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Khadduri as gatekeeper of the Islamic Law of Nations?

Allain, Jean


Jean Allain


This chapter demonstrates the discrepancy between Majid Khadduri’s representation of Muhammad Shaybani and the Siyar – the Islamic Law of Nations – in his 1966 The Islamic Law of Nations, and that found in Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi’s 1998 translation of Shaybani introductory text, The Shorter Book. The richness of the latter text speaks to a foundational work which deserves a place amongst the ‘classics of international law’ and should establish the existence of a pre-Columbian genealogy of international law beyond doubt.

What follows in this chapter is an examination of Shaybani, the person, and his oeuvre, with special emphasis on Kitab al Siyar al Saghir as translated by Ghazi. The chapter demonstrated that it is only with the emergence of Ghazi’s The Shorter Book of Muslim International Law, that international legal scholars of the English-language world can come to appreciate and engage with a text that was written more than twelve centuries ago. By so doing, these international jurists will come to recognise that Muhammad Shaybani is second to none in the pantheon of classic international jurists; as the first to provide a systematic account of international law, more than eight centuries before Hugo Grotius’ Iure Belli ac Pacis of 1625.


Allain, J. (2018). Khadduri as gatekeeper of the Islamic Law of Nations?. In International law and Islam: historical explorations, 127-145. Brill Academic Publishers.

Acceptance Date Jul 1, 2014
Publication Date Dec 10, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 17, 2019
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
Pages 127-145
Series Title Brill's Arab and Islamic Laws Series
Series Number 14
Book Title International law and Islam: historical explorations
ISBN 978-90-04-38837-6
Public URL