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A Framework for Nonviolence and Peacebuilding in Islam

  • Mohammed Abu-Nimer


Today, there is little debate that a paradigm shift is occurring in the field of international conflict resolution; where experts laud the effectiveness of peaceful means ending disputes compared with the use of force or violence. This paradigm shift is reflected in the increasing number of peacebuilding academic and applied programs in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, South and East Asia, and the Middle East, including conflict resolution workshops, projects for building civil societies, and nonviolent resistance mobilization. In peacebuilding contexts, scholars and practitioners are seeking to integrate authentic, indigenous and local cultural methods of conflict analysis and intervention, which are replacing the generic conflict resolution applications developed by western practitioners in United States and Europe.



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1. Fisher, Ron, Interactive Conflict Resolution (N.Y.: Syracuse U. Press 1997).

2. See Conflict Resolution: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Avruch, Kevin, Black, P. & Scemicca, Joe eds., N.Y.: Greenwood Press 1991); Lederach, John Paul, Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation Across Cultures (N.Y.: Syracuse U. Press 1995); Abu-Nimer, Mohammed, Conflict Resolution Training in the Middle East: Lessons to be Learned, 3 Intl. Negot. 99 (1998) [hereinafter Abu-Nimer, Conflict Resolution Training]; Abu-Nimer, Mohammed, Conflict Resolution Approaches: Western and Middle Eastern Lessons and Possibilities, 55 Am. J. Econ. & Sociology 35 (1996) [hereinafter Abu-Nimer, Conflict Resolution Approaches].

3. Training workshops in peacebuilding have been conducted in the Middle East, Philippines, and Indonesia by Search For Common Ground, Catholic Relief Services, Institute for Multi Track Diplomacy, and others.

4. Azizah al-Hibri highlights some of the negative depictions of Islam in American and European historical writing in al-Hibri, Azizah, Islamic and American Constitutional Law: Borrowing Possibilities or a History of Borrowing?, 1 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 491, 493497 (1999).

5. See list of such studies, infra, n. 11.

6. See Religion The Missing Dimension of Statecraft (Johnston, Douglas & Sampson, Cynthia, eds., N.Y.: Oxford U. Press 1994); Abu-Nimer, Conflict Resolution Approaches, supra n. 2; Gopin, Marc, Religion, Violence and Conflict Resolution, 22 Peace & Change 1 (1996).

7. It should be noted that although the boundaries and distinctions between peace and conflict resolution fields are still being defined, nevertheless, in this study no distinction is made between them. Peacebuilding is used as an overarching term for nonviolent strategies and conflict resolution methods. They all share the assumption that to resolve a conflict, parties must be committed to nonviolent approaches and means. For further literature on such conflict resolution approach see Burton, John, Conflict Resolution and Prevention (N.Y.: St. Martin's Press 1990); Diamond, Louise & McDonald, John, Multi-Track Diplomacy: A System Guide and Analysis (Grinnell: Iowa Peace Inst. 1991); Fisher, supra n. 1.

8. Esposito, John, The Islamic Threat 25 (N.Y.: Oxford U. Press 1992).

9. Fasting is one of the main values and practices with which Gandhi associated Islam, particularly during his early imprisonment. See McDonough, Sheila, Gandhi's Responses to Islam 122 (New Delhi: D.K. Printworld 1994); Satha-Anand, Chaiwat, Core Values For Peacemaking in Islam: The Prophet's Practice as Paradigm, in Building Peace in the Middle East: Challenges for States and Civil Society (Boulding, Elise, ed., Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Reinner Publishers 1993) [hereinafter Core Values for Peacemaking in Islam].

10. Many scholars have written on the legitimacy and importance of the different interpretations of Islamic texts. See Esack, Farid, On Being a Muslim: Finding a Religious Path in the World Today (Oxford: Oneworld 1999); al-Hibri, Azizah, Islamic Constitutionalism and the Concept of Democracy, 24 J. Intl. L. 127 (1992).

