Killing women during night raids

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The Prophet Prohibited The Killing of Women and Children: But What About Those Night Raids?

By: Bassam Zawadi
Source: http://www.call-to-monotheism.com

This article will be divided into three sections:

1) The Prophet (peace be upon him) Prohibited the Killing of Women and Children

2) The Ruling on Fighting Enemy Warriors Intermixed With Women and Children

3) Deliberate targeted killing of women and children is sanctioned by the Biblical God

The Prophet (peace be upon him) Prohibited the Killing of Women and Children

There are so many authentic hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) condemned the killing of innocent women and children during time of war that it is impossible to deny them. Following are some of those hadith…

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 004, Book 052, Hadith Number 257.

Narrated By ‘Abdullah : During some of the Ghazawat of the Prophet a woman was found killed. Allah’s Apostle disapproved the killing of women and children.

Volume 004, Book 052, Hadith Number 258.

Narrated By Ibn ‘Umar : During some of the Ghazawat of Allah’s Apostle a woman was found killed, so Allah’s Apostle forbade the killing of women and children.

Saheeh Muslim

Book 019, Hadith Number 4319.

Chapter : Prohibition of killing women and children in war.

It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah that a woman was found killed in one of the battles fought by the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He disapproved of the killing of women and children.

Book 019, Hadith Number 4320.

Chapter : Prohibition of killing women and children in war.

It is narrated by Ibn ‘Umar that a woman was found killed in one of these battles; so the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) forbade the killing of women and children.

Sunan Abu Dawud

Book 008, Hadith Number 2663.

Chapter : Not known.

Narated By Rabah ibn Rabi’ : When we were with the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) on an expedition, he saw some people collected together over something and sent a man and said: See, what are these people collected around? He then came and said: They are round a woman who has been killed. He said: This is not one with whom fighting should have taken place. Khalid ibn al-Walid was in charge of the van; so he sent a man and said: Tell Khalid not to kill a woman or a hired servant. (Declared authentic by Shaykh Nasr Al Deen Al Albani in Sunan Abu Dawud Hadith no.2669)

Malik’s Muwatta

Book 021, Hadith Number 008.

Section : Prohibition against Killing Women and Children in Military Expeditions.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab that a son of Kab ibn Malik (Malik believed that ibn Shihab said it was Abd ar-Rahman ibn Kab) said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade those who fought ibn Abi Huqayq (a treacherous jew from Madina) to kill women and children. He said that one of the men fighting had said, ‘The wife of ibn Abi Huqayq began screaming and I repeatedly raised my sword against her. Then I would remember the prohibition of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, so I would stop. Had it not been for that, we would have been rid of her.'”

Book 021, Hadith Number 009.

Section : Prohibition against Killing Women and Children in Military Expeditions.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi from Ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw the corpse of a woman who had been slain in one of the raids, and he disapproved of it and forbade the killing of women and children.

Book 021, Hadith Number 010.

Section : Prohibition against Killing Women and Children in Military Expeditions.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was sending armies to ash-Sham. He went for a walk with Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan who was the commander of one of the battalions. It is claimed that Yazid said to Abu Bakr, “Will you ride or shall I get down?” Abu Bakrsaid, “I will not ride and you will not get down. I intend these steps of mine to be in the way of Allah.”

Then Abu Bakr advised Yazid, “You will find a people who claim to have totally given themselves to Allah. Leave them to what they claim to have given themselves. You will find a people who have shaved the middle of their heads, strike what they have shaved with the sword.

“I advise you ten things Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly.”

The Ruling on Fighting Enemy Warriors Intermixed With Women and Children

There are certain hadith that appear to show that the Prophet peace be upon him made some exceptions…

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 004, Book 052, Hadith Number 256.

Narated By As-Sab bin Jaththama : The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).” I also heard the Prophet saying, “The institution of Hima is invalid except for Allah and His Apostle.”

Saheeh Muslim

Book 019, Hadith Number 4321.

