This is my translation of a recent publication by Chechen human rights activist and dissident Mairbek Taramov for IPVNews.org.
Numerous photos and videos made by ISIS operators caused a worldwide uproar. Mass shooting of half-naked people lying flat on sun-baked ground, cutting throats, let alone beatings and humiliation. Their victims are POWs and civilians of different religious beliefs. Here we see shocking footage of execution of American and British journalists with throats being slashed. And all that is being done by people who call themselves Muslims. How such atrocities relate to Islam really?
Any Muslim says in the beginning of a new deed should say “Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim” (“In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”). Do ISIS combatants say this before their mass murders and how the latter are related to mercy?
(Here and onwards in this text, Mr. Taramov points to verified russian translations of Qur’an and theologist commentaries. My translation has matching quotes from original acknowledged English versions.)
Surah 47, ayah 4-6:
“So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds.
He will guide them and amend their condition
And admit them to Paradise, which He has made known to them.”
Beware, that is only rules of the war where both sides have the same goal (crush the enemy and win). Apparently more humane than Geneva convention.
Yusuf Ali commentaries:
“4820 When once the fight (Jihad) is entered upon, carry it out with the utmost vigour, and strike home your blows at the most vital points (smite at their necks), both literally and figuratively. You cannot wage war with kid gloves.
4821 In the first onset there must necessarily be great lass of life; but when the enemy is fairly beaten, which means, in a Jihad, that he is not likely to seek again the persecution of Truth, firm arrangements should be made to bring him under control. I thus construe the words “bind a bond firmly (on them)”, but others have construed the words to mean, “after the enemy’s numbers are fairly thinned down, prisoners may be taken”. With this passage may be compared 8:67, and n. 1234.
4822 When once the enemy is brought under control, generosity (i.e., the release of prisoners without ransom) or ransom is recommended.”
Abul Ala Maududi commentaries:
This is the first verse of the Qur’an in which preliminary instructions have been given about the laws of war. Below is given a resume of the injunctions that are derived from this verse and the Holy Prophet’s and his Companions’ practice according to it and the juristic inferences as based on this verse and the Sunnah:
(1) The real aim of the Muslim army in war is to break the fighting power of the enemy till it is crushed and the war lays down its arms. Under no circumstances, should the Muslim’s lose sight of this aim and start taking the enemy soldiers as captives. Captives should be taken after the enemy has been completely crushed and its numbers thinned down. The Arabs have been so instructed at the outset lest in the greed for ransom and taking slaves they should forget and overlook the real aim of the war.
(2) About the prisoners taken in war it has been said: “You have the option whether you show them favor or accept ransom from them. ” This gives the general law that the prisoners of war should not be put to death. Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Umar, Hasan Basri, `Ata’ and Hammad bin Abi Sulaiman favour this view, which is quite valid. They say that a man can be killed only during the war. When the war is over and one has been made a prisoner, it is not lawful to kill him, Ibn Jarir and Abu Bakr alJassas have related that Hajjaj; bin Yusuf handed over one of the prisoners of war to Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Umar and commanded him to put him to death. He refused to obey and cited this verse and said: “We are not allowed to kill a man when he is a prisoner.” Imam Muhammad in As-SiyaT al-Kabir also has related that `Abdullah bin ‘Amir had commanded Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Umar to kill a prisoner of war, and he had refused to obey the command for this reason.
