Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought

 About the project

See bottom of page for information about this imageThe Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought (LIVIT) project is funded under the Global Uncertainties Programme of Research Councils UK. The Global Uncertainties Programme brings together research projects examining security issues and challenges, and within that programme, LIVIT aims to provide a historical perspective on the security issues raised by developments in Muslim thought on the justification for violence. 

The project’s studies will cluster around three interlinked themes:

  • violence and the state: when and how did the state become the justifying factor for violence in Islamic thought?
  • messianism and violence : how does the Muslim belief in the return and appearance of a messiah legitimise (or delegitimize) violent acts?
  • Jihad rhetoric in popular and scholarly Islam: to what extent are modern discussions on jihad linked to the pre-modern intellectual tradition?


The project’s activities include

  • regular workshops and conferences establishing an international network of scholars working on violence in the Muslim intellectual tradition
  • research papers, monographs and PhD research training examining Muslim notions of legitimate and illegitimate violence
  • policy papers and tailored events for organisations working outside of academia, and a regular blog on violence and its justification in Islamic thought.
  • establishing an online resource for researchers working on violence and its justification in Islamic thought

The project is directed by Professor Robert Gleave, and based at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK. 
The project team consists of Dr Istvan Kristo-Nagy (Research Fellow), two doctoral research students and a Visiting Fellow, Dr Saud Al-Sarhan.  More information about the project team can be found on the People page.


 Image from the Khaveranname, Iran, 882 AH. Tehran


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