(edition 27.12.08)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Common goods in Islamic and Arab law

Question of fire (oil)
 
 
 
 
 

by
 
 
 
 

Sami ALDEEB *)
 
 
 
 

aldeeb@bluewin.ch

www.sami-aldeeb.com

1996/2008

url: www.solami.com/aldeeb08.htm (summarized in cooperation with Anton Keller)
Arab original (.../aldeebres.doc) | traduction française (.../aldeeb1996.htm)
Turkish version (.../aldeeb10.htm)














About the author    (see also list of his publications)

Doctor of law. Expert in Arab and Islamic Law. Christian of Palestinian origin. Swiss citizen. Founder of the Association for one Democratic State in Palestine/Israel.

Docteur en droit. Expert en droit arabe et musulman. Chrétien d'origine palestinienne. Citoyen suisse. Fondateur de l'Association pour un seul état démocratique en Palestine/Israël.

__________

Introduction

After a brief presentation of the norms governing goods qualified as common goods in Islamic and Arab Law, this survey will concentrate on fire, or more precisely on oil as a source of fire and energy. It is divided into three parts:

I.      The common goods in Islamic law
II.     The common goods in Arab law
III.    Debate around the concept of fire (oil)

This introductory survey is complemented with an English summary of 'Abd-Allah Al-'Alayli's critique: "The wealth of oil doesn't belong to the people of the oil".

Let us start with defining two notions: Islamic law and Arab law. Islamic law means a disparate set of institutions and legal concepts accumulated since the 7th century until today, based on two main sources:
- The Koran: According to Muslims, it is a book revealed by God to Muhammad, and not Muhammad's work.
- Muhammad's narrations: These narrations are collected in several works whose authenticity is often questioned. They serve to interpret or to complete the Qoranic norms.
Arab law means the law in force in the Arab countries. Different from one country to another, it is, to differing degrees, influenced by Western norms but essentially enrooted in Islamic law. The latter is generally limited to family and inheritance law, and to criminal law in some countries. In this survey, we confine ourselves mainly to the Egyptian law.
 

I. The res in usu omnium in Islamic Law

One finds in the Koran some verses often quoted by classic Islamic scholars when they refer to common goods.

He is the One who created for you everything on earth (2:29).
O people, eat from the earth's products all that is lawful and good on (fi = in) earth (2:168).
O you who believe, eat from the good things we provided for you, and be thankful to GOD, if you do worship Him alone (2:172).
We have established you on earth, and we have provided for you the means of support therein (7:10).
He is the One who put the Earth at your service. Roam its corners, and eat from His provisions (67:15)
On the other hand, these scholars quote Muhammad as having said: "People are partners (shuraka') in three things: water, grass and fire." According to another narration, one would have asked Muhammad: "What are the things that one cannot forbid being used by others?" He is said to have answered: "Salt and water". According to other sources, he answered: "Salt and fire".

From these verses and these narrations, the classic Islamic scholars constructed their theories concerning common goods. The jurists among them belong to different legal schools. The most important in number of adepts is the Hanafite School. The teaching of this school was compiled during the Ottoman Empire between 1869 and 1876. It is calledMajallah al-ahkam al-'adliyyah. It is a kind of civil law code. Here, we will let ourselves be guided by the norms of this code.

Book ten of the Ottoman Majallah is dedicated to the term partnership. Title IV of this book is about "the right possessed by all persons to acquire possession by the taking of things, which are not in their origin the property of anyone". It begins with article 1234 which says: "Water, grass and fire are free to be used by all. In these three things mankind are partners". As such, this article is seen to derive essentially from Prophet Muhammad's above-quoted narration.Notwithstanding other, including pre-Islamic sources,1) who have associated fire with asphalt, rockoil naphta and similar liquid sources emanating from the ground and whose combustible properties "were quite familiar to the ancients (Plin[ius], NH, ii. 109; Plutarch, Alexander 35; Diosc., i.101; Strabo, Geogr. xvi.1, 15)" 2).

From this narration, the Majallah established a certain number of norms that regulated the property and the enjoyment of several goods, called "mubah", which are available to all, and which may be translated into common property goods: "Every one can take benefit from a thing, which is free to be used by the public, but on the condition that he does not cause damage to another" (art. 1254); "One person cannot prevent another person from taking a thing, which is free to be used by the public" (art. 1255). "If anyone obtains a thing, which is free for the use of the public, he becomes absolutely owner of it" (art. 1249) "It is necessary that the taking be coupled with the intention" (art. 1250).

The goods in question are the following: fire, water, grass, game and fish, and the earth. It is necessary to add the treasure and the minerals. Here, we will briefly look at the governing norms, leaving aside the question of fire which will be treated in the third part.
 

1. The grass

The Majallah dedicates the articles 1241-1246, 1252-1253 and 1256-1260 to the grass to which it adds the trees. We quote some of them:

    "In the same way, as grasses which grow wild on land, which has no owner, are free for the use of all, so also grasses which grow wild without anything being done to make them grow, on the property of someone, are free for the use of all" (art. 1241 par. 1). Mushrooms also are like grass (art. 1242).
    "Trees which grow naturally on mountains, which have not passed into the possession of anyone, that is to say, on mountains which are free for all to use, are free for all to use" (art. 1243). "Every one can gather the fruit of trees, which are without owner and are in the mountains which are the property of mankind, and in valleys without owners, and in pasturegrounds" (art. 1259).
    Grass which grow naturally on someone's property are his own property. Without his leave another cannot cause them to be made into fire wood. If he does, he makes compensation" (art. 1244). "By collecting grasses which grow wild, and reaping and tying them in bundles, the grasses are acquired" (art. 1252).
    "Anyone can make firewood of the trees, which grow wild on mountains, which are common for the use of all. And by making them firewood only, that is to say, by collecting them he becomes owner of them. It is not a condition that he should tie them in bundles" (1253).
    "Every one can feed his animal on the grasses which grow naturally on unowned land, and can take as much of them as he likes" (art. 1256).
    "Although grasses also which grow wild on the property of a person, without his doing anything to cause them to grow, are free for the public benefit, its owner can prevent another from entering on his own property" (1257).  
2. Water

The natural, automatic and inalterable partnership on water is regularly derived from the fact that water has been seen to be God's creation. The Koran says: "Have you noted the water you drink? Did you send it down from the clouds, or did we?" (56:68-69). About the water holes, the troughs and the abreuvage of animals, the Koran says: "Inform them that the water shall be divided among them; (the camel) shall be allowed to drink on her designated day" (54:28). The Majallah dedicates articles 1235-1240, 1248-1251 and 1262-1269 to water.

    "Water which flows underground is not the property of anyone" (art. 1235). "Wells which are habitually used by the public, and have not been produced by the work and care of any particular person, are things which are the common property of mankind and free to all to use" (art. 1236). "Seas and big lakes are free to all to use" (art. 1237). The same applies to public rivers (art. 1238).
    "If anyone obtains a thing, which is free for the use of the public, he becomes absolutely owner of it" (art. 1249). "The mud brought by a river on the land of a person is his property. Another cannot interfere with it" (art. 1240). "In the same way as every one has the benefit of the light and air, so also he can take benefit from the seas and big lakes" (art. 1264). "Every one can irrigate his fields from rivers which are not owned by anyone, and can open a canal or water channel to irrigate his field, and to build a mill. But it is a condition that he must not damage another. Therefore, if he cause damage to the public by the overflowing of the water, or the water of the river is entirely cut off, or if he prevents the movement of boats, he is prohibited" (art. 1265).
    "The right of watering animals and crops from streams which are property, that is to say, from water which enters into a channel which is property, belongs to the owner of it. Others have a right of drinking in them. Therefore, from a river which is the special property of a number of persons, or from a man's water channel, or his water pipe or his well, without permission, another cannot irrigate his land, but he can drink the water, by reason of his having right of drinking. And if there is no fear of the destruction of the river, or water channel, or pipe by reason of the number of the animals, he can bring his animals there and water them. And moreover he can get water with a jug, or barrel and take it to his house or garden" (art. 1267).
    "In case there is a tank, or a well, or a river in someone's property, and fresh water comes in as water goes out, that person can prevent anyone, who wishes to drink water from entering into his property. But if there is no water free to the public for the other to drink near the place, the owner of the property must either take him the water, or give him leave to enter and take water. And if he does not take him the water, the other person has a right to come in and take the water, but on the condition that he does not cause risk, that is to say, it is a condition that he does not cause damage, like spoiling the edge of the tank, or well, or river" (art. 1268).


3. Game and fish

The Majallah dedicates its articles 1292-1306 to the rights of game. The game "is a wild animal which is afraid of man" (art. 1293). "In the same way as a tame animal cannot be hunted, so wild animals which are familiarized with men must not be hunted" (art. 1294 par. 1). "Game is the property of the man who takes it. If someone shoots at game and wounds it in such a way that it cannot get away and escape, he becomes the owner of it. But by wounding it slightly, that is to say, in such a way that it can get away and escape, he does not become owner of it, and if another person hit it or take it in any other way, he becomes the owner of it. And likewise, after someone has hit game and made it fall, while it is getting up and escaping, another person can make it his property by taking it" (art. 1297).

