Prophet Muhammad’s Rules of War

Epigraph:

But if they (enemies) desist, then surely Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until there is no persecution, and religion is freely professed for Allah. But if they (enemies) desist, then remember that no hostility is allowed except against the aggressors. (Al Quran 2:193-194)

Medina-Masjid-an-Nabawi-in-foreground

Mosque of Medina, first built by the Prophet Muhammad in 1 AH. The Muslim Times has the best collection about him

Source: The Huffington Post

, Author of, ‘The Wrong Kind of Muslim’

As the volatility between Israel and Gaza continues to transform, one constant remains: rising “collateral damage.” Unrest in Israel traces back six decades but the concept of collateral damage stretches back several millennia. And while in modern times we are allegedly “more civilized,” 11-month-old Omar Masharawi’s funeral, three dead Israelis, and a horrifying 120 killed Palestinians, tell a different story.

Prophet Muhammad is history’s first major figure to condemn collateral damage in word and deed. His advanced rules of war established 1,400 years ago a yet unmatched humanitarian standard. And herein lies the solution to modern conflict. The Quran first describes when fighting is permitted:

Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged… Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is God’ — And if God did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down temples and churches and synagogues and mosques… (22:40-41).

Thus, the permission — not commandment — to fight is defensive. And that fighting protects temples, churches, synagogues, and mosques — which is to say, universal religious freedom.

While critics and extremist groups both love to cite Quranic excerpts like “kill them where ye find them,” they ignore that such verses clearly refer to treatment of those who would violently persecute Christians, Jews, or any person because of his faith. Indeed, Muhammad commanded the following uncompromising rules of war:

O people! I charge you with ten rules; learn them well… for your guidance in the battlefield! Do not commit treachery, or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.

Thus, Muhammad’s rules of war permit defensive fighting against active combatants while forbidding harm to anyone or anything else — human, animal, or property.  Read further.

5 replies

  1. Thank you Dr. Shah for this much needed article not only for Israel but also for extremist Muslims who violate the rules of war laid down by the holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)almost every Muslim country and particularly in Pakistan, where apart from the above mentioned exceptions the rest places of dead people are not spare. I would like to post it on my website.

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