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 Post subject: Did 8:57, the Sunna or consensus abrogate 47:4?
PostPosted: 11 Jul 2010, 05:29 
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Ihaab Abduh talks a lot in his book استحالة وجود النسخ بالقرآن, and rightly so, about the subject of killing or enslaving prisoners of war. He cites, on pages 187-190, many opinions of scholars allowing it and giving the authority to do that to the imaam and many of these opinions are based on hadeeths attributed to the Prophet, peace be upon him. Hence, the subject of this topic: Did the Sunna abrogate

Which limits the options regarding prisoners of war to two only: letting them go, or ransoming them.

Aside from the fact that neither the Sunna nor consensus can abrogate the Quran, many scholars apparently stated that the practice of the Prophet (PBUH) of killing prisoners of war (he never did), proves to them that 47:4 was abrogated.

Here are the points Ihaab raised,

  • God praised those who feed prisoners of war,

    A verse which some scholars said was abrogated by the Sunna!

  • God ordered consoling prisoners of war,


  • Al-Bukhaari has a chapter in his compilation book entitled, "Killing the prisoner of war and killing a tied-up person." True, but there is no hadeeth in that chapter that says these two can be killed! So, is Ihaab's point that the chapter title is inappropriate? I'd agree about that, but that's a far cry from implying that Al-Bukhaari endorsed the killing, which he accused him and Muslim of doing on page 157.

    Hadeeth number 3081 narrates the end of the story of Ibn Khatal whom the Prophet (PBUH) ordered killed even though the man was hanging on to the curtains of the Ka`ba. The hadeeth does not tell the full story, nor does it say that Ibn Khatal was a prisoner of war.

    In fact, the very next section in the chapter has hadeeth number 3083, where the Prophet (PBUH) orders three things: Release the prisoner of war, feed the hungry and visit the sick.

    The next section has hadeeth number 3088 where the Prophet (PBUH) orders the killing of an enemy spy who snuck into the city.

  • Ibn Hajar concluded that a POW can be killed, ransomed, freed, or enslaved. He quoted a Mursal hadeeth (The Sahaabi is unnamed), reported by Abu-Daawood saying that the Prophet (PBUH) ordered the killing of three prisoners of war the day of Badr while they were tied up. I could not find such hadeeth. Instead, I found a hadeeth number 9862 which states that the one who did that was Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Khaalid ibn Al-Waleed. He killed four prisoners of war tied up. When Abu-Ayyoob Al-Ansaari heard, he narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) forbade killing a tied-up person. Abu-Ayyoob said, "I wouldn't even kill a chicken tied up!" When Abdur-Rahmaan heard that hadeeth, he freed four slaves.

  • Abu-Haneefa said that ransoming is not allowed (!) and only killing or enslaving are. Maalik allowed ransoming in addition to killing and enslaving. I'd say if they really said that, what was their evidence? Why didn't Ihaab include their evidence?

    His two fellows (Muhammad and Abu-Yoosuf?) said that ransoming is allowed as well as killing and enslavement.

  • Al-Jassaas said in his book أحكام القرآن that all four options are allowed and it is up to the imaam which one to use as the community interest requires. He said that all jurists unanimously agree that a prisoner of war may be killed. He claimed that the evidence to that from the hadeeth is ubiquitous (متواتر)! He even said that Abu-Moosa (Al-Ash`arai?) killed a prisoner of war after he promised he will not!! That's an outrageous lie.

    He then says that Ash-Shaafi`i saw nothing wrong in killing a POW and his evidence was that the Prophet (PBUH) killed `Uqba ibn Abi-Mu`eett and An-Nadhr ibn Al-Haarith after they were prisoners of war. Where is that written? It's a lie.

    Finally, Al-Jassaas says that Ibn Umar, Al-Hasan, `Ataa' and Sa`eed ibn Jabeer all forbade killing prisoners of war and they cited 47:4 for evidence. Finally, sane people.

  • Ibn Al`Arabi said in his book أحكام القرآن that killing a prisoner of war while he is tied up is something the Prophet (PBUH) did and ordered. That's an outrageous lie.

  • Ibn Qadaama said in his book المغني that it was Ibn Hanbal's opinion that a soldier may kill his own prisoner of war but not others'. Ibn Hanbal said that if the POW is hurt or sick, he may not be killed. Ibn Qadaama disagreed! He said that leaving a POW alive harms Muslims and strengthens the disbelievers, and therefore killing is indicated.

  • The juristic encyclopedia of the Kuwaiti ministry of endowments says that it is permissible to torture a POW to get enemy secrets. They use for evidence a hadeeth claiming that the Prophet (PBUH) ordered the torture of a man who hid the whereabouts of "the treasure of Huyayy ibn Akhtab."

    The encyclopedia also says that when the enemy tortures Muslim prisoners of war, then Muslims are allowed to torture enemy prisoners of war likewise, citing these verses for evidence,

    And


  • At-Tabari said in his exegesis that 47:4 was abrogated by

    He explains the imperative فشرد بهم من خلفهم to mean "make an example out of them"! He reported a narration from Abdul-Kareem Al-Jazri who said that Abu-Bakr preferred killing a prisoner of war to ransoming him. Did anybody bother to authenticate that narrative? It's a lie.

  • Ibn Rushd, in his book بداية المجتهد ونهاية المقتصد says that enslaving the enemy prisoners of war is unanimously agreed on and that the Prophet (PBUH) killed male prisoners of war and enslaved or let go female prisoners of war. That's a lie.

