Rafed English

No war when sanctuary is given

Related from Imam Saadiq (A) who was asked: 'What is the meanin g of the Prophet's saying: 'The lowliest of them strives for their protectorate.' He (A) answered: "If a Muslim army were to lay siege to a group of Polytheists and a man looked out from the fortress and said: 'Give me sanctuary so that I may meet your leader and discuss with him.' If then the lowliest of the Muslims gives the pledge of sanctuary then it is binding also upon the most high-ranking of them."

Related from Imam Saadiq (A) who said:

'If a group laid siege to a city and the people ask for sanctuary but they are told 'No', but they thought that they have been told 'Yes' and come down to them then they have sanctuary.'

Amir-ul-Mu'mineen (A) said:

'If someone promises another a truce on his blood then betrays th at truce then I disa ssociate myself from the killer even thou gh the o ne killed may be destined for the fire.' In the covenant of Amir-ul-Mu'mineen, Imam 'Ali (A), to al-Ashtar (May Allah have mercy upon him) states:

directly, as well as aiding their enemies against them. In the year 5 Hijra (after the Prophet's migration from Mecca to Madinah), all the different Polytheist groups and clans started to mobilise their forces against the Muslims in order to finish them off, once and for all. The subsequent battle that took place between the confederation of the various clans and the Polytheist groups, and the Muslims became known as the Battle of al-Ahzab (the Confederates).

Leading up to the battle, and after seeing the size of the mobilised forces against the Muslims, the Qureidah clan considered it to be a good opportunity to join ranks with the confederates against the Muslims, in order to succeed in obliterating them.

Therefore the elders and warriors of the clan decided to break th e agreement they had signed with the Muslims and side with Polytheists against them. According to the agreement, this act in itself constituted a declaration of war by the Qureidah clan against the Muslims. At the end of the day, the Muslims were the victors of the Battle of al- Ahzab.

According to the agreement, the Muslims had the right to wage war against the Qureidah clan, but instead asked the Qureidah clan for their suggestion as to how to settle this matter. They proposed that a third party judges this matter and his judgment would be final. The Muslims asked the Qureidah clan to propose a candidate that might be acceptable to both sides.

The Qureidah clan proposed Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, the Muslims accepted the proposed candidate. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh was known to be have been a long time friend of the Qureidah clan, and he was known to have accepted Islam. He was then invited by both sides to make judgment on the matter, according to the agreement between the two parties. He accepted and made the above judgement.

"Do not reject outright a truce called for by your enemy and in it is the pleasure of Allah. For the truce is an occasion of respite for your troops and a rest for you from your worries and concerns and a security for your lands. But remember be on your guard to the utmost after making a truce, for it may be that the enemy seeks to draw close to you in order to take you unawares. Therefore be judicious and do not give them the benefit of the doubt.

If you should form a treaty between you and your enemy which gives him your protectorate and word of honour, then honour this treaty, proclaim your word of honour and make yourself as a shield guarding what you have given, for there is no commandment of Allah (Almighty is He) more acknowledged in the eyes of the people despite the difference of their ideas and opinions than the honouring of pledges. Even the Polytheists have practised this amongst themselves because they realise the evil consequences of treachery.

Do not betray your covenant and do not break your contract and do not double cross your enemy for Allah has made His covenant and protectorate a sanctuary for his servants through His mercy and none but the ignorant wretch would go against Allah in this way. Therefore there should be no interpolation, forgery or betrayal in this matter.

Do not formulate a treaty in which there is room for ambiguity. When the treaty has been ratified and concluded do not try to take advantage of any grammatical errors that may be in it.

Do not let a critical situatio n arising from the treaty of Allah cause you to rescind it without just cause, for your patience in this situation seeking relief from it and the best outcome is better than treachery the dire consequences of which you fear and that you will be overcome by, and liable to that (treachery) and therefore be called upon by Allah to account for it and hence you will not be able to seek forgiveness for it in this world or in the hereafter."

