A window on the book “The Rulings of War in Islam” by Professor Dr. Wahba Al-Zuhaili

Human wars are an old and renewed phenomenon, which was before Islam and continued with its advent and is still. It has taken a new form in the shadow of Islam in its meanings, motives, rules and provisions. This is what Prof. Dr. Wahba Al-Zuhaili reviewed in his book The provisions of war in Islam and their human characteristics. On this book, we open a window from here, to shed light on the most prominent contents of it.

In the introduction to the topics of the book, the author stands with the fact that is the basis for the facts that follow, which is that every nation in peace and war has a specific philosophy, developed by sages, scholars, leaders and presidents, and it depicts the means and ends, and this means and end may be legitimate or illegal in the correct criterion in Appreciating other people, who pass their judgments on what others have with impartiality, objectivity and impartiality. As for the situation in Islam, it is different, because the source of legislation in peace and war is the divine revelation or the heavenly book, which is the Noble Qur’an, whose meanings and principles are translated by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him.

And because the legality of war is determined by a heavenly source, wars in Islam are not religious, dictated by religious fanaticism, with the aim of annihilating those who disobey the religion. The Almighty said:

There is no compulsion in religion For righteousness is manifested from error ۚ [البقرة: 256].

Wars in Islam are not with the intention of dominating other nations and peoples, because that is injustice, and injustice is forbidden and forbidden in all religions.

Wars in Islam are not colonial or economic wars to rob peoples of their money, plunder their goods and wealth. Rabi’i bin Amer, the envoy of Saad bin Abi Waqqas to the Persians, said to Rustam, the commander of the Persians:

We did not come to you to seek the world, and by God, your Islam is dearer to us than your spoils.

War is legitimate in Islam with the aim of protecting the spread of the Islamic call, safeguarding the callers to the religion of Islam, and repelling the aggression of others, and it is a necessity that is resorted to within the limits of truth and justice. The Almighty said: {And fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress. God does not like the aggressors.} [البقرة: 190].

The clear and distinctive basis for the human aspect in the relationship of Muslims with others is peace, and as for war, it is an urgent matter to ward off evil and aggression, and remove obstacles to spreading the call of Islam with wisdom and good exhortation, or with argument, proof and peace.

And if war breaks out, it has provisions regulated by Islamic law, governing it at its beginning, its course, and after its end, and from that, the enemies must be informed of the content of the Islamic call, as mentioned by the Maliki and Zaydi jurists. The rules of war in Islam are governed by the rule or principle of reciprocity, unless the means of war are harmful to a general nature, or annihilating the human race, or despicable, repudiated by noble morals, and clash with human considerations and principles. The enemies, in the opinion of most jurists, are sought by every material means that leads to breaking their thorns, but the use of the strongest with the possibility of achieving the purpose of the lighter is disliked, because it is unnecessarily corrupting.

There are considerations and principles in Islam that make ending war and returning to peace close and quick. Among these principles is that Islam has not satisfied itself with the call for peace or the principle of peaceful coexistence in theory, but actually made it, and called for more than that, which is tolerance and friendly coexistence. God Almighty said: “God does not forbid you against those who did not fight you on the basis of religion and did not expel you from your homes, that you strike Him with righteousness.” [الممتحنة: 8].

The humanitarian aspects remain present in the wars of the Muslims. Protection of the civilian population and their money is obligatory, and the war is limited to the warring armies, so do not exceed it to the rest of the people of the state of that hostile army, and it is not permissible to destroy any of the enemy’s money, including buildings, plants, trees, and civil installations such as bridges and roads, except for a military necessity. The Almighty said: {And do not commit mischief on the earth.} [هود: 85].

The system of wars in Islam adhered to wonderful moral principles, which were used in international treaties, and made Muslims proverbs in their treatment of enemies.

Among those principles is fulfillment of covenants and covenants, and the prohibition of treachery and betrayal. God Almighty said: “And fulfill God’s covenant when you made a covenant, and do not break oaths after they have been confirmed, and God has placed you over them. [النحل: 91]. The honor of fulfilling the covenant in the history of Muslims has motivated their opponents to accept the message of Islam and embrace its faith.

And the true Muslim feels that in his fight he is required to rise above the shortcomings and the lowly and base behavior. For example, the leader Salah al-Din refrained from killing Richard the Lionheart when his horse was killed, but rather sent him a new mare to ride.

The principle of virtue and piety and the principle of pity and compassion should be required as Muslim wars, and Muslims will also distinguish the principle of justice with their opponents. ۚ Indeed, God is Aware of what you do. [المائدة: 8].

And history preserved for Muslims their good treatment of prisoners, the wounded and the dead. Their Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, said:

“Treat the prisoners well” (Al-Tabarani’s Small Dictionary).

It is indicated here that the commandments of the armies were a prevalent custom among Muslims, to guide the commander and fighters, and to guide them to what should be adhered to and acted upon. Including that the Messenger of God, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, recommended Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, may God be pleased with him, when he sent him to the Christian Kalb tribe located in Dumat al-Jandal; he said to him:

Invade all of them in the cause of God, so fight those who disbelieve in God.

Do not exaggerate, do not be treacherous, do not impersonate, and do not kill a young child.

This is the covenant of God and the life of his Prophet among you.

(The Middle Dictionary of Al-Tabarani).

It remains to say: If this book includes a talk about an Islamic reality, brought by a Muslim person, it has echoes that resonate on the tongues of famous non-Muslims. They read history, and gave their testimony on what they knew and reached, until Gustave Le Bon said:

History has not known a conqueror more merciful than the Arabs.

And Will Durant declared in his book “The Story of Civilization” that the country of Andalusia has not witnessed in its history a more strict, just and free rule, as it did in the days of its Arab conquerors.

  • Notice: Since the article is a window into a book, it is natural for a lot of speech taken from its text as it came in the book, but the large number of quotes that refer to transmitted speech distorts the beauty of writing, so I thought it would be more appropriate to cancel the brackets and append this allusion.