Monday, September 17, 2007
al-Mawardi (c 974-1058)
The mushrikun [infidels] of Dar al-Harb (the arena of battle) are of two types: First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them…in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interest of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun… Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays since Allah has made manifest the call of his Messenger…[I]t is forbidden to…begin an attack before explaining the invitation to Islam to them, informing them of the miracles of the Prophet and making plain the proofs so as to encourage acceptance on their part; if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached... - Shafi'i jurist , The Laws of Islamic Governance [al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, (London, United Kingdom.: Ta-Ha, 1996, p. 60)
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Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Habib al-Mawardi was born at Basrah. in 972 A.D. He was educated at first in Basrah where, after completion of his basic education, he learned Fiqah (Islamic jurisprudence) from the jurist Abu al-Wahid al-Simari. He then went to Baghdad for advanced studies under Sheikh Abd al-Hamid and Abdallah al-Baqi. His proficiency in jurisprudence Ethics, Political science and literature proved useful in securing a respectable career for him. After his initial appointment as Qazi (Judge), he was gradually promoted to higher offices, till he became the Chief Justice at Baghdad. The Abbasid Caliph al-Qaim bi Amr Allah appointed him as his roving ambassador and sent him to a number of countries as the head of special missions. In this capacity he played a key role in establishing harmonious relations between the declining Abbasid Caliphate and the rising powers of Buwahids and Seljukes. He was favored with rich gifts and tributes by most Sultans of the time. He was still in Baghdad when it was taken over by Buwahids. AL-Mawardi died in 1058 A.D. AL-Mawardi was a great jurist, mohaddith, sociologist and an expert in Political Science. He was a jurist in the school of Fiqah and his book Al-Havi on the principles of jurisprudence is held in high repute.
His contribution in political science and sociology comprises . a number of monumental books, the most famous of which are Kitab al-Ahkam al-Sultania, Qanun al-Wazarah, and Kitab Nasihatal-Mulk. The books discuss the principles of political science, with special reference to the functions and duties of the caliphs, the chief minister, other ministers, relationships between various elements of public and government and measures to strengthen the government and ensure victory in war. Two of these books, al-Ahkam al-Sultania and Qanun al-Wazarah have been published and also translated into various languages. He is considered as being the author/supporter of the 'Doctrine of ' Necessity' in political science. He was thus in favor of a strong caliphate and discouraged unlimited powers delegated to the Governors, which tended to create chaos. On the other hand, he has laid down clear principles for election of the caliph and qualities of the voters, chief among which are attainment of a degree of intellectual level and purity of character.
In ethics, he wrote Kitab Aadab al-Dunya wa al-Din, which became a widely popular book on the subject and is still read in some Islamic countries.
Al-Mawardi has been considered as one of the most famous thinkers in political science in the middle ages. His original work influenced the development of this science, together with the science of sociology, which was further developed later on by Ibn Khaldun. [Adapted from Personalities Noble]
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