peacetime or in the event of war and the classical jurisprudential division of the world into the abode of Islam (dar al-islam) and that of war (dar al-harb). Lastly he outlines the restrictions imposed upon warfare by Islamic Shari'a law which have attained the status of legal rules.  

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