(3) But since in this verse it has neither been clearly forbidden to kill the prisoner the -Holy Prophet understood this intention of Allah’s Command, and also acted accordingly, that if there was a special reason for which the ruler of an Islamic government regarded it as necessary to kill a particular prisoner (or prisoners), he could do so. This is not the general law, but an exception to it, which would be applied only when necessary. Thus, the Holy Prophet put to death only `Uqbah bin Abi Mu’ait and Nadr bin al-Harith from among the 70 prisoners taken at Badr, and only the poet Abu `Azzah from the prisoners taken at Uhud. Since the Bani Quraizah had surrendered on the condition that they would accept whatever decision Hadrat Sa`d bin Mu’adh would give in their regard, and he had decreed that all the males of the Quraizah should be killed, the Holy Prophet had them executed. From among the prisoners taken at Khaiber only Kinanah bin Abi al-Huqaiq was put to death because of his violating the agreement. At the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet commanded in respect of only a few particular persons from among all the inhabitants of Makkah that any one of them who was captured should be put to death. Apart from these exceptions, the Holy Prophet never killed prisoners of war, and the same also continued to be the practice of the righteous Caliphs. During their times also killing of prisoners of war was rare, which was resorted to only for a special reason. Hadrat, `Umar bin `Abdul `Aziz also during his caliphate put to death only one prisoner of war for the reason that he had persecuted the Muslims very cruelly. On this very basis the majority of the jurists have held the view that the Islamic government can put a prisoner to death if necessary. But it is for the government to take such a decision; every soldier is not permitted to kill any prisoner he likes. However, if there is the danger of a prisoner’s running away or of his committing a dangerous mischief, the guard can kill him. In this connection, the jurists of Islam have also made three other points: (a) That if a prisoner accepts Islam, he cannot be killed; (b) that the prisoner can be killed only as long as he is in the government’s custody; if he has been allotted to, or given in somebody else’s possession by sale, he cannot be killed; and (c) that if the prisoner has to be killed, he should be killed in a straightforward way; he should not be tortured to death
(4) The general command that has been given about the prisoners of war is: “Show them favor, or accept ransom from them. ” Favor includes four things: (a) That they should be treated well as prisoners; (b) that instead of killing them or keeping them in captivity for lifetime, they should be handed over to the individual Muslims as slaves; (c) that they should be put under jizyah and trade dhimmis; and (d) that they should be set free without ransom.
There are three ways of ransoming them: (a) That they should be set free on payment of a ransom; (b) that they should be set free after taking some special service from them; and (c) that they should be exchanged for the Muslim prisoners of war who are in the possession of the enemy. The Holy Prophet and the Companions at different times acted in one or the other way as the occasion demanded. The Divine Law has not bound the Islamic government to act in only one particular way. The government can take any action it deems appropriate on a particular occasion.
(5) The practice of the Holy Prophet and the Companions confirms that as long as a prisoner of war is in the government’s custody, the government will be responsible for his food and clothing, . and his treatment if he is ill or wounded. Islamic Law does not permit prisoners to be kept without food or clothing, or be subjected to torture. On the contrary, instructions also have been given to treat them well and generously, and precedents of this very practice are found in the Sunnah. The Holy Prophet distributed the prisoners of Badr in the houses of different Companions and gave the instruction: “Teat these prisoners well.” One of those prisoners, Abu ‘Aziz, has reported: “The Ansar Muslims, in whose house I was kept, gave me bread morning and evening, but as for themselves they had only dates to eat. ” About another prisoner; Suhail bin ‘Amr, the Holy Prophet was told: “He is a fiery speaker, and has been making speeches against you: please have his teeth broken. ” The Holy Prophet replied: “If I have his teeth broken, Allah will break my teeth, although I am a Prophet.” (Ibn Hisham). When Thumamah bin Uthal, the chief of Yamamah, was brought as a prisoner, he was provided with good food and milk on the Holy Prophet’s orders as long as he remained a captive. (Ibn Hisham). The same was the practice in the time of the Companions. No precedent is found when a prisoner might have been mistreated in their time.
(6) Islam has not permitted that the prisoners be kept in captivity for ever so that the government may subject them to forced labor as long as it likes. If they are not exchanged for other prisoners of war, or ransomed, the method enjoined of doing them favor is that they should be made slaves and given in possession of individuals, and their masters instructed to treat them well This method was acted upon during the time of the Holy Prophet as well as of the Companions, and the jurists of Islam have unanimously upheld it as permissible. In this regard, it should be borne in mind that a person who might have accepted Islam before being taken as prisoner, and then is somehow made a prisoner, will be set free, but the acceptance of Islam by a person who accepts it after being taken prisoner, or after being given in possession of somebody, will not gain him freedom automatically. A tradition has been related in Musnad Ahmad. Muslim and Tirmidhi on the authority of Hadrat `Imran bin Husain that a person from among the Bani ‘Uqail was brought as a prisoner and he said: “I have accepted Islam. ” Thereupon the Holy Prophet said: “If you had said this when you were free, you would certainly have attained to success. The same thing was said by Hadrat `Umar: “When a prisoner becomes a Muslim after falling into the hands of the Muslims as a captive, he will not be killed, but will remain a slave.” Oh this very point. the jurists of Islam have unanimously ruled that the prisoner who becomes a Muslim after being taken captive cannot escape slavery. (Imam Muhammad, As-Siyar al-Kabir). And this also is quite reasonable. If our law had been that anyone who embraced Islam after being taken a captive, would be set free, no prisoner would be so foolish as not to win his freedom by pronouncing the Kalimah.
