Muhammad and the Killing of Women and Children

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Source: Jihad Watch, BY 

It is commonly claimed that Muhammad had issued a general prohibition against the killing of women and children, and that this was established Islamic Doctrine. There are two popular hadiths that are often used to support this claim:

It has been reported from Sulaiman b. Buraid through his father that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and to be good to the Muslims who were with him. He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war… do not kill the children.[1]

And

Ibn ‘Umar narrated that a woman was found killed in one of the expeditions of the Messenger of Allah, so the Messenger of Allah rebuked that, and he prohibited killing women and children.[2]

So according to the first hadith, whenever Muhammad appointed anyone to lead a Muslim army or detachment, he would issue an order that children were not to be killed. And the second hadith states that Muhammad prohibited the general killing of women and children.

However, Muhammad never issued such a sweeping prohibition.

For example, when it came to women criticizing him, Muhammad had no problem with such women being killed:

  1. “Ibn ‘Abbas told us that a blind man had a female slave…who reviled the Prophet and disparaged him, and he told her not to do that, but she did not stop…One night she started to disparage and revile the Prophet, so he took a dagger and put it in her stomach and pressed on it and killed her…The next morning mention of that was made to the Prophet and he assembled the people and said: ‘By Allah, I adjure the man who did this, to stand up.’ The blind man stood up…and he came and sat before the Prophet. He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I am the one who did it. She used to revile you and disparage you, and I told her not to do it, but she did not stop…Last night she started to revile you and disparage you, and I took a dagger and placed it on her stomach and I pressed on it until I killed her.’ The Prophet said: ‘Bear witness that no retaliation is due for her blood.’”[3]
  2. It was narrated from ‘Ali that a Jewish woman used to revile and disparage the Prophet. A man strangled her until she died, and the Messenger of Allah declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.[4]

And when the actions of Muhammad are examined chronologically, one finds that instead of it being a general, all-encompassing prohibition issued by Muhammad, and therefore an established part of Islamic doctrine, the prohibition against the killing of women and children was a specific, situational prohibition based on Muhammad’s judgment at the time. At other times he actually advocated for or allowed the killing of women and children.

624 AD

In March Muhammad issued his first order to kill a woman. She was ‘Asma’ Bint Marwan, a poetess who used her poetry to insult Muhammad and to vilify Islam. Muhammad said, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?”[5] A Muslim name ‘Umayr went in the middle of the night and killed ‘Asma’ with his sword while she was asleep and her children were lying asleep around her. When he was told about this, Muhammad said, “You have helped God and His apostle, O ‘Umayr!”[6]

625 AD

In March a Meccan army attacked Medina (the Battle of Uhud). Many of the Meccans brought their wives along to encourage them in their battle with the Muslims. There was no record that Muhammad ordered his Muslim warriors not to kill any of these women.

This lack of such an order was reflected in the fact that on the day of the battle, Abu Dujana, one of the Muslim warriors, was given Muhammad’s sword to use in the battle. Abu Dujana later stated that during the battle,

I saw a woman at that time inciting the people in a dreadful manner. I raised the sword above her for I did not consider her to be other than a man. He said: I hated that I struck a woman with the sword of the Messenger of God.[7]

However, there was also a report that the woman was not killed; in this report Abu Dujana explained why he had not killed the woman:

I respected the apostle’s sword too much to use it on a woman.[8]

So at the Battle of Uhud, a Muslim warrior either killed a woman with Muhammad’s sword, or did not kill her, but not because it was prohibited but rather only because he had too much respect for Muhammad’s sword to use it on a woman. There were no recorded comments from Muhammad about this incident either way.

In October Muhammad led a Muslim force into Najd (the Ghazwah of Dhat Al-Riqa). Although there was no fighting reported, a wife of a non-Muslim was somehow killed by one of the Muslims.[9] There were no recorded comments about this from Muhammad.

627 AD

In March Muhammad besieged the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe. The Jews surrendered, and one Jewish woman was beheaded for reportedly having either killed a Muslim by dropping a millstone on him,[10] or simply because she had “verbally abused and insulted” Muhammad.[11]

Were any of the other women of the Banu Qurayza tribe killed? The answer is “No,” but it was not because Muhammad had prohibited it. Here is an interesting explanation for why the rest of the women of the Bani Qurayzah, and even the children, were spared:

…the reason why the children and women of Banu Quraythah were spared, was because there was a benefit [Maslahah] in keeping them alive – meaning enslavement. And killing them would have meant destroying valuable property. But as Az-Zayla’i (ra) clarifies – that if there is indeed a benefit in killing the women and children of the kuffar – a benefit which would have to be greater than the benefit of enslaving them – then it is permissible to kill them.[12]