11. Due to the scope and purpose of this article, the discussion of this category is brief. However, there have been several studies in English and many in Arabic that reviewed these studies and uncovered their cultural biases and limitations. For example, see Esposito, supra n. 8, at 26; Esposito, John & Voll, John, Islam and Democracy (N.Y.: Oxford U. Press 1996). A sample of the studies conducted from a war and jihad perspective includes Jansen, Johannes, The Neglected Duty: the Creed of Sadat's Assassins and Islamic Resurgence in Middle East (N.Y.: Macmillan 1986); Kepel, Giles, The Revenge of God: The Resurgence of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in the Modern World (U. Park: Pa. St. U. Press 1994); Lawrence, Bruce, Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt Against the Modern Age (N.Y.: Harper & Row 1986); Lewis, Bernard, Political Language of Islam (Chicago: U. Chi. Press 1988); Pryce-Jones, David, At War With Modernity: Islam's Challenge to the West (London: Alliance Pub. for the Inst. European Def. & Strategic Stud. 1992); Sivan, Emmanuel, Radical Islam: Medieval Theology and Modern Politic (New Haven: Yale U. Press 1990); Dunn, Michael, Revivalist Islam and Democracy: Thinking About the Algerian Quandary, 1 Middle E. Policy 16 (1992); Krämer, Gudrun, Islamist Notion of Democracy, 23 Middle E. Rpt. 2 (1993); Kramer, Martin, Islam vs Democracy, 95 Contemporary 2 (1993); Islam and Liberal Democracy, 271 A. Mthly. 89 (1993); Emerson, Steven, Islamic Fundamentalism's Terrible Threat to the West, 27 San Diego Union-Trib. G3 (06 27, 1993); Pipes, Daniel, Fundamental Questions About Muslims, 30 Wall St. J. A 11 (10 30, 1992).

12. Dan Quayle, Patrick Buchanan, Daniel Pipes, and others best represent such policy makers and politicians, who often have compared Islam with communism and Nazism. See Esposito, supra n. 8, at 168.

13. A few of those works are: Ahmed, Akbar, Discovering Islam: Making Sense of Muslim History and Society (London: Routledge & Keagan Paul 1988); Ayoub, Mahmoud, Speech, and Panel, Discussion, Nonviolence in Islam: A Dialogue Between Muslims (Conf. on Nonviolence in Islam, sponsored by Nonviolence Intl. & Mohammed Said Farsi, Chair of Islamic Peace, Am. U., D.C., 02 14, 1997) (available at the Intl. Peace & Conflict Resolution Program Lib., Am. U., D.C.); Carmody, Lardner & Carmody, Tully, Peace and Justice in the Scriptures of the World Religions: Reflections on Non-Christian Scriptures (N.Y.: Paulist Press 1988); Hashmi, Sohail, Interpreting the Islamic Ethics of War and Peace, in The Ethics of War and Peace: Religious and Secular Perspectives 146 (Nardin, Terry ed., Princeton, N.J.: Princeton U. Press 1996); Rahman, Fazlur, The Islamic Concept of Justice, in Islamic Identity and the Struggle for Justice (Barazangi, Nimat, Zaman, M. Raquibuz & Afzal, Omar eds., Gainesville, Fla: U. Press of Fla. 1996); Kelsay, John, Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics (Westminster: John Knox Press 1993); Sachedina, Abdulaziz, Justification for Violence in Islam, in War and its Discontents: Pacifism and Quietism in the Abrahamic Traditions (Bum, J. Patout ed., D.C.: Geo. U. Press 1996).

14. For the translation of the Qur'an, the author relied on: Ali, Abdullah Yusuf, The Meaning of the Holy Qur'an (Brentwood, Md.: Amana Corp. 1991), except in cases in which the quoted scholars have used other editions of the Qur'an.

