Islamic wartime laws, with Abdulrahman Almutairi – Part II – The Trilateral Sources of Legitimacy

Editorial Republic Underground 

April 21, 2021 

Note: Translation is provided by software services. Some statements of the guest are paraphrased. 

Continuing in the Islamic Humanitarian Law discussion, Abdulrahman Almutairi, a Saudi lawyer and researcher in International and Islamic humanitarian law, gave insights into what the Islamic verse says regarding humanity. He outlined the Prophet’s words regarding humanitarian behavior at a time when humanitarian law was not internationally defined.

“His saying: peace and blessings of God be upon him, in the name of God and by God, and the messenger of God is the messenger of God, and do not kill a perishing old man.”

He then also described how Sharia law dictates a difference between combatants and non-combatants in armed conflict, and has for 14 hundred years.

“The Islamic Sharia has defined the principle of differentiating between fighters and non-combatants since 14 centuries ago, and the teachings of Islamic law stipulated that the share of non-combatants in combat was not permissible. So Sharia did not tell the Muslim armies, ‘kill everyone who stands in front of them’, but rather ‘everyone who carries weapons against you,” said Almutairi.

He thus explained that Islamic law made provisions for mercy in wartime for both fellow Muslims and non-Muslims. He stated that in Islam, Allah “loves the doers of good” and gives provisions for how a Muslim should conduct himself or herself, putting off extreme behavior, and reforming from negative behavior.

He also noted the laws of discontinued conflict, noting that the bearers of arms may become unable to engage in combat due to injury or sickness.

“Islamic Sharia instructed them to protect them and treat them well. Ubayd Allah bin Abdullah bin Ataba narrated from the Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, that he commanded the one who appointed him on the day of the conquest of Mecca to call on people to not be defeated by something that would equip with boldness,” said Almutairi.

He also explained how Islam detailed child protective laws, noting that a Muslim is not to kill a newborn son or a son who is a child and that Muslims are not to engage in treachery.

Almuitari’s interpreter, Kamil Aboshoka, relayed that Almutairi noted the destruction of warfare in human history and how humanitarian law had been adopted to limit that destruction. He then also noted that Islamic humanitarian law does not differ from the laws, customs, and practices of the Islamic faith principles.

Almutairi also relayed that Islamic humanitarian law came from the Quran, the Sunna, and the Ulma teachings consensus throughout time, as well as the rulings of Islamic sheiks. He stated that Islamic law toward human rights has three major laws and listed them as follows:

To limit harm and to protect victims, including children, the elderly, women, and other groups.


Restricting the parties that fight each other to choose places that are different from residential areas, because they do not want to harm civilians.

Restricting the parties inside of the conflict by choosing the means of warfare, allowing people to choose places of battle, or to choose the types of weapons with which to fight each other.

He also noted that four specific groups of people, in Islamic Sharia principles, are protected from harm by the law.

Prisoners of war must be treated well. Women, children, and elderly, or anyone that has no connection to the conflict. He noted that the Prophet Muhammed had dictated that Muslims should never harm noncombatants. Wounded and afflicted people who are not able to fight should not be touched. He stated that Muslims “must respect” these kinds of people, and not fight these people because they can have no connection to the conflict. He then stated that the families of martyrs or missing people should not be mistreated, because families of those killed or displaced by conflict have no link to continued conflict. He stated that if combatants find missing people, in Islam they are not to harm them.

At this stage in the discussion, (see video minute marker 33:09) Almuitari described the Sharia law’s special wartime provisions. He described these as the rules of engagement for military personnel who are not engaged in combat unless ,by necessity.

For this, he cited the teachings of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq. He explained that, from Al-Siddiq’s teachings, Muslims are allowed to claim sanctuary in places of worship.


“Leave them and what they claimed to have locked themselves up for him and him in places of worship protected by virtue,” he quoted, describing the provisions for Muslims engaging in worship during wartime.