بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah (swt), the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
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- Ibn Nuhaas (D. 814 H / 1393 AD):
The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever does you a favor than pay them back. If you can’t, then pray for them until you know that you’ve paid them back”
It is the duty of every Muslim to recognize the blessing that they are in and to thank the one who caused it. The Muslims should pray for the ones who gave their lives in the cause of Allah until Islam reached us. And we need to admit that we are nowhere near them. And we should have certainty that if it wasn’t that Allah has blessed us with the Sahabah and Tabi’een and the ones who followed their path of jihad – the protectors of Islam; the heroes of the Ummah; the men of spears and bows; the openers of the East and West; the ones who mobilized the armies; who spent from their wealth; fought the tough soldiers of the world; defeated the apostates; brought down the Romans and Persians, and drank their blood with the lips of their swords, and made the living among them follow the dead, and made their significance insignificant – if it wasn’t for them, we would have not been enjoying the shade of Islam, a blessing that came to us from them.
We took what they paid for with their souls and wealth for granted. And we neglected their path of jihad. We fell down and became attached to this world and gave up our swords. Now no one talks about fighting and no one encourages it and thus, the religion became weak and its star fell from the sky. Today we are picked like a bird would pick seeds. We are snatched on land and in the sea.
Therefore, my brother, do admit that our condition is corrupt. Admit that we are deficient after we were complete. And admit that that only happened when we neglected the greatest ritual of Islam, jihad in the cause of Allah. Whomever Allah guides no one can misguide and whomever Allah misleads no one can guide.
O Allah don’t make what my pen has written rejected from you and don’t make what I authored a witness against me on the Day of Judgment. And O Allah I ask you to grant me a shahadah (martyrdom) that would raise my rank in Paradise, May your peace and blessings be on Muhammad (saaws).
[The prayer of the author was accepted in 814 H. He was martyred 2 years after he finished writing his book]
- Ibn Nuhaas (D. 814 H / 1393 AD) – The True Art of War:
O you who have believed, when you encounter a company [from the enemy forces] stand firm and remember Allah much that you may be successful. And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed Allah is with the patient.
[Al Qur’an – Surah Al Anfaal (008:45-046)]
1. Being steadfast (firm)
2. Remembrance of Allah
3. Obeying Allah and His Messenger
4. Avoiding disputes
The mujahideen need to be alert and they need to use deception. The Messenger of Allah (saws) said:
It is said that when Ali (r) dueled with Amr bin Abdwod, Ali looked over Amr’s shoulder and said: “Amr I only came out to fight you, not the two of you” Amr looked behind to see who Ali was talking about and Ali took advantage of that and struck him. Amr said: “You’ve deceived me!” Ali said: “War is all about deception!”
It is Sunnah not to disclose where the army is heading. The Messenger of Allah (saws) did not disclose his destination in any battle except at Tabook because it was against the Romans and was far away. He did that in order to have the Muslims prepare accordingly.
The envoy sent to the enemy is a reflection of the army. The envoy should be representative of the courage, wisdom, and intelligence of the army and its leadership. How many times has an army belittled the enemy because of the lack of resolve, foolishness, or weakness of the enemy’s messenger? And how many times has an army held the enemy in high esteem due to the dignity, courage, fluency or wisdom of the messenger. Therefore the commander needs to make the right choice for this important role. The same envoy should not be sent too many times to the same enemy in order not to have a personal relationship develop which could in turn develop into friendship. That could eventually lead to a lack of effectiveness in the envoy’s mission. It could lead to treason by the envoy.
The gatherings of the commander should have readings in the hadiths of jihad, books of Seerah, the history of Muslim conquests, the art of war, and stories of the brave. That is needed to strengthen the hearts, and relief them from the disease of fear.
The fundamental issue of managing warfare is the right choice of commanders. The characteristics needed in the commanders are: Courage, piety, self-possession, to be strong hearted, and experienced in warfare. If the commanders were such then that would radiate to their soldiers. A wise man said: A lion leading one thousand foxes is better than a fox leading one thousand lions.