The intention plays a role: "When a person places a thing, like a net or snare, in a place to catch game, if game is caught, it becomes the property of that person. But if someone lays out his net in a place to dry, and game is caught in it, that game does not become his property. In the same way a person can take and possess himself of game, which falls in a hole, which is in another person's land. But if the owner of that land has dug that hole to catch game, he has a better right than others to that game" (art. 1303).
 

4. The land

The Majallah settles the question of the land. It distinguishes to this effect between different sorts of lands:

- The private property land.
- Abandoned land (aradi matrukah): "Places which are near towns which are left to be grazing grounds and places for threshing floors, and places for getting wood" (art. 1271).
- The dead lands (aradi mawat): "land which are not the property of anyone, and are not the pasture ground of a town or village, or for their collecting firewood … and are far from the distant parts of a village or town, that is to say, the sound of a person who has a loud voice cannot be heard from the houses which are at the extreme limit of the town or village" (art. 1270). "If a person, with the leave of the Sultan, takes and improves a place from dead land, he becomes the property owner of it" (art. 1272).
5. The treasure

According to Muhammad's narration, one fifth of the "rikaz" is owed to the state. On the strength of this principle, the Islamic scholars undertook to understand the sense of the term "rikaz."

Etymologically, this term indicates everything that is buried. According to certain jurists, the narration concerns gold and money, struck or not, that is buried by man. For others, it concerns all object buried by man or God. It covers liquid or solid metals as well as marbles and other valuable things. But what interests us here is the treasure (kanz) buried by man.

Some Islamic scholars distinguished between the treasure that was buried before the arrival of Islam (al-jahiliyyah) and that which was buried after. Others distinguish between the treasure buried by the unbelievers and that buried by Muslims. Anyone who finds the treasure of the first category becomes the owner of it but must pay a fifth of its value to the state. If it concerns a treasure buried by a Muslim, the finder owes no part of it to the state.
 

6. The minerals

Islamic scholars also pondered the question of ownership of minerals. There are three concepts:

a)     Minerals belong to the owner of the land where they are found. They are part of the land. The Majallah says: "Whoever is property owner of a piece of land, is owner of what is above it and what is below it. That is to say, he is able to make what use of it he wishes; for instance, on a building site, which is his property, to make what building he likes, and, to raise it as high as he likes, and by digging the ground to make a cellar, and to sink a well as deep as he likes" (art. 1194).

This opinion has been defended by a majority of Islamic scholars who wrote on the subject. However, some excluded such liquid minerals as oil, which they associated with the concept of the partnership on water, grass and fire, and which was thus to be regulated separately.

b)     Minerals are things at the disposal of all (mubah). It means that everyone can use them. No one can pretend a right of exclusive property on them. The jurists supporting this thesis essentially relied on the above-mentioned verses of the Koran as well on Muhammad's famous narration on the partnership. The acquisition of these goods was to follow the principle of first come first served - with the caveat that it be limited by the aquirer's necessities. However, the these jurists were not all in agreement on the extent of these necessities: did they cover the daily, weekly, yearly or life-time needs of the individual aquirer or his extended family or tribe? Also, in the case of simultaneous discovery of a given mineral deposit, some jurists were in favor of deciding the ownership question not by sharing the loot but by tossing a coin, while others gave preference to adhering to the principle of greater necessity.

c)     Minerals are common goods entrusted to the Imam. According to this school, minerals were understood to "belong" - in the sense of being entrusted - to the office of the Imam, and through him, to the trusteeship of the state or the nation. This concept was defended by malikite and imamite jurists.

According to the malikites, the minerals didn't follow the rights to the land. The Imam was free to exploit them himself with the help of his workers or to charge private persons to exploit them without transferring to them ownership title to these minerals. These mandated private persons had only a contractually specified and limited right of usufruit (ordinary use or exploitation) concerning these minerals, tied to strict obligations. The malikites' key concern and argument was that minerals in general risked to attract unsavory individuals and companies, i.e. persons with little or no concern for the overriding interests of preserving and promoting the common good and the welfare of the affected people and their descendants. In contrast - and in the view of other jurists which did not exclude other suitable fiduciaries, such as tribe or other duly appointed community leaders - the Imam was seen as a guarantor for these overriding interests to be taken care of and to prevent subversions and disorders.

The imamite jurists invoked the following verse: "They consult you about the spoils of war. Say, "The spoils (anfal) of war belong to GOD and the messenger" (8:1). The term anfal according to them had a particular sense: all that on what the horses (of the conquerors) didn't pass. Therefore it concerned the minerals that could be found in the land.

Two modern Muslim authors wrote that one would not know how to compare the minerals with the plants that grow on private land for the following reasons:
1)     Plants grow by man's work. On the other hand, minerals were contained in the earth independent of man's labors.
2)     Minerals were contained in the land before it was aquired by man. The property concerned the surface and what was visible. The price of the land was calculated according to the interest one derived from it by either construction or plantation, and not on the basis of the - often unknown - minerals it contained. As these minerals didn't enter the price calculation, they couldn't enter the property.
 

II. The common goods in Arab Law

In this segment, we confine ourselves to examine norms of the Egyptian law relative to the questions raised before.

The Egyptian civil code didn't adopt the norms of Islamic Law but was inspired by several Western codes. The reader doesn't find there the guiding principles which characterise the Majallah. In addressing some questions, the civil code refers to special laws.
 

1. Water, grass and fire

Islamic Law is neither preponderant nor explicitly included in the Egyptian civil code. However, as shown below, the author of this code found it possible and indicated to include Islamic Law elements in articles 1099 and 1100 of the Iraqi civil code.

Nonetheless, the Egyptian code contains norms concerning abandoned goods and the occupation of unclaimed land. Specifically, its article 870 says: "Whoever takes possession of a movable which has no owner, with the intention of its appropriation, acquires the ownership thereof". The preparatory works of this article return to the articles 1248-1253 of the Majallah that are about water and grass. Article 871 adds: "A movable is deemed to have no owner when its owner abandons possession of it with the intention of renouncing his ownership thereto", and "Animals, other than domestic animals, are deemed to have no owner as long as they are at liberty". The doctrine adds sun, air and sea.
 

2. Game and fish

Game and fish are governed by special regulations (art. 873). With regard to the property, it is regulated by the doctrine. Sanhuri speaks of it in his commentary but referring solely to French law.
 

3. Unclaimed Land and immovables

The Egyptian civil code doesn't permit the acquisition-by-occupation of unclaimed land and immovables. These goods are considered like goods owed by the state. Article 87 says:

1)     Immovable and movable property owned by the State or other public juristic persons and allocated either in fact or by virtue of a law or a decree for purposes of public utility, forms part of the public domain.
2)     Such immovable and movable property is not alienable, is not liable to seizure nor to acquisition by prescription.
Inspired by article 9 of the indigenous civil code, the above article did not explicitly mention unclaimed land and immovable property. It contents itself with the positive deliniation: "allocated for purposes of public utility". Indeed, article 9 lists notably the following goods:
-     Paths, roads, bridges and streets that don't belong to particulars.
-     Railroads and telegraphic lines of the state.
-     Fortresses, citadels, ditches and battlements.
-     Beaches, foreshores and bridges of the sea, ports, harbors and roadsteads, wharfs and docks, swamps and salty ponds communicating directly with the sea, lakes belonging to the state.
-     Streams and navigable or floatable rivers.
-     Ports, piers.
-     Mosques and all religious and educational establishments whose administration is underwritten by the state.
-     Buildings belonging to the state.
-     Weapon deposits and barracks.
-     National archives, museums, libraries, monuments, etc.

Article 874 of the civil code says:

1)     Uncultivated land which has no owner is the property of the State.
2)     The appropriation or the possession of uncultivated land can only be effected with the authority of the State in accordance with the regulations.
3)     If, however, an Egyptian cultivates or plants uncultivated land or builds thereon, he becomes forthwith owner of the part cultivated, planted or built on, even without the authority of the State, but he loses his ownership by non-user for five consecutive years during the first fifteen years following his acquisition of ownership.
The preparatory works of this article refer to articles 1270-1271 of the Majallah. Paragraph 3 of this article was repealed in 1964 by the law 100 which concern the buildings belonging to the state and regulates the questions of agricultural lands, non-cultivated and desert lands, and the vacant and constructed lands.
 