15. Jaggi, Peter O., Religion, Practice and Science of Nonviolence 25 (New Delhi: Musnshiran Manoharlal 1974).

16. Hashimi, supra n. 13, at 142. See Sachedina, supra n. 13.

17. Kelsay, supra n. 13, at 35.

18. Hashimi, supra n. 13, at 151.

19. Sachedina, supra n. 13, at 147.

20. Gulam, Khwaja (K.G.) Saiyidain, , Islam: the Religion of Peace 175 (2d ed., New Delhi: Har-Anand Pub. 1994). In support of this strong argument against pacifism, several verses in the Qur'an have been identified: “Nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred, except for just cause, nor commit fornication; and any that does this (not only) meets punishment, (but) the penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him.” Qur'an 25:68-69. See also Qur'an 17:33, 6:151.

21. See e.g. Khan, Wahiduddin, Nonviolence and Islam, in Forum on Islam and Peace in the 21st Century 5 (D.C.: Am. U. 1998).

22. See Ayoub, supra n. 13; Sachedina, supra n. 13, at 74.

23. For full information on this case, see Easwaran, Eknath, A Man to Match His Mountains: Badshuh Khan Nonviolent Soldier of Islam (Petaluma, Cal.: Nilgiri 1984).

24. Burns, Patout, War and its Discontents: Pacifism and Quietism in the Abrahamic Traditions 165 (D.C.: Geo. U. Press 1996).

25. See e.g. Eknath Easwaran, supra, n. 23; Engineer, Ashgar, Sources of Nonviolence in Islam, in Nonviolence: Contemporary Issues and Challenges (Kumar, M. ed., New Delhi: Gandhi Peace Found. 1994); Kishtainy, Khalid, Violent and Nonviolent Struggle in Arab History in Arab Nonviolent Political Struggle in the Middle East 925 (Crow, R.E., Grant, P. & Ibrahim, Saad E. eds., Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Reinner Publishers 1990); The Nonviolent Crescent: Eight Theses on Muslim Nonviolent Actions, in Islam and Nonviolence 726 (Paige, Glenn, Satha-Anand, Chaiwat & Gilliat, Sarah eds., Honolulu: Ctr. for Global Nonviolence Plan. Project, Matsunaga Inst, for Peace, U. of Haw. 1993); Abu-Nimer, Mohammed, Conflict Resolution in an Islamic Context, 21 Peace & Change 2240 (1996); Crow, Karim, Nurturing an Islamic Peace Discourse, 17 Am. J. of Islamic Soc. Sci. 5469 (2000); Said, Abdul Aziz, Cultural Context of Conflict Resolution: A Reference to An Arab-Islamic Perspective (unpublished paper 1994) (available at Intl. Peace & Conflict Resolution Program (IPCR), Am. U., D.C.); Said, Jawdat, Peace—Or Nonviolence—in History and with the Prophets (unpublished paper 1997) (from the forum on Islam and Peace in the 21s' Cent., Am. U., D.C. 1997); Satha-Anand, Chaiwat, Muslim Communal Nonviolence Actions: Examples of Minorities—Coexistence in A Non Muslim Society (unpublished paper) (presented at Islam & Cultural Diversity Conf., Am. U., D.C. 1998) [hereinafter Muslim Communal Nonviolence Actions]. See also Wahid, Abdurahman, Islam and Nonviolence: National Transformation, in Islam and Nonviolence 5359 (Paige, Glenn, Satha-Anand, Chaiwat & Gilliat, Sarah eds., Honolulu: Ctr. for Global Nonviolence Planning Project, Matsunaga Inst, for Peace, U. of Haw. 1993); Wahiduddin, Khan, supra n. 21.

26. See Saiyidain, supra n. 20.

27. Satha-Anand, Core Values for Peacemaking in Islam, supra n. 9.

28. Satha-Anand discusses the potential destruction which might result from nuclear warfare and concludes that such warfare is prohibited by Islamic teachings and principles. Satha-Anand, Muslim Communal Nonviolence Actions, supra n. 25, at 15). A similar conclusion was reached by K.G. Saiyidain as early as 1968 in a conference presentation on Islam and peace. He suggested that any type of total war cannot be carried out within the condition envisioned by Islam. See World Religion and World Peace (Homer, Jack, ed., Boston: Beacon Press 1968). See the following sources located, supra n. 25: Easwaran; Engineer; Janner; Wahiduddin Khan; Paige; Jawdat Said; Satha-Anand; & Wahid.

