Scholars have argued that the early theoretical and historical discourses concerning concepts of rebellion and political violence within Islam, specifically Sunni Islam, developed during a time of conflict within the early Islamic Community. In their quest for stability and desire for the preservation of order, early Muslim jurists used key moments in the history of the early Community, as well as doctrinal sources, in order to construct a theoretical discourse addressing rebellion and obedience to authority. Similar to the methods of the early jurists, the construction of contemporary discourses concerning obedience and rebellion have been used by modern Islamic scholars in order to confront issues involving protesting and political violence, especially as they relate to contemporary events such as socio-political movements, dissent, and notably, the Arab Uprisings. The purpose of this paper is to provide a survey of these pre-modern and contemporary discourses and how their contexts influence Islamic legal approaches.
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