Jihad in the Koran

The Booty

Booty, which includes the wives and daughters of the unbelievers you killed or enslaved, played a significant part in attracting men to Islam.

Narrated Marwan bin Al-Hakam and Al-Miswar bin Makhrama:

When the delegates of the tribe of Hawazin after embracing Islam, came to Allah's Apostle, he got up. They appealed to him to return their properties and their captives.

Allah's Apostle said to them, "The most beloved statement to me is the true one. So, you have the option of restoring your properties or your captives, for I have delayed distributing them."

The narrator added, Allah's Apostle had been waiting for them for more than ten days on his return from Taif.

When they realized that Allah's Apostle would return to them only one of two things, they said, "We choose our captives." So, Allah's Apostle got up in the gathering of the Muslims, praised Allah as He deserved, and said, "Then after! These brethren of yours have come to you with repentance and I see it proper to return their captives to them. So, whoever amongst you likes to do that as a favor, then he can do it, and whoever of you wants to stick to his share till we pay him from the very first booty which Allah will give us then he can do so."

The people replied, "We agree to give up our shares willingly as a favor for Allah's Apostle."

Then Allah's Apostle said, "We don't know who amongst you has agreed and who hasn't. Go back and your chiefs may tell us your opinion."

So, all of them returned and their chiefs discussed the matter with them and then they (i.e. their chiefs) came to Allah's Apostle to tell him that they (i.e. the people) had given up their shares gladly and willingly.

Bukhari 38.503

In making war on the unbelievers, Allah reminded the believers not to let the booty distract them from their immediate goal which is shedding the blood of those who refuse to submit to His Will.

8:67 It is not up to any Prophet to take captives except after too much blood is shed (after the enemy is hard hit and subdued) in the land. You desire the fleeting goods of this world, but Allah desires the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Revealed truths which confirm the inalienable right of a believer to the property (both eatable and uneatable) and the wife and kids of an unbeliever he has slaughtered.

8:68 But for a prior ordinance of Allah, you would have been afflicted on account of what you have taken (an ordinance which made it lawful for Muslims to take spoils and captives) by a terrible punishment.

8:69 So eat of the lawful and good things you have taken as booty. Fear Allah; Allah is truly All-Forgiving, Merciful.

The right of the believer to the property of a slain unbeliever is also confirmed in a saying of the Prophet where he makes terror a valid tactic in getting all to submit to the Will of Allah.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand."

Bukhari 52.220

If sharing in the booty is not sufficient to convince you to submit to Allah’s Will, remember that in Allah’s eyes you are traitors, with all the horrifying stuff that implies, with your continued enslavement the best that you can hope for.

8:70 O Prophet, tell those captives in your keeping: “If Allah knows of any good in your hearts, He will give you in return better than what has been taken from you and forgive you.” Allah is All-Forgiving, Merciful.

8:71 But if they wish to betray you, they have previously betrayed Allah, and so He subdued them. Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.

Sex and the Booty

A revealed truth within a hadith (both reinforcing each other) meant to reduce the resistance of the believers to raping their female captives in front of their husbands.

The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives.

Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: (4:24) "And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess."

Abu Dawud 2.2150

Until God’s Messenger made his views known, some holy warriors were also unsure about whether coitus interruptus was halal. They consulted with the Prophet who made his and what has to assume God's views on a believer withdrawing his member from his captive's vagina prior to ejaculation.

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: that while he was sitting with Allah's Apostle he said, "O Allah's Apostle! We get female captives as our share of booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?"

The Prophet said, "Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it. No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence."

Bukhari 34.432

Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa'id al Khadri (Allah be pleased with him): 0 Abu Sa'id, did you hear Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-'azl?

He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi'l- Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing 'azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception).

But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him?

So we asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.

Imam Muslim 8:3371

As reported by the BBC, the Prophet's views on coitus interruptus and by extension contraception have encouraged "more conservative Islamic leaders have [to] openly campaign against the use of condoms or other birth control methods, thus making population planning in many countries ineffective."

While a majority of Islamic Schools of Law allow contraceptives within a marriage setting, all are against men having a vasectomy or women a tubal ligation for this would be interfering with Allah's right to schedule a pregnancy at some point in the future.

Greetings and the Booty

4:86 And when you are greeted with a certain greeting, greet back with a better one or return it; for Allah keeps count of everything.

4:94 O believers, if you journey in the Way of Allah, be discerning and do not say to him who greets you: “You are not a believer”, seeking the fleeting goods of the present life. For with Allah are abundant gains. This is how you were before and Allah has been gracious to you; so discern well. Allah is indeed fully aware of what you do!

In the early days of Islam the greeting as-salam 'alaykum ('peace be on you') was a distinguishing symbol of the Muslims. When a Muslim greeted another Muslim with this expression it signified that he was a member of the same community… from whom he need entertain no fear of hostility and towards whom, in return, he should not behave with hostility.

