Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law

Publication Year



Khaled Abou El Fadl's book represents the first systematic examination of the idea and treatment of political resistance and rebellion in Islamic law. Pre-modern jurists produced an extensive and sophisticated discourse on the legality of rebellion and the treatment due to rebels under Islamic law. The book examines the emergence and development of these discourses from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries, and considers juristic responses to the various terror-inducing strategies employed by rebels--including assassination, stealth attacks and rape. The study demonstrates how Muslim jurists went about restructuring several competing doctrinal sources in order to construct a highly technical discourse on rebellion. Indeed many of these rulings may have a profound influence on contempoary practices. This is an important and challenging book which sheds light on the complexities of Islamic law, and pre-modern attitudes to dissidence and rebellion.

  • A systematic treatment of the idea of political resistance and rebellion in Islamic law
  • Appeals to a wide range of readers including students of Islamic law, historians and political scientists
  • Broad-ranging account placed in its historical and legal context

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgments
1. Modern scholarship and reorienting the approach to rebellion
2. The doctrinal foundations of the laws of rebellion
3. The historical context and the creative response
4. The rise of the juristic discourse on rebellion: fragmentation
5. The spread of the Islamic law of rebellion from the fourth/tenth to the fifth/eleventh centuries
6. Rebellion, insurgency and brigandage: the developed positions and the emergence of trends
7. The developed non-Sunni positions
8. Negotiating rebellion in Islamic law
Works cited

Reviews & endorsements

"He has made Rebellion and Violence the sort of book i wish scholars outside of our field would read. It wonderfully imparts a sense of the subtlety and sophistication-and, surprisingly perhaps, given the subject matter, the humanity-of juristic discourse in the Islamic tradition."
Joseph E. Lowry, Journal of Near Eastern Studies

Cambridge University Press
Cambridge and New York
Cloth: 0521793114; paper: 9780521030571