From the Archive
The Philosophy of Submission
Mettre fin pacifiquement à la culture du terrorisme wahhabite et du terrorisme semblable aux croisades
Addressing Muslims only: Pluralism in Islam as the door of interfaith dialog
Questions to Test the Fanatics Muslim leaders in the US
Behaving Proudly and Arrogantly Without Justification (2 of 2)
On Prayers Performed by Muslims inside Churches
2:277 “Those who believe and do good works…”
The Maturity of the US
Fatwas Part One-Hundred-and-Fifty-Eight
Scenes from the Day of Resurrection: And The Book Will Be Put in Place
Messengers and Prophets of Africa, China, India, the Two Americas, and Australia
Quranic Terminology: Brother/Brethren Regarding Both the Human and Religious Levels
They ask you about the veil
Al-Bukhari’s methodology in portraying Prophet Mohammad’s
The Saudi-isation Of Pakistan
The Quranic Phrase (For The Cause of God) within the Dealings among People in this World and within the Last Day
We Predict the End of the Three Assassins Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, Khalifa Haftar, and Bashar Al-Assad
Proving That ISIS Is One of Islam’s Ardent Enemies
How to treat War Prisoners in Islam

How to treat War Prisoners in Islam:  Proving That ISIS Is One of Islam’s Ardent Enemies

I received this question from a dear friend of mine: “I wish if you can tell me your opinion about verse 67 of Al’anfal chapter (8:67): “It is not fitting for an Apostle that he should have prisoners of war until ha hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but God looketh to the hereafter: and God is exalted in might, wise.” (67). This is my answer:

Background to the Verse

After Badr’s battle, Muslims were faced with the problem of what to do with captives and spoils. Hence, the Islamic law of spoils was delivered in AlAnfal chapter where Muslims were prohibited to go to war just because of spoils; rather for self-defense and to spread the cause of peace and submission to the One God, Allah the Creator. Islam means peace in dealing with people and submission to Allah according to freedom of religion in dealing with Allah. Quraysh, the mighty tribe of the Prophet Mohamed used its power in religious persecution, so , Muslims were evacuated and forced to immigrate to Al Madina, leaving behind in Makkah their homes and fortunes. Quraysh used to attack Muslims in their new home-Al Madina  when Muslims were prevented from defending themselves. Then the permission was revealed: (Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory. [They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right - only because they say, "Our Lord is Allah (only)." And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might. ) (22 / 39: 40).  After confiscating Muslim fortunes and belongings, Quraysh invested them in its Eastern trade, through its caravans between Yemen and Syria, passing near Al Madina. It was the right of Muslims to capture this caravan where their money was invested. The Prophet Mohamed led a small army for this mission. This is the reason of battle of Badr. Muslims defeated the strong army of Quraysh and had spoil of war along with prisons of war. It was a debate about this new situation. Chapter 8 (Al Anfal which means: Spoil of war) gave the answer for this question.   

Here is a short description of the issue:

1-      AlAnfal chapter starts with “They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the spoils [of war]. Say, "The [decision concerning] bounties is for Allah and the Messenger." So fear Allah and amend that which is between you and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you should be believers.”

2-      The verse discusses how the Muslim victors made the war captives pay ransom money to gain their freedom: “It is not fitting for an Apostle that he should have prisoners of war until ha hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but God looketh to the hereafter: and God is exalted in might, wise.” (08-67).  This means that the prophet was not supposed to hold captives except through war, which should not be fought for worldly temporal causes. Yet the believers chose such materialistic winnings and accepted ransom in exchange for releasing the captives. God warns them that if it was not for God’s forgiveness, God would have punished them harshly: “O Apostle say to those who are captives in your hands: if God findeth any good in your hearts, he will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and he will forgive you: for God is oft forgiving, most merciful.” (08-70). It is a sign of compassion for Allah to order Mohammed to tell the aggressor captives that God will make up the money that was taken from them and forgive them if there if good in their hearts. But what if the Prophet was to set them free and they respond by attacking Muslims again? Here God promises to defend the believers in this case “But if they have treacherous designs against thee, (O Apostle), they have already been in treason against God, and so hath he given (thee) power over them. And God is he who hath (full) knowledge and wisdom.” (08-71).

3-      It is clear hear that paying ransom to free captives is prohibited in Islam, but it is allowed to exchange captives or letting them go for free.

4-      It is worth mentioning that that the meaning of the verses “It is not fitting for an Apostle that he should have prisoners of war until ha hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but God looketh to the hereafter: and God is exalted in might, wise (67). Had it not been for a previous ordainment from God, a severe penalty would have reached you for the (ransom) that ye took (68).” were changed to mean that God was blaming Mohammed for not killing the captives and letting them go in exchange of money. If that was the case, the following verse would have not set the law on how to set captives free. It is clear that the blaming here was for accepting money for setting prisoners free, which was a big enough of a mistake for God to blame the prophet and believers for it. Hence, Allah (SWT) ordered the prophet to tell the captives “O Apostle say to those who are captives in your hands: if God findeth any good in your hearts, he will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and he will forgive you: for God is oft forgiving, most merciful.” (08-70).

