The Centre of Islamic Studies and Civilisation will continue with the Islamic Studies Research Colloquiums in 2022 via Zoom. We have two upcoming research presentations, followed by discussions after each presentation.
What Changed in Medina: The Place of Peace and War in the Life of Prophet Muhammad by Dr Suleyman Sertkaya
The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, is depicted through extremely polar interpretations. Some perceive his life as a source for peace-making societies, whereas others portray him as a “warmonger” or “Prophet of the sword”, and use his examples to justify violence and terrorist attacks. The major incidents referred to in the latter context are the wars and conflicts that occurred after his migration to Medina. These conflicts are also prominent in sīrah narratives of his Medinan life from classical and modern periods. One can argue that there is a significant difference in the way Prophet Muhammad acted in Medina compared to the Meccan period. This is mostly attributed to the power balance, as the Muslims had little power in Mecca, which resulted in them enduring adversities, including verbal insults and physical torture while remaining peaceful and non-violent. In Medina, however, the Muslims obtained relatively more power and behaved differently. The main criticism of the Prophet at this juncture is that he took advantage of this power and became violent; this is the reason all the battles fall in his Medinan life. This article examines the root causes of his behaviour and shift in attitude. It clarifies the Prophet’s goal and agenda at this stage of his life. The article highlights his attitude towards peace and war by holistically analysing the battles and skirmishes that unfolded during the Medinan period. It examines the time spent on war and peace throughout his prophetic mission. In doing so, it enumerates statistical data, such as the number of battlefield casualties and those from expeditions. To attain accurate information in this regard, classical sīrah works and modern research on the battles are referred to as the main resources.
Tribal Customary Law in Contemporary Jordan: Conciliation and security through Bedouin justice by Dr Munther (Munzer) Emad
Customary legal practices have worked alongside, under the authority of, or in competition with modern state laws in many Arab countries. The form of legal pluralism adopted can be tokenistic, used by dictators to bolster their regimes, or to fill vacuums in nations that are racked by war or where state justice systems have collapsed. This paper examines the tribal justice in Jordan in comparison with other countries. It reveals the striking resemblance of the customary law system yet the uniqueness of Jordan’s model which is based on partnership between tribal leaders and state officials. The paper identifies the conditions that led to the current partnership between tribal and state law in Jordan and evaluates whether lessons from Jordan can be applied elsewhere. It finds that while the concept of partnership between state officials and traditional leaders may be relevant in other countries, the relative success of the arrangement in Jordan may be the result of fortuitous historical circumstances including a long period of relative stability – something most of Jordan’s neighbours did not enjoy – plus a mutual dependence of the monarchy and the tribes on each other’s support.