Clearly, 47:4 was not abrogated by the Sunna, since the evidence citing such is bogus. Consensus of course means nothing if it is in violation of the Quran, which it is in this case. So, what is left is to refute that 8:57 abrogated 47:4. That's easy because,

  • Chapter 47 was revealed after Chapter 8, so if any abrogation happened, it was the other way around.

  • There is no mention in 8:57 of prisoners of war. The verse is speaking about killing enemy personnel في الحرب (in the war). 47:4, on the other hand clearly talks about prisoners of war because of the phrase فشدوا الوثاق (then stiffen the tie).

  • No mention of killing is there in 8:57! The sentence فشرد بهم من خلفهم means "then disperse by them those who are behind them." That includes a variety of tactics that will cause the enemy to give up and disperse. That may be done by killing but it can also be done by many other tactics. If it is killing, it's killing of an enemy combatant in a state of war and not a prisoner of war as pointed out above.

  • The two verses preceding 8:57 explain what 8:57 is talking about. Didn't anybody care to read them?

    Which explains why those people are to be killed when they are spotted in the enemy during a war. Treason is punishable by death.

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:57, the Sunna or consensus abrogate 47:4?
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2010, 14:40 
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In his book الناسخ والمنسوخ في القرآن والسنة, pages 166-169, Al-Qaasim ibn Salaam discusses this subject and concludes that all options are on the table in regards to prisoners of war and the leader has the authority to choose what is best for the nation.

He propounds the opinions of scholars as follows,

  • Ibn Abbaas said 47:4 was not abrogated, but abrogated

    See this topic for details. Sa`eed ibn Jabeer ruled likewise.

  • As-Suddi said that 47:4 was abrogated by 9:5, the sword verse.

  • Ibn Jurayj said 47:4 was abrogated because the Prophet (PBUH) killed `Uqba ibn Abi-Mu`eeT the day of Badr while tied up. That's a lie.

  • In another report, Sa`eed ibn Jabeer said that polytheist prisoners of war are to be killed and not ransomed until a large number of them has been killed.

  • Al-Hasan disliked killing the prisoner of war and ruled that he be either pardoned or ransomed. `Ataa' ibn Abi-Rabaah said likewise.

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 Post subject: Who said what
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2010, 14:58 
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For:
As-Suddi,
Abu-Moosa (implied, per Ihaab Abduh),
Ibn Jurayj,
Sa`eed ibn Jabeer (in one report),
Abu-Haneefa and his fellows (according to Ihab Abduh),
Ash-Shaafi`i (according to Ihaab Abduh),
Ibn Hanbal (he allowed killing of one's own prisoners of war only, said Ihaab Abduh),
Ibn Al`Arabi, Ibn Qadaama, Ibn Rushd (according to Ihaab Abduh),
At-Tabari.

Against:
Ibn Umar,
Ibn Abbaas,
Al-Hasan,
`Ataa' ibn Abi-Rabaah,
Sa`eed ibn Jabeer (in another report),
Al-Qaasim ibn Salaam,
Maalik (according to Ihab Abduh),
Al-Jassas,
Ibn Hajar,
Al-Jabri,
Al-Ghaali.

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 Post subject: Consequences
PostPosted: 08 Feb 2011, 22:34 
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Al-Jabri, in his book لا نسخ في القرآن...لماذا؟, pages 88-89, says that some of the consequences of accepting this claim, which he rejects, is that the family, friends, and countrymen of the killed POW, will hold a grudge against Islam that may span centuries. Same effect if he has been tortured. Neither is taught by Islam. Quite the contrary.

Rejecting this claim, on the other hand, will leave POWs reflecting on the largess of Muslims and the high moral standard of Islam, which may lead them to embrace it, or at least not attack it.

I'd add that because Muslims are the ones who said that torturing, enslaving or killing a POW is allowed, how can non-Muslims ever believe that Islam is charitable to prisoners of war?

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 Post subject: Re: Did 8:57, the Sunna or consensus abrogate 47:4?
PostPosted: 01 Feb 2020, 19:18 
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Al-Ghaali, in his book بالحجة والبرهان لا نسخ في القرآن, pages 168-170, refutes this abrogation claim and also refutes that 47:4 abrogated the sword verse. He made these arguments,
  • Ibn Umar and Al-Hasan said 47:4 was not abrogated.
  • Maalik and Ash-Shaafii ruled that the commander in chief has the option between execution and taking prisoners and if he chooses to take prisoners then he has the option between pardoning and taking a ransom. Ash-Shawakkani chose that in his exegesis and so did An-Nahhaas. And Abu-Ubayd. Al-Hasan hated the idea of killing the prisoner of war.
  • Al-Ghaali sees the fight verses to be talking about what to do during a battle, while 47:4 is talking about what to do after the battle is over and Muslims have prisoners of war. No conflict. This is backed by

    Where the verb يثخن (to wallop or thrash) is interpreted by Ibn Abbaas to mean becomes victorious. Al-Bukhaari and Muhammad Abduh agree. The idea is that Muslims should not be too quick to take prisoners of war before the battle is over and they won.

Finally, Al-Ghaali points out a beautiful observation. God puts the option pardoning before the option of ransom, as this is more befitting of honorable people. It is something the Arabs said poetry about, e.g.,
ولا نقتل الأسرى ولكن نفكهم...إذا أثقل الأعناق حمل المغارم

Translation: We do not kill prisoners of war. Rather, we untie them as necks are burdened by carrying booty :)

In addition, the Quran instructed Muslims to treat prisoners of war with largess,

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