29. Wahiduddin Khan, supra n. 21, at 5.

30. Abu Dawud Sulayman ibn Ash'ath, Sunan Abu-Dawud, bk. 35, no. 4246, reviewed and verified by 'Awwamah, Muhammad, Kitab al-Sunan: Sunan Abu Dawud (reprint, Jiddah: Dar al-Qiblah lil-Thaqafah al-Islamiyah 1998). Also cited by Jawdat Said, supra n. 25, at 13.

31. Kishtainy, supra n. 25.

32. Satha-Anand, Muslim Communal Nonviolence Actions, supra n. 25, at 17.

33. Several Qur'anic verses emphasize the value of compassion among people; see for example verse 90:17. Al-Tarmidhi stressed the same value: “He who does not show compassion to his fellow men is undeserving of God's compassion.” Isama'il, Al-Bukhari Muhammad ibn, al-Adab al-Mufrad bk. 34, ch. 53, 4748 (Cairo: 1959).

34. See particularly verses 5:8, 57:25, 16:90,4:58 & 42:15.

35. See Lederach, John, Peace Building in Divided Societies (N.Y.: Syracuse U. Press 1997); Burgess, Heidi & Burgess, Guy, Justice Without Violence: A Theoretical Framework, in Justice Without Violence (Wehr, Paul, Burgess, Heidi, & Burgess, Guy eds., Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Reinner Publishers 1994).

36. See other verses 5:9, 57:25 & 7:29.

37. Verse 3:18 in the Qur'an states: “There is no god but He: That is the witness of Allah, His angels, and those endued with knowledge, standing firm on justice (Qist). There is no god but He the exalted in power, the Wise.” Relying on this verse and others (55:9, 60:8), Mahmoud Ayoub, supra n. 13, at 43, emphasizes Qist is social justice in its broadest sense—first in our relationship to God and second in our relationship to society. We have to treat each other with qist. Justice also has a legal meaning when we refer to just laws. Similarly relying on verse 2:143: “Thus have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourself;” Ayoub describes wasat as being the characteristics of fairness in Islam.

The prophetic tradition supports such notion of moderation and fairness: “You should act in moderation.” Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 7, bk. 70, no. 577; vol. 8, bk. 76, no. 470. (Except where it is indicated otherwise, all Sahih al-Bukhari Hadiths in this article are based on the translation of Khan, Muhammad Muhsin, The Translation of the Meaning of Sahih al-Bukhari: Arabic-English (Ankara: Hilal Yayinlari 1972)). These were verified with the Arabic edition of Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 1-8 (Bayrut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiya 1992).

38. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 8, bk. 73, no. 156. Several of those values and institutions were cited by Zaman, Raquibuz in Economic Justice in Islam, Ideals and Reality: The Cases of Malaysia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, in Islamic Identity and the Struggle for Justice (Barazangi, Nimat, Zaman, M. Raquibuz & Afzal, Omar, eds., Gainesville, Fla: U. Press of Fla. 1996). Raquibuz Zaman based his examples on al-Qaradawi, Yusuf, Economic Security in Islam (Siddiqi, Muhammed Iqbal trans., Lahore: Kazi Publication 1981).

39. In peace studies there is an emphasis on all aspects of justice (distributive, procedural, as well as, restorative components). Gaining, Johan, Peace, Violence, and Peace Research, 6 J. Peace Research 67191 (1969).

40. See Qur'an 17:26.

41. See id. 2:110 in which regular charity is emphasized like regular prayer; also verse 2:3 describes believers as those who keep regular prayer and spend out in charity.

42. Zakah is also encouraged and described in detail with its rewards in Qur'an 2:262-272.

43. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, bk. 49, no. 870.

