This is another article in the section Jihad from the classical manual on Sharia called Reliance of the Traveller. The articles are posted one by one in the order they are given in the book.
09.16 (0: As for truces, the author does not mention them. In Sacred Law truce means a peace treaty with those hostile to Islam, involving a cessation of fighting for a specified period, whether for payment or something else. The scriptural basis for them includes such Koranic verses as:
(1) “An acquittal from Allah and His messenger…” (Koran 9:1);
(2) “If they incline towards peace, then incline towards it also” (Koran 8:61);
as well as the truce which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made with Quraysh in the year of Hudaybiya, as related by Bukhari and Muslim.
Truces are permissible, not obligatory. The only one who may effect a truce is the Muslim ruler of a region (or his representative) with a segment of the non-Muslims of the region, or the caliph (025) (or his representative). When made with other than a portion of the non-Muslims, or when made with all of them, or with all in a particular region such as India or Asia Minor, then only the caliph (or his representative) may effect it, for it is a matter of the gravest consequence because it entails the nonperformance of jihad, whether globally or in a given locality, and our interests must be looked after therein, which is why it is best left to the caliph under any circumstances, or to someone he delegates to see to the interests of the various regions.
There must be some interest served in making a truce other than mere preservation of the status quo. Allah Most High says,
“So do not be fainthearted and call for peace, when it is you who are the uppermost” (Koran 47:35).
Interests that justify making a truce are such things as Muslim weakness because of lack of numbers or materiel, or the hope of an enemy becoming Muslim, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce in the year Mecca was liberated with Safwan ibn Umayya for four months in hope that he would become Muslim, and he entered Islam before its time was up.
If the Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud. It is not permissible to stipulate longer than that, save by means of new truces, each of which does not exceed ten years.
The rulings of such a truce are inferable from those of the non-Muslim poll tax (def: 011); namely, that when a valid truce has been effected, no harm may be done to non-Muslims until it expires.)