Chapter : Permissibility of killing women and children in the night raids, provided it is not deliberate.

It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.

There are many possible meanings for these hadith. First of all we don’t know the exact situation or what the Prophet (peace be upon him) truly meant. Maybe those particular women and children were planning to fight against the Muslims with the enemy.

Maybe the Muslim army just could not have blown this chance to attack the enemy that they still had to attack them at no matter what cost in order to stop the risk of more blood shed (do a little bad for the greater good). This is unlikely but possible.

The very fact that the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked his permission shows that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to be strict regarding his prohibition on the killing of women and children. If the Muslims were in the habit of killing women and children they wouldn’t have asked for the Prophet’s opinion. However, when a situation arises and there is no choice, things could get ugly.

Also notice that the companions did not ask the Prophet peace be upon whether they could deliberately target the women and children. They merely mentioned that the women and children will be exposed to danger when they were attacking the men warriors.

Imam Ibn Hajar Al Asaqalani says in his commentary on Saheeh Bukhari that the point is not to target the women and children intentionally but if there is absolutely no other way to kill the enemy than by injuring the women and children because they are mixed with the men then there is no other choice. (Read Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani’s Fathul Bari, Kitab: Al Jihad wal Sayr, Bab: Ahlul Daar Yabeetoon Fa Yusaab Al Waldaan wal Zharaari, Commentary on Hadith no. 2790, Source)

He also said that another possibility is that the hadith has been abrogated and that even if women and children accompany the enemy during war then they still should not be killed. (ibid.) That’s why its possible that the Prophet (peace be upon him) after this incident decided to stop attacking the enemy at night but during the day so that he can see who he is fighting clearly…

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 005, Book 059, Hadith Number 510.

Narated By Anas : Allah’s Apostle reached Khaibar at night and it was his habit that, whenever he reached the enemy at night, he will not attack them till it was morning. When it was morning, the Jews came out with their spades and baskets, and when they saw him(i.e. the Prophet), they said, “Muhammad! By Allah! Muhammad and his army!” The Prophet said, “Khaibar is destroyed, for whenever we approach a (hostile) nation (to fight), then evil will be the morning for those who have been warned.”.

Saheeh Muslim

Book 004, Hadith Number 0745.

Chapter : There can be two pronouncers of Adhan for one mosque.

Anas b. Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used to attack the enemy when it was dawn. He would listen to the Adhan; so if he heard an Adhan, he stopped, otherwise made an attack. Once on hearing a man say: Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) remarked: He is following al-Fitra (al-Islam). Then hearing him say: I testify that there is no god but Allah. there is no god but Allah, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: You have come out of the Fire (of Hell). They looked at him and found that he was a goatherd.

Imam Nawawi says in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim that women and children are only killed if they cannot be distinguished. But because it was so dark and they could not be distinguished, the Muslims had no choice. (Read Imam Nawawi’s Sharh Saheeh Muslim, Kitab: Al Jihad wal Sayr, Bab: Jawaz Qatl Al Nisaa’ wal Sabyaan fi Al Biyaat Min Ghayr Ta’amud, Commentary on Hadith no. 3281, Source)

The commentary of Sunan Abu Dawud by Muhammad Shams al-Haqq al-Adhim Abadi says the same thing. (Read Muhammad Shams al-Haqq al-Adhim Abadi’s Awn al-Mabud Sharh Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab: Al Jihad, Bab: Fi Qatl Al Nisaa’, Commentary on Hadith no. 2298, Source)

Deliberate targeted killing of women and children is sanctioned by the Biblical God

If Muslims ever get any trouble from a Christian that says Islam advocates for the killing of innocent women and children then give him a taste of his own Bible…

1 Samuel 15:2,3

2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy [a] everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ”

Numbers 31:17,18

17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Deuteronomy 20:16

16 However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.

Here we see the Biblical God calling for the deliberate targeted killing of women and children. You will never find such a thing in Islamic teachings.

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