Foundations of the World Order: An Introduction to the Literature on the Circle of Justice
Composed of the terms circle and justice, the traces of the concept of the circle of justice are found in the pre-Sassanid Iranian, Mesopotamian and Indian sources. As formulated within the framework of justice, the concept is first found in Sirr al-Asrar, written during the Sassanid period and influenced by the Hellenic thought. Later, the concept is found in a transformed and enriched form in Islamic sources. In terms of its theoretical background and principles, the Circle of Justice is derived from the classical moral philoso phy and view of nature as well as cosmology and metaphysics. In political terms, on the other hand, it is a brief and useful expression of a power politics whose legitimacy comes from religion and law; social, economic and military power are dependent on land. The ultimate purpose of such politics is eternal sustainability, and its main instrument and basis is justice. Therefore, the Circle of Justice is one of the fundamental elements of the medieval political and moral philosophy. In this literature essay, we discuss the development of the short form of the the Circle of Justice in the Islamic political thought from an historical-descriptive, rather than theoretical-analytical, perpective from its inception to the end of the 16th century. We try to present in a detailed and comprehensive manner the different versions of this short form, its sources, main elements, definitions, the contexts in which it is used, the works that discuss it and their versions as well as the regions and states in which they were written. The specific aim of this article is to seek an answer to the following questions: How many versions does the short form of the circle of justice have? To whom are the sources of these versions attributed? How was the short form transferred to the Islamic political culture? What kind of books cite this short form in Islamic political literature? And when, where and for whom were they penned? How is the short form of the circle of justice defined in these books? What are the elements of this short form, and in what context these elements are discussed? The exploration of these questions reveals the fact that the short form of the circle of justice with all three versions of it was transferred from external sources into the Islamic culture. However, it is also clear that the concept was also adapted and transformed by Islamic sources thereby becoming more sophisticated and circulated among intellectuals
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