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Prisoners of War

With the focus of attention on US and other countries’ torture of Muslim prisoners of war (POW), we highlight a few Islamic teachings in this regard:

Kind Treatment. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam enjoined Muslims to treat prisoners well, whereas the Romans and those who came before them like the Assyrians and Pharaohs, used to take out their prisoners’ eyes with hot irons and flay them alive, feeding their skins to dogs.


Preference. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam urged Muslims to: ‘Treat the prisoners of war kindly.’ Relating how the Companions complied strictly with this order one of the prisoners of Badr, Huzayr ibn Humayr, states: ‘I was with one of Ansari families, after being taken as captive. Whenever they had lunch or dinner, they used to give me preference by providing me with bread while they’d eat only dates, in showing compliance with the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam’s order of treating prisoners well.’


Prisoner Exchange. ‘So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.’ (Quran) Either the Muslim commander should free captives who can’t offer ransom or he should carry out an exchange of prisoners.


Feeding Captives. ‘And they give food, in spite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to the poor, the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): ‘We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you.’’ (Quran 76:8-9)

Hadeeth Newsflash

Reported by Abu Hurairah (RA): The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Allah, the Exalted, says: `I will contend on the Day of Resurrection against three (types of) people: One who makes a covenant in My Name and then breaks it; one who sells a free man as a slave and devours his price; and one who hires a workman and having taken full work from him, does not pay him his wages.''' [Al-Bukhari]

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