Islamic perspective on war: Ethics & Rules (Part 1)

Islam is a religion that promotes peace, as well as love and respect. Not only does it help us approach problems, but it shows us how to behave and engage in positive activities on a day-to-day basis. Most importantly, Islam has also connected worldly affairs and human behavior without turning a blind eye on the hereafter and the next world. Today’s article focuses on the Islamic perspective on war, as well as the ethics and rules that makes it one of the noblest forms of war fares and was legislated for defending human rights, preventing injustice and oppression and preserving human rights.

The following are some of the results and consequences which are sought out of war from an Islamic point of view:

#1.Disciplining the self to get accustomed to chivalry, knighthood and nobility.

#2.Setting freedom and justice for all people regardless of their religious affiliation or creedal beliefs.

#3.Spreading the merciful message of Islam which encompasses beauty, goodness and righteousness.

#4.Giving priorities to public issues over personal interests.

#5.Achieving deterrence force to secure people in their lands.

If we take a look at Prophet Muhammed’s (may Allah continue to shower his blessings upon him) biography, we will realize that the prophet didn’t pick up an axe until he had no other peaceful option but to. Prophet Muhammed’s tribe, Quraysh, we very aggressive towards Muslims. They kept chasing Muslims out of their properties just because they chose to embrace Islam over their religion. The prophet had no other option but to fight back.

Allah SWT has forbade us from fighting, and told us to find more peaceful alternatives instead of war. Allah The Most Gracious told Prophet Muhammed:  “Don’t wish to meet the enemy but if you meet them, be patient” (Muslim). This shows how much Islam is a religion of peace and teaches us how to maintain peace in our daily lives.

The main reason why the Muslims decided to fight back was to preserve human rights and dignity. And never was this more apparent than in the Quran when God described the type of war that He approves of by attaching the attribute of (fi Sabil Allah) which means for the sake of God. Meaning that war should not occur as a result of selfishness, but because of human value and general interest.

Some of the reasons for going to war in Islam are as follow:

#1. Fighting for one’s life and retaliating against aggression. Not only does this law apply to Muslims, but to non-Muslims as well. The Shari’ah law couldn’t keep Muslims from responding back to aggression. However, Shari’ah with all its rulings in entirety revolves around the human being and its higher objectives are all about preserving his life, religion, dignity, mind and possessions. God says in the Quran:

“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors”. 2:190 and says, “Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” 60:9

#2. Responding to aggression and assaulting of one Muslim group on another Muslim group. Allah says,

“And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah . And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” 49:9

#3. Fighting those who cut off roads and raise their weapons on Muslims and loot their money. Those muggers should be prevented in all ways even through fighting. God says,

“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment” 5:33

#4. Protecting homeland and assisting persecuted Muslims anywhere in the world. All Islamic countries from the Islamic perspective are but one country which should be protected. God says,

“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?” 4:75

#5. Ensuring that the message of Allah (SWT) and his prophet (pbuh) is spread across the world for people to know. So it is a duty for Muslims to pass on the message to as many people as they can, and also respect that everyone shouldn’t be forced to believe or choose someone else’s beliefs. Allah said in the Qur’an:

“Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah . But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.” 2:193

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