Related from Imam 'Ali (A) who said:

'The Messenger of Allah (S) gave a sermon in the mosque of al- Hanif saying: 'May Allah have mercy on the person who hears this speech and remembers it and then passes it on to one who has not heard it. For many a person who bears knowledge is not a scholar but may transmit that knowledge to one more knowledgeable than him. The heart of the Muslim will never cheat after the knowledge of three thing s: Dedicating one's actions to Allah only, giving good counsel to the leaders of the Muslims, and being bound to the fact that the Muslims are a brotherhood. For with unity, the call of the Muslims will be overwhelming (on the non-Muslims).

The blood of Muslims is equal, the lowliest of them may offer their protectorate, for if any of the Muslims should give sanctuary to any of the heathens then this is binding.'

Also related from Amir-ul-Mu'mineen 'Ali (A) who said:

'If a Muslim should make a gesture of truce or sanctuary to any of the Polytheists and he descends (from a fortress) accordingly then he has the truce.' Related from Imam Saadiq (A) who said: 'Truce is allowed in whatever language it may be in.'

Related from Amir-ul-Mu'mineen 'Ali (A) who said: 'Fulfil your promises if you make a promise.' He (A) also said: 'If any Muslim makes a gesture of truce to any of the enemy then he has a truce.'

Related from Imam Saadiq (A) who was asked about two towns in enemy territory each with their o wn king. These towns fight one another and then make peace. Then one of the kings betrays the other and comes to the Muslims and makes a truce with them on the condition that they raid the other city. Imam Saadiq (A) said:

'It is not fitting for the Muslims to use treachery or to order others to be treacherous, nor to fight alongside those who are treacherous. They should fight the Polytheists whenever possible (according to the specified conditions), provided there are no binding peace treaties between them and the Infidels.' Also related from Imam Saadiq (A) who said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: 'Each traitor will come on the Day of Judgement mouth-twisted until he enters the fire."

Related by al-Asbagh ibn Nabatah who said: 'Amir-ul-Mu'mineen (A) one day when he was giving a sermon on the pulpit of Kufa said: 'O people. Were it not for the vileness of treachery, you would find me to be the craftiest of people. But with each act of treason there is an depraved act and with each depraved act there is an act of infidelity and indeed treason, depravity, and betrayal are for the fire.'

Related from Imam 'Ali (A) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said regarding a treaty of his:

'Beware of breaking the treaty of Allah and His protectorate. For Allah has made His treaty and protectorate a sanctuary for all His servants by His mercy. Having patience in a time of strife in which you seek relief is better than any treachery in which you fear its repercussions and evil consequences.' Amir-ul-Mu'mineen 'Ali (A) said in a hadith:

'The fulfilment of promises is a concomitant of sincerity and I do not know of a shield more efficient than it (fulfilment). No one who is aware of the return (to Allah) would ever commit treachery. But we now live in a time when most of the people have taken up treachery as the clever and crafty way of conduct. The ignorant people would attribute this as a good conduct. What is the matter with them? May Allah curse them.

The truly intelligent one knows the ways and has the means to attain whatever he wishes, but the thing that prevents him from doing so, is the order of Allah. He refrains from committing (anything which is against the pleasure of Allah) even though he is able to do it. Whereas the one who has no fear of Allah or no bound to religion would not loose the opportunity to grab it."

He (A) also said: 'Fulfilling promises to the people of treachery is treachery in the sight of Allah. Likewise treachery towards the people of treachery is as the fulfilment of promises in the sigh t of Allah.' Author's note: Here Imam 'Ali (A) alludes to the principle of degrees of importance, and the meaning here is not treachery but rather that the command of Allah is more important than being trustworthy towards the treacherous by excusing oneself from being on the side of the treacherous for one's own protection.

Related from the Prophet (S) who said:

There are four things which if found in a person then he is a hypocrite . . . (and one of them is that) if he makes a promise he breaks it.' Related from Amir-ul-Mu'mineen 'Ali (A) who said:

'The swiftest of things in th eir consequences is when you make a contract with a person and you intend to keep it but he intends to break it.'

Adapted from the book: "War, Peace & Non-Violence" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Shirazi"

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