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 Are Muslims not punished for killing non-Muslims?

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Obedient Angel

Join date : 2011-04-30
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Are Muslims not punished for killing non-Muslims? Empty
PostSubject: Are Muslims not punished for killing non-Muslims?   Are Muslims not punished for killing non-Muslims? Icon_minitimeSat Sep 06, 2014 5:50 pm


Some people claim Islam has no punishment for a Muslim who kills an unbeliever. Is it true?


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Islam indeed prescribes equal punishment for a Muslim who murders a non-Muslim.

The general rule in Islam is that of “equality in punishment,” meaning that the punishment should fit the crime. In the case of murder, a Muslim would be executed for murdering any person regardless of their religion unless the victim’s family waives their right of retaliation by way of charity.

Allah said:

O you who believe, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever pardons his brother for anything, then there should be a suitable payment to him with good conduct. This is alleviation from your Lord and a mercy.

Surah Al-Baqarah 2:178

And Allah said:

We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives up his right as charity, it will be expiation for him.

Surah Al-Mai’dah 5:45

Those who claim a Muslim is not punished for killing a non-Muslim cite the following narration out of context:

Amr ibn Shuaib reported:

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, judged that a believer should not be killed for killing a disbeliever.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 6624, Grade: Sahih

On the surface, it appears as if this is a general rule, but the context of this judgment concerns only those who are killed from an opposing army.

Al-Mawsali Al-Hanafi writes:

The meaning of this tradition is that a Muslim is not killed for killing a combatant in war.

Source: Al-Ikhtiyar li Ta’leel 506

Ibn Hajar writes:

It is not the right of a Muslim to kill any unbeliever. Rather, it is forbidden for him to kill a protected person or a person under a peace treaty without right of justice.

Source: Fath ul-Bari

Thus, a Muslim is not executed for killing a “combatant” (harbi), meaning an enemy soldier. Even so, Muslims are still prohibited from committing treachery against the enemy and they would be legally punished for violating covenants of security and peace treaties.

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

When Allah gathers together the earlier and later generations on the Day of Resurrection, He will raise a banner for every treacherous person and it will be announced that this is the treachery of this person, the son of this person.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5823, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Imam Malik said:

What is done in our community is that the Muslim is not killed for killing an unbeliever, unless the Muslim has killed him in an act of treachery, in which case he is executed for murder.

Source: Muwatta 1617

It was the practice of the Muslim armies to strictly uphold all of their peace treaties and verbal agreements with the enemy.

Malik reported: A man from the people of Kufa said that Umar ibn Al-Khattab wrote to a commander in an army he had dispatched, saying:

I have heard that it is the habit of some of your men to chase an unbeliever until he takes refuge in a high place. Then a man tells him in Persian not to be afraid and when he comes down they kill him. By him in whose hand is my soul, if I knew a man had done that once I would strike his neck.

Ibn Abbas said:

People do not betray their covenants except that Allah will let their enemies overpower them.

Source: Al-Muwatta 951

Abu Salama reported: Umar ibn Al-Khattab said:

By Allah, if one of you were to give a gesture of safety to an idolater and he came trusting you and you killed him, then I would execute you for it.

Source: Sunan Sa’eed ibn Mansur 2439

Therefore, the general rule is that all murders should be punished equally regardless of the victim’s religion, but there is no punishment for a Muslim who kills an enemy combatant in a declared war. Despite this, Muslims must firmly adhere to their peace treaties and covenants, and it is forbidden to harm an enemy who has been granted immunity.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

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