(7) The third manner of doing favor with the prisoners according to the Law of Islam is that they may be put under jizyah and made dhimmi subjects of the Islamic state and allowed to live as free citizens of dar a/Islam (abode of Islam) just like the Muslims. Imam Muhammad writes in his As-Siyar a/-Kabir: “Any person who can be made a slave, can also be made a dhimmi and put under jizyah. ¦ At another place he says: “The ruler of the Muslims has the right to levy jizyah on than and a tax on their lands and set than absolutely free. ” This method has been practised generally in the condition when the territory of the people who have been made prisoners, is’ conquered and annexed to the Islamic state. The Holy Prophet, for instance, practiced this method in the case of the people of Khaiber, and then Hadrat `Umar followed and practiced it extensively on the conquest of `Iraq and other territories. Abu `Ubaid writes in his Kitab al-Amwal: “After the conquest of `Iraq a deputation of the leading men of that country came before Hadrat `Umar and submitted: `O Commander of the Faithful, before this the people of Iran had subdued us: they subjected us to harsh treatment and committed all sorts of excesses against us. Then, when God sent you, we became very pleased, and we neither put up any resistance against you nor participated in the war. Now, we hear that you want to make us slaves.’ Hadrat `Umar replied: `You have the option either to become Muslims, or accept to pay jizyah and remain free.’ They agreed to pay the jizyah and they were granted full freedom. ” At another place in the same book. Abu `Ubaid says: Hadrat `Umar wrote to Abu Musa al-Ash’ari: Set free every farmer and peasant from among the people who have been captured in the war. ”
(8) The fourth favor is that the prisoner be set free without ransom. This is a special concession that the Islamic government can give only in case the special conditions of a prisoner demand it, or when it is expected that the concession will win the prisoner’s gratitude for ever, and help turn him a friend from an enemy, or a believer from a disbeliever; otherwise, obviously it would in no way be a wise thing to set free a person of the enemy camp, who could again return to fight the Muslims. This is why the Muslim jurists generally have opposed it, and imposed the condition: “If the ruler of the Muslims finds it expedient to set the prisoners, or some of them, free as a favor, there is no harm in doing so.” (As-SiyaT al-Kabir). Many precedents of this are found in the time of the Holy Prophet, and in almost every case expediency seems to be the reason.
About the prisoners taken at Badr, he said: “If Mut’im bin `Adi were alive, and had spoken to me in respect of these treacherous people, I would have Iet them go for his sake.” (Bukhari, Abu Da’ud, Musnad Ahmad). The Holy Prophet said this because when he had returned from Ta’if to Makkah, Mut’im at that time had given him refuge, and his armed sons had escorted him to the Ka`bah. Therefore, he wanted to repay his debt of gratitude in this way.
According to Bukhari, Muslim and Musnad Ahmad, when Thumamah bin Uthal, the chief of Yamamah, was brought as a prisnoner, the Holy Prophet asked him: “Thumamah, what do you say?” He replied: “If I am killed, then such a one would be killed, whose blood has some value: if I am shown favor, then favor would be shown to a person, who appreciates favor; and if you want wealth, ask for it, you will be given it.” For three days the Holy Prophet asked him the same thing and he gave the same reply. At last, the Holy Prophet ordered that Thumamah be set free. On attaining freedom, he went to a nearby oasis, washed himself and came back, pronounced the kalimah and became a Muslim, saying: Before this day nobody was more detestable than you and no religion more odious than your religion in my sight, but now for me no man is more lovable than you and no religion more lovable than your religion.” Then he went to Makkah for ‘Umrah and gave the people of Quraish a notice to the effect: “After this no grain will reach you from Yamamah unless Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) permits it.” So, he stopped the grain supply and the people of Makkah had to request the Holy Prophet that he should not stop the supply of grain for them from Yamamah.
From among the prisoners of the Bani Quraizah, the Holy Prophet forgave Zabir bin Bata and ‘Amr bin Sa’d (or Ibn Su’da), the former because he had given refuge to Hadrat Thabit bin Qais Ansari in the Battle of Bu’ath, in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance; therefore, he handed him over to Hadrat Thabit that he may repay him for his favor. And he forgave ‘Amr bin Sa`d because it was he who was exhorting his tribe not to be treacherous when the Bani Quraizah were committing breach of the trust with the Holy Prophet.
