CSSMuslim Law

Q. No. 5. Discuss origin and development of Islamic law of International relations? 2019

Islamic law of international relations, also known as the law of nations or international law in Islam, has its roots in the early Islamic period. The Quran and the Hadith, along with the practice of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions, form the basis of Islamic international law.

The concept of international law in Islam is based on the idea of the ummah, or the Muslim community, as a single political and social entity that extends beyond national and geographic boundaries. The early Islamic state recognized the sovereignty of other states and entered into diplomatic and commercial relations with them on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

The earliest example of Islamic international law can be seen in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, which was signed between the Prophet Muhammad and the leaders of Mecca in 628 CE. The treaty provided for a ten-year truce between the Muslims and the Meccans, and allowed for peaceful commercial and diplomatic relations between the two parties.

During the Abbasid period, Islamic law of international relations developed further with the emergence of the institution of the wali al-amr, or the ruler who has authority over the affairs of the Muslims. The wali al-amr was responsible for protecting the interests of the Muslim community and ensuring that Islamic law was upheld in relations with other states.

Islamic international law also developed through the institution of the muhtasib, or the market inspector, who was responsible for ensuring that commercial transactions were carried out in accordance with Islamic law. The muhtasib played an important role in regulating trade and commerce, and in maintaining the integrity of commercial relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Islamic legal tradition also developed the concept of jihad, which refers to the struggle to uphold the principles of Islam and defend the ummah against external threats. Jihad was understood to include both defensive and offensive measures, and was regulated by Islamic law in accordance with principles of just war.

In the modern era, Islamic law of international relations has continued to evolve, with contemporary Muslim scholars engaging with issues such as human rights, international trade, and the environment from an Islamic perspective. Islamic international law has also been recognized in international legal systems, with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) serving as a platform for promoting Islamic principles in international relations.

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