Al Sirmani (the famous mujahid) said: The commander of the mujahideen needs to have ten qualities:
1. Have a heart of a lion. He never feels fear.
2. Be proud as a tiger. He never humbles himself in front of his enemy.
3. Be as ruthless as a bear. He fights with all his weapons: His claws and his teeth.
4. Charge like a boar. He never turns around.
5. Attack like a wolf. If one direction doesn’t work he would try another.
6. Carry weapons like an ant: It carries more than its weight.
7. Firm like a rock
8. Patient like a donkey
9. Persistent like a dog: Would follow its game wherever it goes
10. Always looking for an opportunity like an eagle.
The commander of the army needs to send out spies before battle. These spies should infiltrate the enemy’s army and study them: Study the quantity and quality of their weaponry and equipment, survey their numbers, learn about their leaders and heroes, and study their strategies and plans.
The commander should also try to slip through to the enemy’s commanders people who would encourage them to give up, or try to divide them. The commander should also try to fabricate letters or documents supposedly written by their leaders, which would weaken their soldiers, and then try to spread these among them.
The commander should spend great amounts of money on intelligence. He should not hold back on spending in this area because if he wins than what he spend was indeed well spent, and if he loses than whatever wealth he held back would be worthless in the case of loss. Plus expending money is better than expending Muslim souls on the battleground.
One of the most important arts of war is the art of preparing successful ambushes. Ambushing the enemy plays an important role in casting fear in the hearts of the enemy. The surprise of the ambush hurts the enemy and when attacked from behind the enemy feels insecure. A soldier cannot continue fighting ahead of him if he feels insecure from behind. The soldier’s mind becomes scattered between attacking the enemy in the front and protecting the rear. Thus, the morale is weakened.
If the Amir wants to take a city then he must begin with the surrounding towns and villages. It is mentioned that a Roman king wanted to test his generals before sending them to invade the capital of Sicily. He placed a gold coin in the centre of a large rug and told his generals whoever can get the coin without stepping on the rug would become the commander. The generals tried but failed. The king then rapped the rug and by doing so easily got the coin. He said: “If you want to take the capital you must rap all the surrounding areas first”
The Messenger of Allah (saws) discouraged Muslims from desiring the facing of the enemy. He said: “Do not ask for and desire meeting your enemy. But if you do meet them then be steadfast”
[Bukhari and Muslim]
The Messenger of Allah (saws) discouraged mutilating the bodies of the enemy and discouraged burning them in fire. He prohibited breaking promises and agreements.
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “Four attributes if they exist in a person, then such a person is a pure hypocrite and if one of them is in a person then such a person has an attribute of hypocrisy: If he is entrusted he is untrustworthy; if he speaks he lies; if he gives a promise he breaks it; and he goes to extremes in animosity when he disagrees with someone.”
Therefore the commander of the army should beware of betrayal and not keeping one’s word.
- Ibn Nuhaas (D. 814 H / 1393 AD) – The Prisoners of War:
Rulings regarding the Muslim POWs:
Allah says: And what is the matter with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and for the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper”?
Al Qurtubi states in his Tafseer: Allah has mandated jihad in order to raise his word high and for his religion to prevail, and to come to the rescue of the weak believers even if that would lead to the loss of lives.
Freeing the Muslim POWs is mandatory, either through fighting or ransom. Imam Malik says: Muslims need to free the POWs even if that would cost them all their wealth.
213. Abu Musa Al Ash’ari narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “Free the POWs, feed the hungry, and visit the sick” (Bukhari)
The madhab of al Shafi’i is that freeing the POWs is recommended. The madhab of Imam Malik and Ahmad is that it is compulsory.
If private money is paid to free the POW and his permission was sought then he needs to pay it back after he is freed. If the money was paid without his knowledge there is a difference of opinion whether he should pay it back or not.
Umar bin Abdul Aziz stated that if a Muslim POW asks for Muslims to pay for his release, it is mandatory for Muslims to pay it.
