Muhammad al-Shaybani

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Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī
Died805 (aged 55–56)
Shahr-e-Ray, Abbasid Caliphate
EraIslamic Golden Age
RegionAbbasid Caliphate
SchoolSunni Hanafi
Main interests
Islamic Jurisprudence
Notable ideas
Evolution of Islamic Jurisprudence

Abu 'Abdullah Muḥammad ibnu-l-Ḥasan Ibn Farqad ash-Shaybānī (Arabic: محمد بن الحسن الشيباني; 749/50 – 805), the father of Muslim international law,[1] was an Arab jurist and a disciple of Abu Hanifa (later being the eponym of the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence), Malik ibn Anas and Abu Yusuf.[2]

Early years[edit]

Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan was born in Wāsiṭ, Iraq, in 750; soon, however, he moved to Kufa, the home town of Abū Ḥanīfa, and grew there. Though he was born to a soldier, he was much more interested in pursuing an intellectual career than a military one. Shaybani began studying in Kufa as a pupil of Abu Hanifa. When al-Shaybani was 18 (in 767), however, Abu Hanifa died after having taught him for only two years.[2]

Shaybani then began training with Abū Yūsuf, his senior, and the leading disciple of Abu Hanifa. He also had other prominent teachers as well: Sufyan al-Thawrī and al-Awzāʿī. he also later visited Medina, and studied for two to three years with Malik b. Anas, founder of the Maliki school of fiqh.[3] Thus, as a result of his education, al-Shaybani became a jurist at a very early age.[2] According to Abu Hanifa's grandson Ismail, he taught in Kufa at age twenty (c. 770 CE).[4]

In Baghdad[edit]

Al-Shaybānī moved to Baghdad, where he continued his learning. He was so respected that Caliph Harun al-Rashid appointed him qadi (judge) of his capital city Raqqa (so, after 796 CE).[5] Al-Shaybānī was relieved of this position in 803. He returned to Baghdad and resumed his educational activities. It was during this period he exerted his widest influence. He taught Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i, the most prestigious of his pupils. Even later, when ash-Shafi'ī disagreed with his teacher and wrote the Kitāb al-Radd ʿalā Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan ("Refutation of Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan [al-Shaybānī]"), he still maintained immense admiration for his teacher.[2]

Al-Rashid re-instated al-Shaybānī in a judicial position. The latter accompanied the caliph to Khorasan, where he served as qadi until his death in 805 at Rey. He died the same day and the same place as the eminent Kufan philologist and grammarian al-Kisāʾī. Thus, al-Rashid remarked that he "buried law and grammar side by side."[2]


His works, known collectively as zahir al-riwaya, were considered authoritative by later Hanafis; they are al-Mabsut, al-Jami al-Kabir, al-Jami al-Saghir, al-Siyar al-Kabir, al-Siyar al-Saghir, and al-Ziyadat.[6]

Al-Shaybani wrote Introduction to the Law of Nations at the end of the 8th century, a book which provided detailed guidelines for the conduct of jihad against unbelievers, as well as guidelines on the treatment of non-Muslim subjects under Muslim rule. Al-Shaybani wrote a second more advanced treatise on the subject, and other jurists soon followed with a number of other multi-volume treatises.[7] They dealt with both public international law as well as private international law.[8]

These early Islamic legal treatises covered the application of Islamic ethics, Islamic economic jurisprudence and Islamic military jurisprudence to international law,[9] and were concerned with a number of modern international law topics, including the law of treaties; the treatment of diplomats, hostages, refugees and prisoners of war; the right of asylum; conduct on the battlefield; protection of women, children and non-combatant civilians; contracts across the lines of battle; the use of poisonous weapons; and devastation of enemy territory.[7] The Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphs were also in continuous diplomatic negotiations with the Byzantine Empire on matters such as peace treaties, the exchange of prisoners of war, and payment of ransoms and tributes.[10]

Al-Shaybani's siyar aims to answers questions like, "when is fighting justified", "who is the target of fighting" and "how is fighting conducted".[11] For Al-Shaybani, a just cause of war was to spread the Islamic empire, either through increasing the territory of the Muslim states, or taking other states as clients.[11] Other just causes included putting down rebellions (Muslim, dhimmi or apostate), punishing brigandry, and ensuring safety of lives and property from violence.[11] Only those who presented a direct military threat were legitimate targets for deadly force.[12] Thus the killing of women, children, old men, disabled, insane was prohibited.[12] Captives in war are distinguished based on combatant status: male captives may be spared or killed, depending on what the commander deems is the best option. Al-Shaybani also explored the use of weapons (such as "hurling machines") which may inadvertently kill noncombatants. He opined it was permissible to use them so long as care was taken to aim at the combatants and effort was made to avoid killing noncombatants.[13] Al-Shaybani's opinions in siyar were influential in the Hanafi school of thought, but diverged from Shafi'i opinions in several matters.[14]

Early Islam scholars[edit]

