Written by Hadrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib, M.A.
Narrated by Ḥaḍrat Buraidah, Allāh be pleased with him:
The Prophet of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him), whenever he sent out a party to meet the enemy, would advise its commander, saying:
“Go in the way of Allāh, in His Name and be not dishonest and break not the covenant with the enemy and mutilate not their dead and kill neither their children nor their women.” (Muslim)
The attitude of the companions and of the succeeding generations of Muslims in their wars has been manifestly governed by this blessed observation of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him). Islām took up the sword in answer to the cruelties perpetrated by the disbelievers and to their acts of aggression. But in the subsequent stages, Muslims deported themselves towards their unjust enemies so nobly that history fails to furnish an example comparable to the ethical excellence of their conduct. Among Arabs, slaughter of women and children was a very common practice; in fact, since the establishment of Mosaic law, it had become widespread in large parts of the world. Besides this, it was customary among Arabs to exult, in a barbarous fashion, in the mutilation of the dead enemy by cutting off their noses and other limbs. This evil custom was known as Muslah. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) forcefully forbade all these barbarities, enjoining instead decent treatment of the enemy and declaring dishonesty, treachery, and breach of agreement totally unlawful acts, he laid in the world the foundations of a lofty code of social behavior.
Besides, as is clear from Aḥādīth, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) commanded that the aged of the belligerent enemy, and such of them as have dedicated themselves to religious service, irrespective of their religion or race, should be left unmolested, and as the Holy Qur’ān says in Sūrah Muḥammad, forbade the slaying of prisoners of war; on the contrary, ordered that they be either set free as a gesture of generosity or on payment of ransom and that in any case, after the cessation of hostilities, their period of captivity, should not be prolonged. During the period of their captivity, Islām has been so emphatic about decent treatment of the prisoners of war that the non-Muslim prisoners-of-war testified that their Muslim captors gave them [a] good diet while they contented themselves with a poor fare and provided them with camel mounts but themselves walked on foot. Did any people in any period of world history treat the belligerent enemy any better? In so far as equitable and just treatment of the enemy is concerned, the Holy Qur’ān lays down in this behalf
[5[Al-Mā’idah]:9] “Under no circumstances should the enmity of a people prevent you from rendering justice and equitable treatment. Do ye justice to the enemy in any case, for, this is the demand of righteousness.”
It is a pity that the world has failed to value this glorious teaching.
Taken from the Forty Gems of Beauty