ALLAH’S APOSTLE forbade the Killing of (innocent) Women and Children

· Islam

Allah’s Apostle forbade the killing of (innocent) women and children – is misleading.

(Volume 4, Book 52, Number 257&258)

This is what I am told again and again by Muslims that I get the impression  that either Muslims are so out touch with the context of the Qur’an, or they only wish to see what they feel comfortable with, or that they are attempting to portray Islam in a benign light to deceive non-Muslim. Hence I would like to take a wider picture of Islamic text to establish the veracity of this claim and to see what was intended when the statement was supposedly may by the prophet Muhammad.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 257:
Narrated ‘Abdullah:
During some of the Ghazawat of the Prophet a woman was found killed. Allah’s Apostle disapproved the killing of women and children.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 258:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
During some of the Ghazawat of Allah’s Apostle a woman was found killed, so Allah’s Apostle forbade the killing of women and children.

This sounds admirable, but the woman was assumed innocent, did that mean any woman, or was she a woman of any faith or was she a Muslim woman?

Because Allah has also said in the Quran:

Qur’an:9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers (non-Muslims) wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”
Qur’an:9:112 “The Believers fight in Allah’s Cause, they slay and are slain, kill and are killed.”
Qur’an:9:29 “Fight those who do not believe until they all surrender,….

But one Muslim posted this to me, “Anyways, killing is wrong, it’s that book Koran) says. Unless its supported by law or if they fight Islam. Terrorists attack innocent people, hence terrorism. Innocent people, which the word already implies, are innocent.”

Although killing may be interpreted as wrong by some Muslims, it is refuted by Quran 9:5, and fighting and killing in the name of Allah, is Jihadism, and this is considered the highest form of sacrifice a Muslim can undertake for Allah. “Terrorism,” the word, may be used by modern Muslims as a cop-out because the word “terrorism” has not been specifically used in the Quran except by implication,  it was certainly widely used by the Prophet Muhammad himself as exemplified by the two following verses :

Bukhari:V4B52N220 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been made victorious with terror.'”
Qur’an:8:12 “I shall terrorize the infidels. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them because they oppose Allah and His Apostle.”

It was a form of intimidation used by Muhammad and his followers in the 7th century and it was used on 9/11 and 7/7 and the “oil embargo” in the 20th century. But allowing Muslims to dissociate themselves from blatant “terrorism” without cause, Muslims will go suddenly silent when the same people are accused of “Islamic Jihad” in the case of 9/11 and 7/7 and deny it was Jihadism that fueled the hatred and the senseless massacre of innocent people.

Innocent People (Islamic understanding of the phrase)
Here I believe innocent is intended to mean those who have not sinned against Allah, i.e. those who have not violated Shariah Laws of infidelity, blasphemy, killing of innocent people, or rejecting Allah. Rejecting Allah is the same as resisting the teachings or practices of Allah and thus is  seen as rejecting Allah which is synonymous as fighting against the will of Allah. And fighting is the key word that identifies an infidel. Hence the Qur’anic verse”

Quran 9:5 Fight and Kill the Unbelievers (non-Muslims)…..

But does this only apply to the men folk? You must have some stretch of your imagination to believe that it only applies to the infidel men but not to the innocent women and children of infidels. The following Hadiths will clarify what the Prophet Muhammad meant:

HOWEVER, there are certain other narrations that permit the killing of women and children, specifically during Muslim raids where they attack unsuspecting victims at night:

Narrated As-Sab bin Jaththama:
The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).” I also heard the Prophet saying, “The institution of Hima (safe haven) is invalid except for Allah and His Apostle.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 256) [1]

The statement that “the institution of Hima (safe haven) is invalid except for Allah and His Apostle.” is crucial in the understanding of “killing of innocent women and children.” No Muslim  who has read this, should with a free conscience, be able to dissimulate such distortions again. [3]

i.e., they are all the same—both the women and children are nothing more than pagans! The above narration is repeated in several, different hadith collections:


It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4321) [2]

Keep in mind that the subheading is not part of the narration, it is added by the collector of the hadiths. In other words, the statement regarding the killing of women and children being permissible as long as it isn’t deliberate is not part of the narration. The hadiths do not explicitly say this, and yet the compiler assumed that this was the clear implication and meaning of these narrations.

It is narrated by Sa’b b. Jaththama that he said (to the Holy Prophet): Messenger of Allah, we kill the children of the polytheists during the night raids. He said: They are from them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4322) [2]

Sa’b b. Jaththama has narrated that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) asked: What about the children of polytheists killed by the cavalry during the night raid? He said: They are from them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4323) [2]

Narrated Samurah ibn Jundub:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Kill the old men who are polytheists, but spare their children.(They can be used as slaves.) (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 14, Number 2664) (Ibid)

As you can clearly see, killing children and women is permissible in Islam. Mr. Zaatari is wrong because he is arguing from the belief that this prohibition is absolute when Islamic sources clearly show that there were certain cases in which it can be done and is actually encouraged. If you look at Muhammad’s response, he wasn’t overly concerned that women and children died among the pagan population, he only claimed, “oh well, they are apart of them”, in other words, guilty by association. Taking the hadiths Mr. Zaatari used in his defense along with these hadiths, logically we must conclude that killing of children is permissible in special circumstances.

Having studied the above Islamic writings very carefully, I see an entirely different interpretation of the intent of the word, “innocent women and children.” To me, “innocent women and children” in context with the rest of the Qur’an and the Hadiths imply that you can only by innocent if you are a Muslim. Infidels, no matter their age or sex, will always be infidels and thus can NEVER BE INNOCENT.

The above conclusion is based on the Qur’an and the Hadiths and can be easily authenticated by following the links.


[1] Women and children-they are of them:

[2] Killing of Women and children:

[3] Hima:

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