After the Battle of Bani al-Mustaliq, when the prisoners were brought and distributed among the people, the Holy Prophet paid Hadrat Juwairiyah’s ransom to the person to whom she was allotted to secure her freedom and then married her himself. At this all the Muslims set their own prisoners free, saying: “Now they have become the Holy Prophet’s relatives. ” Thus, the prisoners of a hundred families became free. (Musnad Ahmad, Tabaqat Ibn Sa`d, Ibn Hisham).
On the occasion of the treaty of Hudaibiyah, at about dawn, 80 men came from the direction of Tan’im with the intention of launching a sudden attack on the Muslim camp, but were all captured, and the Holy Prophet set all of them free lest it became a cause of war on that critical occasion. (Muslim, Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i, Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad).
At the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet forgave all the people of Makkah except only a few men, and did not kill more than three or four of even those who had been made an exception. The whole of Arabia was well aware of what atrocities the people of Makkah had committed against the Holy Prophet and the Muslims; yet the large-heartedness with which he forgave them after attaining complete victory over them, gave the Arabs the satisfaction that they had not been overpowered by a tyrant but by a merciful, affectionate and generous leader. That is why after the conquest of Makkah the Arabian peninsula did not take longer than two years to be completely subdued.
After the Battle of Hunain, when the Hawazin deputation came to secure the freedom of their prisoners, the prisoners had already been distributed. The Holy Prophet called the Muslims together and said: “These people have come with repentance, and I am of the opinion that their men should be rearmed to them. The one who would like to set the prisoner allotted to him free willingly without ransom, should set him free, and the one who would like to take ransom, shall be paid it out of the first income that is received in the Public Treasury.” Thus, six thousand prisoners were set free, and those who wanted to take ransom, were given it by the government. (Bukhari, Abu Da’ud, Musnad Ahmad, Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d). This also shows that the government is not authorized to set the prisoners free after they have been distributed; this can be done by the willing approval of those in whose possession the prisoners have been given, or by paying them the ransom.
After the Holy Prophet, precedents of setting the prisoners free as a favor continue to be found throughout the period of the Companions also. Hadrat Abu Bakr set fret Ash’ath bin Qais al-Kindi and Hadrat ‘Umar granted freedom to Hurmuzan and the prisoners of Manadhir and Maisan. (Abu ‘Ubaid, Kitab alAmwal).
(9) The precedent of setting the prisoners free on payment of the ransom in the time of the Holy Prophet is found only on the occasion of Badr, when the prisoners were set free on payment of one thousand to four thousand dirhams each. (Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Amwal). No precedent of this is found in the time of the Companions; and the jurists of Islam have generally disapproved it, for it means that we should take money and set a man free so that he may again rise against us with the sword. But since taking of ransom has been permitted in the Qur’an, and the Holy Prophet also acted according to it once, it is not absoluutely forbidden. Imam Muhammad writes in his As-Siyar al-Kabir that if the need arises the Muslims can free their prisoners on payment of the ransom.
(10) The criterion of freeing a prisoner for a service rendered is also found in connection with the Battle . of Badr. For those of the Quraish prisoners who had no ransom the Holy Prophet imposed the condition that they should teach reading and writing to ten Ansar children each to win their freedom. (Musnad Ahmad, Tabaqat Ibn Sa`d, Kitab al-Amwal.
(11) Several instances of the exchange of prisoners are found in the time of the Holy Prophet. Once he dispatched Hadrat Abu Bakr on an expedition and he brought some captives, including a beautiful woman, who fell to the lot of Hadrat Salamah bin Akwa’ . The Holy Prophet urged him to give her back, then sent her to Makkah and had several ‘ Muslim prisoners released, in exchange for her. (Muslim, Abu Da’ud, Tahawi Kitab al-Amwal of Abi `Ubaid, Tabaqat Ibn Sa`d). Hadrat ‘Imran bin Husain relates that once the tribe of Thaqif arrested two men of the Muslims. Some time later, a man of the Bani ‘Uqail, who were allies of the Thaqif, was arrested by the Muslims. The Holy Prophet sent him to Ta’if and got both the Muslims released in exchange for him. (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad). From among the jurists Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Imam Shafe`i, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad hold . the exchange of the prisoners as permissible. A ruling of Imam Abu Hanifah is that exchange should not be practiced, but according to another ruling of his exchange can be practiced. However, there is a consensus that the prisoner who becomes a Muslim should not be handed over to the disbelievers for the purpose of exchange.
