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The Law of Peace & War In Islam

The Law of Peace & War In Islam

By

Muhammad Vandestra

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

THE LAW OF PEACE & WAR IN ISLAM

First edition. July 27, 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Muhammad Vandestra.

Written by Muhammad Vandestra.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Index of Page

Preface

Law of War & Peace In Islam

8 Rules of Engagement Taught by the Prophet Muhammad SAW

References

Author Bio

Index of Page

Preface

Law of Peace & War In Islam

8 Rules of Engagement Taught by the Prophet Muhammad SAW

References

Author Bio

Preface

In the days when Islam came into focus the world was completely unaware of the concept of humane and decent rules of war. The West became conscious of this concept for the first time through the works of the seventeenth century thinker, Grotius. But the actual codification of the ‘international law’ in war began in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Prior to this no concept of civilized behaviour in war was found in the West. All forms of barbarity and savagery were perpetrated in war, and the rights of those at war were not even recognized, let alone respected. The laws which were framed in this field during the nineteenth century or over the following period up to the present day cannot be called ‘laws’ in the real sense of the word.

They are only in the nature of conventions and agreements and calling them ‘international law’ is actually a kind of misnomer, because no nation regards them binding when they are at war, unless, of course, when the adversaries also agree to abide by them. In other words, these civilized laws imply that if our enemies respect them then we shall also abide by them, and if they ignore these human conventions and take recourse to barbaric and cruel ways of waging war, then we shall also adopt the same or similar techniques.

It is obvious that such a course which depends on mutual acceptance and agreement cannot be called 'law'. And this is the reason why the provisions of this so-called 'inter- national law' have been flouted and ignored in every way, and every time they have been revised, additions or deletions have been made in them.

The rules which have been framed by Islam to make war civilized and humane, are in the nature of law, because they are the injunctions of God and His Prophet which are followed by Muslims in all circumstances, irrespective of the behaviour of the enemy. It is now for the scholars to find out how far the West has availed of the laws of war given by Islam thirteen hundred years ago; and even after the adaptation of some of the laws of Islam how far the West attained those heights of civilized and humane methods of warfare which Muslims reached through the blessings of Islam.

Law of War & Peace In Islam

In the days when Islam came into focus the world was completely unaware of the concept of humane and decent rules of war. The West became conscious of this concept for the first time through the works of the seventeenth century thinker, Grotius. But the actual codification of the ‘international law’ in war began in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Prior to this no concept of civilized behaviour in war was found in the West. All forms of barbarity and savagery were perpetrated in war, and the rights of those at war were not even recognized, let alone respected. The laws which were framed in this field during the nineteenth century or over the following period up to the present day cannot be called ‘laws’ in the real sense of the word.

They are only in the nature of conventions and agreements and calling them ‘international law’ is actually a kind of misnomer, because no nation regards them binding when they are at war, unless, of course, when the adversaries also agree to abide by them. In other words, these civilized laws imply that if our enemies respect them then we shall also abide by them, and if they ignore these human conventions and take recourse to barbaric and cruel ways of waging war, then we shall also adopt the same or similar techniques.

It is obvious that such a course which depends on mutual acceptance and agreement cannot be called 'law'. And this is the reason why the provisions of this so-called 'inter- national law' have been flouted and ignored in every way, and every time they have been revised, additions or deletions have been made in them.

The rules which have been framed by Islam to make war civilized and humane, are in the nature of law, because they are the injunctions of God and His Prophet which are followed by Muslims in all circumstances, irrespective of the behaviour of the enemy. It is now for the scholars to find out how far the West has availed of the laws of war given by Islam thirteen hundred years ago; and even after the adaptation of some of the laws of Islam how far the West attained those heights of civilized and humane methods of warfare which Muslims reached through the blessings of Islam.

Western writers have often asserted that the Prophet had borrowed everything in his teachings from the Jews and the Christians. Instead of saying anything in its refutation I will only recommend the reader to refer to the Bible so that he can see which methods of war are recommended by the sacred Book of these Western claimants to civilization and culture.

We have examined in some detail the basic human rights that Islam has conferred on man. Let us now find out what rights and obligations Islam recognizes for an enemy.

The Rights of the Non-Combatants

Islam has first drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the non-combatants of the enemy country. As far as the non-combatant population is concerned such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., the instructions of the Prophet are as follows: “Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman” (Abu Dawud). “Do not kill the monks in monasteries” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship” (Musnad of Ibn Hanbal).

