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Some War Ethics in Islam

  1. Islam commands justice even with non-Muslims and warns against wronging them in any way:
    The Qur’an says, “Do not let the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety.” (Soorat Al-Maa’idah, 5:8) That is, do not let your enmity for your enemies exceed the limits and turn you away from justice in either words or actions.
  2. It strictly forbids treachery and betrayal when dealing with the enemy:
    Islam forbids treachery and betrayal even against the enemy, as the Qur’an states, “Allah does not love treacherous people.” (Soorat Al-Anfaal, 8:58)
  3. It strictly forbids mutilation of dead bodies of enemies:
    It declares mutilation of corpses strictly impermissible, as the Prophet ﷺ once ordered, “Do not mutilate people.” (Saheeh Muslim: 1731)
  4. It prohibits the killing of non-combatants, destroying the environment and causing corruption in the land:
    Upon despatching a military expedition to the northern borders of the Roman territory, Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq May Allah be pleased with him, the first Rightly-Guided Caliph and the best of all the Prophet’s companions, addressed its leader, Usaamah ibn Zayd May Allah be pleased with him, saying, “Do not let your army kill young children, old people or women. Do not uproot or burn palms or cut down fruitful trees. Do not slaughter sheep, cows or camels, except for food. You will come across some people who have set themselves apart in hermitages; leave them to accomplish the purpose for which they have done this.”(Taareekh Ibn ‛Asaakir, vol. 2, p. 50)
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