Middle East Studies

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War, Peace and International Relations in Islam

Muslim Scholars on Peace Accords with Israel

Yitzhak Reiter teaches in the Department of Political Science of Ashkelon Academic College and at the Conflict Studies Program of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Between 1978 and 1986 he served as the Deputy Advisor on Arab Affairs to three Israeli Prime Ministers. He participated in a number of Track 2 diplomacy teams with Palestinians and has been a visiting scholar throughout the world. He has published extensively, most recently National Minority, Regional Majority: Palestinian Arabs versus Jews in Israel (Syracuse UP, 2009).

This book presents and analyses fatwas – rulings of Islamic law – issued by religious sages and clerics on issues of war and peace in regard to the actual or future possibility of conducting a peace agreement between Muslim states and Israel. The analysis highlights Islamic law’s adaptation to changing political realities to the modern model of international relations; the changing concept of jihad and the current role of political fatwas. It deals with the shari‘a interpretations regarding war and peace in theory and practice; the Hudaybiyya Pact of 628 between the prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh infidels; Egyptian fatwas from 1947 to 1979 regarding peace with Israel; the 1995 debate between the late mufti of Saudi Arabia ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz and the popular Islamist scholar Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi over the Oslo Accords; the Hamas hudna concept; the debate between Saudi Arabian muftis and Hezbollah sages over Israel's second war in Lebanon (2006); and a comparative study of the agreements that were signed between the Algerian leader Abd al-Qadir and the French in the 1830s.

1 Details those Muslim religious scholars and leaders who present pragmatic interpretations and envision the natural relations between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds as a state of peace;

1 Sheds light on the built-in pluralism in Islam;

1 And exposes the need of moderate Arab-Muslim rulers for pragmatic muftis and fatwas in order to contend with radical Muslim factions to soften and limit Arab public opposition to signing a peace agreement with Israel, and to enable normal relations with Israel after signing the agreement.

The rulings of Islamic law cited in this book are likely to serve as a textual and intellectual basis for the public discourse on peace between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab states.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-471-0
Hardback Price: £45.00 / $65.00
Release Date: May 2011
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-480-2
Paperback Price: £19.95 / $29.95
Release Date: May 2011
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Foreword by Efraim Halevy


1. War and Peace in Classical Islam

2. Bridging between Shari’a and Modern International Relations

3. Debating the Hudaybiyya Precedent

4. Egyptian Fatwas, 1947–1970

5. The Mufti of Egypt Backs the Peace Accord between Egypt and Israel (1979)

6. The Oslo Accords – The Debate between Al-Qaradawi and Ibn Baz

7. Hamas and the Question of Hudna with Israel (2006)

8. Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah Debate Israel’s Second Lebanon War (2006)

9. A Comparative Review of the Algerian Case: The Treaty Between the French and Algerian Resistance Leader ’Abd al-Qadir (1830s)



Appendixes (in Arabic)

Appendix 1 – Al-Azhar Sages Reject the UN 1947 Partition Resolution
Appendix 2 – Hasan Ma’mun on Peace with Israel (1956)
Appendix 3 – Al-Azhar Sages Reject Peace with Israel (1956)
Appendix 4 – Jad al-Haqq on Peace between Egypt and Israel (1979)
Appendix 5 – Al-Qaradawi on Inclining Towards Peace
Appendix 6 – Al-Qaradawi on Non-recognition of Israel
Appendix 7 – Al-Qaradawi on the Nature of the Struggle against the Jews
Appendix 8 – Ibn Baz on Jihad Warriors in Palestine
Appendix 9 – Ibn Baz on an Unending Hudna with the Enemies
Appendix 10 – Ibn Baz Debates Al-Qaradawi on Peace with the Jews
Appendix 11 – Ibn Baz on Peace with Israel
Appendix 12 – Ibn Ubaykan on Hezbollah and the 2006 War with Israel
Appendix 13 – Fadlallah on Israel’s 2006 Lebanon War
Appendix 14 - Fadlallah on Peace with the Jews


“The rulings of Islamic law cited in this book serve as a textual and intellectual basis for the public discourse on peace between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab states. The book is a must for every scholar and student of the Middle East as well as for Israeli and Arab statesmen who deal with the question of peace on a daily basis.” Efraim Halevy, Head of the Shasha Center for Strategic Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and former Head of the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence service

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