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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchWhy Muslims Should Care About War Studies

Why Muslims Should Care About War Studies

Author: Esra N. Kandur

Affiliation: The Qarawiyyin Project

Organization/Publisher: The Qarawiyyin Project

Date/Place: November 20, 2020

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 1,600


Keywords: Muslim, Islam, women, War Studies, 9/11 Era, Ottoman Era, Turkey, Muslim World


Published by “The Qarawiyyin Project,” an online collaboration that aims to revive “Islamic discourse among the Muslim women,” the article questions why Muslims do not take up war studies courses. The author, who is the co-host of Seriosity, a podcast dedicated to war and politics, believes that Muslims need to take up war studies by pointing to the post-9/11 era where the Muslim community has been highly exposed to intense examination across the globe; this in turn has cultivated a younger generation of heightened political consciousness. As a Masters graduate in International Conflict Studies, she explains war studies as an academic field that examines conflict from historical, political, geopolitical, legal, ethical and moral perspectives. Inspired by the rules provided in holy texts of Muslims, the author explains how the Islamic Law of warfare or Fiqh al-Jihad can help reduce and even eliminate civilian deaths—what is otherwise categorized and accepted as “collateral damages” by colonial powers who have maximized the use of drone killings without any respect for the lives of non-combatants. Quoting Khaleefah (Caliph) Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (RA), she explains how this companion of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) issued ten instructions to his armies before taking any combat operation: to not kill women, children, the old and ill; to not cut down trees; to not destroy any towns; to not kill any animals unless it is to eat; to not burn or harm trees, to not steal, and to not be cowardly. The author refers to wars fought by the “most Muslim-majority countries” and how “many of us find ourselves either supporting or criticizing these conflicts.” However, she criticizes the language “we employ” that belongs to a modern, secular discourse of the nation-state, human rights and international law. She argues that Islam is relevant to modern warfare, and challenges Muslims to study and utilize the principles of the Islamic texts to navigate military decisions. “These discussions must go beyond the condemnations of terrorism and examine what a just war would look like in the modern era… We cannot be indifferent in the face of oppression and injustice. Justice is crucial in Islam and arguments for peace and stability are incomplete without those considerations. Using our religious worldview to evaluate these conflicts is consequently essential,” she asserts.

By: Riyaz ul Khaliq, Non-Resident CIGA Research Associate



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