Al-Tabari's Book of Jihad

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The Book of Jihad (Kitab al-Jihad) is part of the fragmentary Book of the Disagreement among Muslim Jurists (Kitab Ikhtilaf al Fuqah’) by Muhammad ibn Jarar al-Tabar (ca. 839 – ca. 923 C.E.), the famous Muslim historian and Qur’anic commentator. It consists of several sections that deal with different issues related to jihad in classical Islam such as the rules of declaring and conducting war against enemy states and the rules of making peace with the enemy. Regarding each of these issues, the author expounds the opinions (or, “legal decisions”) of the founders of the three major Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence (d. 767 C.E.) and disciples, al-Shifi (d. 820 C.E.) and Malik Anas (d. 795 C.E.) in addition to the other jurists. The present annotated translation of the Book of Jihad is based on the original manuscript located in Istanbul, Turkey. The translator has provided a description of the structure and content of the translated text which concludes that al-Tabar’s Book of Jihad presents a clear model for the relations between the Islamic state and other states. This work will appeal to scholars of Islamic Studies as well as Religion, History and Political Science.


“In the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States by a group of Sunni militants seeking to hit the leading Western power in its territory, there has been much discussion in the media regarding the concept of jihad ... Most writers have paid little attention, however, to the evolution of the concept of jihad in Islamic classical times and the extent to which the classical model has influenced the actions of contemporary Islamists as well as relations between Muslims and non-Muslim states. Dr. Yasir Ibrahim’s lucid translation of the Book of Jihad by al-Tabar ... accompanied by an illuminating introduction, greatly advances our understanding of jihad. Tabar’s book provides a rare resource for examining the opinion of classical jurists on the various categories of jihad, the circumstances under which Muslim rulers could wage war against non-believers, and the conditions for signing truce and peace agreements between Muslim and non-Muslim states.” – (from the Foreword) Professor Yitzhak Nakash, Brandeis University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Yitzhak Nakash
Translator’s Introduction
Translation of al-Tabar?’s Book of Jih?d
Glossary of Arabic Terms
Selected Bibliography

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