Practice of “Hisba”


Imad Alhajj will write a case study on HisbaHisba is Arabic and means to recompense. In Islamic legal literature (Fiqh), Hisba relates to the sense of duty of every Muslim to promote good and forbid evil. It is regarded as a religious duty in the context of moral behaviour in any Islamic legal-based constitution. In the social realm, Hisba describes the person who is entrusted with the application of this rule, the supervision of moral behaviour, and more particularly of the markets.

Hisba is a monitoring regime mediating between rulers and society. It touches and deals with individual freedoms. ISIS, for example, harshly restricted women’s movement and clothing. Those rules were enforced violently, as a case that took place in the summer of 2016 in Deir Ez-Zor province may illustrate. Six women were put into so-called Iron Cages, some were beaten with lashes, or their husbands were beaten with lashes on their behalf. These practices were not merely public humiliations and, therefore, violence against individuals. Those punishments also had collective elements. They were done in public spaces, and others were forced to watch. Thus, Hisba was used as a practice of coercion and control.


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