Al-Fārābī’s Statecraft: War and the Well-Ordered Regime

Butterworth, Charles. “Al-Fārābī’s Statecraft: War and the Well-Ordered Regime.” In Cross, Crescent, and Sword: The Justification and Limitation of War in Western and Islamic Tradition. Eds. James Turner Johnson and John Kelsay. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990. pp. 79-100.

Overview: A helpful account of Alfarabi’s various discussions of war and jihād, none of which seems to resemble the other. It presents Alfarabi as highly suspicious of the notion of ‘just war.

Description :

This timely and scholarly book includes chapters by nine scholars organized in three parts: (1) when is war justified? what are its limits? (2) irregular warfare and terrorism; and (3) combatancy, noncombatancy and noncombatant immunity. Four of the chapters, those by Stout, Lammers, Campbell, and Phillips, deal respectively with the concepts of just war, limited war, irregular war, and noncombatant immunity in the Western/Christian tradition. The other five chapters by Sachedina, Butterworth, Sonn, Abu El-Fadl, and Kelsay, deal with Islamic views concerning the same topics. The book, as Johnson notes, “seeks to provide a beginning both for cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue between Western and Islamic religion and culture and for the more intensive and systematic study of Islamic traditions related to war, its justification and the limitation attached to its conduct’ (p. xii).

– (From book review from Armed Forces and Society, Spring 1992, vol 18, no. 3, pp 437-440.)