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Volume :19 Issue : 56 2004      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Rulings of Al-Asraa (the War Captives, POWs) in the Islamic Jurisprudence

Auther : Dr. Muhammad ‘Uthman Shubair,

 

Rulings of Al-Asraa (the War Captives, POWs) in the Islamic Jurisprudence

Dr. Muhammad ‘Uthman Shubair,

Faculty of Sharia, Qatar University

 

This Arabic term, (Asraa Pl. of aseer ) applies to those who were taken captives by their enemies or held in prison. Juristically, it means male fighters forcibly taken captives by their enemy. Taking enemy military men captives is legal in legal wars. It was practiced before Islam and approved by Islam which authorized the Muslim ruler to put an end to this state or to take a decision about it according to the high-ranking interests of the Muslim state.

Islamically, the Muslim ruler has three options for non-Muslim captives: Killing, enslaving or freeing them with or without ransom. In the cases of Muslim civil war or in a war between two Muslim states, Muslim captives are neither to be killed, nor set free in return of ransoms; they are to be set free without any ransom or in exchange for captives in he other side.

Monks, nuns, or clergypersons of the enemy are not to be taken captives unless they participating in the actual war or in planning for it.

POWs must be treated nicely, and provided by all life needs until their case in finally decided.

The state of captivity ends with one or more of the following reasons: Decision of the authority to set them free in return of nothing, for ransom or in exchange with captives of the other side, death of the captive or escaping.

Freeing Muslim captives taken by enemies is by all means an obligation upon the Muslim regime. It is not allowed to neglect their issue, give up attempts to find a way to free them whether by paying ransoms, exchange them with the captives of the enemy, launching a quick war or by any other means.

 

 

 

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