Question & Answer
Captives of war?

AssalamuAlikum respected Alim of Islam. This question is bothering me too much, and it pouring waswasa in my heart, and sometimes it keeps me from being proud of my deen! I want to ask a question regarding captives of war. In war between muslims and non-muslims, if muslims are victorious then the non-muslim male and females becomes captives of war. My question is why the females become captives if they do not take part in war? Only the men are responsible for war. Isn't Allah is the most just? Can a muslim caliph enslave those who did not take part in war, for example, the wives of non-muslim males and their childrens? I am not questioning our shariah, I know it is just and perfect. I ask because I can't find the wisdom and justice here! If a women did not take part in war, and did not encourage the men, then how can one take them as captives against their will? Please help me brothers!

Answer:



بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

We begin with Allah’s blessed name, we praise him and we glorify him, seek his forgiveness and ask him to guide us. Whoever Allah guides, None can lead astray and whoever he misguides, None can guide. There is no power and no strength except from Allah, The most high, the Most great, the most powerful. We bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers. We pray for peace and blessings on all the noble messengers and in particular on the last of them all “the blessed prophet Mohammad (pbuh)”

My question is why the females become captives if they do not take part in war? Only the men are responsible for war.?
Dear brother, in those times, When one tribe would attack another tribe, and become victorious, they would take everything the defeated tribe left, including men and womens (with their children) as war booty. this practice was prevalent all over the world at that times. Thus it was not Islam that started it, or encouraged it, but was deep rooted practice in the society.

Islam come to challenge this system, and showed the way of dealing and treating the captives of war, and gave a solution, how to make them responsible members in society. Alhamdulila Islam played an important role in eradicating slavery from the world. Islam made it a virtue to free slaves.

It was narrated that Shurahbil bin As-Simt said: "I said: 'O 'Amr bin 'Abasah! Tell us a Hadith that you heard from the Messenger of Allah (?) without forgetting or omitting anything.' He said: 'I heard the Messenger of Allah (?) say: Whoever shoots an arrow in the cause of Allah, and it reaches the enemy, whether it misses or hits, it will be as if he freed slave. Whoever frees a believing slave, that will be a ransom for him, limb by limb, from the Fire of Hell. Whoever develops a gray hair in the cause of Allah, it will be light for him on the Day of Resurrection." Sahih (Darussalam) Sunan an-Nasa'i [3145 / The Book of Jihad Book 25, Hadith 61]

Isn't Allah is the most just?
There is absolutely no doubt about that, and one of attribute of allah is ‘Al-Adl’ (The Just).

Can a muslim caliph enslave those who did not take part in war, for example, the wives of non-muslim males and their childrens?

It is absolutely prohibited in Islam to kidnap any free man, women, or children and make them slaves.

I reiterate, it was not Islam that started this practice, but was a deep rooted practice in the society at that time. Islam being the complete way of life showed the way of treating those who become captives of war.

The blessed prophet , after a war would:
  1. Exchange the Prisoners of War.
  2. If not, take ransom to set free the captives of war.
  3. If the slaves or their families could not afford the ransom, most times the Prophet (pbuh) showed generosity and released them without any ransom.
  4. Only if none of the above were possible, and the captives had no place to return to, then these captives were made slaves and all efforts were taken to inculcate them into the existing Islamic Society.
  5. But if, on some instance the enemy continued to be at war, and the chances where high that if the captives were set free, they would join their armies and would attack the muslims again. So in such case the blessed prophet(pbuh) allowed to keep the prisoners as slaves.

If a women did not take part in war, and did not encourage the men, then how can one take them as captives against their will?

If one neither takes part in the battle nor encourage others to take part in the battle, in simple common sense such a person will not be on the battle ground rather would be away from the place of battle. So in such case that person will never be taken as captive of war. Only those persons are made captives of war who are left behind on the battle ground.

Most times the wars were with tribes, and whoever won these wars, the losing tribes were completely eradicated. Thus there was no place to send the Prisoners of War back to, and it became essential that these people were inculcated within the society. And Allah alone knows the best.

I ask Allah to make this a sincere effort, seeking his pleasure, and I ask him to grant us refuge in him from the evils within ourselves, and that in our deeds. I ask him to grant us success in achieving whatever pleases him; And May Allah Shower His blessings and mercy upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his family and his Companions and on all those who follow him until the final hour.

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