Muhammad (570–632 the Constitution of Medina, taught the Quran, and advised his companions
`Abd Allah bin Masud (died 650) taughtAli (607–661) fourth caliph taughtAisha, Muhammad's wife and Abu Bakr's daughter taughtAbd Allah ibn Abbas (618–687) taughtZayd ibn Thabit (610–660) taughtUmar (579–644) second caliph taughtAbu Hurairah (603–681) taught
Alqama ibn Qays (died 681) taughtHusayn ibn Ali (626–680) taughtQasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr (657–725) taught and raised by AishaUrwah ibn Zubayr (died 713) taught by Aisha, he then taughtSaid ibn al-Musayyib (637–715) taughtAbdullah ibn Umar (614–693) taughtAbd Allah ibn al-Zubayr (624–692) taught by Aisha, he then taught
Ibrahim al-Nakha’i taughtAli ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin (659–712) taughtHisham ibn Urwah (667–772) taughtIbn Shihab al-Zuhri (died 741) taughtSalim ibn Abd-Allah ibn Umar taughtUmar ibn Abdul Aziz (682–720) raised and taught by Abdullah ibn Umar
Hammad bin ibi Sulman taughtMuhammad al-Baqir (676–733) taughtFarwah bint al-Qasim Jafar's mother
Abu Hanifa (699–767) wrote Al Fiqh Al Akbar and Kitab Al-Athar, jurisprudence followed by Sunni, Sunni Sufi, Barelvi, Deobandi, Zaidiyyah and originally by the Fatimid and taughtZayd ibn Ali (695–740)Ja'far bin Muhammad Al-Baqir (702–765) Muhammad and Ali's great great grand son, jurisprudence followed by Shia, he taughtMalik ibn Anas (711–795) wrote Muwatta, jurisprudence from early Medina period now mostly followed by Sunni in Africa and taughtAl-Waqidi (748–822) wrote history books like Kitab al-Tarikh wa al-Maghazi, student of Malik ibn AnasAbu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Abdul Hakam (died 829) wrote biographies and history books, student of Malik ibn Anas
Abu Yusuf (729–798) wrote Usul al-fiqhMuhammad al-Shaybani (749–805)Al-Shafi‘i (767–820) wrote Al-Risala, jurisprudence followed by Sunni and taughtIsmail ibn IbrahimAli ibn al-Madini (778–849) wrote The Book of Knowledge of the CompanionsIbn Hisham (died 833) wrote early history and As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah, Muhammad's biography
Isma'il ibn Ja'far (719–775)Musa al-Kadhim (745–799)Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780–855) wrote Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal jurisprudence followed by Sunni and hadith booksMuhammad al-Bukhari (810–870) wrote Sahih al-Bukhari hadith booksMuslim ibn al-Hajjaj (815–875) wrote Sahih Muslim hadith booksDawud al-Zahiri (815–883/4) founded the Zahiri schoolMuhammad ibn Isa at-Tirmidhi (824–892) wrote Jami` at-Tirmidhi hadith booksAl-Baladhuri (died 892) wrote early history Futuh al-Buldan, Genealogies of the Nobles
Ibn Majah (824–887) wrote Sunan ibn Majah hadith bookAbu Dawood (817–889) wrote Sunan Abu Dawood Hadith Book
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni (864- 941) wrote Kitab al-Kafi hadith book followed by Twelver ShiaMuhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838–923) wrote History of the Prophets and Kings, Tafsir al-TabariAbu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (874–936) wrote Maqālāt al-islāmīyīn, Kitāb al-luma, Kitāb al-ibāna 'an usūl al-diyāna
Ibn Babawayh (923–991) wrote Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih jurisprudence followed by Twelver ShiaSharif Razi (930–977) wrote Nahj al-Balagha followed by Twelver ShiaNasir al-Din al-Tusi (1201–1274) wrote jurisprudence books followed by Ismaili and Twelver ShiaAl-Ghazali (1058–1111) wrote The Niche for Lights, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, The Alchemy of Happiness on SufismRumi (1207–1273) wrote Masnavi, Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi on Sufism
Key: Some of Muhammad's CompanionsKey: Taught in MedinaKey: Taught in IraqKey: Worked in SyriaKey: Travelled extensively collecting the sayings of Muhammad and compiled books of hadithKey: Worked in Persia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tabassum, Sadia (20 April 2011). "Combatants, not bandits: the status of rebels in Islamic law". International Review of the Red Cross. 93 (881): 121–139. doi:10.1017/S1816383111000117. S2CID 56196822.
  2. ^ a b c d e "al- Shaybānī, Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. Farḳad ." Encyclopaedia of Islam
  3. ^ `Abd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī from the introduction of The Muwatta of Imam Muḥammad, transl. Abdurrahman and Clarke, p. 27; quoting Tahdhīb al-asmā' wa'l-lughāt by al-Khatīb: "I stood at Malik's door for three years and a bit".
  4. ^ al-Khatīb, ibid.
  5. ^ al-Khatīb, ibid.
  6. ^ Hanafi School of Law
  7. ^ a b (Weeramantry 1997, p. 136)
  8. ^ (Weeramantry 1997, pp. 138–9)
  9. ^ Kelsay 2003, p. 63-75.
  10. ^ (Weeramantry 1997, p. 138)
  11. ^ a b c Kelsay 2003, p. 69.
  12. ^ a b Kelsay 2003, p. 70.
  13. ^ Kelsay 2003, p. 71-72.
  14. ^ Kelsay 2003, p. 73.


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