4. The treasure, the lost property and the antiquities

Article 872 of the Egyptian civil code provides for the following solutions:

1)    Buried or hidden treasure to which no one can establish ownership belongs to the owner or the bare owner of the property on which it is discovered.
2)    Treasure discovered on wakf property belongs to the founder of the wakf or to his heirs.
The Egyptian project of 1982 for an Islamic civil code followed a different approach. Its article 884 said: The fifth of the treasure either buried or hidden, whose property cannot be established to the profit of anyone, belongs to the one that finds it, and the rest to the owner or to the bare owner of the fund where it has been discovered. If it is about a treasure discovered in a wakf land the rest belongs to the constituent of the wakf or to his heirs.
Rights to things found and to antiquities are governed by special regulations (art. 873)


5. The minerals

The article 803 of the Egyptian civil code says:

1)     The owner of a thing also owns everything that constitutes an essential element of the thing owned and which cannot be separated therefrom without the thing owned perishing, deteriorating or changing.
2)     The ownership of land includes that which is above and below, as far as it can be usefully enjoyed in height and depth.
3)     The ownership of the surface of the land may, by law or by agreement, be separated from that which is above it and that which is below it.
This article is inspired by articles 1194 of the Majallah, 93-96 and 905 of the German civil code, and 642 and 667 of the Swiss civil code. Paragraph 3 permits to separate the land from that which is above it and that which is below it. This is regulated by different laws:
-     Law 126/1948 relative to mines.
-     Law 66/1953 relative to the mines and combustibles (the part relative to mines has been repealed).
-     Law 86/1956 relative to mines.
-     Law 73/1963 relative to the exploitation of mines, gypsum and white sand. It expropriates the land in favor of the state.

According to these laws, the state is considered to be the owner of the minerals and other similar materials, with the exception of construction materials.
 

III. Debate around the concept of fire

1. Classic interpretation of partnership in fire

Let us begin by recalling Muhammad's narration which says: "People are partners (shuraka') in three things: water, grass and fire". What does the term fire mean here? After having mentioned the aforesaid narration in its article 1234, the Majallah provides us some details on the notion of fire in article 1261:

    "If a person light a fire on his own property, he can prevent another's coming on his property and using it.
    But if a person lights a fire in an open place which is not anyone's property, other persons can take benefit from it, so that they can warm themselves by it, and can see a thing by the light of it, and can light their candles at it. The owner of the fire cannot prevent them. But without the leave of the owner of the fire a person cannot take a live coal from that fire."
In the modern Arabic codes, the notion of fire is mentioned only in the Iraqi civil code - to the best of our knowledge. Article 1099 paragraph 1 says: "Water, grass, and fire are free and the people [general public] are partners in these three: they may benefit therefrom [take advantage thereof] and acquire water and grass provided no harm is caused". Article 1100 al.1 adds that "every person may cut from ownerless [free] mountains [which have not been designated from old times as forests and firewood collecting sites for the inhabitants of villages and towns] tree, [fire]wood, stones and other materials which are needed for construction fuel and the making of agricultural implements and man’s other needs". This code doesn't contain a disposition similar to the abobe article 1261 of the Majallah.

In Islamic Law, most books about the property only paraphrase what, in the Majallah, is said concerning fire. For some classic jurists, the partnership in question, is thus said not to concern the fire itself, but rather what produces fire. To this effect they refer to the Koran which reminds the reader: "Have you noted the fire you ignite?Did you initiate its tree, or did we?" (56:71-72). In this case, the Koran makes reference to an object which is to be rubbed and to wood which can be ignited and thus produces fire. As mentioned above, the equation fire = oil (naphta) had been in use already among pre-Islamic scholars 1): In his biography of Alexander the Great, the Roman historian Plutarch, for one, is said to describe Mesopotamia as a "valley full of liquid fires"3). And Plinius is quoted as having written that "the area of Babylon ... is full of sub-terranean fires"3).
 

2. Broad interpretation of the partnership on fire

Accordingly, a debate has opened on the objects covered by the partnership on fire, such as coal, oil, gas and sulfur. So Al-Khuli says that Muhammad's narration used the general term fire in the sense of an end product rather than a specific means, like wood, for achieving the set objective of fire. In the past, fire served to warm up and to cook food. Currently, in times of both peace and war, it has become the source of energy that provides for the production and operation of instruments, such as factories, cars and planes. If the narration had limited itself to use the term of wood, the norm would have lost its elasticity. In line what the writings of pre-Islamic scholars, such as the above-quoted Plutarch and Plinius, Al-Khuli thus concludes that everything that entails the energy necessary for a fire is to be considered a common good in the sense of Muhammad's narration.

The debate is amplified by 'Abd-Allah Al-'Alayli, a visionary Lebanese sheik, in a book whose title is "Where is the mistake?". He exposes his point of view in a chapter entitled "The wealth of oil doesn't belong to the people of the oil" (in light of a number of questions regarding the division of wealth and which are seen to underlay most conflicts within and between Arab and Muslim countries, I found it indicated to complement this survey with an in extenso English summary of Alayli's ground-breaking essay).

To understand the stakes of this debate, it is necessary to mention that the Arab countries reportedly own about 60% of the world reserves in oil and gas. They currently produce about 26% of the world crude oil. These non-renewable mineral reserves are concentrated in some Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Algeria, Libya and Iraq. The other Arab countries currently produce much smaller quantities or nothing.

The Arab oil countries retain their oil resources jealously and refuse to share them with the other brother countries that don't have any. These last must buy oil. Lately, Kuwait required the recognition of the sovereign right of every country to the natural resources embedded in its national territory as one of the six conditions to normalize its relations with the Arab countries that had supported Iraq after its invasion. This means that the Arab countries don't really admit these sovereign rights, regardless of their UN membership and contrary obligations under international law. Accordingly, and in as much as it relates to natural resources exploitable from Kuwaiti territory, Kuwait would like that these countries give up the Islamic concept of partnership and shared benefits.

Of course it is true that some rich Arab countries give money to less fortunate Arab and Muslim countries (be it due to charity, fear or sheer interest). However, as Sheik 'Abd-Allah Al-'Alayli points out, the amounts thus handed out don't even attain the level of the zakat. Yet Islamic Law clearly stipulates that the Islamic receipient countries have right not only to zakat but to their full part in the partnership. Al-'Alayli, for one, writes:

    A national and religious outrage, even more than a sin, is being committed in front of our eyes without anyone asking questions or asking for accounts. Do you believe it? Hey wake up, that is what is really happening, not because but in spite of both you and me.
    In the Arab countries, oil is monopolized by the land owners. However, on the religious plan, this is absolutely forbidden and constitutes an immoral and unjustifiable property grab. Not surprisingly, the ensuing feeling of guilt can be observed as a determinant factor of decision-making at the very power centers of such oil-exporters as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seem indeed to be aware of their obligations towards their Arab brethren. Pressed by the embarrassment that this possession incites, they opened their hand somewhat to different countries. My wish is that this gesture on behalf of the donators and recipients is treated as resulting from their partnership obligations and not due to volontary assistance or help programs.
Certainly, the Islamic Law is mentioned in nearly all constitutions of the Arab countries, at least as a source of legislative, executive and judicial actions. This general provision is usually invoked if such out-dated Islamic norms as the lapidation of an adultory women or the amputation of a thief's hand appears to serve the political fashion of the day. For in reality, applying it in the realm of family matters or where it involves the private dispossession on the price level of a cup of coffee, would constitute a gross violation of the principle of equity and proportionality, and thus an abomination in the eyes of the Lord - the more so as long as high oil dignitaries can get away with stealing millions of public funds and wasting them in casinos and places of debauchery. This constitutional provision is therefore devoid of any real meaning unless it genuinely advances the application of eternally valid Islamic social norms, such as those concerning the division and sharing of wealth. Fully aware of the limitations of his individual reflections and actions in favor of these and other mutually beneficial Islamic social norms, Al-'Alayli nevertheless has dared to formulate and yell into the desert the following riot act: Oh you the beggars, the oppressed of the earth, cry out aloud.
Dont let your representatives be intimidated or bow in front of those who claim to be the rightful [oil] owners.
Because you are their equal partners.
Because in its essence, Islam isn't about cutting off the hand of the small thief while oiling the head of the big thief.
Because Islam rather gives life and strength to those acting in good spirit in the interest of the common good.
Tell the temple traders what Jesus, glory to Him, told them, to those who accused him of healing on Sabath
though that day would not have kept them from freeing a sheep trapped in a well:
"Oh man! Are you not more noble and more important than a sheep."
And what a shame if you won't be more noble and more important than their oil.
The amputation of the hand and the temple traders in question in this passage are a clear allusion to Saudi Arabia, protector of the Islamic holy places that brags about respecting Islam by cutting the hands but monopolizes the wealth that belongs to others as partners.

Consequent with himself, Al-'Alayli blames the Egyptian President for having thanked the oil States which gave him some "crumbs". It signifies that, on behalf of those who entrusted him with the Egyptian Presidency, he didn't publicly lay any claim to this common good oil (which begs some questions as to his private wealth and how it was acquired).As non-abdicated equal partner he would have had no need to bow and express thanks. And if it wouldn't have been for this partnership, as Saudi Arabia's neighbor, he still could have invoked similar rights.

