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Book description

The doctrine of modern law of the sea is commonly believed to have developed from Renaissance Europe. Often ignored though is the role of Islamic law of the sea and customary practices at that time. In this book, Hassan S. Khalilieh highlights Islamic legal doctrine regarding freedom of the seas and its implementation in practice. He proves that many of the fundamental principles of the pre-modern international law governing the legal status of the high seas and the territorial sea, though originating in the Mediterranean world, are not a necessarily European creation. Beginning with the commonality of the sea in the Qur'an and legal methods employed to insure the safety, security, and freedom of movement of Muslim and aliens by land and sea, Khalilieh then goes on to examine the concepts of the territorial sea and its security premises, as well as issues surrounding piracy and its legal implications as delineated in Islamic law.


‘… the book provides a comprehensive account of the Islamic legal approach to the law of the sea from a historical perspective that aptly reveals a different civilizational narrative existing beyond Eurocentric scholarship in international law. Hence, this book is likely to become classic reading on the subject of the law of the sea and international law.’

Punsara Amarasinghe Source: Ilahiyat Studies

'Over the past two decades, Hassan Khalilieh has almost single-handedly revolutionized our knowledge of the Islamic contributions to the law of the sea. In this work, he embarks on what is effectively a genealogical study that shows how the Dutch Grotius and later European jurists have largely replicated, without acknowledgement, the Islamic practices and doctrines pertaining to free navigation in response to the earlier Spanish and Portuguese violent domination of the Indian Ocean. Khalilieh’s meticulous and impressive work is a must-read, not only for those who are interested in Maritime law and trade, but also for historians and analysts of the rise of modernity at large, where the allegedly new freedom of navigation, central to the modern project, was to be transformed in due course into yet another tool in the unprecedented forms of European colonialism.'

Wael Hallaq - Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University

'This is an extraordinarily wide-ranging account not of Islamic maritime law (on which Khalilieh has already established himself as a leading expert) but of the Islamic law of the sea, well before Grotius wrote his tract on the Free Sea; the book ranges as far east as Melaka and China and as far west as the Mediterranean - a tour de force.'

David Abulafia - Emeritus Professor of Mediterranean History, University of Cambridge

'This is a masterful exposition of Islamic Law of the Sea, which makes an important contribution to the discourse on the universal application of modern International Law of the Sea generally. Highly recommended.'

Mashood A. Baderin - Professor of Laws, SOAS University of London

‘This slim but richly detailed analysis of the customary and formal Islamic law of the sea fills a major gap in the literature.’

D. M. Varisco Source: Bibliotheca Orientalis

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