Are infidels the property of Muslims? Protecting the Sanctity of Life from Al-Qaeda and Boko-Haram


Most Muslims understand that Islam condemns terrorismviolent revolutions, and church bombings that target innocent men, women, and children. It is one of the well-known objectives of Islam to protect life, even for animals. But the violent extremists in Al-Qaeda and Boko-Haram are operating upon deceitful principles that contradict the very message of the Noble Quran. In their attempt to justify killing and robbing innocent people, these extremists take the following rule as their guide:

As for the non-Muslims- the original ruling is not sanctity- rather, it is permissibility. Shedding the blood of the kuffar, seizing their wealth, and removing their honor [by enslavement] – these actions are all Halal [permissible]. And it is not forbidden to spill their blood, seize their wealth, nor remove their honor- nor is it forbidden to harm him; Except for an external (i.e. secondary) matter, such as an ‘Ahd [covenant], Thimmah [tribute], or Aman [security, and also Hudnah (a pact of pausing the hostilities for a limited amount of time)].

In other words, the lives of “Kuffar” (which for them includes most Muslims) are not sacred and have no inherent value. What they are saying is that Al-Qaeda has the right – rather, the duty – to kill non-Muslims and steal their wealth. Their principle is, in fact, the exact opposite of the non-aggression principle in Islam.

Their “proof” for this manifest falsehood is to misquote the verse of the sword, since they can find no other proof for this position. The unanimous consensus of Muslim jurists concerning the duty to honor peace treaties does not deter them, since they have declared every ruler in the world to be an infidel and thus reject all peace treaties currently in effect. Never will you see them cite the verses and traditions that prove Islam is peace. Neither does the Messenger of Allah’s صلى الله عليه وسلم warning stir their hearts:

مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسًا مُعَاهَدًا لَمْ يَرَحْ رَائِحَةَ الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ رِيحَهَا يُوجَدُ مِنْ مَسِيرَةِ أَرْبَعِينَ عَامًا

Whoever kills a person protected by a treaty will never smell the fragrance of Paradise, and indeed its fragrance can be found a distance of forty years of travel.

[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 83, Number 49]

In light of this Hadith, a Muslim with even an ounce of taqwa (fear of God) would think twice before killing a citizen in any country. Then, how does Al-Qaeda bypass the Prophet’s well-known prohibition of killing women and children? By claiming that the only reason women and children are spared is because they are property, i.e. slaves. According to their deviant logic, if they can argue that killing non-combatant women and children is more beneficial to Muslims than they would serve as slaves, they will allow terrorism:

If it is said: “If they (the kuffar) do this to us- meaning that they kill our children and women- Then do we then kill them?” The apparent [Thahir] is that it is (permissible) for us to kill their women and children – even if it means that we lose profit/ benefit from it [since keeping them alive is a profit/ benefit because they become the property of the Muslims]; (and killing them in this situation is permissible) due to it threatening the hearts of the enemies and a humiliation for them… And to (purposely) destroy property (which could later belong) for the Muslims (by killing them in this case) is nothing strange.

For these vicious murderers, the lives of “Kuffar” (which include many practicing Muslims) are no more than property, chattel, slaves, something to be discarded as anyone would discard a worn-out pair of trousers. No doubt, they have pulled this worthless opinion from the bowels of some second-rate jurist from the classical period. Yet, this is not the opinion of Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, who explicitly rejects their view:

وإن كان بعضهم يرى إباحة قتل الجميع لمجرد الكفر ؛ إلا النساء والصبيان ؛ لكونهم مالاً للمسلمين . والأول هو الصواب ؛ لأن القتال هو لمن يقاتلنا ، إذا أردنا إظهار دين الله

Some (jurists) are of the opinion that all of them may be killed, on the mere ground that they are unbelievers, but they make an exception for women and children since they constitute property for Muslims. However, the first opinion is the correct one, because we may only fight those who fight us when we want to make Allah’s religion victorious.

[As-Siyasa Ash-Shariyyah]

Behold their hypocrisy that they attribute themselves to the Sheikh while they throw his words into the trash whenever it suits them! Dear brothers and sisters, know that these extremist groups have decided long ago that they were going to murder and steal from “Kuffar,” so they only cherry-pick from the Book and the Sunnah and the scholars what supports their blood-lust for spoils. The beautiful example of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم is lost on them.

In contrast, the vast majority of Muslims in every school of thought accept the inherent value and protection of all life, even nonbelievers, as stated in the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, Article 2:

Life is a God-given gift and the right to life is guaranteed to every human being. It is the duty of individuals, societies and states to safeguard this right against any violation, and it is prohibited to take away life except for a Sharia-prescribed reason.

The protection of life is, in fact, one of the classical objectives of Islamic Law, derived from numerous verses of the Noble Quran and reports in the Authentic Sunnah. The protection of life is so important that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was compelled to say during his farewell sermon:

 فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ حَرَّمَ بَيْنَكُمْ دِمَاءَكُمْ وَأَمْوَالَكُمْ كَحُرْمَةِ يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا فِي شَهْرِكُمْ هَذَا فِي بَلَدِكُمْ هَذَا أَبَلَّغْتُ

Indeed, Allah has made sacred your lives and wealth just as He has made sacred this day of yours, this month of yours, this country of yours. Have I not conveyed the message?

[Musnad Ahmad, Number 22978]

The idea that nonbelievers in general can be attacked and robbed is flatly contradicted by an authentic report from the Messenger of Allah. During the period of ignorance, Al-Mughirah accompanied some people, murdered them, and took their wealth and then he later accepted Islam. When the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم heard about this, he said:

أَمَّا الْإِسْلَامُ فَقَدْ قَبِلْنَا وَأَمَّا الْمَالُ فَإِنَّهُ مَالُ غَدْرٍ لَا حَاجَةَ لَنَا فِيهِ

As for your Islam, we have accepted it. But in regard to the wealth, it is the wealth of treachery. We have no need for it.

[Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 15, Number 2765]

There was no peace treaty in this case: no ‘Ahd, no Dhimmah, no Hudna, no Aman, no Mithaq, and yet Al-Mughirah was sinful for killing people who were polytheists. The Messenger of Allah rejected his deeds and labeled this an act of treachery. For most Muslims, the value of life demonstrated by the Messenger of Allah is common sense. But for Al-Qaeda, it is evident that they have no sense.


Al-Qaeda and Boko-Haram are followers of the ideology of the Khawarij, which is based upon three key deviations:

  1. Declaring other Muslims to be infidels.
  2. Declaring violent rebellion against Muslim leaders.
  3. Declaring the lawfulness of unlawful bloodshed.

Like cunning lawyers, they look for loopholes in the Fiqh (jurisprudence) of the past to open the way for them to collect the spoils of an unjust war. They are not Mujahidin (struggling in the way of Allah). Rather, they are nothing more than a criminal gang looking for excuses to commit crimes. It is sufficient as a response to them to mention the Messenger of Allah’s صلى الله عليه وسلم warning:

لاَ تَرْجِعُوا بَعْدِي كُفَّارًا يَضْرِبُ بَعْضُكُمْ رِقَابَ بَعْضٍ

Do not return to unbelief after me by killing each other.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 124]

The Muslims are left to wonder how much Faith can remain in a heart that justifies the merciless and relentless slaughter of innocent people.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

( / 12.03.2012)

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