Refuting The Anti-islamist Allegation That The Qurโ€™an Allows Torture

๐‘๐ž๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐€๐ง๐ญ๐ข-๐ข๐ฌ๐ฅ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ ๐€๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐“๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐๐ฎ๐ซโ€™๐š๐ง ๐€๐ฅ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ๐ฌ ๐“๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


Can Muslims torture prisoners of war??

For the Captives of war, absolutely not! But for the enemy who has treacherous designs against the Muslims, there is a PUNISHMENT that he must face as shown below. Donโ€™t get it twisted with torture.

Those โ€œtreacherous designsโ€ are the tricky and deceiving evil actions such as causing a war between the Muslims and other non-Muslim tribes by using tricks and deceptions. Another example is when some of the hypocrites during Prophet Muhammadโ€™s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) times used to falsely embrace Islam to be accepted among the Muslims.

And then later try to create conflicts among Muslim men and cause them to revenge from each others, because they belonged to tribes that had bloody wars with each others before they embraced Islam. The punishment for such enemy is Noble Verses 5:33-34 as shown below.

Let us look what Allah Almighty Said regarding the captives or the prisoners of wars:

โ€œO Prophet! say to those who are captives in your hands: โ€˜If Allah 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 Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. But if they have treacherous designs against thee, (O Messenger!), they have already been in treason against Allah, and so hath He given (thee) power over them. And Allah is He who hath (Full) knowledge and wisdom. (The Noble Quran, 8:70-71)โ€

The following explanation of Noble Verses 8:70-71 was taken from the commentary of  Abdullah Yusuf Aliโ€™s English translation:

โ€œThis is a consolation to the prisoners of war. Inspite of their previous hostility, Allah will forgive them in His mercy if there was any good in their hearts, and confer upon them a far higher gift than anything they have ever lost.

This gift in its highest sense would be the blessing of Islam, but even in a material sense, there was great good fortune awaiting them, e.g., in the case of Al-Abbas (who was among the unbelievers and was taken as a prisoner of war).

Note how comprehensive is Allahโ€™s care. He encourages and strengthens the Muslims, at the same time condemning any baser motives that may have entered their minds. He consoles the prisoners of war and promises them better things if there is any good in them at all.

And He offers comfort to those who have left their homes in His Cause, and knits them into closer fellowship with those who have helped them and sympathized with them.

If the kindness shown to them is abused by the prisoners of war when they are released, it is not a matter of discouragement to those who showed the kindness. Such persons have in their treachery shown already their treason to Allah, in that they took up arms against Allahโ€™s Prophet, and sought to blot out the pure worship of Allah.

The punishment of defeat, which opened the eyes of some of their comrades, evidently did not open their eyes. But Allah knows all, and in His wisdom will order all things for the best. The Believers have done their duty in showing such clemency as they could in the circumstances of war.

For them โ€œAllah sufficethโ€ (Noble Verse 8:62)โ€].


For the captives, paying money is not always the way to freedom. It is true that they would lose their weapons and other equipment such as their carts, horses, camels, etcโ€ฆ, but to gain their way out of captivity doesnโ€™t always have to be through paying money.

When the Muslims won the first battle of Islam against the Pagans, the battle of Badr, our Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) told his captives that whoever wants to earn his freedom he must teach 10 illiterate Muslims how to read and write, and he will then be set free.

Did Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) ever abuse or kill any of his Captives or take personal revenges from them??

Absolutely not! Killing captives is forbidden in Islam, except for those who deserve it such as war criminals as clearly proven below

Narrated Salimโ€™s father: โ€œThe Prophet sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to the tribe of Jadhima and Khalid invited them to Islam but they could not express themselves by saying, โ€œAslamna (i.e. we have embraced Islam),โ€ but they started saying โ€œSabaโ€™na! Sabaโ€™na (i.e. we have come out of one religion to another).โ€ Khalid kept on killing (some of) them and taking (some of) them as captives and gave every one of us his Captive.

When there came the day then Khalid ordered that each man (i.e. Muslim soldier) should kill his captive, I said, โ€œBy Allah, I will not kill my captive, and none of my companions will kill his captive.โ€ When we reached the Prophet, we mentioned to him the whole story.