44. Id., vol. 7bk. 63.

45. See al-Tirmidhi, bk. 39, ch. 19, & bk. 45, ch. 98 (cited in Saiyidain, supra n. 20).

46. See Qur'an 2:162, 2:177 & 5:55.

47. Draz, Sheik Muhammed Abdallah, Observations in Islam 164 (n.d.), cited by Howeidy, Fahmi, Al-Islam wa al-Dimuqratiyyah, in Islam and Democracy 27 (Cairo: Al Ahram Pub. & Translation Ctr. 1993).

48. Ali, Muhammad, A Manual of Hadith (Lahore: Ahmadiyya Anjuman 1941).

49. al-Radi, Al-Sharif, Nahj al-Balagha vol. 1, 77 (Beirut: Mu'assasat al-A'lami lil-Matbu'at 1978) (reviewed and classified by Muhammad Baqir al-Mahmudi); Kishtainy, supra n. 25, at 12.

50. Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, bk. 19, no. 4456. This also appears in Al-Tabari (Mohammad b. Jarir), Kitab al-Umam wa-al-Muluk, vol. III, 226227 (Cairo: Dar-al-Ma'arif 1969). See Satha-Anand, Muslim Communal Nonviolence Actions, supra n. 25, at 11.

51. Al-Sharif al-Radi, supra n. 49, at 77, cited by Kishtainy, supra n. 25, at 12.

52. Saiyidain, supra n. 20, at 164.

53. The principle of total submission to God's will is central to Islam; thus, peace, as well as justice, cannot be fully accomplished without this principle. See Kelsay, Hashimi, & Sachedina, supra n. 13.

54. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, commentary notes, supra n. 14, at 895.

55. A Manual of Hadith 386 (Ali, Muhammad trans., Lahore: Ahmadiyya anjuman ishaat-I-Islam 1944).

56. In support of such interpretation see Qur'an 41:34, 7:56, 7:199, 28:54 in which Muslims are expected to exercise self-restraint, and control their anger and reaction to evil doing.

57. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 1, bk. 2, no. 10; the complete saying is translated by Mohammad Muhsin Khan, supra n. 37, as: The Prophet said: “A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands. And a Muhajir (emigrant) is the one who gives up (abandons) all what Allah has forbidden.”

58. See review of studies in text accompanying supra nn. 11-12.

59. There are Muslim groups which emphasize the spiritual rather than the physical jihad (such as Sufism & Ahmadiyyah). The Sufi teaching explains that “The warrior (mujahid) is one who battles with his own self (nafs) and is thus on the path of God.” Others suggested that da'wah (calling to spread Islam through preaching and persuasion) is the major form of jihad for a Muslim. See Nurbakhsh, Javad, Tradition of the Prophet: Ahadith vol. 2, 76 (N.Y.: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications 1983).

60. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, bk. 49, no. 857. Translation is based on Muhammad Muhsin Khan, supra n. 37.

61. Hisham, Abd al-Malik Ibn, al-Sirah al Nabawiyah 192 (Bayrut: Dar al-Fikr lil-Tiba'ah wa-al-Nashr wa-al-Tawzi 1992).

62. Arbitration in Islam was also explored by other researchers, such as Khadduri, in Khadduri, Majid, War and Peace in the Law of Islam (London: Oxford U. Press 1955). He identified several occasions in which the Prophet acted as arbitrator and mediator before and after prophethood. For example, in the incident of the Aws and Khazraj tribes of Medina, the Prophet acted as mediator according to the Arab tradition and ended their enmity; in arbitration between the Prophet and Banu Qurayza, (a Jewish tribe) both agreed to submit their dispute to a person chosen by them. Khadduri concludes that the third party intervention was an acceptable option to end fighting. The third party is binding if their relatives are not affected by their decision. He also adds the arbitration case between Ali and Mu'awiya, which was initiated to end the civil war. For full details of these events in the life of the Prophet see Ibn Hisham, supra n. 61, at 288.

63. Laue, James & Cormick, Gerald, The Ethics of Intervention in Community Disputes, in Ethics of Social Intervention (Bermant, Gordon, Kelman, Herbert & Warwick, Donald eds., N.Y.: Halsted Press 1978); Burgess & Burgess, supra n. 35.

64. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 5, bk. 59, no. 603. Another saying that supports such forgiving attitude when the Prophet entered Mecca is: “There is no censure from me today on you (for what has happened is done with), may God, who is the greatest amongst forgivers, forgive you.” Ibn Sa'd, Muhammad, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra vol. 2, 142 (Beirut: 1957).

65. Is'haq, Muhammad Ibn, Kitab al-Siyar wa-al-Maghazi 184 (Dar al-Fikr 1978). Translation is based on Ishak, Muhammad Ibn, Life of Mohammed (Guillaume, Alfred trans., Lahore: Oxford U. Press 1955) (a translation of Is 'haq's Sirat rasul Allah, with an Introduction).

66. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 4, 175; vol. 9, 141. Javad Nurbakhsh, supra n. 59, at 81.

67. Id.

68. In fact, since 1990, an important development in the field of peace and conflict resolution has been the emerging focus on the role of forgiveness and healing in the process of reconciliation in the post war phase.

69. See other verses emphasizing the same principle of individual choice and responsibility: Qur'an 5:8, 9:6, 16:125 & 42:48.

70. Individual responsibility, choice, and God's arbitration on the Judgement Day are also reflected in the verses in Qur'an 18:29, 09:6, 88:21, 88:22 & 34:28.

71. Al-Tirmidhi, supra n. 33, cited by Muhammad Ali, supra n. 55, at 384.

72. The ethical axioms in Islam are:

(1) Unity (tawhid);

(2) Equilibrium in regards to justice and doing good (al-adl wa-al-ihsan) refers to the desirability of an equitable distribution of income and wealth, the need for helping the poor and the needy, the necessity for making adjustment in the entire spectrum of consumption, production and distribution relations, and others. All these instructions are aimed to prevent or correct the zulm;

(3) Free Will (ikhtiyar), a person is capable of choosing the right if he/she follows the correct path of God. But humans are also capable of making the wrong choice. Humans are free to make the choice, but their freedom is not absolute;

(4) Responsibility (fard), the responsibility toward oneself, God, and others. By doing good things and observing faith, humans can insure their correct path. The person is an integral part of a society, which he/she ought to treat well, doing good. The person will not be responsible for what others have done, will not be questioned about the deeds of others.

Based on Naqvi, Syed Nawab Haider, Islam. Economics and Society 25 (N.Y.: Kegan Paul Intl. 1994).

73. Based on Abdullah Yusuf Ali interpretations of sabr in the Qur'an, supra n. 14, at 28.

74. Some of those verses are 10:109, 11:115, 16:126-127, 20:130-132, 40:55, 40:77, 46:35, 50:39, 70:5 & 73:10-11.

75. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 8, bk. 73, no. 135.

76. Id., vol 3, bk. 43, no. 18.

77. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, supra n. 14, at 670.

78. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, bk. 43, no. 623.

79. Id., vol. 1, bk. 2, no. 12.

80. Islam attempted to abolish such value of tribal solidarity; however it remains a strong norm among many Arab and non-Arab Muslims.

81. Esack, Farid, Liberation and Pluralism: An Islamic Perspective of Interreligious Solidarity Against Oppression (Oxford: Oneworld Publications 1997). In Liberation and Pluralism, Farid Esack has completed a pioneer study on the Islamic theology of liberation based on the experience of Muslims in South Africa in fighting against Apartheid. Esack describes an astonishing account of the utilization of Islamic beliefs and values in mobilizing Muslims to resist and fight the South African system, particularly by building community coalitions with non-Muslims. Such experience affirms the great potential to construct coalitions across religious boundaries and identities in resisting war, violence, and injustice.

82. Akbar Ahmed, supra n. 13, also supports this notion of the ummah being diverse religious and individual community, particularly in the Medinan period in which the Qur'an mentions it 47 times, and only nine times in Meccan period. See Esack, Farid, Religion and Cultural Diversity: For What and With Whom? (presented at the Islam & Cultural Diversity Conf., Am. U., D.C. 1998).

83. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, bk. 43, no. 626.