To be sure, Al-'Alayli doesn't only speak of the oil of the Arab countries, but also of the oil of the Muslim countries as a whole. This oil is, according to him, the joint ownership of all Muslims and should be put back in the central public treasury of the Islamic Community governed by the Caliph. And as there is currently neither a Caliphate, nor a central public treasury moored in a real-value currency (the US- and monkey money-dominated IMF notwithstanding), Al-'Alayli calls for a return of the looted property to the Ummah (nation), i.e. to the peoples genuinely represented by its committees.
 

3. From partnership to begging

Not surprisingly, Al-'Alayli's point of view is not widely shared, particularly not among the contemporary jurists, reformers and Muslim thinkers. And it is not by chance if the first edition of his book of 1978 was untraceable until very recently; in fact, it was placed in the closed area of the Library of the American university of Beirut. This caused it to remain inaccessible for both the general public and most researchers.

Faced with the apparent impossibility to apply the partnership rule with regard to oil-producing countries, some authors try to ask for a strict minimum: the zakat. Whether knowingly or not, they have so far left aside the above-discussed Muhammad narration which makes oil a joint ownership. It deserves mention that the authenticity of this narration is not known to have ever been formally questioned by anyone.

Shawqi Isma'il Shahatah, in a conference presented at Kuwait, thinks that Arab and Muslim oil should be submitted to a zakat of 2.5% of the value of oil. He wasn't pressed to elaborate on this suggestion. And he didn't specify either to whom this zakat is supposed to belongs. The other authors, even more discreet, suggested oil exports to be regularly subjected to a zakat which might vary between 2.5% and 20%. As indicated above, these rates are those considered by the classic Islamic scholars as tax rates on the minerals exploited by private persons. Does this mean that the Arab oil is currently considered to be the private property of the Arab leaders? But we shouldn't fool ourselves: even the zakat is currently not paid on the Arab oil.

The inter-arab documents are full of bowing and begging towards the oil-exporting brethren countries. They readily invoke Arab and Muslim fraternity and solidarity, the common history, the public interests and the common destiny. Yet, and surprisingly so, Muhammad's potentially most helpful and indeed unchallengable narration is noted mostly for its total absence from these pleading documents. So the Charter of the economic national action approved by the 11th summit of the Chiefs of Arab States held in Amman in 1980 said:

1)    Proceeding from our trust in our belonging to the Arab nation, in its civilizing inheritance, its common destiny and the necessity of our solidarity in the face of challenges in order to defend its existence and its future;
2)    In light of the national responsibility to achieve and to assure the balanced development, the national security...
    .... In view of the respect of the principle of the national economic solidarity, it is necessary .... that the Arab countries, according to their capacities and in conformity with the Arab Economic and Social Council, exercise solidarity in the financing of the common Arab needs. This covers notably the needs of the national security, the development of resources and human capacities and the infrastructure projects.
Similar arguments are found in the document titled Strategy for the common Arab economic action which was approved at the same summit. Moreover, there are arguments which Arab intellectuals prefer to raise only in private, be it for reasons of decency or fear:
-     The borders between oil-producing and non oil-producing countries are artificial and have been drawn by the colonial countries that exploit today the oil fields. In the name of which law can, for example, a Jordanian be deprived of his part in the oil of Saudi Arabia which shares the most bizarre border with Jordan and whose king is of Arabian descent, is a descendant of the Prophet's family, and is pretender to the title of cherif of Mecca? Numerous are those that blame the colonial countries for having divided the Arab countries; for this reason there have been repeated attempts of union. In the document Strategy for the common Arab economic action of 1980, the Chiefs of Arab States considered the situation in the Arab world to have been aggravated by "the imposed and dedicated division by the colonial powers against the Arab nation and the difficulty of the common Arab action to cope and to remedy". However, the consequences which the peoples concerned have to endure as a result of these borders come are seen to be less due to colonialism, than to the politics of their leaders which refuse to make abstraction of these borders.
-     The Arab oil countries count a reduced number of inhabitants whereas the non-oil countries represent the majority of the population forming the Arab nation. It leads to a concentration of wealth in some hands. An already enormous gap between oil-producing and non-oil countries widens itself every day. This gap has not gone unnoticed, not even by the most isolated and/or aloft among the Arab Chiefs of state. In the Strategy for the common Arab economic action of 1980, they asked to "do whatever is necessary to reduce quickly and efficiently the cleavage in the domain of the development between and within the Arab countries, in order to assure the stability, the socio-economic harmony and the social justice of the Arab nation and to widen the efficient popular involvement in the Arab development project to reinforce and to redress its evolution."
-     The debts burdening some Arab countries are owed mainly due to wars undertaken to defend what the Muslims call Dar al-Islam and what Arab countries consider as part of the Arab world. It is notably the case of the debts contracted by the neighbors of Israel. All oil-Arab governments as well as their nationals agree with the positions of these Arab countries and sustain them at the Arab League, at the Islamic Conference and at the UNO. However, they are far from assuming their financial obligations in this conflict. Yet, the Chiefs of Arab States affirmed, in the Strategy for the common Arab economic action of 1980, "the obligation of the Arab countries to sustain totally any Arab State that exposes itself to a foreign attack or to hostile economic measures because of the exercise of the national sovereignty". This had previously been affirmed in article 2 of the Convention of common defense and economic cooperation of 1950.
It is necessary to indicate here two consequences of this ambivalent attitude in the relations between the Arab countries:
    1.   Hesitation to lend money to brotherly Arab countries
The debts of the Arab countries were estimated in 1970 to be about 7 billion dollars. By 1985, that figure had risen to some 100 billion dollars. According to a confidential report of the Union of the Arab-French Banks established before Operation Desert Storm was put on the rails, the six countries of the Gulf, with 10 millions inhabitants, had a reported surplus of 462 billion dollars, whereas the rest of the Arab countries, with 190 millions inhabitants, have debts for more of 200 billion dollars.
    The rich Arab countries are reluctant to offer loans to the poor Arab countries. They fear that the recipient Arab countries might ask for their part in the Arab oil and either compensate or simply refuse to repay the debts. Also a major part of the Arab debts originated from Arab money lent through the European and American banks and such international agencies as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    2. Hesitation to invest in the brotherly Arab countries
The Koran forbids the accumulation of wealth, and demands that money be spent in God's path. One of God's paths consists in assuring a worthy life to every human being. In the Arab world, the realisation of this Koranic directive is seen to be blocked mainly by the very absence of the imperatively called-for solidarity between its rich and poor brethren. If it were to exist, this solidarity would appear foremost in the form of Arab money being invested in the Arab countries. Or, notoriously, Arab oil revenues are invested mostly in luxory and/or white elephant projects in the oil-exporting countries themselves, or in casino-like high-risk and high-yield instruments in the US dollar zone, but hardly more the figleaf-deep in non-oil exporting Arab countries. This is notwithstanding the highly advertised goals to the contrary, as stipulated in said document Strategy for the common Arab economic action of 1980.

The increasingly non-sustainable Arab investment reality flies indeed in the face of Koranic directives and official Arab feel-good pronouncements. Whereas the Arab countries of the Gulf count among the richest countries of the planet, countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti and Egypt live under the threshold of poverty, overwhelmed by the debts and the lack of investments. Instead of investing their money in poor Arab countries, the rich Arab countries as well as the rich of the poor Arab countries invest mainly in the western countries. The experts estimate the average of the investments of the rich Arab countries in the countries of the Third World between 1981 and 1985 to about 14.5%, of which half in the other Arab countries. The rest is invested in the developed countries of which two thirds in the United States and in Western Europe. So the poor Arab countries hardly had 7% of the investments of their own money stolen by the Arab oil-producing countries.

Again here, one of the reasons of this hesitation to invest in the brotherly Arab countries is the fear that the recipient Arab countries of these investments ask for their part in the Arab oil and refuse to repay them. To deal with this fear, the Arab countries concluded different bilateral or multilateral treaties guaranteeing these investments. But what is the worth of these treaties in front of the right of the poor Arab countries to benefit from the wealth which belong to them jointly with the rich Arab countries and from which they are deprived unjustly?
 

4. Future perspectives

What does the future hold for us? Islamic groups established six constitutional models that, according to their authors, must and eventually will replace the present Arab constitutions of western inspiration. There are also many Arab and Islamic declarations on human rights. To answer the question on the future perspectives, it is necessary to analyze these documents.

To the exception of the commentary of the constitutional nodel of the Islamic Liberation Party (hizb ut-tahir), no constitutional model, no Islamic or Arab Declaration mentions Muhammad's narration on partnership. On the other hand, in some of these documents one finds the assurance of the solidarity principle.

The constitutional model of Wasfi says that "the State sees to it that the economic complementarity between the Islamic States is realized. The Imam must consult all Chiefs of Islamic states on the disasters which are of concern to the Islamic world" (art. 2). It adds: "As for the economic efforts by the State and the individuals, consideration shall be given to the need for solidarity, for realizing the interests prescribed by Islamic law, and for the complementarity with the other Islamic countries" (art. 25). The constitutional model of Jarishah states that "the Islamic economic politics are characterized by the solidarity between the members of society, and by the complementarity between the Islamic countries" (art. 27).

