JEAIL > Volume 2(1); 2009 > Issue Focus
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2009

Islamic International Law and the Right of Self-Defense of States

Abdul Ghafur Hamid
International Islamic University, Malaysia
P.O. Box 10, International Islamic University, Kuala Lumpur 50728, Malaysia
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Islamic international law is a branch of the Shari'ah (Islamic law). Due to the classical doctrine of the notion of 'Jihad', there have been misconceptions and Islam has been painted as a religion encouraging violence and war. This paper appeals for the reconsideration of the classical doctrine, which was adopted at a time when there was a state of war between Islamic and non-Islamic states. Going back to the roots and referring to the Qur'an and the Sunnah: the two primary sources of Islamic law, the paper argues that Islam prohibits aggressive war and that the essence of 'jihad' is 'self-defense.' After elaborating the essential conditions of the right of self-defense, the paper concludes that Islamic international law can contribute much to the present world order by providing moral and ethical values that modern international law is lacking.

Keywords : Shari'ah, Self-Defense, Jihad, Islamic International Law

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