Al Qurtubi says in the Tafseer of this verse: “But those who believed and did not emigrate – for you there is no guardianship of them until they emigrated. And if they seek help of you for the religion, then you must help, except against a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty. And Allah is Seeing of what you do.” (Al Anfal 72)
If the believers who did not emigrate from the land of the enemy ask the Muslims for help whether in a military of financial form to release them, it is mandatory on the Muslims to help and it is prohibited to forsake them. The only exception is if the Muslims are bound by an agreement with the non-Muslim entity. But this only holds if the withheld Muslims are not harmed. If they are oppressed then the Muslims need to help them.
Imam Abu Bakr bin al Arabi says: “Except if the Muslims are oppressed. In that case we need to secure their release until not a single eye among us blinks (even if we all die) or we spend all of our wealth in the process.”
These are the opinions of Malik and all the scholars. How unfortunate is it to see today our brothers left in the prisons of the enemy while our treasuries are full of money and we are full of strength.
Umar bin AbdulAziz sent a letter to the Muslim POWs in Constantinople. He told them: “You consider yourselves to be POWS. You are not. You are locked in the cause of Allah. I would like you to know that whenever I give something to the Muslims I give more to your families and I am sending so and so with 5 dinars for each one of you and if it wasn’t that I fear the Roman dictator would take it from you I would have sent more. I have also sent so-and-so to secure the release of every single one of you regardless of what the cost would be. So rejoice! Assalamu Alaykum.
Al Nawawi considers that the ruling on freeing the POW is similar to the ruling on the enemy invading a Muslim land. In fact he considers freeing the POW to be more of a priority because the sanctity of the Muslim soul is greater than that of the Muslim land.
An example of that is when a Muslim woman who was a POW with the Romans in Amooriyah was slapped in the face by a Roman. She then said: “Where is al Mutassim?” (al Mutassim was the Muslim Khalifah) When this was related to al Mutassim he sent an entire army to free her.
The Crusaders took 500 Muslim POWs in al Raha. So the Sultan Imad Aldeen Zinki conquered the town and released all of its POWs.
When Salahuddeen won against the crusaders in Hitteen he released 20,000 Muslim POWs from the crusaders.
That was the state of the Muslim Mujahideen leaders. They would free Muslim POWs while taking prisoners from their enemy and then many of these non-believing POWs would embrace Islam and end up fighting with the Muslims. These are the ones meant by the Messenger of Allah in his hadith mentioned in Bukhari: “Allah is amazed with people who enter Paradise in chains!”
Which means that some nonbelievers are brought in chains as POWs and then they believed in Allah. So it is as if these chains brought them to Islam!
If a Muslim POW is able to escape then it is mandatory on him to do so. If he can escape and capture with him any enemy, take any of their property, or kill among them then he should.
If the POW is released with conditions that he agrees to then he must fulfill those conditions in order not to end up harming other Muslim POWs or causing the enemy to think that the Muslims are untrustworthy.
The Muslim POW is not allowed to marry a Christian or a Jew in the land of disbelief because the children in this case might follow their mother’s religion. And he is not allowed to marry a Muslim because they could force them and their children to apostate or they could be enslaved. The Muslim POW should be patient until they return to Muslim land.
Rulings regarding the enemy POWs:
The stronger opinion is that the Imam should do what is most beneficial for the Muslims: To execute them, to free them without anything in return, to free them in return of freeing Muslim POWs, to charge for their freedom, or to enslave them.
The ruling on women and children POWs is that they become slaves by default.
If a Muslim kills a POW, the Amir has the right to punish him by Ta’zeer (a punishment less than the least punishment of a major sin. Usually it is less than 10 lashes)
If a man is taken as a POW along with his wife some scholars say that the marriage contract becomes null while others say it remains. The same is said when the husband alone falls into captivity. But if a woman is taken as a POW then if she is married her marriage contract is nullified.
When children fall into captivity with their parents are they considered Muslim or non- Muslim? The opinion of al Shafi’i, Ahmad, Malik, and Abu Haneefah is that they follow the religion of their parents and are considered non-Muslim. If captured with the father then Ahmad considers them to be Muslim, while the other three Imams state that they are not. If the children are captured with their mother then according to Ahmad they are Muslim. Al Shafi’I and Abu Haneefah say they are not. If the children are captured alone then according to all the Imams except al Shafi’i they are Muslim.
According to the majority opinion the captured families should not be separated.