[This caused a problem] on the battlefield. Whenever a Muslim was in danger of being harmed inadvertently by other Muslims during the fighting, he resorted to either the Islamic greeting (as-salam 'alaykum) or the Islamic creed There is no god save Allah' (ili-Jl) in order to indicate that he was their brother-in-faith.

The Muslims, however, often suspected this to be merely a ruse of the enemy and therefore sometimes disregarded the utterance of the Islamic greeting or of the Islamic creed, and killed such people and seized their belongings as booty.

… God solved the problem by revelation. The purport of the verse is that no one has the right summarily to judge those who profess to be Muslims, and assume them to be lying for fear of their lives … The error of letting an unbeliever go unpunished is preferable to that of killing a true believer.


Learn how to say the life-saving words correctly:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:

The Prophet sent (an army unit under the command of) Khalid bin Al-Walid to fight against the tribe of Bani Jadhima and those people could not express themselves by saying, "Aslamna (we profess Islam)," but they said, "Saba'na! Saba'na!"

Khalid kept on killing some of them and taking some others as captives, and he gave a captive to everyone of us and ordered everyone of us to kill his captive ...


Giving Killers Their Due

The allocation of the booty was a straightforward if sometime gruesome affair. God's Messenger would ask or ascertain who killed whom and was therefore entitled to the murdered man's property, which would normally have included his wife and children.

Narrated Abu Qatada:

We set out in the company of Allah's Apostle on the day (of the battle) of Hunain. When we faced the enemy, the Muslims retreated and I saw a pagan throwing himself over a Muslim. I turned around and came upon him from behind and hit him on the shoulder with the sword He (i.e. the pagan) came towards me and seized me so violently that I felt as if it were death itself, but death overtook him and he released me.

I followed Umar bin Al Khattab and asked (him), "What is wrong with the people (fleeing)?"

He replied, "This is the Will of Allah."

After the people returned, the Prophet sat and said, "Anyone who has killed an enemy and has a proof of that, will possess his spoils."

I got up and said, "Who will be a witness for me?" and then sat down.

The Prophet again said, "Anyone who has killed an enemy and has proof of that, will possess his spoils."

I (again) got up and said, "Who will be a witness for me?" and sat down.

Then the Prophet said the same for the third time.

I again got up, and Allah's Apostle said, "O Abu Qatada! What is your story?"

Then I narrated the whole story to him.

A man (got up and) said, "O Allah's Apostle! He is speaking the truth, and the spoils of the killed man are with me. So please compensate him on my behalf."

On that Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said, "No, by Allah, he (i.e. Allah's Apostle ) will not agree to give you the spoils gained by one of Allah's Lions who fights on the behalf of Allah and His Apostle."

 The Prophet said, "Abu Bakr has spoken the truth."

So, Allah's Apostle gave the spoils to me. I sold that armor (i.e. the spoils) and with its price I bought a garden at Bani Salima, and this was my first property which I gained after my conversion to Islam.

Bukhari 53.370

When it came to the booty, God’s Messenger knew no shame.

Narrated Abdur-Rahman bin Auf:

While I was standing in the row on the day (of the battle) of Badr, I looked to my right and my left and saw two young Ansari boys, and I wished I had been stronger than they.

One of them called my attention saying, "O Uncle! Do you know Abu Jahl*?"

I said, "Yes, What do you want from him, O my nephew?"

He said, "I have been informed that he abuses Allah's Apostle. By Him in Whose Hands my life is, if I should see him, then my body will not leave his body till either of us meet his fate."

I was astonished at that talk. Then the other boy called my attention saying the same as the other had said.

After a while I saw Abu Jahl walking amongst the people. I said (to the boys), "Look! This is the man you asked me about."

So, both of them attacked him with their swords and struck him to death and returned to Allah's Apostle to inform him of that.

Allah's Apostle asked, "Which of you has killed him?"

Each of them said, "I Have killed him."

Allah's Apostle asked, "Have you cleaned your swords?"

They said, "No."

He then looked at their swords and said, "No doubt, you both have killed him and the spoils of the deceased will be given to Muadh bin Amr bin Al-Jamuh."

The two boys were Muadh bin 'Afra and Muadh bin Amr bin Al-Jamuh.

Bukhari 53.369

In an observation of the Prophet, it is obvious that he was not always trusted to be fair in the disposition of the booty obtained through blood, sweat and slaughter.

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:

While Allah's Apostle was distributing the booty at Al-Ja'rana, somebody said to him "Be just (in your distribution)."

The Prophet replied, "Verily I would be miserable if I did not act justly."

Bukhari 53.366

As time went on nobody would raise a question as to the Prophet's fairness in handing out the property of those killed by his followers; not only because this tested the patience of the Messenger, but the war on the unbelievers was producing booty at an unprecedented rate.


* Abu Jahl was a prominent figure in Mecca, a leader. His real name was Abu l-Hakam meaning Father of Wisdom. He was considered a wise man by the dominant tribe of Mecca, the Quraysh – the same tribe to which the Prophet Muhammad belonged. It was his opposition to God’s Messenger that earned him the nickname Abu Jahl, meaning Father of Ignorance.