• A set of conflicts that appear to deny important
aspects of the just war and jihad traditions.
• Some examples: rebellions, revolutions and
• These challenge traditions that political
authorities gave right to them.
• “Soldiers without portfolio” present an important
challenge for traditions that try to include moral
• A German immigrant who
wrote a study of ethics.
• He was legal advisor to
the Union General
• Wrote General Orders
– Related just war
tradition to modern
• “Just war thinking attempts
to apply a noble sentiment
that men who take up arms
against one another in
public war do not cease on
that account to moral
beings, responsible to one
another and to God,” (78).
• He believed that “public
war” involved armed men
who were authorized to use
their weapons by political
• Believed that those
who fought irregular
– Are a threat to tradition
of just and limited
– Lack right authority.
– Engage in
tactics like deception.
Just rebellion cannot be
Believed that in times of long
deprivation there will be an
Citizens have a right to protect
themselves and their property.
“Guerillas” or “Freedom
Fighters” are treated as
But changes in law don’t do
away with morals of irregular
• Ali’s rule marked a
crucial point in Islam
– Time of the first fitna,
“testing of Muslim’s
– Muslim community
was divided over who
should be the leader.
• Thrust in the Qur’an
distinctions in status
couldn’t be tied to
• Islamic community
was a new type of
Irregular War in the Tradition of
• War should be an activity governed by
• Wars are intended for religious approved
• They should limit the occasion and
damage of war.
• Notion that war is governed by rules is
Treatment of Muslim Rebels
• Stems from Ali’s comments and Practice.
• Rulers must respect that combatants are
Muslim and must be treated as such.
• Any taken as a prisoner of war must not
• No rebel is to lose their property as a
result of war.
Resorting to Violence Against Rebels More
Tightly Governed Than in the Case of Jihad
• Just Cause
• Action taken to initiate
• Goal of Action
• Reconcile differences with
• Peace, not oppression or
• Reflection of Qur'an 49:910: suggest to peace, fight
as a duty to Allah, above all
Discussion Among Classical
• Lieber: "Muslims who take up arms
against one another in public war do not
cease on that account to be members of a
community, responsible to God and the
example of the Prophet" (86).
“Just Rebellion” According to
• Set of criteria to distinguish uprisings.
1. Rebellions for the common good,
demonstrated by Ali’s example.
2. Spreading of corruption in which rebels act
3. Apostasy in which rebels act in ways of
characteristic of treason.
Approach to Irregular War
• May dislike leader and
disapprove of leader's
• Remain obedient and fulfill
duty as a Muslim regardless
unless asked to disobey
• -"Fulfill the oath of
allegiance to each and give
them their due, for God will
question them about what
He asked them to guard"
• Almost never justified.
• Though there are harsh rulers the Muslim
community should never engage in active
• Should obey commands even if they are
• The only time rebellion is justified is there
is a disobedience to God.
Must be an act of resistance to the
ruler or his designated
– Ex: Refuse to pay taxes
The rebel cause must be based
on al-ta’wil (interpretation of Islam
– Ex: the Quar’an
Demonstrate a sizable and
All three requirements must be
met to be classify someone as a
• Rebels: status on a group actively
engaged in opposition to an established
• Khaled Abou El Fadl: “The bughat
[Rebels] are not responsible for any
destruction of property or life if such
destruction occurs in the course of the
• “Does this mean that the Rebels justify
their actions and excuse their decisions if
it means fighting for what they think is right
and opposing their customs”
• Thin line between justified rebellion and
reason with anti-Muslim murals