The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights prepared by the Islamic Council in 1981 mentions the Islamic economic solidarity. Article 15 states:

The Economic Order and the Rights Evolving Therefrom
    a) In their economic pursuits, all persons are entitled to the full benefits of nature and all its resources. These are blessings bestowed by God for the benefit of mankind as a whole.
    b) All human beings are entitled to earn their living according to the Law.
    c) Every person is entitled to own property individually or in association with others. State ownership of certain economic resources in the public interest is legitimate.
    d) The poor have the right to a prescribed share in the wealth of the rich, as fixed by Zakah, levied and collected in accordance with the Law.
    e) All means of production shall be utilized in the interest of the community (Ummah) as a whole, and may not be neglected or misused.
    f) In order to promote the development of a balanced economy and to protect society from exploitation, Islamic Law forbids monopolies, unreasonable restrictive trade practices, usury, the use of coercion in the making of contracts and the publication of misleading advertisements.
    g) All economic activities are permitted provided they are not detrimental to the interests of the community (Ummah) and do not violate Islamic laws and values.
Article 44, par. 2, of the Charter of Arab Jurists states: "Arab people have all rights on their wealth and natural resources".

The Cairo Declaration on human rights in Islam prepared by the organization of the Islamic conference, 1990, says: "all States and peoples have the right to preserve their independent identity and exercise control over their wealth and natural resources" (art. 11.b).

Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights (May 22, 2004) prepared by the Arab League states: "All peoples have the right of self-determination and to control over their natural wealth and resources".

Probably, these last two articles mean that the Arab and Muslim oil-producing countries don't want to share their wealth with their brotherly countries.
 
 

Annex

"The wealth of oil doesn't belong to the people of the oil"
by 'Abd-Allah Al-'Alayli (Sheikh Abdullah Alalayli)
(extract from his book "Where is the mistake?", summarized by Sami Aldeed in cooperation with Anton Keller)

A national and religious outrage, even more than a sin, is being committed in front of our eyes without anyone asking questions or asking for accounts. Do you believe it? Hey wake up, that is what is really happening, not because but in spite of both you and me.

In the Arab countries, oil is monopolized by the land owners. However, on the religious plan, this is absolutely forbidden and constitutes an immoral and unjustifiable property grab. Not surprisingly, the ensuing feeling of guilt can be observed as a determinant factor of decision-making at the very power centers of such oil-exporters as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seem indeed to be aware of their obligations towards their Arab brethren. My wish is that this gesture on behalf of the donators and recipients is treated as resulting from their partnership obligations and not due to volontary assistance or help programs.

The one that hears me might wonder; he could be extremely surprised when he reads here what I think and express inambiguously and with high voice. Yet, I submit humbly this to be the truth as I have come to understand it. I'm telling you that what's happening in our oil-exporting countries is unreseservedly forbidden. I'm not worrying if my words will be accepted or rejected by those who give the impression to be qualified as scholars of religious law (faqih). Because, after all, I know - and the Almighty is my witness - that the time of the self-righteous, self-serving, self-promoting Pharisees of many colors is still very much with us in that there have always been preciously few persons who truly qualify as scholars of religious law. And the wisest and most insightful ones I've had the privilege to meet in the Arab world and elsewhere were not among the publicly loudest or most visible ones. Just as there are many who call themselves doctors, and who can even show off official certificates to that effect, but who, in reality, are little more than blind or one-eyed charlatans.

When I speak of religious law (fiqh) or scholars of the religious law (faqih), I'm pondering about the true sense of these terms as our revered ancient scholars understood and used them, namely that a faqih is recognized as such because of his deeper understanding of the world and human nature. And, most importantly, because the faqih is not one that is merely capable to memorize "this person said this or that", but one that is both capable and willing to deduct the essential, i.e. the norms of what has been said, and to apply it properly to current and evolving circumstances.

But here I'm not worrying about what is and what is not a fiqh or a faqih, nor about the question of whether we are dealing with genuine faqihs deserving of this noble title. Instead, my observations are intended to bring to light, clarify and remind people of a norm which, even though it is ancient, has lost nothing of its validity and guiding character. As such, some may prefer to see this as nothing more than an opinion on a matter of religious law, while others will recognize and heed it as a society-stablizing, fundamental and good-neighborly guideline which is deeply-rooted, is universally valid, and transcends religious and other borders. I'm speaking on the terms and conditions which apply to the exploration, husbandry and use of common good properties, such as air, water and land. More specifically, I'm speaking on whether petroleum, gas and similar deposits are common good properties or whether they belong to those who happen to own the land parcels sitting above these non-renewable mineral deposits.

To be sure, Prophet Muhammad's deeply-rooted and noble narration on the partnership regarding said common good properties stands unchallenged by the scholars who are specialized in the verification of the Prophet's narrations; they unanimously concur on its unambiguous wording, clear range and explicit sense: "People are partners (shuraka') in three things: water, grass and fire".

Accordingly, I'm not interested in any way, shape or form to raise any doubt on the related terms and conclusions offered by said ancient scholars. True, they confined themselves on the objects they were familiar with and did not venture beyond what their senses could grasp at that time, and in this they are excused as they wisely left it to lesser spirits to engage in prophesies and speculations on what could occur and eventually be discovered. They inherited solid, unambiguously defined and well-moored terms which related to objects and regulated them. And not least on the strength of the writings of their ancient colleagues, they understood and felt comfortable with the idea that the normative value of these generally applicable terms was, of course, not limited to these objects.

For this reason, as an example, they didn't feel obliged to seek to specify the narrative's term "water", i.e. whether it only applied to the water on the earth, in the streams, or in sub-terranean strata, or whether it also applied to clouds and rain. For the same reasons, they didn't bother to specify the term "fire": whether it concerns, e.g., only the visible form of energy conversion, or whatever lends itself to that effect, like wood, etc. Our ancient scholars thus did not hold this normative term "fire" as either finite or exclusive of other related materials.

The magnificence of the prophetic term "fire" can than be appreciated due to the fact that this voluntarily generic term basically embraces all materials that either resembles or may give rise to fire. The Koranic term "khamr", i.e. fermented drink, is seen to also cover all inebriating beverage and, as such, to offer another illustration of the same time-less and visionary approach. However, as it mentions only a limited number of goods which are to be treated as common properties, the narrative is not understood as being either quantitatively or qualitatively illimited in its partnership implications. In this sense, its use of the term "fire" is then seen as extending bindingly only to such combustible material which is not explicitly covered in other applicable writings - e.g. petroleum and gas deposits, in contrast to wood grown on private land.

A further question raised by our ancient scholars concerns the term partners (shuraka'). The best definition I could find in their commentaries says that the term partners entails an effectively claimable obligation which covers a property not duly designated as belonging to the private domain and which, therefore, cannot be the subject of a sale or exchange between members of a community, excepting the case of a mutually agreed compensation for work done but not because of the object itself. Accordingly, in the case of grazing grass, its sale's price is fixed exclusively in function of the efforts deployed for its cutting and removal. I, for one, appreciate this concept of our ancient scholars as more equitable, stabilizing and far-sighted than the concept on wages offered by Ricardo, or the one developed by scientific socialism and based on added values.

Of course, the concept of common good properties has its origin in ideas of how best to organize society and the family of nations which, so far, have not progressed very far. One such idea, the Caliphate, has not exactly been favored by the powers that be. But that is not to say that the Caliphate and its Ummah (nation) will not some day in the not too distant future, in one form or another, become again a mutually and even universally helpful solution at least for the peoples submitting to the Almighty. Therefore, it appears indicated to consider adapting and implementing such key concepts as the common good properties as instruments and ways and means which may help prepare the foundations for this common objective. And while setting up a corresponding public treasury may prove to be impractical or too ambitious for the time being, promoting the corresponding education and infrastructure may not be beyond the realm of the possible and the practical.

To these effects,  I may now formulate some proposals for consideration by all men and women of good will. In the legal realm, I begin by referring to
    -    to the rule according to which the reference to an object implies the reference to a cause;
    -     to a key term's exhaustive application, and
    -     to the implications which inevitably derive from it.

In the hands of open-minded, courages and determined leaders, Muhammad's prophetic narration is a powerful and uniquely helpful instrument for progress on many fronts. It addresses the question of common good properties and limits the application of this visionary concept to three domains:
    a) The raw fuels in various forms, designated in an eloquent manner by only one all-embracing word: fire, not limited to its gaseous end form, thus covering the two categories of coal produced by wood and mineral coal, asphalt, oil, natural gas, and yellow cake as the raw material for uranium.
    b) The beverages, the hydraulic powers, and the stream of water.
    c) The various animal feed (kala') which in turn becomes a vital food for humans.

All these objects remain in the setting of the nation and its peoples, no one can own them in an independent manner, and no one may be authorized to trade related rights independently. In this way, the Prophet closed all destructive fissures in all nations, which would be saved if they were to follow this norm.

