Does Islam Permit Killing Civilians?
Even in times of war, the Muslim must respect his adversaries humanity. Brutal and barbaric atrocities are prohibited in Islam. Islam condemns barbaric killing of any human being. Therefore, Islam does not permit the mutilation of the bodies of the dead enemy soldiers.
Also, Islam prohibits the targeting and killing of all civilians, especially women, children, the elderly, and religious clergy. Enemies, even at time of war, must be treated justly. Prisoners of war have basic human rights, as stated in the Shariah (Islamic Law), and must be provided and cared for and not humiliated in any way.
The following verses touch on some of these issues:
“O Prophet! say to those who are captives in your hands: If Allah findeth any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah 8, Verse 70).
And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive, (Saying), We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.” (Surah 76, Verses 8-9). In addition, the following were the instructions of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to Muslims who are forced to fight a war:
“Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people,” and he mentioned priests, nuns and rabbis. And he said, “Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees and do not poison the wells of your enemies.” There are many more sayings and teachings of Prophet Mohammad that instruct Muslims on these issues.
In addition to all this, Islam prohibits oppression, revenge or injustice to the people of the enemy in case of victory against them. Nor must there be control over the sources of the wealth of the nation or people, or even establishment of colonial regimes. Justice and freedom must be established. Tolerance towards cultures and peoples is to be respected at all times.