From Conquest to Coexistence: The Changing Meaning of Jihad in the Classical Hanafi School

Youcef Soufi (UBC), “From Conquest to Coexistence: The Changing Meaning of Jihad in the Classical Hanafi School”

This talk will aim to locate a subtle but significant shift in how Sunni Muslim jurists of the Hanafi school of the law theorized jihad (best translated for our purposes as a theory of just war). The classical theory of jihad was formulated in the context of an expansionary Muslim empire and intimately associated jihad with conquest of non-Muslim governed lands. Historians of Islamic law have well-recognized that the end of the period of expansion (circa 750 CE) changed the actual practice of jihad by forcing Muslims to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with neighbouring empires. They have nonetheless assumed that law still idealized the possibility of extending Islamic rule over the earth. My talk shows otherwise by focusing on a claim within Hanafi legal manuals that the purpose of jihad could sometimes best be fulfilled by peace rather than war.

February 16th, Buchanan C203, 3-4.30pm