Hadith_prohibition of killing women and Children


The Prohibition of Killing Women and Children in Battle

(al-nahy an qatl al-nisa’ wa ’l-waladan)

النهي عن قتل النساء و الوالدان: ابن الجارود

By: S. Z. Chowdhury

Autumn 2003.

al-Hafiz ibn al-Jarud relates the following in his collection of narrations pertaining to rulings (ahkam) entitled al-Muntaqa:

1043: Muhammad b. Yahya told us that Abu ’l-Walid said from Layth[1] from Nafi‘ from ibn ‘Umar (RA)[2] that he was told that women were found slain (maqtulah) in some of the battles (maghazi) of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and so [upon hearing that] the Prophet strongly censured the killing of women and children (fa-ankara qatl al-nisa’i wa ’l-sibyan).[3]

And Allah knows best.

[1] That is al-Layth b. Sa‘d b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Fahmi, Abu ’l-Harith, al-Masri; “unwaveringly trustworthy” (thiqah thabt) according to ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 2/147; ibn Sa‘d said he was trustworthy and transmitted many narrations (thiqah, kathir al-hadith), Tabaqat al-Kubra, 7/517; Imam Ahmad said he was “extremely knowledgeable” (kathir al-ilm); al-Nasa’i said he was trustworthy (thiqah) as well as ibn Ma‘in in Tarikh al-Darimi, p.207 and ibn al-Madini; al-‘ijly also echoed the same comment in Tarikh al-Thiqat, p.398; ibn Abi Hatim al-Razi said that his narrations are relied upon (yahtaju hadithahu) in al-Jarh wa ’l-Tadil, 7/182 & ibn Hibban said “he was one of the leading figures in his time in terms of fiqh, piety, excellence, knowledge and generosity” (kana min sadat ahl zamanihi fiqhan wa war’an wa ilman wa fadlan wa sakh’an), al-Thiqat, 9/30.

[2] He is ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, al-‘Adawiyy, Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman; one of the most famous companions and requires no enquiry into his probity (‘adalah) as with all of the companions (may Allah be pleased with them all!) because, by consensus (ijma‘), they are upright and pious.

[3] The chain of transmission is rigorously authenticated (isnaduhu sahih): Malik narrated it in his Muwatta’, 2/447 (#924); Bukhari in his Sahih, 3/1098 (#2852 & 2857) as numbered in the Fath al-Bari of ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani; Muslim in his Sahih, 3/1364 (#1744); Abu Dawud, Sunan, 3/53 (#2668); al-Nasa’i under the section of ‘al-Siyar’ (The Book of International Relations) as mentioned in al-Atraf, 6/196; al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan, 4/136 (#1569); ibn Majah, Sunan, 2/947 (#2841); al-Darimi, Musnad, 2/293 (#2462); Ahmad in his Musnad, 2/22-23, 76 & 91 (#4739, 4746, 5458, 5658, 5753, 5959, 6037 & 6055); Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qasim b. al-Sallam, Kitab al-Amwal (#98); al-Tabarani in the Mujam al-Awsat, 1/209 (#673 & 7939) & in his Mujam al-Kabir, 12/382 (#13416); ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 1/344 (#135 & 4785); ibn Abi Shaybah in his Musannaf, 6/482 (#33112); Imam al-Tahawi in Sharh Maani al-Athar, 3/220-221; al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan al-Kubra, 9/77 (#17866-17867) and al-Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunnah, 11/47 via Nafi‘ from ibn ‘Umar. The narration also has many evidences (shawahid) two of which are:

1. from Aswad b. Sari‘ (RA): al-Nasa’i mentions it under the section entitled ‘al-Siyar’ as mentioned in al-Atraf, 1/70; al-Darimi, Musnad, 2/294 (#2463); al-Shaybani, Ahad wa ’l-Mathani, 2/377 (#1162); Ahmad in his Musnad, 3/435 & 4/24 (#); Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qasim b. al-Sallam, Kitab al-Amwal (#97) also mentioning ibn Zanjuya (#147-148); ibn Hibban, Sahih (#1658); al-Tabarani in Mujam al-Kabir, 1/283 (#862, 830 & 834) as well as his Mujam al-Awsat, 2/280; al-Hakim in the Mustadrak, 2/123 where he said the narration is upon the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim and al-Dhahabi confirmed that grading in his Talkhis and finally al-Bayhaqi in the Sunan al-Kubra, 5/184 & 9/130 (#8616 & 18114) narrated via al-Hasan al-Basri who said that al-Aswad b. Suray‘ said that: “We went out with the Messenger of Allah (SAW) on a battle expedition and were victorious over the polytheists (fa-zafira bi ’l-mushrikin) and the people hastened in their killing to the point they killed children (hatta qatalu al-dhurriyah) and this was reported to the Prophet (SAW) whereupon he said:  ‘what is the matter with the people who get carried away by the fighting (dhahaba bihim al-qatlu) to the point that they kill children?! Beware! Do not kill children (la taqtulu dhurriyatan), [and he said that] three times.’”

                2. From the narration of Rabah b. Rabi‘ (RA): Abu Dawud mentioned it in his Sunan (#2669); al-Nasa’i under the section of ‘al-Siyar’ in the Sunan al-Kubra, 5/185 (#8618 & 8626-8627); ibn Majah, Sunan, 2/948 (#2842 & 2846); Ahmad in his Musnad, 3/488 (#16035 & 17647); Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qasim b. al-Sallam, Kitab al-Amwal (#96); al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Kubra, 5/187 & 19/91 (#8627, 17866 & 17936); al-Tabarani, Mujam al-Kabir, 5/72 (#4617 & 4620-4621); Abu Ya‘la in his Musnad, 3/115 (#1546); ibn Abi Shaybah in his Musannaf, 6/482 (#33117); Imam al-Tahawi in Sharh Maani al-Athar, 3/221-222; ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 11/110 (#4789 & 4791); the Musnad of al-Harith (with the Majmaal-Zawa’id of al-Haythami), 2/672 (#647); Ahad wa ’l-Mathani of Abu Bakr Ahmad b. ‘Amru b. al-Dahhak al-Shaybani, 2/404 (#1203 & 2751); al-Hakim in the Mustadrak, 2/133 (#2565) where he said it was according to the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim and confirmed by al-Dhahabi although I was unable to find either Bukhari or Muslim narrate from Muqarri‘. The chain of this evidence is al-Muqarri‘ b. Sayfi (regarding whom ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani said was truthful (saduq) & ibn Hibban mentioned him in al-Thiqat, 5/460) from his grandfather Rabah b. al-Rabi‘ who said: “We were with the Prophet (SAW) on a battle expedition. Then he [SAW] saw people gathered around something (mujtamiin ala shay’). He [SAW] then sent a man saying: ‘see exactly why those people have gathered together.’ [The man] came back and said: [they are gathered] over a slain woman (‘ala imra’atin qatilin). He [SAW] then said: ‘So it was not people fighting together!’ [The man] said: It is over the lead of Khalid b. Walid. [The Prophet] then sent a man and said [to him]: ‘tell Khalid not to kill women and no oppression (la asifan).’” The narration is hasan (fair) with all its corroborating chains. And Allah knows best.

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