On that, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) raised both his hands and said twice, โ€œO Allah! I am free (or innocent or not responsible for) from what Khalid has done.โ€ (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 628)โ€

โ€œThey perform (their) vows, and they fear a Day Whose evil flies far and wide. And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive โ€” (Saying), โ€˜We feed you For the sake of Allah alone: No reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.โ€™ (The Noble Quran, 76:7-9)โ€

Muslims not only canโ€™t kill their captives, but they also must feed them for the โ€œlove of Allahโ€.

Our Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) forgave the enemies of Islam. When the Muslims liberated Makkah from the Pagan Arabs, and the Pagansโ€™ army gave up, because they were widely out numbered by the Muslims, our Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said his very famous word that was taught to us in schools:
โ€œGo, you are free.โ€

Muslims are commanded by Allah Almighty to treat their Captives with kindness and to feed them!

Let us look what Allah Almighty said in the Noble Qurโ€™an:

โ€œThey perform (their) vows, and they fear a Day Whose evil flies far and wide. And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive โ€” (Saying), โ€˜We feed you For the sake of Allah alone: No reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.โ€™ (The Noble Quran, 76:7-9)โ€

In these Noble Verses, we clearly see how Allah Almighty orders the Muslims to treat their captives with kindness and to not expect anything back in return. Muslims must do it for the love of Allah Almighty, hence they have to feed their captives in kindness and love.

Notice here how Allah Almighty is so Great, Merciful and Gracious, that even the captives are given His Love. Allah Almightyโ€™s door for Mercy and Forgiveness is always open.

When the captured enemy must not be considered a โ€œCaptiveโ€ or โ€œPrisoner of Warโ€?? And how can Muslims punish them?? Is Ethnic Cleansing allowed in Islam??
What power did Allah Almighty give to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) over the enemies who had treacherous designs against Islam; โ€œโ€ฆ.and so hath He given (thee) power over themโ€ฆ..(The Noble Quran, 8:71)โ€?

The captured enemy can not be considered a captive or prisoner of war if he had treacherous designs against the Muslims.

This would never apply to ordinary soldiers!

It would rather apply to people like war criminal leaders and commanders. There is a punishment that such enemy must face as shown below in Noble Verses 5:33-34. Those โ€œtreacherous designsโ€ are the evil actions such as for instance causing a war between the Muslims and other non-Muslim tribes by using tricks and deceptions.

Another example is when some of the hypocrites during Prophet Muhammadโ€™s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) times used to falsely embrace Islam to be accepted among the Muslims, and then later try to create conflicts among Muslim men and cause them to revenge from each others, because they belonged to tribes that had bloody wars with each others before they embraced Islam, and the tribal mentality might still remained in them. The punishment for such enemy is Noble Verses 5:33-34 as shown below

Let us look at what Allah Almighty Said in the Noble Qurโ€™an:

โ€œThe punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; Except for those who repent before they fall into your power: in that case, know that God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (The Noble Quran, 5:33-34)โ€

There are times when Muslims must accept no captives. This is the time when the Muslims are ordered to punish the enemy severely. Its not torture, torture can be defined as:

Torture is the intentional and systematic infliction of physical or psychological pain and suffering in order to punish, intimidate or gather information

What the Qurโ€™an gives the option of is simply to impose a punishment on the most dangerous of the enemy. Punishment can be defined as:

Punishment is the practice of imposing something unpleasant or aversive on a person in response to an unwanted or disobedient behavior.

So its clear, you can impose a punishment on the enemy, The enemy is a specific person who has plans and designs to do you great harm โ€“ bearing in mind he would do the same or much worse to you, the punishments are justified.

There are options to choose one, or the person can simply be exiled and sent to another land. This is reasonable bearing in mind he is a threat to peace and stability, and as such no state would want someone like that causing upheavel in society.

So what are those times where Muslims must not accept any captive??

When they had been betrayed by the enemy. Let us look at some incidents where Noble Verse 5:33 had been applied to the enemy:

The first incident is when the Muslims were just starting Islam in Madinah. Along with the Muslims there, there were some Christians and three big Jewish tribes: Bani Al-natheer, Bani Qaynuqaa, and Bani Qurayza. When the Pagans of Makkah wanted to end Islam once and for all, they finally agreed along with several other Pagan tribes out side Makkah to attack the Muslims in Madinah.

