Islamic perspective on war: Ethics & Rules (Part 3)

The following is a continuation of the ethics and rules governing Islamic Perspective on war, guiding us on a straight path and promoting peace amongst us.

#1. Forbidding mutilation of corpse and burning people alive:

Allah (SWT) has prohibited us from fighting to treat the other party with an equal treatment similar to that with which they treat us. Allah Almighty said in the Qur’an:

“the sacred month, and for [all] violations is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.” 2:194

Therefore, Muslim are forbidden from violating any violate human sanctity and transgress against ethical values. Moreover, if the enemy is found guilty of violating the sanctity of women or mutilate the bodies of the dead, we are not allowed to conform with or respond back with equal brutality which reveals nothing but warped minds and corrupted hearts. Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) summoned his leaders and said “Don’t exaggerate, or betray or mutilate” and in another hadith the Prophet said, “Don’t torture people”.

#2. Protecting the right of civilians and those whom Muslims vowed to protect:God says:

“In the event a fare is waged between Muslims and another country, the people of that ountry should be protected by all means. Allah (SWT) said “And if anyone of the Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) seeks your protection then grant him protection, so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Qur’an), and then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know not.”(9:6)

#3. Hastening in accepting invitations for peace once the enemy leans towards it:Allah says in the Quran:

“But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”(8:61)

If the enemy surrenders or decides to end the war, the Muslims should stop the war by all means and reiterate . Allah (SWT) said in the Qur’an, “And fight them until there is no more dissension and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allah (Alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)” (2:193)

Moral ethics after the cessation of fighting

#1. Prevention of plundering or brutal and barbaric acts:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was on a journey with his companions for miles. Along the way, they felt completely exhausted and saw a herd of goats. Due to their hunger, the Prophets companions decided to slaughter the goats and eat them to survive. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw what they were doing, he intervened by and extinguished the fire of the pots with his bow and threw dust on meat saying “plundering is not less prohibited than eating the meat of dead animals” (Abu Dawud).

#2. Fulfilling vows:

God says in the Quran, “And fulfill the Covenant of Allah (Bai’a: pledge for Islam) when you have covenanted, and break not the oaths after you have confirmed them, and indeed you have appointed Allah your surety. Verily! Allah knows what you do. (16:91) and also says, “…And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily! the covenant, will be questioned about.” (17:34)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Whoever has a covenant with a group of people should not pull the knot or untie it unless the due date of the covenant comes up…” (Abu Dawud)

#3. Mercy in treating war captives and forbidding any assaults on them:

Muslims should treat war captives with mercy and respect. Allah said, “And they give food, inspite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to Miskin (poor), the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): “We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you.” (76:8-9)


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