During a war, the Prophet saw the corpse of a woman lying on the ground and observed: “She was not fighting. How then she came to be killed?” From this statement of the Prophet the exegetists and jurists have drawn the principle that those who are non-combatants should not be killed during or after the war.

The Rights of the Combatants

Now let us see what rights Islam has conferred on the combatants.

1. Torture with Fire

In the hadith there is a saying of the Prophet that: “Punishment by fire does not behove anyone except the Master of the Fire” (Abu Dawud). The injunction deduced from this saying is that the adversary should not be burnt alive.

2. Protection of the Wounded

"Do not attack a wounded person"- thus said the Prophet. This means that the wounded soldiers who are not fit to fight, nor actually fighting, should not be attacked.

3. The Prisoner of War Should not be Slain

"No prisoner should be put to the sword" -a very clear and unequivocal instruction given by the Prophet .

4. No one Should be Tied to be Killed

“The Prophet has prohibited the killing of anyone who is tied or is in captivity.”

5. No Looting and Destruction in the Enemy’s Country

Muslims have also been instructed by the Prophet that if they should enter the enemy’s territory, they should not indulge in pillage or plunder nor destroy the residential areas, nor touch the property of anyone except those who are fighting with them. It has been narrated in the hadith: “The Prophet has prohibited the believers from loot and plunder” (al-Bukhari; Abu Dawud). His injunction is: “The loot is no more lawful than the carrion” (Abu Dawud).

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq used to instruct the soldiers while sending them to war, “Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle.” The booty of war which is acquired from the battleground is altogether different from this. It consists of the wealth, provisions and equipment captured only from the camps and military headquarters of the combatant armies.

6. Sanctity of Property

The Muslims have also been prohibited from taking anything from the general public of a conquered country without paying for it. If in a war the Muslim army occupies an area of the enemy country, and is encamped there, it does not have the right to use the things belonging to the people without their consent. If they need anything, they should purchase it from the local population or should obtain permission from the owners. Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, while instructing the Muslim armies being despatched to the battlefront would go to the extent of saying that Muslim soldiers should not even use the milk of the milk cattle without the permission of their owners.

7. Sanctity of a Dead Body

Islam has categorically prohibited its followers from disgracing or mutilating the corpses of their enemies as was practised in Arabia before the advent of Islam. It has been said in the hadith: "The Prophet has prohibited us from mutilating the corpses of the enemies" (al- Bukhari; Abu Dawud). The occasion on which this order was given is highly instructive. In the Battle of Uhud the disbelievers mutilated the bodies of the Muslims, who had fallen on the battlefield and sacrificed their lives for the sake of Islam, by cutting off their ears and noses, and threading them together to put round their necks as trophies of war.

The abdomen of Hamzah, the uncle of the Prophet, was ripped open by Quraysh, his liver was taken out and chewed by Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Meccan army. The Muslims were naturally enraged by this horrible sight. But the Prophet asked his followers not to mete out similar treatment to the dead bodies of the enemies. This great example of forbearance and restraint is sufficient to convince any reasonable man who is not blinded by prejudice or bias, that Islam is really the religion sent down by the Creator of the universe, and that if human emotions had any admission in Islam, then this horrible sight on the battlefield of Uhud would have provoked the Prophet to order his followers to mutilate the bodies of their enemy in the same manner.

8. Return of Corpses of the Enemy

In the Battle of Ahzab a very renowned and redoubtable warrior of the enemy was killed and his body fell down in the trench which the Muslims had dug for the defence of Medina. The unbelievers presented ten thousand dinars to the Prophet and requested that the dead body of their fallen warrior may be handed over to them. The Prophet replied “I do not sell dead bodies. You can take away the corpse of your fallen comrade.”

9. Prohibition of Breach of Treaties

Islam has strictly prohibited treachery. One of the instructions that the Prophet used to give to the Muslim warriors while sending them to the battlefront was: “Do not be guilty of breach of faith.” This order has been repeated in the Holy Quran and the hadith again and again, that if the enemy acts treacherously let him do so, you should never go back on your promise. There is a famous incident in the peace treaty of Hudaybiyyah, when after the settlement of the terms of the treaty, Abu Jandal, the son of the emissary of the unbelievers who had negotiated this treaty with the Muslims, came, fettered and blood-stained, rushing to the Muslim camp and crying for help.