Prior to this, the Muslims had already signed a treaty of united defense of Madinah with the Jews. When the Pagans of Makkah and their allies finally started marching to Madina, the Muslims became aware of it. One of our beloved Prophetโ€™s close companions, Salman Al-Farisi (radhiyallahu anhu), suggested that the Muslims should dig a big trench to along all of the plain areas of Madina to disable the Pagans from attacking the Muslims.

The Jewsโ€™ tribes were stationed in the North side of Madinah. They didnโ€™t need to dig any trench because they had such high mountains that they could easily defend by stationing their troops on top of the mountains, which would then disable the Pagans from entering Madinah from the North. But the Jews will always remain Jews no matter what.

They betrayed our Prophet and told the Pagans that they could attack them from the North along with the Jewish army. Allah Almighty had blessed the Muslims with a big victory after long battles and Allah Almightyโ€™s blessings of the winds that blocked the eye sights of the enemies of Islam.

After the Pagans withdrew back to Makkah, our Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) executed Noble Verse 5:33 and exiled Bani Qurayza, the first Jewish tribe to betray the Muslims, from Madinah. Later on, the other two Jewish tribes were exiled too.

The second incident is in the following narration about our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), which further explains in details when the Muslims need to apply Noble Verse 5:33 to the enemy:

Narrated Abu Qilaba: โ€œAnas (radhiyallahu anhu) said, โ€œSome people of โ€˜Ukl or โ€˜Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them. So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of (Milch) camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine).

So they went as directed and after they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of the Prophet and drove away all the camels. The news reached the Prophet early in the morning and he sent (men) in their pursuit and they were captured and brought at noon. He then ordered to cut their hands and feet (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron,

They were put in โ€˜Al-Harraโ€™ and when they asked for water, no water was given to them.โ€ Abu Qilaba said, โ€œThose people committed theft and murder, became infidels after embracing Islam and fought against Allah and His Apostle. (Sahih Bukhari, Ablutions (Wuduโ€™), Volume 1, Book 4, Number 234)โ€

Notice in the above incidents that the enemy had betrayed the Muslims. In the first incident, the Jews betrayed the Muslims by breaking up the treaty and fighting along side with the Pagans. In the second incident, the Pagans killed the Shepherd and and stole all of the Camels after they gained the Muslimsโ€™ trust by embracing Islam. These are the only times where Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) ever applied Noble Verse 5:33 to anyone.

Please browse โ€œDid Prophet Muhammad prescribe Camel Urine as Medicine??โ€ See from Medical proofs that several of our medicines today are indeed extracted from animal urines.

The point is that Muslims are not allowed to kill ordinary โ€œPrisoners of Warโ€ as it is clearly stated in Noble Verses 8:70-71. The sever punishment for the enemy and the refusal to accept any captives is when the Muslims had been betrayed by the enemy (Noble Verse 5:33).

Note: Notice also in Noble Verse 5:34 that the door for mercy and forgiveness for the sincere enemy is open. The Muslims can not do any harm to the enemy if the enemy repents.

Further explanations from Abdullah Yusuf Ali:

The following explanation of Noble Verse 5:33 comes from the Noble Qurโ€™an that I used, which was translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali:

โ€œFor the double crime of treason against the State, combined with treason against Allah, as shown by overt crimes, four alternative punishments are mentioned, any one of which is to be applied according to circumstances, viz., execution (cutting off of the head), crucifixion, maiming, or exile.โ€

Definitions of crucifixtion:

Crucifixion is an ancient method of execution, where the victim was tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang there until death.

Death by being nailed to a cross โ€“

Its a punishment allowed for the most dangerous in society, in an Islamic Governing state carried out by an Islamic governing state. The aim is to punish, not to satisfy sadistic needs. You seem to want to create the impression that this is something that is permissible at all times to anyone. Its not a general rule, it refers to specific dangerous individuals who are a threat to society.

By anti-islamist logic, anything is torture. If you shoot someone, and they suffer pain and anguish during the period of being shot and when they eventually die โ€“ that would also be torture. So basically unless someone does instantly, its torture.

Allah is Merciful, and just. In order to maintain justice in society, there have to be rules. Rules that are broken require remedy, the remedy can be punishment for the rule breaker. Allah canโ€™t be just and merciful if he allows a criminal to go unpunished. The rules legislate for all situations.


The verse is not about torture, its a punishment โ€“ for a specific danger to society. Only can be carried by an Islamic Governing State.

Allah knows Best.

Islam reigns

Paul the False Apostle of Satan