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The term jihad, often translated as “holy war”, actually means struggle or exertion. The Prophet Muhammad referred to battle as a “minor jihad” in comparison to the struggle against the evil of one’s soul – self-exertion in personal compliance with the dictates of Islam – which he describes as the “superior jihad”.

Islamic law contains a rich set of rules on the protection of civilians.  These Laws are found in the Glorious Qur’an, the teachings and practices of the Prophet (Sunnah), conduct of the Caliphs and military commanders of the early times. .More than a millennium before the codification of the Geneva Conventions, most of the fundamental categories of protection which the Conventions offer could be found, in a basic form, in Islamic teachings.

This clearly shows that in Islam there is no justification for the current trends; even in true war situations, not to talk of the peace time.  Evidences in the Qur’an and Hadith of the prophet go against killings of civilians or destroy their properties as some, bandits and criminals will do.

“Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely’’. And ‘’whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.”Q 5:32. “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.”Q6:151. “And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah.  Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.”Q8:61. “Whoever killed a Mu’ahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of traveling).”

 “Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for guidance on the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies; do not kill a woman, a child, or an aged man; do not cut down fruitful trees; do not destroy inhabited areas; do not slaughter any of the enemies’ sheep, cow or camel except for food; do not burn date palms, nor inundate them; …You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.” …When you meet your enemies in the fight, behave yourself as befits good Muslims…. If Allah gives you victory, do not abuse your advantages.  Neither have you touched the children, the women, nor the infirm, also men, whom you may find among your enemies.” Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first Caliph. Source: Sahih Bukhari Vol. 9, Book 83, Hadith 49 – Sunnah.com

 There are other hadith that strongly condemn banditry, killings, kidnapping and burning down of people properties.  The Prophet is reported to have said: “God will torture those who torture people on earth.” “If one fights his brother, [he must] avoid striking the face, for God created him in the image of Adam.” (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)  “Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal) “Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle.” (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Dawud).

 May Allah grant the country PEACE.

By: Imam Isha’q Raji

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