The Prophet told him “Since the terms of the treaty have been settled, we are not in a position to help you out. You should go back with your father. God will provide you with some other opportunity to escape this persecution.” The entire Muslim army was deeply touched and grieved at the sad plight of Abu Jandal and many of them were moved to tears. But when the Prophet declared that “We cannot break the agreement”, not even a single person came forward to help the unfortunate prisoner, so the unbelievers forcibly dragged him back to Makkah. This is an unparalleled example of the observance of the terms of agreement by the Muslims, and Islamic history can show many examples of a similar nature.

10. Rules About Declaration of War

It has been laid down in the Holy Quran:

“If you apprehend breach of treaty from a people, then openly throw the treaty at their faces” (8:58).

In this verse, Muslims have been prohibited from opening hostilities against their enemies without properly declaring war against them, unless of course, the adversary has already started aggression against them. Otherwise the Quran has clearly given the injunction to Muslims that they should intimate to their enemies that no treaty exists between them, and they are at war with them.

The present day ‘international law’ has also laid down that hostilities should not be started without declaration of war, but since it is a man-made rule, they are free to violate it whenever it is convenient. On the other hand, the laws for Muslims have been framed by God, hence they cannot be violated.

8 Rules of Engagement Taught by the Prophet Muhammad SAW

Extremism ‘experts’ are everywhere these days. Assertions thrive about what Shariah law allows, especially when it comes to warfare and ‘Jihad’. Two very unlikely bedfellows, Islamophobes and extremists, have taken up one allegation, that Islam is violent, and run with it. They both misquote Islamic sources to prove their shared fantasies, and to good effect, with media outlets falling over themselves to give them a platform. This convenient lie has become the Blood Libel of the Muslims, which is spread by various groups to achieve their own agendas.

So here is a list of actual rules of engagement taken from Islamic law, together with their original sources. This is what forms the basis of what Muslims believe and follow. These 8 laws expose the ‘Islam is violent’ line as lazy and shamefully dishonest.

N.B. War is unfortunately an inevitable part of civilization and at times countries need to respond to aggression. Islam allows the use of force to stop evil and bring security to a country’s citizens therefore a set of laws pertaining to war has been laid out by the Prophet Muhammad himself.

What follows are mainstream laws of Islam as taught by the orthodoxy of the religion. This is what the vast majority of Muslims around the world observe as their religion. It does not mean however, that all those who claim to be Muslim actually follow orthodox Shariah laws. Such groups and individuals would rightly be labelled as heretics for inventing new beliefs that run counter to explicit statements found in original sources of Islamic law.

To begin with, all the following laws of war revolve around these overarching statements in the Qur’an that acts as a general rule:

And fight in the way of God those that fight you, but do not transgress, for indeed God does not like the transgressors. [Qur’an 2: 190]

God does not prohibit you from showing kindness and being just with those who do not fight you nor have driven you out of your homes. Indeed God loves those who are just. [Qur’an 60: 8]

The first verse forms the basis of all Islamic laws relating to fighting, i.e. you are allowed to fight those that fight you, but not to tyrannize those who have done you no harm. The second one goes further and explains that, not only is fighting innocent civilians forbidden, but Muslims are ordered to be kind and just with those who did no harm to them. It is these verses that inform all other laws of engagement, which are as follows:

1. The prohibition of killing women and children

Anas ibn Malik reports that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) forbade the killing of women and children. [Muslim: 4320]

This instruction of the Prophet became a universally accepted law in Islam, and it has been the practice of the Muslims throughout history. It is because Muslims obeyed this law that we never saw Islamic equivalents of things like the Spanish Inquisition or the slaughter of civilians during the Crusades, even after the Muslims reclaimed Jerusalem.

Or closer to our time, the genocide that Europeans exported to other continents, such as North and South America and Australia, or the widespread slaughter of humans during the 1st and 2nd ‘World War’, which was mainly a European feud. None of these have comparable Muslim examples, and it’s because of the Prophet’s advice.

2. Killing of non-combatants such as old people, monks and workers is explicitly forbidden in Islamic scripture

Ibn Abbas narrates that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said to an outgoing army, “Leave in the name of God, and upon the way of his messenger. Do not kill any old person”. [Al-Bayhaqi: 16689]

Ibn Abbas also narrates from the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, “Do not ever kill the people living in towers (i.e. monks). [Nayl al-Awtar: 3324]

Rabah ibn Rabee’ says he left in an expedition with the prophet (peace be upon him), who went up to Khalid ibn Walid [his general] and said “Do not kill the workers / wage earners [i.e. those workers not fighting you]”. [Ahmad: 15562]

The above hadiths are the words of the Prophet himself, explicitly banning the harm of those who fall into the broader classification of non-combatants. These traditions specify that the old who cannot participate in any aggression, the monks who have forsaken any interest in worldly life, and those regular workers that are not involved in politics or war are to be left alone. Furthermore, Muslim scholars have used these traditions to deduce through analogy, that more groups stand protected by Islamic law.

