Justice: Fighting Those Who Rebel Against The Caliph

This is another article in the chapter Justice 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.


06.1 When a group of Muslims rebel against the caliph (khalifa, def: 025) and want to over- throw him, or refuse to fulfill an obligation imposed by Sacred Law such as zakat, and rise in armed insurrection, he sends someone to them and redresses their grievances if possible.

If they obdurately refuse to obey him (0: no matter whether he is just or unjust, as Nawawi mentions in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, citing the consensus of Muslims (ijma’, def: b7) that it is unlawful to revolt against caliphs and fight them, even if they are corrupt), he fights them with (0: military) weaponry that does not cause general destruction, as do fire and mangonel (0: for the aim is to suppress them, not destroy them), and does not pursue those who retreat, or kill the wounded.

06.2 There is no financial responsibility for what they destroy of ours nor what we destroy of theirs in such military action.

06.3 They are subject to Islamic laws (0: because they have not committed an act that puts them outside of Islam that they should be considered non-Muslims. Nor are they considered morally corrupt, for rebels is not a pejorative term, but rather they merely have a mistaken understanding), and the decisions of their Islamic judge are considered legally effective (0: provided he does not declare the lives of upright Muslims (def: 024.4) to be justly forfeitable) if they are such as would be effective if made by our own judge.

06.4 If they do not rebel by war, the caliph may not fight them.


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