We continue to see indiscriminate killings and deliberate destruction of properties by violent extremists not only in the Philippines but also in other parts of the globe. These people have succumbed to the belief that violence is the only way to achieve their goal and they do not care about the collateral damage because these are all part of their so-called jihad. They have perpetually used Islam and justified all their acts using the verses from the Holy Qur’an. However, we do not tire of saying that these people are not Muslims and that despite their hateful ways and insidious acts, we do not stop from educating them and all our fellow human beings that Islam is a religion of peace.


This is a clear and strong response to the violent extremist article “Collateral Carnage” which twists and utilizes Islam to justify the killing of innocent people. 


Sharia was sent to people as a mercy to mankind. Subsequently, it is the responsibility of mankind to solve rather than create more difficulties and problems. Indiscriminate killing certainly creates chaos and burns fire on both fighting sides. That is why the Holy Qur’an clearly forbids it when Allah said “That is why We ordained for the Children of Israel that whoever takes a life—unless as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land—it will be as if they killed all of humanity; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity. Although, Our messengers already came to them with clear proofs, many of them still transgressed afterwards through the land”[1]


If there is a war, it has to be within the way of Allah, which implies that divine principles and duties must be followed and respected. This is the core principle of the conduct of Jihad. War should be waged with this principle and therefore, the requirements of war that respects human lives is of paramount importance.


Abu Bakr, the first caliph after Muhammad’s death, formulated an in-depth  set of rules for Islamic conduct during war. He gave the subsequent instructions to a Muslim army setting out for Syria:


“Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. 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.”


This set of rules were observed during his lifetime and even the Caliphs after him. This only means that Muslims should only fight the combatants who participated within the 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 God. He disapproved of the killing of women and children[2].


However most intellectuals accept the fact of war and casualties among civilians because it is sort of impossible to wage a war without accidents. However, it seems that violent extremists treat women and children as if they are combatants. 


We have observed that there is little to no left mercy upon violent extremists as they treat non-combatants like animals who die in the middle of a crossfire. Yes, the Prophet peace be upon him used catapults in one of his wars, but when asked by the Muslim fighters about this, he advised them to aim at the combatants only.


Remember that when Prophet Muhammad came across a slain woman while riding in battle, and he frowns with anger? Imagine if the Prophet is alive today, and came across to innocent women and children you killed as result of your suicide bombings and your indiscriminate killings, would he be happy? If he frowns with anger at a single woman, how much more so to such a huge number of innocent people consciously killed by these violent extremists? 


To the violent extremists, don’t you fear that on the day of judgement when the prophet will disown you? Fear Allah!!


Lastly, the use of military force is only permissible if required by military necessity. The practice of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was to make a clear distinction between combatants and non-combatants. Many armies used to build forts for their protection in times of war. They would use children as human shields by holding them over the walls of the fort so that the enemy would stop shooting them with arrows, but the wanton destruction of enemy property, killing of innocent women and children are not covered by this condition; such acts instead constitute a crime of Al-fasad (destruction, damage) in the land. Allah said “The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land[3].


With the evidence placed above, it is clear and undeniable that human life should be treated with respect and importance. Human life is a gift from Allah and taking it away should never be in your hands. Collateral carnage is not acceptable in Islam and killing women and children should not be justified as acceptable. What you have been doing is conscious and deliberate killing of innocent lives.


To the people behind the violent extremist ideology, don’t you fear Allah and his punishments? We are here to remind you to repent and return to Allah. Only then will you be saved. 

[1] Al-Maida 32

[2] Muslim Book 19, hadith No. 4319

[3] Ibn Jarir recorded that `Ikrimah and Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that the verse was revealed about the idolaters. But this verse does not save a Muslim from punishment if he kills, causes mischief in the land or wages war against Allah and His Messenger.