Table of Contents
War, sometimes is inevitable. Yet, Muslims have been taught some of the golden rules of war in Islam.
Fight in the cause of Allah ˹only˺ against those who wage war against you. – Al-Baqarah 2:190
Presenting 5 options before War
As per the rules of war taught by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Muslims are required to present 5 options to Non-Muslims before the start of the war.
- Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them.
- Invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of the Muhajireen and inform them that, if they do so, they shall have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhajireen.
- Let them stay where they are but they will be subjected to the Commands of Allah like other Muslims, but they will not get any share from the spoils of war or Fai’ except when they actually fight with the Muslims (Surrender).
- Demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands.
- If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.
Don’t kill women and children
A Muslim warrior is not allowed to kill a child or woman during wartime. History shows other civilizations would genocide women and children, while Muslims are not like that.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ forbade the killing of women and children. – Sahih Muslim 1744b
Don’t kill old people and monks
The Muslims have been instructed by their beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that they shall not kill any of the old people during a war. They shall not hurt those who do not engage in a war against them.
Such people include the locals who are wage earners and those who seek shelter and peace by hiding in towers. Monks, who have no interest in worldly life, shall not be hurt.
Killing disabled people
A disabled person cannot combat and defend himself and thereby a Muslim cannot kill them during a war. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had instructed us to leave aside the disabled while in war, as he instructed us to leave aside women, children, the old, and monks.
Respecting the dead
One of the pieces of advice that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would always give to a commander while he was to leave for the battlefield was not to disrespect the ones who had died.
It is often seen that the warriors would tear apart the dead ones; they would disrespect the dead ones. Muslims are forbidden to do so!
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: Do not mutilate (the dead) bodies. – Sahih Muslim 1731a
Terms of surrender
If the enemy surrenders, the Muslims cannot and shall not kill them or be violent to them. Rather it is asked to be merciful to them and allow them to reach their place safely. This would help to change their hearts towards Islam!
Be kind to war prisoners
Allah Almighty has asked Muslims to treat the prisoners of war with kindness. The Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ thereby asked the Muslims to generously treat the prisoners of the war of Badr.
Give food—despite their desire for it—to the poor, the orphan, and the captive – Al-Insan 76:8
Don’t be destructive
During the war, warriors tend to destroy the surroundings: they put things on fire, cut down trees, and destroy houses. Yet a Muslim warrior would never do so as he is instructed by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that they shall not cut a tree or even wound a goat except for eating purposes.
No forced conversion
Nobody, be it a captive or free person, shall be forced to convert to Islam. Islam tends to inspire followers not force them.