Second: Captives’ Rights after Being Freed as a Wander:

1-      Setting war captives free was confirmed by another verse “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight). Smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bon firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: until the war lays down its burdens.” (47-5) Meaning you should either set captives free or exchange them with other captives, no third option which means they should not be killed.

2-      After setting the captive free, Islamic law dictates that they should be taken care of as (Ibn Al Sabil). Ibn Alsabiel in the Quranic terminology means the homeless guest regardless of his/her gender ethnic or religion. This Quranic expression includes the prisoner of war after releasing him and in his way to his home. It gives him the right of safe passage, care, and kind treatment as if he is a member of the family or community. Allah SWT says: “Serve God, and join not any partners with him; and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer [Ibn Alsabiel], and what your right hands possess; for God loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious” ( 4 / 36).

3-      Allah (SWT) also gives the freed captive the right of charity of Muslims “And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer ([Ibn Alsabiel)) :  (17 26). Allah also says “So give what is due to kindred, the needy, and the wayfarer ([Ibn Alsabiel)). That is best for those who seek the Countenance, of God, and it is they who will prosper” (30/ 38).

4-      Such financial rights were dictated in chapters (17) and (30) back when the prophet was still in Makkah. The elaboration and detailed description of such rights was mentioned the chapters delivered after the Prophet and Muslims immigrated to Medina; after having an official Muslim charity. Allah (SWT) says: “Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of God; and for the wayfarer: ([Ibn Alsabiel)) (thus is it) ordained by God, and God is full of knowledge and wisdom” (9/ 60).

5-      Wayfarer ([Ibn Alsabiel)) also should also be included in voluntary charity: “They ask thee what they should spend (in charity). say: whatever ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers (Ibn Alsabiel), and whatever ye do that is good, God knoweth it well” (2/ 215).

6-      As long as a free captive is roaming lands of Muslims, he is a wayfarer who has a right to care and good treatment. Muslims are requested to be gracious and feed them without expecting a thank you: “And they feed, for the love of God, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive, (Saying), We feed you for the sake of God alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks” (76 / 8,9).

7-      This contradicts the Wahhabi human made Sharia, which is based on violence and bigotry.


Such laws governing the treatment of captives are a part of the bigger true Islamic Sharia that are built on principles of justice, peace, mercy, and protection of human rights of life, property and honor, regardless of their religion, gender, or ethnicity. I have detailed such Sharia in multiple articles on our website:

The contradiction between the true Islamic Sharia and the Wahabbi Sharia was collected on a book also published on our Arabic website  called “Damned religion of ISIS”

 Here is a brief summary:

1-      If soldiers of the aggressing army requested the help of Muslims and chose to put down their arms, Muslims must protect them, save them, and make them hear some Quranic verses. After that, they should drive them to their home and save haven: “If one amongst the transgressor   ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of God; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge” (9/ 6).

2-      War in Islam should be fought in defense only, as Allah (SWT) does not like the transgressors.(And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. ). The response to transgression should also be proportional: “If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him, but fear God, and know that God is with those who restrain themselves” (2/ 194).

3-      Islam is a religion of peace. God’s names include Peace and Safe, and most importantly, Merciful. All the Quranic chapters begin with in the name of Allah, the most gracious the most merciful. Moreover, the greeting in Islam is (Peace be upon you), and Allah (SWT) sent the last prophet with the final Holey message (Al Quran) as a mercy to all humanity not to terrorize them. (And we have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.) (21 / 107). Hence, the concept of Muslim in the Quranic terminology in dealing with humans is the one who is peaceful, regardless of his/her faith. That is why if a transgressing soldier in a war utters the word “Peace” he should not be killed (4/ 94).

4-      The infidel in Islamic Sharia is he/she who transgresses against Muslims, even if they claim that their fight is for a Godly cause, just like the wars made by the Prophet’s contemporaries, Wahhabism and its productions like Muslim Brothers ,Al Qaeda, and  ISIS.

5-      The real Islam has been alienated and the holy Quran has been ignored by the majority of Muslims and their human made beliefs, especially the Sunnis and their fanatic schools. In distorting Islam and its Holy Quran, they use: (ALnaskh) means abrogating the Quranic verses, (Ta’aweel) means distorting the Quranic terminology and fabricating sayings and attributing to the Prophet Mohamed two centuries and more after his death.

6-      The Saudi Wahhabism created many violent extreme organization, and the Muslim Brothers are not their first creation and ISIS (which repeats the worst deeds of Middle-ages Muslims) is not the last. Yet, no matter how far ISIS goes, they will not perpetrate as many atrocities as the first or third Saudi state committed.  

The views and opinions of authors whose articles and comments are posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of IQC.