Ethics of War in Islam

  • | Friday, 28 September, 2018
Ethics of War in Islam

          Islam is a religion that promotes peace and peaceful coexistence among all mankind, and thus views the protection of the Muslim Ummah from any aggression as the principal reason behind waging any war against others, a fact which is crystal clear in the Quran; Allah, the Almighty, says: “And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.” (The Quran, 2:190) It is thus clear that war in Islam is conducted for a noble motive, which is the removal of oppression and injustice. In other words, it is only waged against those who commit aggression against Muslims.

     Even at times of wars, Islam proves no brutal religion; it obliges its followers to firmly abide by a number of ethics and principles not to be violated or broken under any reason or circumstance, as follows: -

1- Not to kill aged men;

2- Not to kill young infants;

3- Not to kill women;

4- Not to be dishonest about booty;

5- Not to mutilate the dead bodies of the enemies;

6- Not to bring harm to the trees or burn them with fire;

7- Not to slay any of the enemy’s flocks; and finally

8- Not to cause any harm to those people who devote their lives for to monastic services.

     Any Muslim army that was about to conduct war in the Cause of Allah used to receive these above-mentioned instructions from Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and even from his companions after his (PBUH) death. In this regard, Imam Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that he had heard that U‘mar Ibn A‘bd Al-A‘ziz wrote to one of his governors, "It has been passed down to us that when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, sent out a raiding party (an army or expedition), he would say to them, 'Make your raids in the Name of Allah in the Cause of Allah. Fight whoever denies Allah. Do not steal from the booty, and do not act treacherously. Do not mutilate and do not kill children.' Say the same to your armies and raiding parties, Allah willing. Peace be upon you." (Muwatta’)

     In conclusion, we strongly stress that the religion of Islam carries, in the very sense of the word, a message of mercy and peace for all humanity. Its ultimate objective is to foster peace, serenity, affection, kindness and mercy among all mankind, a fact which is crystal clear in the Quran: “O you men! Surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other …” (The Quran, 49:13)


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