Even Wars Have Limits: ISIS Transgressions
Humanitarian Law and War Conventions “Even Wars have Limits” , declares the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC or The Red Crescent Society. ICRC vigorously campaigns to position humanitarian law in the context of the modern-day warfare. So often are these Geneva Conventions, which are central to international humanitarian law, are cited as the most important instruments to defend human dignity in war.
They are also among the most widely ratified treaties in the world. Armed conflict has been a prevalent feature of human existence for thousands of years. It manifests in various forms such as large-scale warfare between nations, internal conflict between different ethnic groups or civil unrest. The key trait these various forms of conflict have in common is the devastating impact on humankind. The establishment of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the adoption of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 seeks to uphold international humanitarian law to limit the devastating consequences of armed conflict for civilians and non-combatants by restricting the means and methods of warfare, the consequences of non-adherence during armed conflict on human life and dignity. H
uman Rights and Human Dignity in Islam All human beings form one family whose members descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the grounds of race, color, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. True faith is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human perfection by submission to God. There is no compulsion in religion.
It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his condition or ignorance in order to convert anyone. Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them, and there can be no subjugation but to God the Most-High. Everyone shall have the right to live in security for himself, his religion, his dependents, his honor and his property. It is not permitted to subject anyone to physical or psychological torture or to any form of humiliation, cruelty or indignity.
Every human being is entitled to inviolability and the protection of his good name and honor during his life and after his death. The state and society shall protect his remains and burial place. The preservation of human life throughout the term of time willed by God is a duty prescribed by Shari’ah. Life is a God-given gift and the right to life is guaranteed to every human being. Islam protects this right from any violation, and it is prohibited to take away life except for a Shari’ah prescribed reason.
It is forbidden to resort to such means as may result in the genocidal annihilation of mankind. Safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the duty of the state to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a Sharia-prescribed reason. In the event of the use of force and in case of armed conflict, it is not permissible to kill non-belligerents such as the old, the meek, the defenseless, women and children. The wounded and the sick shall have the right to medical treatment; and prisoners of war shall have the right to be fed, sheltered and clothed.
It is prohibited to mutilate dead bodies. It is a duty to exchange prisoners of war and to arrange visits or reunions of the families separated by the circumstances of war. Churches, synagogues, places of worship, schools , hospitals and civilian areas are protected sanctuaries. Sources of water such as reservoirs, wells, waterholes, trees, cattle and such essential necessities for living are forbidden to be tampered with. The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. showed great tolerance and understanding in times of peace and even during war.
He commanded and reminded Muslim forces to uphold the rules of engagement in wartime. His example was emulated and followed loyally by the Rightly Guided Caliphs – Khulafa ur Rasyidin . Among the rules of war were, Not to intrude and harm religious people in their houses of worship Not to harm women, children and the elderly, the non combatants Treating fairly prisoners of war, attend to the wounded and their medical needs, feed them Prisoners are free to practice their religion Places of worship are to be protected Not to destroy livestock except for necessary food Not to ruin water resources The Prophet’s s.a.w. victorious return and his triumphant opening of Makkah showed such humility and grace.
There was no vindictiveness or vengefulness on the part of the Prophet and the conquering Muslims although they were formerly oppressed, persecuted for their beliefs and forced into exile. Umar al Khattab’s Jerusalem humble entrance and acceptance of the holy city keys displayed great tolerance granting freedom of worship and the sanctity of the churches and other places of devotion.
Salahuddin’s liberation of Jerusalem exhibited great chivalry without any savagery and retribution even though a hundred years before that, conquering Crusaders massacred and mercilessly slaughtered Muslims and Jews until blood was splattered knee deep throughout the ravaged city. During the Bosnian war, Aliya Izetbegovic the first European Muslim president pointed out that hundreds of mosques were destroyed and some churches were too. All of them were destroyed by Europeans (Serbs), not even one was damaged by Muslims.
The genocide termed ethnic cleansing, massacres and atrocities were overwhelmingly committed by Serbs. Izetbegovic sharply interjected that his and the Muslims. tolerance were first and foremost because of Islam. It was also during the Bosnian war that the foreign mujahidin brigade once overran and captured some monasteries and took into their custody several Serbian nuns. Their brigade commander , al marhum Syaikh Anwar Shaaban, refused to consider suggestions that the nuns be made slaves. He knew that it would be a grave calamity if the Muslim mujahidin were to engage in something as mean as the cruel Serbs. The nuns were unharmed and treated with care and handed over in peace to the ICRC. The mujahidin bore no ill will to exact revenge or demonstrate terror
ISRAEL AS A WAR CRIMINAL
Israel trampled on all war conventions and flagrantly violated humanitarian law by committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in their assault and obliteration of Gaza. Israel unleashed indiscriminate shelling sea, air and land – ships, jet bombers, artillery and tanks onto Palestinian civilians, schools, hospitals, mosque and thousands of homes, resulting in thousands of deaths and maiming, mayhem and limitless destruction. They even kill and murder whole families.
If they cannot get to the fighters, they intend to hurt and savage their families, women and children, friends and the people of Gaza, the non belligerents to force the Palestinian resistance to surrender. Israeli leaders are known to be fearful of being apprehended and indicted for war crimes when they are abroad.
ISIS TRANGRESSIONS ISIS actions are not Islamic and inhumane. Its brutality and appalling atrocities relegates even al Qaeda to the shadows. Its emergence displaying such strength and organization with such a messianic portrayal is more than surprising, shows a semblance of some apocalyptic Hollywood plot with its leader, Baghdadi’s appearance, image and makeup. Some say they are exploiting Mahdi like end of days scenarios, the subject of infatuation for many Muslims.
But to have some naïve Muslims rooting for them and cheering on their vicious and cruel wanton murder, mutilations, throat cutting, beheading and arrogant display of severed heads, is a gross transgression and simply unIslamic. How can they even sympathize and support patent terrorism and clear crimes against humanity by equating them with jihad? This is a grave fitnah – strife, distress and affliction for the Muslim ummah. ISIS and sadistic fringe outfits like them give Islam, Islamists and the Islamic resistance a bad name and easy propaganda for Islamophobes. No credible and respectable scholar has ever condoned terrorism . War crimes and crimes against humanity has been condemned categorically and undisputedly by all authoritative scholars. In Islam, even wars have limits.
Prepared by: Abu Omar