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Does Islam Call for Killing Innocent People?

22 December, 2016
Q Why kill innocents? Did our civilization not learn from previous times, the Crusades and other "wars-of-faith"? We are all God's children. All faiths and religions are like fingers on the hands of God (Allah, Buddah, Christ, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Vishnu, or however we choose to call our god). We are one! Who are we that we deign to play God and take life? Spare innocents, as they are not yours to kill. Seek your path if you must, but spare the innocents, as they did not wrong you.



In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, thank you for contacting us and the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.

It is to be stressed first that Islam is a universal religion that aims at spreading the principles of peace, love, and cooperation among all people regardless of their race, color, cultural background, or religion. As Muslims we do not hate non-Muslims. Islam teaches us to wish and strive for the goodness and welfare of all people. On the contrary, Islam is against oppression and injustice and killing innocent people, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. This fact is declared in the Qur’an when Allah says, “Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.” (An-Nahl 16:90)

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Islam is strictly against taking even a single life without justice. This, in fact, is an understatement, for Islam is not merely against taking life without justice, but considers doing so as depriving all humankind of the right to live—the sacred right bestowed upon humans by their Creator, Who alone can take that right away from them when He so decides, according to His absolute knowledge, wisdom and mercy.

In his answer to the question, the prominent Muslim scholar Dr. Muhammad Abu Laylah, Professor of the Islamic Studies & Comparative Religions at Al-Azhar University states:

Thank you for your question or rather your statement. You should know that Islam holds human life in high esteem, human blood is sacred, human property is safeguarded, killing others is a criminal act in Islam, and it is severely punishable not only in this world but also in the Hereafter.

Even the child in his mother’s womb is well protected in Islam and even the dead body in the grave is totally honored. The lives of animals also come under the Islamic law of protection. If a Muslim [deliberately] kills another Muslim, he must be killed after all evidence is established, unless the family of the murdered forgive the murderer or accept to compromise the matter with him [by accepting blood money from him].

In Islam, the protection of one soul from being killed may be equal to giving life to all humankind; likewise, the killing of an innocent soul may be equal to the killing of the entire human race.

Allah Almighty says, “For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killsh a human being for other than man slaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:32)

In Islam, jihad is not to kill others or to deny their existence or their rights to live and develop their life. It is only to protect the Muslim people against any aggression or invasion.

Islam is also ready to offer protection to non-Muslims who are wronged and unjustly treated. Islam tries always to keep the balance between nations and to secure a better life and always calls for a better understanding between nations.

In the just war allowed in Islam, it is forbidden to kill innocent children, women and unarmed people, or to burn crops, destroy the means of living, torture the captives, or mutilate the dead bodies under any circumstance. If the enemies of Islam call for peace, Islam urges Muslims to accept and to decline war and enter into peace immediately with them.

War in Islam is circumstantial and accidental. But peace is the everlasting rule. We agree with you that the religious community should stop killing and stop carrying weapons against each other and give way to peace. They should help each other and cooperate with one another to overcome and conquer the myriad problems our race is facing. We should maintain justice, peace, security and order in the world.

I do not agree with you about the image you gave that “all faiths and religions are like fingers on the hands of God (Allah, Buddah, Christ, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Vishnu, or however we choose to call our god).” We Muslims do not believe that Muhammad is our god, nor that Buddha, Christ, Zoroaster, Vishnu, et cetera are gods.

They are mortals. We believe that Muhammad is the Prophet and Messenger of Allah who was chosen by Him to deliver His final message to mankind. Muhammad was granted many miracles, the best of which after the Qur’an is the everlasting influence upon Muslims and humanity in large. We honor Jesus as a mighty Prophet. Allah in Islam is above time and space and nothing in this world can resemble Him or even stand in any degree similar to Him. We are not children of God (Allah), but children of the first humans created, Adam and Eve.

Allah Almighty knows best.