What interests me here is oil (fire) in the Muslim countries. However, the narration, as we explained it, is clear: this oil doesn't belong to the one that owns the land from which it comes, but it is co-owned in an equitable manner between the regions. And as currently neither the Caliphate nor a public treasury exists, its incomes constitute a joint ownership submitted to the consent of all. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, countries of the Gulf, Libya, Algeria, Iran, Indonesia, etc., don't have the right to appropriate all its incomes in a sovereign manner. This is illicit profit (suht). Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan that don't own any or little of it, have a legal, fixed and current right to share in the incomes from that oil, whether those that retain it want it or not.

All this isn't at all about a help, nor about a debt. And there can be no question about dividing these incomes into Arab and Islamic revenues. Those that have extracted and exported oil - in line with what the majority of the legal scholars allow transferring from a country to another - haven't even paid up their minimum mandatory contribution to their less fortunate Islamic brethren, i.e. the zakat of the hidden treasure (rikaz). They only gave out crumbs in response to rising awareness and complaints by their peoples, and in order to buy time until the desinherited in- and outside their borders will have organized their forces and removed the imposters from their foreign-supported, yet shaking pedestal.

Indeed, these non-oil exporting countries have a legal claim to the oil and gas export revenues of their more fortunate brethren in as much as the former are co-owners under the applicable Islamic rules which are unambiguous and explicit. That is seen to be the more so, as the former are poor. Thus, I cry out:

Oh you the beggars, the oppressed of the earth, cry out aloud. Dont let your representatives be intimidated or bow in front of those who claim to be the rightful [oil] owners.
Because you are their equal partners.
Because in its essence, Islam isn't about cutting off the hand of the small thief while oiling the head of the big thief. Because Islam rather gives life and strength to those acting in good spirit in the interest of the common good.
Tell the temple traders what Jesus, glory to Him, told them, to those who accused him of healing on Sabath though that day would not have kept them from freeing a sheep trapped in a well: "Oh man! Are you not more noble and more important than a sheep."
And what a shame if you won't be more noble and more important than their oil.
To be complete, it is necessary for me to pass from the religious law to the international public law public which has regulated air and maritime matters between the countries in order to avoid conflicts regarding fishing rights or aerial inspections. Is there not a loophole in this law - at least concerning the private international law - when it fails to stipulate limits regarding the depths to which a landowner may explore and exploit mineral deposits? So that, given new technologies, what is inside the earth would not be the private or an individual nation's property but a joint ownership to all in an equal manner. Which might avoid a lot more dangerous wars than the conflicts over fishing rights and aerial inspections.

How much did I suffer, when I heard the Egyptian president thanking heartily the super-rich brotherly countries that occasionally throw some crumbs in his direction. As if he wanted to assure them with a painful voice that he has no claim on their oil wealth. However, according to our moral standards, if the "generosity" were not due to established co-ownership rights, it would be due at least under the heading of good neighborhood.

Incidently, it deserves to be noted that the genius of our language provided for the terms injustice (jawr) and neighborhood (jiwar) to have the same root. As if it wanted to declare that everything that undermines your neighbor belongs to injustice and inequity. As if it was conscious that the limit between the two is finer than the wing of a butterfly, and that the dividing line is more subtle than the lightning of a shade.
 

Notes

1    Hugo Blümner, Technologisches (Schwefel, Alaun und Asphalt im Alterthum), in Festschrift zur 39.Versammlung deutscher Philologen und Schulmänner, Universität Zürich, Zürcher & Furrer, 1887, S.23-39
2    S. Angus, NEPHTHAR; NEPHTHAI, Study Dictionary
3 Nikolaus Brauns, Nordirak: Kirkuk und der Kampf ums mesopotamische Öl, www.uni-kassel.de (accessed: 8.12.08), Junge Welt, 1. März 2003


List of publications by Sami Aldeeb

Publications in chronological order
(the main works are highlighted, electronically accessible books are also listed in the books category)

