My Discussion of Iran Nuke “Deal” and Islamic “Treaties”: Our State Department Now Ignores What It Knew Well in 1880

Below are extracts from a report by WND’s Leo Hohmann on the Iran nuke negotiations. Leo asked me to provide background on the Islamic Law “principles” which must be understood when examining such negotiations.

It has become axiomatic in our sad era that such Islamic principles—based on the military behaviors of Islam’s prophet, and prototype jihadist, Muhammad—will be ignored. As I point out, even a clear Iranian statement of these Islamic principles regarding the proposed “nuke deal,” less than three weeks after the original November 24, 2013 “framework” announcement, never registered with our policymaking “expert classes.” Issued by an Iranian analyst and former adviser to “moderate” President Khatami, the statement referred to the negotiations with the U.S., as “a Treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah, to be followed by a conquest of Mecca.” Hudaybiyyah refers to the treaty/armistice brokered by Muhammad, and then unilaterally broken by him, when his Muslim forces had achieved the tactical advantage.

Such willful ignorance didn’t always hold sway within our State Department. I highlighted an 1880 U.S. State Department monograph written to educate diplomats and other personnel assigned to areas controlled by the then Ottoman Empire. These didactic materials described Islam’s “international relations law,” i.e., the doctrine of jihad, and included specific information about “treaties,” from an Islamic, jihad war perspective.

From Hohmann’s analysis:

Ingrained in Islamic legal teaching

Dr. Andrew Bostom has studied Islamic jurisprudence for years and written five books about the history of jihad and Shariah, including “The Legacy of Jihad” and “Sharia Versus Freedom.”

Bostom addresses the principle of Hudaibiya as it relates to the current nuclear deal in his new book, “Iran’s Final Solution for Israel.” (Book cover image, here)

“It is a principle of Islamic law, that as a Muslim leader, as a Muslim society, you’re not supposed to sign a treaty for longer than 10 years. It is based on Muhammad,” Bostom told WND. “It’s a well-enshrined doctrine, and you are to enter into a deal like this only when you’re in a position of weakness.” The deal the Obama administration negotiated with Iran expires after 10 years. Iran has been under harsh economic sanctions for decades, and oil prices have fallen to the lowest level in a decade.

Bostom says all the classical Islamic jurists have accepted Hudaibiya as a binding principle. In fact, in December 2013, Iranian leaders talking about the negotiations with the six world powers were openly referring to Hudaibiyah. “In my book is a very pertinent example: Within three weeks of when the initial announcement was made in December 2013 about the plan to reach an agreement an adviser to former Iranian President Khatami actually invoked the treaty of Hudaibiyah,” he said. “So you can see how it’s used to illustrate exactly this deal.”

Bostom also documents in his book that the U.S. State Department has been aware of the Islamic view of treaties with non-Muslim countries since 1880: “Edward A. Van Dyck, then U.S. Consular Clerk at Cairo, Egypt, prepared a detailed report in August, 1880 on the history of the treaty arrangements (so-called ‘capitulations’) between the Muslim Ottoman Empire, European nations, and the much briefer U.S.-Ottoman experience. Van Dyck’s report – written specifically as a tool for State Department diplomats – opens with an informed, clear, and remarkably concise explanation of jihad and Islamic law.” (“Iran’s Final Solution for Israel,” Page 74) “The Muslim jurists teach that Muslim rulers are never to make a lasting peace with unbelievers but can only make temporary truces, ‘to be broken at the pleasure by the prince and in the interest of the believers,’” Van Dyck wrote in 1880, quoting from the works of Abu al-Hussein el-Quduri of the Hanafite School of doctors, who died in 1037 A.D.

“This is a cardinal principle of Islamic law, not just something from Muhammad’s lore or Muhammad’s past,” Bostom told WND. “This is Islamic law. Muhammad is just cited as the precedent for it, but it’s embedded in their law that you don’t engage in any sort of negotiation or treaty unless you’re in some position of weakness; otherwise, you just keep waging jihad.”

The 1880 State Department document “lays it all out there, all the facts,” Bostom said. “But that was back when we still had knowledgeable people, actually educated people, handling things in our government.”

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism " (Prometheus, November, 2008) You can contact Dr. Bostom at

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