Question: Does Islam Approve Of Using Violence Against Civilians?


Please see the question: Does Islam Approve of Terrorism and War?

As mentioned in answering that question, Islam strongly prohibits harming civilians and destroying safe places such as homes and religious sites. It even goes to the extent of prohobiting harming the environment or cutting down trees.

Islam provides guidelines for Muslims to adhere to during times of war. These include the following:

  • Civilians who are not actively involved in the fighting are to be left out and may not be harmed
  • Killing of women, children, the elderly is forbidden
  • Betrayal is forbidden
  • Mutilating corpses of the dead is forbidden
  • Cutting down trees is forbidden
  • Destroying buildings is forbidden
  • Killing those who surrender is forbidden

Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) used to instruct his army before they went into battle not to harm women, children or the elderly, farmers working in their fields or monks who are busy worshipping in their places of worship. In one instance after a battle, the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) saw a woman that had been killed. He was angry and asked:

"By what right was she killed, even though she was not part of the battle?"

This is further evidence that Islam forbids harming any civilian not participating in battle.

Therefore, Islam does not condone any type of violence against civilians during times of war. Logically, these rules apply even more strictly during times of peace. Those who commit acts of violence and terrorism against civilians with whom they are living together in peace are in fact betraying the society they live in. Islam teaches that God hates those who betray others:

"Allah loveth not the treacherous" (Holy Qur'an, Chapter 8, Verse 58).

So why is terrorism and violence a problem in Muslim nations? Please see the question: Is Terrorism a Phenomenon That Occurs Only Among Muslims?