84. See Wahid, supra n. 25.

85. al-Shawi, Tawfiq, Fiqh al-shura wa-al-istisharah (the Jurisprudence of Consultation and Shura) 293 (al-Mansurah: Dar al-Wafa' 1992), cited in Howeidy, supra n. 47, at 117. Azizah al-Hibri establishes the principle for Islamic governing systems-the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the government. She identifies the bay'ah: “the act of accepting and declaring allegiance to a potential ruler.” This process of contracting with the people is recognized as a participatory and democratic principle in Islam. al-Hibri, Azizah, Islamic Constitutionalism and the Concept of Democracy, 24 J. Intl. L. 1, 12 (1992).

86. There are other verses in the Qur'an that support this notion, for example see verse 13:159. Also Abu Bakr established an early example for other Muslim leaders by deriving his governing legitimacy from the people: “I have been given authority over you, but I am not the best of you. If I do well help me, and if I do ill, then put me right.” ‘Awwa, Muhammad Salim, On the Political System of Islamic State 115 (Indianapolis, Ind.: Am. Trust Publications 1980), cited in al-Hibri, supra n. 85, at 21, 24.

87. The Battle of Uhud is a good example of such consultation, in which the Prophet, contrary to what he thought, agreed to meet with Quraysh's army outside of Medina. See Hisham, Abd al-Malik Ibn, Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyah 192193 (9th Cent, repr., Sirjani, M. ed., Cairo: al-Maktabah al-Tawfiqiyah 1978), cited in al-Hibri, supra n. 85, at 20.

88. Musa, Muhammed, Nizam al-Hukum fi al-Islam. (Governing System in Islam) (Cairo: 1967). Some of the verses in the Qur'an in this matter are 88:21 & 88:22.

89. Majah, Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn, Sunan vol. 2, bk. 3950, at 1303 (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah n.d.), cited in al-Hibri, supra n. 4, at 506.

90. Al-Ghazali, , Ihiya'Ulum al-Din (Revival of Religious Studies) vol. 2, 306 (Zolondek, Leon, trans., Leiden: E.J. Brill 1963), cited in Howeidy, supra n. 47, at 106.

91. Freedom and choice are supported in the Qur'an through 2:256, 18:29, 17:107 & 10:99. Cited in Howeidy, supra n. 47, at 107.

92. Awwa, Muhammad Salim, Fi al-Nizam al-Siyasi li-l-Dawlah al-Islamiyyah (The Political System of the Islamic State) 215 (Cairo: al-Maktab al-Masri al-Hadith 1983), cited in Howeidy, supra n. 47, at 108.

93. See discussion of the principle of equality in Islam in text accompanying notes 48-49, supra.

94. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 2, bk. 23, no. 399. In addition, the Qur'an stresses the legitimacy of differences in various verses such as 49:13, 30:22, 11:118 & 11:119.

95. See verses 46:12, 42:42 & 4:148.

96. Howeidy, supra n. 47, at 112.

97. There are many Qur'anic verses that support this notion of appreciation of differences. See 2:213, 10:19, 7:38, 13:30, 16:63, 29:18, 35:42, 41:42 & 64:18.

98. Esack, Farid, Religion and Cultural Diversity: For What and With Whom? (Islam & Cultural Diversity Conf., Am. U., D.C. 1998).

99. Id.

100. Ibn Hisham, supra n. 63, at 501-504.

101. Howeidy, supra n. 47, at 202.

102. Kadi, Wadad, Address, Reflections on Islamic Perspectives on Cultural Diversity (Cultural Diversity & Islam Conf., Ctr. for Global Peace, Am. U., D.C. 1998).

103. Esack, supra n. 98, at 15.

104. Satha-Anand, Muslim Community Nonviolence Actions, supra n. 25.

105. See Id. n. 25, at 7-12, for discussion of three case studies in which Muslim communities in South East Asia have used the religious practices of fasting and praying as nonviolent resistance methods.

106. Id; Abu-Nimer, supra n. 25.

Assistant Professor in International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, School of International Service, American University. PhD Conflict Resolution, George Mason University.


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