Rules of War in Islam

Rules of War

War is permissible if:

  • It is in self defense
  • Other nations have attacked an Islamic state
  • Another state is oppressing its own Muslims

"Permission (to fight) is granted to those, against whom people fight, because they have certainly been dealt with unjustly, and God certainly has the power over helping those"

"Who were driven out of their houses unjustly, only because they said, "Our Lord is God.""

War must be conducted in the following manor:
  • In a disciplined way. (So as to avoid injuring non-combatants.)
  • With the minimum necessary force. (Without anger)
  • With humane treatment towards prisoners of war.

"Those who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of the Shaitan."

"Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors."

"If anyone killed a person - unless it was for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed the whole people."

It is emphasized in the Quran that war should be fought for only noble motives, as highlighted in the following verse:

Those who readily fight in the cause of God are those who forsake this world in favor of the Hereafter. Whoever fights in the cause of God, then gets killed, or attains victory, we will surely grant him a great recompense.

The Quran says that a defeated enemy should be made a prisoner rather that be killed, as highlighted in the following verse:

So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.

Abu Bakr (the First Caliph) gave these rules to an army he was sending to battle:

Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy's flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.