Khadduri as gatekeeper of the Islamic Law of Nations?

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Law and Islam
Subtitle of host publicationHistorical Explorations
EditorsIgnacio de la Rasilla, Ayesha Shahid
Place of PublicationThe Netherlands
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789004388376
ISBN (Print)9789004388284
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameBrill's Arab and Islamic Laws Series
ISSN (Print)1871-2894


  • Siyar
  • Islamic Law of Nations
  • history of international law
  • international law

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