1) Conception de l'histoire chez Ibn-Khaldoun, IUHEI, 1975, 27 pages.
2) Conception khaldounienne et marxiste de la société, IUHEI, 1975, 28 pages.
3) Qualification juridique des guerres de libération, IUHEI, 1975, 20 pages.
4) Les Pactes relatifs aux droits de l'homme et le droit des peuples à disposer d'eux-mêmes selon les documents des Nations Unies, IUHEI, 1975, 32 pages.
5) Le droit des peuples à disposer d'eux-mêmes, étude analytique de la doctrine marxiste-léniniste et de la position soviétique, polycopié, IUHEI, 1976, 276 pages.
6) L'impact de la religion sur l'ordre juridique, cas de l’Égypte, non-musulmans en pays d'Islam, Éditions universitaires, Fribourg 1979, XVI-405 pages.
7) Aspects juridiques et politiques, in: Jean-Paul II et les droits de l'homme, en collaboration avec M. le Professeur A. Macheret, Éditions universitaires, Fribourg, 1980, p. 34-54.
8) Comment un chrétien arabe voit-il la montée actuelle de l'islamisation, in: Choisir (Genève), février 1980, no 242, p. 23-28.
9) La liberté religieuse dans un pays musulman, cas de l'Égypte, in: La liberté religieuse dans le judaïsme, le christianisme et l'islam, (Actes du Colloque tenu à Sénanque 1978), Le Cerf, Paris, 1981, p. 199-224.
10) Islam et droits de l'homme, à propos de la Déclaration islamique universelle des droits de l'homme, in: Choisir (Genève), avril 1983, no 280, p. 15-19.
11) État des études arabes en Suisse, in: Coopération euro-arabe, diagnostic et prospectives, Actes du Colloque organisé à Louvain-la-Neuve, 2-4 décembre 1982, vol. I, p. 205-218.
12) L'Islam et son rôle politique actuel, in: Choisir, octobre 1983, no 286, p. 20-25.
13) De Islam en de mensenrechten, in: Maandblad de Vrije Gedachte, mei-juni 1983, no 137, p. 3-11 (trad. Bas Moreel).
14) Rapport concernant le droit à la vie dans les documents des Nations Unies et du Conseil de l'Europe, in: Majallat al-huquq, Kuwait, juin 1983, p. 230-250.
15) Heirat zwischen Schweizern und Moslems, in: Revue de l'état civil (Suisse), 1983, no 7/8, p. 193-198 (trad. Andreas Nabholz).
16) Mariages mixtes entre suisses et étrangers musulmans, in: Revue de l'état civil (Suisse), 1983, no 7/8, p. 214-219.
17) L'Islam et les droits de l'homme, in: Universalité des droits de l'homme et diversité des cultures, Les actes du 1er colloque interuniversitaire, Fribourg 1982, Éditions universitaires, Fribourg 1984, p. 151-160.
18) Islam et liberté religieuse, in: Conscience et Liberté, no 27, 1984, p. 24-33.
19) La laïcité au Proche-Orient, in: Revue Choisir, no 294, juin 1984, p. 17-22.
20) Dispositions relatives au droit international privé dans le projet de code arabe unifié des transactions préparé par la Ligue des États arabes, traduction et commentaire, in: Revue critique de droit international privé, no 2, 1984, p. 383-400.
21) Godesdienst en Recht in Israel, in: Maandblad de Vrije Gedachte, Novembre 1984, no 151, p. 3-6 (trad. Bas Moreel).
22) L'État religieux d'Israël et le droit international: le rôle de l'appartenance religieuse en Israël, in: Études internationales (Tunis), no 13, octobre-novembre-décembre 1984, p. 34-57.
23) Le critère religieux dans le système judiciaire islamique, in: Praxis juridique et religion, (CERDICStrasbourg), année 2, vol. 1, 1985, p. 33-52.
24) Soudan: La mort d'un hérétique, in: Revue Choisir, no 304, avril 1985, p. 30-31.
25) Conflits de lois en matière de statut personnel, le cas du droit de famille égyptien, in: Praxis juridique et religion, (CERDIC-Strasbourg), année 2, vol. 2, 1985, p. 276-288.
26) Conflit et religion au Proche-Orient, in: Bulletin de la société suisse pour la science des religions, no 7, juin 1985, p. 20-37.
27) L'État religieux d'Israël et le droit international, le rôle de l'appartenance religieuse en Israël, in: Majallat alhuquq, Kuwait, vol. 9, no 1, 1985, p. 1-23.
28) La définition internationale des droits de l'homme et l'islam, in: Revue générale de droit international public, tome 89/1985/3, p. 624-716.
29) Étude sur le droit pénal musulman, polycopié, Institut suisse de droit comparé, Lausanne 1985, 58 pages.
30) Liberté religieuse et apostasie dans l'islam, in: Praxis juridique et religion, (CERDIC-Strasbourg), année 3, vol. 1.1986, p. 43-76.
31) Les Appenzelloises du Kuwait, droits politiques des femmes kuwaitiennes, in: Revue Choisir, no 314, février 1986, p. 16-18.
32) Dispositions relatives au droit international privé dans le code des transactions civiles des Émirats arabes unis, traduction et commentaire, in: Revue critique de droit international privé, no 2, 1986, p. 390-401.
33) Introduction à la lecture juridique du Coran, cours polycopié, Institut de droit canonique de l'Université des sciences humaines de Strasbourg, Strasbourg 1986, 34 pages.
34) Introduction à la lecture juridique du Coran, cours polycopié, Institut de droit canonique de l'Université des sciences humaines de Strasbourg 1986, 2ème édition révisée, 34 pages.
35) Paix en Palestine, brochure, 1ère et 2ème édition, Fribourg 1986, 16 pages.
36) Frieden in Palästina, Broschüre, Uebersetzung der zweiten französischen Auflage, Freiburg 1986, 16 pages.
37) Droit et terrorisme, in: Maghreb Tribune (Lausanne), nos 2-3, juin-septembre 1986, p. 33-35.
38) Religion et politique au Proche-Orient, cas de l'Islam, in: Revue de droit international de sciences diplomatiques et politiques, no 4, octobre-décembre 1986, p. 301-324.
39) Islam und Religionsfreiheit, in: Gewissen und Freiheit, no 28, 1987, p. 14-19, Reproduit aussi dans Abendland, Zurich, septembre 1987, p. 4 et 7.
40) Point de vue d'un chrétien originaire de la Palestine, in: Études internationales, no 23, 1987, p. 103-108.
41) Dispositions relatives au droit international privé de la Jordanie: traduction et commentaire, in: Revue critique de droit international privé, tome 76/3/1987, p. 643-649.
42) Dispositions relatives au droit international privé de la République arabe yéménite, traduction et commentaire, in: Revue critique de droit international privé, tome 76/3/1987, p. 650-654.
43) Dispositions relatives au droit international privé de la République démocratique populaire du Yémen, traduction et commentaire, in: Revue critique de droit international privé, tome 76/3/1987, p. 654-660.
44) La section du droit arabe et musulman de l'Institut suisse de droit comparé à Lausanne, in: Oriente Moderno, no 7-12, 1987, p. 223-230.
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176) Circoncision masculine – circoncision féminine : débat religieux, médical, social et juridique, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2001, 537 pages.
177) Male and female circumcision among Jews, Christians and Muslims: religious, medical, social and legal debate, Shangri-La Publications, Warren Center, PA 19951, USA, 2001, 400 pages.
178) Les droits de l'homme et le défi islamiste: diagnostic et remèdes, in: Mélanges en l'honneur de Mohamed Charfi, Centre de publication universitaire, Tunis, 2001, p. 305-340.
179) Cimetière musulman en Occident: Normes juives, chrétiennes et musulmanes, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2002, 168 pages.
180) Les Musulmans en Occident entre droits et devoirs, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2002, 296 pages.
181) Muslims in the West caught between rights and duties: redefining the separation of church and state, Shangri-La Publications, Warren Center, PA 19951, USA, 2002, 318 pages.
182) Pour une république cananéenne, in: Panoramiques, no 59, 2002, p. 153-158.
183) Les minorités en Suisse: le cas des musulmans, in: Publications de l'Institut suisse de droit comparé, no 44/1: Rapports suisses présentés au XVIème Congrès international de droit comparé (Brisbane), Schulthess, Zurich, 2002, p. 43-88.
184) Les droits de l'homme à tombeau ouvert, Plaidoyer, revue juridique et politique, 2002, fascicule no 6, p. 54-59.
185) Khitan al-dhukour wal-inath ‘ind al-yahud wal-masihiyyin wal-muslimin : al-jadal al-dini, wal-tibbi, wal-ijtima'i wal-qanuni, Beit-Jala, Collection Olive Branch, 2003, 250 pages (la circoncision masculine et féminine chez les juifs, les chrétiens et les musulmans: le débat religieux, médical, social et juridique).
186) Circoncision: Le complot du silence, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2003, 244 pages.
187) Faux débat sur l'abattage rituel en Occident: ignorance des normes juives et musulmanes, le cas de la Suisse, in: Revue de droit suisse, 2/2003, p. 247-267.
188) Mariages entre partenaires suisses et musulmans: connaître et prévenir les conflits, 4ème édition, Institut suisse de droit comparé, Lausanne, 2003, 60 pages.
189) Ehen zwischen schweizerischen und muslimischen Partnern: Konflikte erkennen und ihnen vorbeugen, 4. Auflage, übersetzt von Beatrice Angehrn, 2003, 64 pages.
190) L'art figuratif en droit musulman: passé, présent et avenir, dans: Passerelles, no 26, 14ème année, 2003, p. 15-43.
191) Mu'amarat al-samt: Khitan al-dhukour wal-inath ‘ind al-yahud wal-masihiyyin wal-muslimin : al-jadal al-dini, wal-tibbi, wal-ijtima'i wal-qanuni, Dar al-Awael, Damas, 2003, 512 pages (Le complot du silence: la circoncision masculine et féminine chez les juifs, les chrétiens et les musulmans: le débat
religieux, médical, social et juridique).
192) Al-tamyiz did ghayr al-yahud fi Isra'il massihiyyin kanu am muslimin, Dar al-Awael, Damas, 2003, 112 pages (discrimination contre les non-juifs en Israël tant chrétiens que musulmans).
193) La sfida islamica ai diritti dell'uomo nei paesi arabo-musulmani e all'estero, in: Le tre religioni di Abramo, Visioni di Dio e valori dell'uomo, Marsilio, Venezia, 2003, p. 143-186.
194) Interdits alimentaires et abattage rituel chez les musulmans, in: Gastronomie, alimentation et droit, mélanges en l'honneur de Pierre Widmer, Publications de l'Institut suisse de droit comparé, no 46, Schulthess, Zurich, 2003, pp. 349-363.
195) L'art figuratif en droit juif, chrétien et musulman, in: Liberté de l'art et indépendance de l'artiste, Publications de l'Institut suisse de droit comparé, no 50, Schulthess, Zurich, 2003, p. 113-151.
196) Les droits de l'homme dans le monde arabe, in: Panoramiques, no 66, 2004, p. 48-59.
197) Après l'attentat du 11 septembre, le droit musulman, in: Panoramiques, no 66, 2004, p. 122-125.
198) Le secret entre droit et religion: La dissimulation (taqiyyah) chez les chi'ites et les druzes, in: Les secrets et le droit, Enseignement de 3ème cycle de droit, Schulthess, Zurich, 2004, p. 27-60.
199) Le mur idéologique, in: Panoramiques, no 67, 2004, p. 142-153.
200) Circoncision masculine et féminine: le mythe de la différence, in: Tribune des athées, no 119, 34ème année, juin 2004, p. 47-66.
201) Musulmans en Occident à l'heure de vérité, in: Panoramiques, no 68, 2004, p. 100-109.
202) Limites du sport en droit musulman et arabe, in: Confluences Méditerranée, no 50, été 2004, p. 93-112.
203) Limites du sport en droit musulman et arabe, in: Sport et politique en Méditerranée, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2004, p. 163-181.
204) Les cimetières en Suisse entre laïcité et respect de la foi des communautés religieuses: cas des cimetières musulmans, in: Coopération entre État et communautés religieuses selon le droit suisse, Schulthess, Zurich, 2005, p. 389-427.
205) Introduction à la société musulmane: fondements, sources et principes, Eyrolles, Paris, 2005, 462 pages.
206) État, religion et droits de l'homme dans le monde musulman, in: Associations transnationales, 3/2005, p. 163-172.
207) Stato, religione e diritti dell'uomo nel mondo musulmano, in: Islam e diritti umani, un (falso?) problema, a cura di Mario Nordio e Giorgio Vercellin, Edizioni Diabasis, Reggio Emilia, 2005, p. 43-64.
208) Normes religieuses, culture et droits de l'homme: le cas de la circoncision masculine et féminine, in: Constitution & religion, Bruylant, Bruxelles, 2005, p. 125-147.
209) Male and female circumcision: the myth of the difference, in: Female circumcision, multicultural perspectives, edited by Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2006, p. 47-72.
210) Les régimes matrimoniaux en droit arabe et musulman, cas de l'Égypte et du Maroc: normes matérielles et normes de conflit, in: Les régimes matrimoniaux en droit comparé et en droit international privé, Andrea Bonomi et Marco Steiner (éditeurs), Librairie Droz, Genève, 2006, p. 279-306.
211) Intégrité physique entre universalité et particularisme religieux: cas de la circoncision masculine et féminine, in: Liber memorialis Petar Sarcevic: universalism, tradition and the individual, Sellier, München, 2006, p. 191-223.
212) Diritto musulmano della famiglia e delle successioni, in: La questione femminile nell'islam, Edizioni Mille, Torino, 2006, p. 41-68.
213) Diritto musulmano della famiglia e delle successioni in Svizzera, in: La questione femminile nell'islam, Edizioni Mille, Torino, 2006, p. 69-93.
214) Die Muslime und die Menschenrechte: Herausforderungen und Perspektiven in den Islamischen Ländern und im Westen, in: Urs Altermatt, Mariano Delgado und Guido Vergauwen (Hrsg.): Der Islam in Europa zwischen Weltpolitik und Alltag, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart, 2006, p. 201-229.
215) Tavola giuridica analitica del Corano, in: Daimon (Bologna), 6/2006, p. 255-306.
216) Les musulmans et les droits de l'homme, défis et perspectives dans les pays musulmans et en Occident, in: Acta universitatis Lucian Blaga, Sibiu, 1-2 2006, p. 106-127.
217) Le clonage humain en droit musulman et arabe, in: Médecine et droit, Anthemis, Bruxelles, 2007, p. 89-114.
218) I diritti dell'uomo e la sfida dell'Islam, diagnosi e rimedi, in: Nuova geografia dei diritti umani, Atti del convegno, Palermo 29 avril 2005, Cesvop, Palermo, 2007, p. 51-106.
219) Les sanctions en droit musulman: passé, présent et avenir, Cahiers de l'Orient chrétien 6, CEDRAC (USJ), Beyrouth, 2007, 110 pages.
220) Rôle de la religion dans l'harmonisation du droit des pays arabes: réflexions à propos du droit égyptien et des travaux de la Ligue arabe, in: Revue internationale de droit comparé, no 2, avril-juin 2007, p. 259-283.
221) Préface du livre de Daniele Anselmo: Shari'a e diritti umani, Giappichelli Editore, Palermo, 2007, p. XIII-XV.
222) La personnalité des lois en Turquie et en Égypte, in: Revue de droit international et de droit comparé, 1er trimestre, 2007, p. 1-35.
223) Droit musulman de la famille et des successions en Suisse, in: Revue critique de droit international privé, no 3, 2007, p. 491-538.
224) Sanctions pénales dans les pays musulmans: passé, présent et futur, in: Revue internationale de criminologie et de police technique et scientifique, no 3, 2007, p. 260-276.
225) Les intérêts et les banques en droits juif, chrétien et musulman, paru dans: Jusletter 29 octobre 2007, sous: www.weblaw.ch/de/content_edition/jusletter/Artikel.asp?ArticleNr=6024&lang=fr
226) La religion, trouble-fête dans l'harmonisation du droit arabe, in: L'harmonisation internationale du droit, Enseignement de 3ème cycle de droit 2006, Éditions Schulthess, Zurich, 2007, p. 399-422.
227) Rapports entre droits et religion dans le monde arabo-musulman et influence en Suisse, in: Revista româna de drept privat/Revue roumaine de droit privé, 5/2007, p. 135-211.
228) Raporturi între drept si religie în lumea arabo-musulmana si influenta acestora în Elvetia, in: Revista româna de drept privat/Revue roumaine de droit privé, 5/2007, p. 135-211.
229) Il diritto islamico: fondamenti, fonti, istituzioni, in: Pòlemos: Serie di diritto, politica e cultura diretta da Pier Giuseppe Monateri e Alessandro Somma, Carocci Editore, Rome, 2008, 978-88-430-4423-8, 617 pages.
230) Le Coran: texte arabe et traduction française par ordre chronologique selon l'Azhar, avec renvoi aux variantes, aux abrogations et aux écrits juifs et chrétiens, Éditions de l'Aire, Vevey, 2008, 579 pages
231) L'ingénierie de l'alliage entre le droit positif et le droit musulman dans les pays arabes, notamment en Égypte, in: Legal engineering and comparative law / L'ingénierie juridique et le droit comparé, Publications de l'Institut suisse de droit comparé, Schulthess, Zürich, 2008, p. 143-163.
232) Muslims in the West: the case of Switzerland, in: Living together peacefully, the experience of Christian-Muslim co-existence in the Middle East, Europe, USA and Philippines, Bethlehem University, Bethlehem, 2008, p. 64-111.
233) Projets de constitutions et droits de l'homme islamiques, Éditions de Paris, Paris, 2008, 348 pages.
234) Religion et droit dans les pays arabes, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, 2008, 586 pages.
 

