International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Islamic Law of Armed Conflict
: Exploring Convergence of Rules Applicable to Armed Conflicts Among Muslims

  • Salah Uddin

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works for the protection and assistance of victims of armed conflicts and other situations of violence. It also endeavours to prevent human suffering caused by armed hostilities through promoting and strengthening respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
Most of the Jihadi groups do not accept IHL because they perceive it as a Western secular law. The lack of acceptance by such groups poses considerable
challenges for ensuring respect for the rules of IHL especially in the ongoing armed conflicts in different Muslim states.
Due to its noble objectives, Sharia subjects the conduct of Jihad to a strict legal regime by prescribing numerous humanitarian rules and granting protection
to certain categories of people and objects which are in harmony with IHL. However, Sharia does not have precise rules for conflicts among Muslims which have enwrapped most Muslim states today.
This research, which is based on Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, contributes to the current understanding of Islamic humanitarian rules related to
intra-Muslim conflicts which have proven to be ineffective and inadequate. It argues that clearly defined rules can be developed within the framework
of Sharia’s high objectives and the principles of justice through Ijtihad or critical personal reasoning and Ijma’ or the consensus of Muslim jurists, Muslim
governments and other relevant stakeholders. The conduct of the noble Caliphs especially Caliph Ali also provide a good basis for such rules. A contextual
reinterpretation of Sharia with an emphasis on the universal notions of morality as found in natural law can link such rules with IHL.
Since most Islamic rules related to armed conflicts have no binding effect, the codification of rules developed through Ijtihad and Ijma’ into an Islamic
humanitarian treaty may ensure that all warring parties including Jihadi groups abide by these rules.
Date of Award25 Nov 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAaron Pycroft (Supervisor), Frank Ledwidge (Supervisor) & Tom Smith (Supervisor)

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