3. The prohibition of hurting the disabled and infirm

The blind, the infirm and the monks are not to be killed according to Islamic legal scholars as they are not from among the combatants, similar to the old person. [Al-Mugni: 7612]

This is the statement of ibn Qudamah, the compiler of Islamic jurisprudence, who can be likened to Maimonides in Judaism or St Augustine in Christianity in terms of their influence and acclaim. Here you can see that he has deduced from the words of the Qur’an and Hadith laws to protect other groups not explicitly mentioned, but are understood through inference. This is stated in the book Al-Mughni, which is described as the ultimate book to Shariah law.

In addition to banning various types of killings, the Prophet goes further to include more restrictions on the way Muslims engage in war.

4. Islam prohibits the mutilation of dead combatants

Sulaiman bin Buraid through his father reports that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as a leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and to be good to the Muslims who were with him. He would say:

“Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah… do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children. [Muslim 4294]

This order is not concerning civilians but dead combatants. The Prophet taught Muslims to respect even dead enemy soldiers who were fighting against the Muslims just before their death. This was when it was common practice among the pagans of Makkah to disfigure dead enemy soldiers after the battle was over. In addition to dead enemy soldiers, there are also clear instructions of how to treat enemy soldiers that are still alive.

5. The Qur’an commands Muslims to show mercy to those combatants who surrender

And if one of the disbelievers surrenders and pleads mercy, then show mercy so that they can hear the words of Allah, and then allow him to go back to his place of safety. [Qur’an 9: 5]

Verses like these are regularly overlooked by both the Islamophobe when they quote certain verses in isolation to the broader message of the Qur’an, as well as extremists who try to convince Muslims that Islam demands merciless violence and claim that anyone who disagrees are not real Muslims.

In fact, the most popularly quoted verse used to make Islam appear uber violent is, “And fight them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out” [Qur’an 2: 192]. This verse comes straight after the one quoted in the beginning of this article, (“And fight in the way of God those that fight you, but do not transgress”). However when taken on its own, without looking at what proceeded it, “them” in this verse could be understood as anyone and everyone, not just “those fighting you”.

So Islamophobes and extremists seem to misquote the same verses and choose to ignore the same ones, arguing the same lazy lie. Unfortunately for them, the sources of Islamic law say otherwise.

6. Treatment of prisoners of war

And they give food, in spite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to the Miskeen (the poor), the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): ‘We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you”. [Qur’an 76:8-9]

Ibn ‘Abbas said: in those days their prisoners were mushrikeen (polytheists; on the day of Badr the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) commanded them to be kind to their prisoners, so they used to put them before themselves when it came to food… Mujahid said, this refers to the one who is detained, i.e., they would give food to these prisoners even though they themselves desired it and loved it. [Tafsir ibn Kathir: Al-Insan]

In Islam, prisoners of war are treated with dignity and care. Islam introduced such rules of war 1400 years ago while the Geneva convention only decided to outlaw torture in 1977. And just like the clear cut rulings of Islam have had no affect on the actions of terror groups that claim to be Muslim, similarly the Geneva convention has not stemmed the torture and abuse by western nations in recent history.

7. Even the cutting of trees, destroying surroundings and killing animals without reason is illegal

Abu Bakr said, “I advise you, do not cut the fruitful trees, or destroy homes. And do not wound the sheep, goats or cattle except to for eating”. [Al-Muwatta: 949]

This ruling, as ordered by the first and most important of the rightly-guided Caliphs sets the precedence for Muslim army conduct in foreign lands. This statement is part of a longer speech delivered to Muslim army generals who were about to set off for war against the Roman empire. There is no ‘shock and awe’ tactics which armies new and old employ, where infrastructure and civilian populations are terrorised into surrendering.

*8. There can be no forced conversion *

Let there be no compulsion in religion – Truth stands out clear from Error! Whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. [Quran 2: 256]

As concise an instruction as can be; this one verse has stopped any attempt by Muslim armies to try and force people to accept Islam. Although Islam is indeed a missionary religion that seeks to win over followers, forced conversions are not counted.

