NO DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN THE KILLINGS OF MUSLIM AND NON-MUSLIM CITIZENS
Islam is a religion of peace that guarantees the protection of life, property and honour for all members of society, without any discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, race and religion. In this chapter we will establish that the protection of the life, honour and property of non-Muslim citizens living in any Islamic state or any non-Muslim country is a binding duty upon the Muslims in general and the Islamic State in particular. (The Unlawfulness of Indiscriminately Killing Non- Muslims and Torturing Them)
On the occasion of his Last Sermon, the Prophet ﷺ said, guaranteeing the protection of life, property and honour of the whole humankind,
‘Indeed your blood and your property and your honour are inviolable, like the inviolability of this day of yours and this month of yours and this land of yours until the day you meet your Lord’.
Therefore, it is completely forbidden to kill anyone unjustly, or plunder his wealth, or humiliate him or malign his honour. (The Unlawfulness of Indiscriminately Killing Non- Muslims and Torturing Them)
Following this principle, killing Muslim and non-Muslim citizens—wherever they reside—is strictly prohibited on the basis of equality. It is clearly stated in the Quran,
‘Whoever kills a person (unjustly), except as a punishment for murder or (as a prescribed punishment for spreading) disorder in the land, it is as if he killed all of humanity’.
This verse uses the word ‘person’ (nafs), which is a general expression that gives the verse a broad-based application. So in other words unjust killing is completely forbidden, no matter what religion, language or citizenship is held by the victim. This is a sin as grave as killing the whole of humanity. Therefore, the killing of non-Muslim citizens living in an Islamic state falls in the same category. (The Unlawfulness of Indiscriminately Killing Non- Muslims and Torturing Them)
THE MASSACRE OF CIVILIAN POPULATION AND CONSIDERING IT LAWFUL IS AN ACT OF DISBELIEF
Killing a person is akin to disbelief. Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, one of the Imams of Ahl al-Sunna in theology, interpreted the verse:
‘Whoever kills a person (unjustly), except as a punishment for murder or (as a prescribed punishment for spreading) disorder in the land, it is as if he killed all of humanity’
declaring that murder can be an act of disbelief. He wrote:
Whoever declares lawful the killing of a person whose killing has been forbidden by God (except when there is a valid reason), it is as if he considers it lawful to kill all of humanity. This is because he disbelieves by his declaring lawful the killing of one whose killing is unlawful, which is akin to declaring lawful the killing of humanity entire; because the one who disbelieves in one verse from God’s Book disbelieves in the whole of it. . . .
This verse contains another possible angle of interpretation, and it is as has been said: His murder of
one person entails the same burden [in the Hereafter] as if he killed humanity entire. Another possible angle of interpretation is that it is necessary for everyone to make a collective effort to help and save the peaceful person from murder. So, when the murderer kills that harmless soul or attempts to harm it, it is as if he is attempting to do that to everyone. . . . This indicates that the verse was revealed as a ruling for the people of disbelief and the people of Islam together, if they sow corruption in the earth.
In his al-Lubab fi ulum al-Kitab, Abu Hafs al-Hanbali interpreted the Quranic verse, ‘it is as if he killed all of humanity’, and declared that the murder of one individual is comparable to the killing of all of humanity, and he quoted the sayings of different Imams in support of this position.
Mujahid said, ‘If someone kills a soul unjustly, he will go to Hell due to that murder, just as he would have gone to Hell if he killed humanity entire’. Qatada said, ‘God has made the reward for saving it [a life] tremendous and made the burden of sin [for taking a life unjustly] tremendous, too. This means that whoever declares it lawful for himself to kill a Muslim, it is as if he killed all humanity’. Interpreting the same verse, al-Hasan al-Basri said, ‘This means that he is liable to legal retribution [qisas] for killing it [the sinless soul] as would be the person who killed all of humanity’.
God says: ‘Indeed, those who wage war against God and His Messenger and remain engaged in creating mischief in
the land [i.e., perpetrate terrorism, robbery and burglary amongst people], their punishment is that they should be
slain, or crucified, or their hands and their feet on opposite sides should be cut off, or that they should be exiled from the land. That is for them a humiliation in this world, and for them there is a terrible torment in the Hereafter—except those who turn to God in repentance before you overpower them. So, know that God is Most Forgiving, Ever-Merciful’.
The phrase in the verse, ‘yuharibun Allah’ (‘wage war against God’), implies that they wage war against the friends of God. That is the interpretation maintained by the overwhelming majority of scholars. Al-ZamakhsharÏ said, ‘They wage war against the Messenger of God, and waging war against the Muslims takes the same ruling as
waging war against him’. This verse was revealed about the brigands [highway robbers: qutta al-tarÏq] amongst
the Muslims, and [this position is held] by most of the jurists.
Indeed, God’s statement, ‘Those who wage war against God and His Messenger and remain engaged in creating
mischief in the land’, includes everyone who possesses these traits, whether he is a Muslim or a disbeliever. One cannot object or claim that the verse was revealed regarding the disbelievers, because the point of consideration is the generality of its expression, not the particular circumstance in which it was revealed. If it is said that those who wage war [muharibun] are those who join forces and who possess power and target the Muslims
in their lives and wealth, and that they [the scholars] agree that if these traits are found amongst people of the
desert wastelands—then they are brigands. And if these traits are adopted by a group residing in cities, al-Awzai
Malik, Layth b. Sa’d and al-Shafi all agree that they, too, are considered brigands and that the same prescribed
punishment is to be applied against them. They stated that when their crimes take place in populated areas the
sin is severer. They inferred this from the aforementioned verse and the generality of its expression, and because it is a prescribed punishment, and therefore it is no different from the other prescribed punishments.
(The Unlawfulness of Indiscriminately Killing Non- Muslims and Torturing Them)