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Although the Mukhtasar Siyasat al-Hurub has attained iconic status in the Islamic military canon, it has never received a full-length analysis. Almost all extant references, moreover, focus on its technical aspects rather than its political subtext. That subtext has a twofold purpose. First, to valorize reason by emphasizing the centrality of deliberation in jihad. Second, to ensure that such valorization nevertheless does not lose sight of (a) the uncertainties of war, which militate against replacing faith in supernatural forces with an equally unwarranted faith in science; or (b) the existence of evil in the world, which precludes any hope of perpetual peace. As such, the Mukhtasar articulates a distinctive Islamic approach that diverges both from a more optimistic Western tradition extending from early Christianity to the Enlightenment, and from an alternative-- but currently resurgent-- Islamic outlook on the proper scope and conduct of jihad.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Eaton Hall, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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