In preparation or in press

- Le contrat d'entreprise en droit arabe, notamment en droit égyptien (livre).
- Il contratto di appalto nel diritto arabo, particolarmente nel diritto egiziano (livre).10
- Religione e diritto nei paesi arabi: campi influenzati dalla religione, Facoltà di Giurisprudenza, Palerme, 2008 (livre).
- Introduction à la société musulmane: fondements, sources et principes (traduction en roumain et en anglais) (livre).
- L'art des ruses en droit musulman et arabe (livre).
- Les sources indéterminées du droit égyptien, étude comparée, Enseignement de 3ème cycle de droit 2006, Éditions Schulthess, Zurich, 2009.
 

Livres de Sami Aldeeb / Books by Sami Aldeeb

- Le droit des peuples à disposer d'eux-mêmes, étude analytique de la doctrine marxiste-léniniste et de la position soviétique, polycopié, IUHEI, 1976, 276 pages.
- L'impact de la religion sur l'ordre juridique, cas de l’Égypte, non-musulmans en pays d'Islam, Éditions universitaires, Fribourg 1979, XVI-405 pages.
- Discriminations contre les non-juifs tant chrétiens que musulmans en Israël, Pax Christi, Lausanne, Pâques 1992, 36 pages.
- Les musulmans face aux droits de l'homme: religion & droit & politique, étude et documents, Verlag Dr. Dieter Winkler, P.O.Box 102665, D-44726 Bochum, 1994, 610 pages.
- Les mouvements islamistes et les droits de l’homme, in Herausforderungen Historisch-politische Analysen, Winkler, Bochum, 1998, 128 pages.
- Khitan al-dhukour wal-inath ‘ind al-yahud wal-masihiyyin wal-muslimin : al-jadal al-dini, Riad El-Rayyes, Beyrouth, 2000, 562 pages.
- Sami Aldeeb et Andrea Bonomi (éd.) : Le droit musulman de la famille et des successions à l’épreuve des ordres juridiques occidentaux, Publications de l’Institut suisse de droit comparé, Schulthess, Zürich, 1999, 353 pages.
- Sami Aldeeb et Mahmud Al-Gundi : Al-dustur al-gadid lil-ittihad al-swisri, (Berne), 2000.
- Circoncision masculine – circoncision féminine : débat religieux, médical, social et juridique, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2001, 537 pages.
- Male and female circumcision among Jews, Christians and Muslims: religious, medical, social and legal debate, Shangri-La Publications, Warren Center, PA 19951, USA, 2001, 400 pages.
- Cimetière musulman en Occident: Normes juives, chrétiennes et musulmanes, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2002, 168 pages.
- Les Musulmans en Occident entre droits et devoirs, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2002, 296 pages.
- Muslims in the West caught between rights and duties: redefining the separation of church and state, Shangri-La Publications, Warren Center, PA 19951, USA, 2002, 318 pages.
- Khitan al-dhukour wal-inath ‘ind al-yahud wal-masihiyyin wal-muslimin : al-jadal al-dini, wal-tibbi, wal-ijtima'i wal-qanuni, Beit-Jala, Collection Olive Branch, 2003, 250 pages.
- Circoncision: Le complot du silence, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2003, 244 pages.
- Mariages entre partenaires suisses et musulmans: connaître et prévenir les conflits, 4ème édition, Institut suisse de droit comparé, Lausanne, 2003, 60 pages.
- Ehen zwischen schweizerischen und muslimischen Partnern: Konflikte erkennen und ihnen vorbeugen, 4. Auflage, übersetzt von Beatrice Angehrn, 2003, 64 pages.
- Mu'amarat al-samt: Khitan al-dhukour wal-inath ‘ind al-yahud wal-masihiyyin wal-muslimin : al-jadal al-dini, wal-tibbi, wal-ijtima'i wal-qanuni, Dar al-Awael, Damas, 2003, 512 pages.
- Al-tamyiz did ghayr al-yahud fi Isra'il massihiyyin kanu am muslimin, Dar al-Awael, Damas, 2003, 112 pages.
- Introduction à la société musulmane: fondements, sources et principes, Eyrolles, Paris, 2005, 462 pages.
- Les sanctions en droit musulman: passé, présent et avenir, Cahiers de l'Orient chrétien 6, CEDRAC (USJ), Beyrouth, 2007, 110 pages.
- Il diritto islamico: fondamenti, fonti, istituzioni, in: Pòlemos: Serie di diritto, politica e cultura diretta da Pier Giuseppe Monateri e Alessandro Somma, Carocci Editore, Rome, 2008, 978-88-430-4423-8, 617 pages.
- Le Coran: texte arabe et traduction française par ordre chronologique selon l'Azhar, avec renvoi aux variantes, aux abrogations et aux écrits juifs et chrétiens, Éditions de l'Aire, Vevey, 2008, 579 pages
- Projets de constitutions et droits de l'homme islamiques, Éditions de Paris, Paris, 2008, 348 pages.
- Religion et droit dans les pays arabes, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, 2008, 586 pages.