ISSN : 1997-1052 (Print)
227-202X (Online)
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Islamic Laws of War and Modern Laws of War: A Question of Compatibility?
Tahsin Khan

There is a popular belief that Islamic laws of war is incompatible with Modern laws of war and is liable for most of the ongoing terrorist acts in the contemporary world. Therefore, this paper intends to examine the degree of compatibility between Islamic laws of war and Modern laws of war and hypothesizes that they are generally compatible with one another and any incompatibility between the two is reconcilable. In order to verify the hypothesis, relevant treaty-based laws and customary international laws, as sources of Modern laws of war and the Quran, Sunnah or Hadiths, Ijma (consensus) and Qiyas (analogy), as sources of Islamic laws of war, are being examined. Considering the vastness of the contents of both sets of laws of war, the comparative analysis is confined only to the discussion on the treatment of prisoners of war, methods of warfare and means of warfare. Besides while referring to the term Islamic laws of war, the study is restricted to the literature of the Sunni community and the literature of the Shia community is omitted altogether. On the other hand, the study of Modern laws of war concentrates predominantly on the development of the subject-matter in the post-world war two era. After a meticulous comparative analysis, this paper finds that Islamic laws of war and Modern laws of war are mostly compatible with some minor points of divergences. However, the author contends that such minor points of divergences are the outcome of some of the Islamic rulings that were made purely based on the socio-political demand of the time. Therefore, if such rulings are revisited in accordance with the present socio-political demands, Islamic laws of war will become compatible with Modern laws of war on all points.

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