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(1) Arabic term connoting a particular manner of conduct as recorded in the biography of an exemplary person. The singular form (sirah) usually refers to the biography of Muhammad. The plural form (siyar) is used for the exemplary lives of saints, typically found in collective biographies or biographical dictionaries, as well as for the history of political campaigns. (2) Conduct of state in relation to other communities. Technical meaning acquired by the term in the second century of Islam, as popularized by scholars of Hanafi jurisprudence, especially al-Shaybani (d. 804). Includes conduct of war, conduct of believers in their relations with nonbelievers in enemy territory, and conduct of believers with whom they have entered into treaties. Today the term refers generally to international law (Arabic qanun al-dawli).

Subjects: Islam.

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