And the women and children were certainly a benefit. Muhammad divided up that tribe’s “property, wives, and children” among the Muslims, with the exception of some of the women that he sent to Najd and to Syria to be sold for horses and weapons.[13] Muhammad personally sold some of the other captured women:

I attended the Messenger of God who was selling the prisoners of the Banu Qurayza. Abu al-Shahm al-Yahudi bought two women, with each one of them three male children, for one hundred and fifty dinars.[14]

In April we have the first recorded incident of Muhammad prohibiting the killing of women and children. This incident involved Muhammad sending a small group of Muslims to the house of Abu Rafi’, a Jew who had criticized Muhammad.[15] The Muslims were ordered to kill Abu Rafi’, but before they left Muhammad “forbade them to kill women or children.”[16] It was this command that prevented one of the Muslims from killing the wife of Abu Rafi’, who was shrieking as she watched her husband being killed by Muslim swords.[17]

But in December Muhammad led the Ghazwah to al-Muraysi’ and attacked the Bani al-Mustaliq tribe. Al-Shafi’i, the founder of one of the major schools of Sharia Law, described a portion of the battle:

The Prophet launched a raid against the tribe of al-Mustalaq and they fought back. So he commanded to set fire to their fortifications all night long with the widespread knowledge that women and children were in there. This was because it was an idolatrous camp, not exempt [from raiding]. Instead, it was the intentional killing of children and women [my emphasis] that was prohibited, whom the Prophet [preferred to] trade and treat as property [my emphasis].[18]

The women and children were not be intentionally killed, because after the tribe’s defeat their women and children were to be divided among the Muslims as property.

That same month, Muhammad sent a raiding party to Dumat al-Jandal to “invite” the people to become Muslims. Before the raiding party left, Muhammad ordered,

…fight everyone in the way of God and kill those who disbelieve in God. Do not be deceitful with the spoil; do not be treacherous, nor mutilate, nor kill children.[19]

But there was no report that he specifically forbade the killing of women in this expedition.

628 AD

In January Zayd bin Harithah led a Muslim raiding party to Wadi al-Qura. The raiding party took captives from the Bani Fazarah tribe. Among the captives was an old woman named Umm Qirfah. She met a cruel fate:

Zayd b. Harithah ordered Qays to kill Umm Qirfah, and he killed her cruelly. He tied each of her legs with a rope and tied the ropes to two camels, and they split her in two.[20]

There was no recorded comment from Muhammad about this intentionally cruel killing of an old woman. This should not be surprising when we consider Zayd’s background. Muhammad’s first wife Khadija had originally given Zayd to Muhammad as a slave. Muhammad subsequently freed Zayd and adopted him as his son. Zayd was beloved and trusted by Muhammad and was often placed in command of Muslim military expeditions. Therefore, if Muhammad had already issued a general prohibition against the killing of women, Zayd would have known about it and he would not have ordered Umm Qirfah to be killed.

In March Muhammad, accompanied by about 1,400 Muslims, travelled to Mecca to perform the “lesser pilgrimage.” The Meccans did not want the Muslims to enter Mecca and sent a force against them. Muhammad evaded the force and camped at al-Hudaybiyah. The Meccans met with Muhammad and this resulted in the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyah.

This incident is important for two reasons. In the first place, this is the first report of Muhammad being asked about killing the women and children of the enemy (polytheists):

It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jathama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.[21]

So Muhammad said it was permissible to kill women and children during an attack.

In the second place, Muhammad had an interesting reaction when faced with the possibility of armed resistance to keep the Muslims from entering Mecca. Muhammad was advised that some of the Meccans (Quraish) who wanted to stop the Muslims were camped at a place named Baldah, and they had their women and children with them. Muhammad turned to his followers with an interesting question:

The Prophet said, “O people! Give me your opinion. Do you recommend that I should destroy the families and offspring of those who want to stop us from (going to) the Ka’bah?”[22]

Here we have Muhammad asking the Muslims if they should intentionally “destroy” the women and children of the Quraysh. As it turned out, the Muslims decided to sign a treaty instead of killing those women and children.

So in the events leading up to the signing of the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyah we have Muhammad first saying it was permissible to kill women and children of the enemy because they too were polytheists, and then suggesting the idea of intentionally attacking and killing the women and children of the enemy. These statements undermine any claim that there had been a doctrinal, general prohibition against the killing of women and children prior to this time.

To further support the idea that there had been no such prohibition, Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz Al-Jarbu made a crucial observation with regard to Muhammad asking his Muslim warriors about attacking these families:

And indeed the Messenger of Allah is far removed from asking advise [sic] from his Companions regarding something which was prohibited upon him…Nay, rather he wouldn’t seek advice on anything except that which was made permissible for him.[23]

This Muslim scholar makes the important point that Muhammad would never seek advice on something that had already been prohibited upon him. Consequently, even up to the time of the signing of the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyah, there had been no general prohibition against the killing of women and children.