This explanation makes it abundantly clear that Islam has formulated a comprehensive code in respect of the prisoners of war, which contains provision for this problem in every age under all sorts of conditions. Those people who take this Qur’anic verse in its simple meaning that the prisoners of war should “either be shown favor and set free or freed for ransom”, do not know what different aspects the question of the , prisoners of war has, and what problems it has been creating in different ages and can create in the future.
Now look what ISIS combatants are doing. Neither of those rules from Qur’an and comments of theologists are fulfilled! What “Islamic” state are they talking about? Their actions have a purpose to discredit Islam causing disgust amongst non-Muslim community and Muslims both.
Their actions remind of similar deeds in pre-war Chechnya, when some “radical group” demonstrated severed heads of engineers from Britain and New Zealand and videos of russian POWs execution to entire world.
Who got the benefit from this horrible footage? Only Kremlin and Lubyanka who sent it by diplomatic mail to all foreign embassies in Moscow. The result was immediate – almost the entire world turned away from Chechnya and Putin was granted with full impunity which he immediately used. His atrocious genocide made without any cover is comparable to Rwanda massacre.
ISIS. To whose benefit?
Now let’s think, who supports, finances, arms ISIS fighters? Any investigation should build its versions around the question: cui bono? In the light of recent events in Ukraine and following U.S.A and EU sanctions, there is only one answer. Acts of ISIS terrorism benefit only Kremlin administration and their loyal ally Assad. For the latter, it’s very important to make the West believe that the main danger to the West comes from the ISIS.
Terrorist acts of ISIS in Iraq who act by orders of Kremlin and Lubyanka can be classified only as answer to economical sanctions of the West which has certain interests (mostly energy sources) in the area.
Open your eyes
Let’s return to ayahs of the Qu’ran, sent to people 1436 years ago. Many famous theologists say that one should not take all Qu’ran literally, blindly copying 1.500-years-old actions, as the God gave noesis to people for thinking and understanding.
Any reasonable man should understand why Our’an ordered Muslims “strike their necks” back then. Neck was the most vulnerable body part, often not protected by armor due to movement requirements. When people were fighting with sabers, arrows, spears etc. a blow to the neck was the quickest and least painful way (as said in the comments above) to kill the enemy.
Unfortunately not every Muslim understands such things. But even if one tries to copy Qu’ran so literally, why ISIS fighters wouldn’t get on camels and fight with blades and arrows? But here they understand they will lose despite any superiority in numbers. So fanatics embrace the reality and prefer modern weapons obviously superior to ones used in times of Mohammed. Isn’t such a selective following of the most convenient things a pure hypocrisy?
It’s much worse. According to well-known khadi of the Prophet, Islam has three deadly enemies: a militant atheist, a theologists who falsifies explanation of Qu’ran ayahs and an ignorant fanatic.
ISIS consists of all those categories of whom the largest is the latter one. Unfortunately there are even Chechens amongst them. The question is what they forgot in Syria and Iraq while their deadly enemies, russian cuttroats who tortured and murdered their families in Chechnya, destroyed their beautiful homeland, came to Eastern Ukraine with their thuggery now?
The following ayah is addressed to those radical Muslims who joined so-called ISIS.
“O people, beware of exaggeration in religion for those who came before you were only destroyed because of exaggeration in religion.” (Sunan ibn Majah 3029)
I think there shouldn’t be any comments.
I still have some comments for you who made it to the end or just skipped all Qu’ran quotes. While demonstrating extreme condemnation of ISIS atrocities, the West almost begun praising TerroRussia by tradition ignoring its commie butchery. Looks like an old trick of a KGB thug Putin who is the first to yell about “Islamic terrorism” as soon as the West begins to notice something. For that, he always can sacrifice some of his own serfs.
I do not deny the fact of Islamic terrorism. I call things with own names. Looking at habitual “fun” of “novorossiya” thugs (beheadings, humiliation, rape, butchery) and executions of “infidels” made by ISIS, one can see more resemblance than difference. And russian subhumans bark about their “true faith” as much as fanatic Al-Qaeda preachers, while butchering innocent people.
So-called ISIS and so-called Novorossiya are like twin brothers of the same depraved family with elders residing somewhere in Lubyanka. There is much more to consider than just resemblance (sufficient alone to stop and think seriously), and the future of the West mostly depends on actual ability to think on its own, without blindly following orders from Moscow that remind of relations between molester and mentally challenged child more and more as the years go by.