There can never be a Spanish Inquisition in Islam. Simply because it won’t count. Islam can only be spread through strong arguments and debate, and it can only be embraced through sincere acceptance of the facts. So no, Islam did not, and could not have spread through the sword.

So there you have it, the rules of engagement of Islam, straight from words of the Prophet Muhammad and Shariah Law. It doesn’t sound nearly as bad as either the right-wing media or an ignorant extremist would have you think, right? That’s because there is a big difference between mainstream beliefs and practices of Islam which have been set in stone for 1400 years, and lazy tabloid readings of isolated quotes.

One thing is for sure, the Islamophobes who declare Islam to be barbaric and the isolated extremists dreaming up their own versions of Islam are two sides of the same coin. They both benefit from twisting scripture, and they both stand condemned as frauds when presented with the evidence from the sources of Islamic Law. With this knowledge at hand, you stand better equipped than 99% of the so-called experts out there, so use this information and spread it. Hopefully we will soon see a tide of unemployed ‘extremism experts’ lining up outside the job centre, where our trusted Job Centres will help them find real jobs.

References

Holt, P.M; Lewis, Bernard (1977a). Cambridge History of Islam, Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-29136-4.

Watt, W. Montgomery (1973). The Formative Period of Islamic Thought. University Press Edinburgh. ISBN 0-85224-245-X.

Weiss, Bernard G. (2002). Studies in Islamic Legal Theory. Boston: Brill Academic publishers. ISBN 90-04-12066-1.

Malik, Jamal; Hinnells, John R (2006). Sufism in the West. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-27408-7.

Lalljee, compiled by Yousuf N. (1993). Know your Islam (3rd ed.). New York: Taknike Tarsile Quran. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-940368-02-6.

Mehar, Iftikhar Ahmed (2003). Al-Islam: Inception to Conclusion. AL-ISLAM. ISBN 9781410732729.

Firestone, Reuven (1990). Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis. Albany, NY: State University of NY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-0331-0.

Author Bio

Muhammad Vandestra has been a columnist, health writer, soil scientist, magazine editor, web designer & kendo instructor. A writer by day and reader by night, he is loathe to discuss himself in the third person, but can be persuaded to do so from time to time. He lives in West Jakarta City.

Muhammad Vandestra merupakan seorang kolumnis, editor majalah, perancang web & instruktur kendo. Seorang penulis pada siang hari dan pembaca di malam hari, Ia menulis buku fiksi dan non-fiksi untuk anak-anak dan dewasa. Dia tinggal di Kota Jakarta Barat.

Email: [email protected]

Blog: vandestra.blogspot.com


The Law of Peace & War In Islam

In the days when Islam came into focus the world was completely unaware of the concept of humane and decent rules of war. The West became conscious of this concept for the first time through the works of the seventeenth century thinker, Grotius. But the actual codification of the 'international law' in war began in the middle of the nineteenth century. Prior to this no concept of civilized behaviour in war was found in the West. All forms of barbarity and savagery were perpetrated in war, and the rights of those at war were not even recognized, let alone respected. The laws which were framed in this field during the nineteenth century or over the following period up to the present day cannot be called 'laws' in the real sense of the word. They are only in the nature of conventions and agreements and calling them 'international law' is actually a kind of misnomer, because no nation regards them binding when they are at war, unless, of course, when the adversaries also agree to abide by them. In other words, these civilized laws imply that if our enemies respect them then we shall also abide by them, and if they ignore these human conventions and take recourse to barbaric and cruel ways of waging war, then we shall also adopt the same or similar techniques. It is obvious that such a course which depends on mutual acceptance and agreement cannot be called 'law'. And this is the reason why the provisions of this so-called 'inter- national law' have been flouted and ignored in every way, and every time they have been revised, additions or deletions have been made in them. The rules which have been framed by Islam to make war civilized and humane, are in the nature of law, because they are the injunctions of God and His Prophet which are followed by Muslims in all circumstances, irrespective of the behaviour of the enemy. It is now for the scholars to find out how far the West has availed of the laws of war given by Islam thirteen hundred years ago; and even after the adaptation of some of the laws of Islam how far the West attained those heights of civilized and humane methods of warfare which Muslims reached through the blessings of Islam.

  • ISBN: 9781370029778
  • Author: Dragon Promedia
  • Published: 2017-07-27 22:05:09
  • Words: 4467
The Law of Peace & War In Islam The Law of Peace & War In Islam