A reading in the applied ibadi fiqh of international relations: The directive of imam al-salt (d. 275/888) to his army concerning socotra

Anke Iman Bouzenita*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The directive of the Omani Ibadi Imam al-Salt ibn Khamis al-Kharusi, read out to his army upon their deployment to the island of Socotra, is a document of 3rd/9th century Islamic international law. The local Christian community, being under covenant (dhimmah) with the Muslims, had broken their treaty by rebelling against Muslim rule and killing the Imam's governor. This article analyzes the available historical sources and the directive as contained in Tuhfat al-ayan bi-sirat ahl Uman, by the 13th/19th-century Omani scholar Imam al-Salimi. It covers questions of authorship, details surrounding the campaign, and Islamic rules on international relations according to the Ibadi school. It provides insight into military organization and administration in al-Salt's imamate and allows an assessment of Muslim-Christian and international relations as well as those between followers of Ibadism and other schools. Al-Salt's legacy sets high ethical standards for warfare and anticipates a number of deliberations commonly considered as modern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-45
Number of pages39
JournalIlahiyat Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Dhimmah
  • Ibadism
  • Imam al-Salt
  • International law
  • Oman
  • Socotra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Religious studies

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