EARLY SUNNI JURISPRUDENCE
Estimated at a staggering 401 billion dollars plus global industry, arms trade is not only a lucrative business but a highly sensitive issue that requires strict government licenses to regulate it.1 Current national and international regulations and licenses for arms trade is different to what it was over a millennium ago. This article looks at an age where government licences and regulation did not exist in the same form we have today, and investigates the principles early Muslim jurists established to govern arms trade and arms embargo. The article examines the evidences behind these principles. I argue that due a dearth of clear-cut (muḥkam or qatʿi) Qur’anic and sunni precepts Muslim jurists where forced to abandon the traditional method of relying on the apparatuses (uṣūl) of deducing Islamic law and moved to looking at this issue from more of an ethical perspective than an uṣūlī perspective. In conclusion I argue that the jurists’ view were not only suitable to meet the needs of their time but still holds valid today. Their principles were not idiosyncratic to their faith nor based on religious text as much as common sense, to wit, universal principles any state would adopt to protect their self-interests.
Keywords: Ḥarbī, Dhimmī, Dār al-Islām, Dār al-Ḥarb