Muslim Discourse on Rebellion

| January 2014
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Within Islamic thought, the judgments pertaining to rebels constitute a subset of the larger category of “judgments pertaining to armed struggle” (ahkam al-jihad). Indeed, one might refer to the latter as the overarching name for a Muslim war convention, which would then include judgments pertaining to military actions intended to: (a) extend or enhance the territory in which Islam provides governance or serves as the established religion of state; (b) defend the Islamic territory against invaders; and (c) regulate the relations between various groups within the territory of Islam, including (i) ahl al-dhimma, the “protected” class of non-Muslims (Christians, Jews, and others), (ii) apostates (Muslims who stand accused of abandoning Islam), (iii) highwaymen and other renegades, and (iv) secessionists and rebels (ahl al-khawarij wa al-bughat).

As we consider Muslim discourse about rebellion, it is worth summarizing some of the salient features of this latter tradition.

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Category: Issue 27.4, Roundtable: The Ethics of Rebellion

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