In June Muhammad led a Muslim army against the Jewish community of Khaybar. Khaybar consisted of a number of Jewish fortresses. The Muslims conquered, and then obtained a mangonel (catapult) from the Jewish fortress of al-Nata. They put it together and used it to throw stones against the fortress of al-Shiqq; Muhammad had earlier been advised that this was one of the locations to which the children of al-Nata had been sent. The Muslims obtained another mangonel after conquering the fortress of al-Sa’b b. Mu’adh. The Muslims used mangonels against the fortress of al-Nizar, which the Jews had considered a safe place for their women and children to stay. The Muslims also used the mangonel against the fortress of al-Katiba.[24] There were no recorded comments from Muhammad about the possibility of killing women and children by using the mangonels.

In December Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s father-in-law and trusted friend, led a Muslim raiding party to Najd. Their battle cry was AmitAmit! [Kill! Kill!].[25] Salamah bin Akwa’, one of the participants in the raid, described what happened:

“We attacked Hawazin, with Abu Bakr, during the time of the Prophet, and we arrived at an oasis belonging to Bani Fazarah during the last part of the night. We attacked at dawn, raiding the people of the oasis, and killed them, nine or seven households.[26]

Salamah stated, “I slew with my hand members of seven families of the polytheists.”[27]

Abu Bakr was Muhammad’s father-in-law and trusted friend. Had the killing of women and children been prohibited, Abu Bakr would never have allowed “nine or seven households” of people to be killed. There was also no recorded comment from Muhammad about the killing of nine or seven households and members of seven families.

629 AD

Around August or September, Muhammad sent a force of 3,000 Muslims to Mu’ta. Muhammad prohibited the killing of women, children, and suckling children.[28]

In November Muhammad sent an expedition to Khadira. He told his warriors, “Make an attack, but do not kill women and children.”[29]

630 AD

This year started out with the Muslim conquest of Mecca in January. As the Muslims were approaching Mecca, Muhammad ordered the killing of certain women in Mecca, among them were:

  1. Fartana and Quraybah (Arnab): Two singing girls who belonged to the apostate ‘Abdallah b. Khatal and used to sing satirical songs about Muhammad. There were reports that Quraybah was killed, while Fartana accepted Islam and was granted safety, only to die later.
  2. Sarah: Used to insult Muhammad when he was in Mecca. There were reports that she was either killed or granted safety and later trampled by a horse.[30]

Toward the end of January Muhammad led a force of 12,000 Muslims against the Hawazin and Thaqif tribes, who had banded together to attack Mecca. These two tribes had brought their women and children with them. When Muhammad was advised of this before the battle, he said,

That will be the plunder of the Muslims tomorrow, God willing![31]

The battle occurred in the valley of Hunayn. The Muslims were initially put to flight, but they were able to rally and began to furiously fight the enemy. The Muslims also began to kill the children of the enemy. When Muhammad was advised of this, he probably realized they had only been following his initial orders, and he put a stop to the killing of the children:

Then the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, ordered them to kill whom they could. Thereupon the Muslims grew furious and killed them and also began to kill their children. It (report) reached the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, and he stopped them from killing the children.[32]

After the Muslim victory at Hunayn, they began moving toward the fortress of al-Ta’if, with Khalid bin al-Walid commanding the vanguard. It was during this advance that the following incident happened:

Ibn ‘Umar narrated that a woman was found killed in one of the expeditions of the Messenger of Allah, so the Messenger of Allah rebuked that, and he prohibited killing women and children.[33]

But Muhammad’s prohibition against killing women and children was not a general prohibition, because Muhammad then led his Muslim army in a 14-19 day long siege of the fortress at al-Ta’if, and catapults were used against the fortress.

Al-Jassa, a later Muslim scholar, made an interesting observation:

But the biographers relay that the Prophet besieged the inhabitants of Ta’if and fired at them with catapults, despite his ban on killing women and children. He did so knowing full well that women and children would be struck, for it was not possible to differentiate between them.[34]

And during this siege Muhammad actually ordered the killing of a woman:

Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi (ra) said, “If a woman stands in the ranks of the kuffar, or upon their fortress, and ridicules the Muslims, or reveals her naked self [as a distraction] – then it is permissible to strike her. [sic] As it is narrated on the authority of ‘Ikrimah (ra), “When the Messenger besieged the People of At-Tā’if, a woman came up and revealed her naked body. So the Messenger ordered, “Strike her! [sic]” So a Muslim man struck her.” And this was not a mistake from him. And it is permissible to look at her private parts- in such a situation- since it is necessary to look at the target. And similarly, it is permissible to strike anyone who is (originally) protected from killing, such as a child or an old man and such [sic] – if she (or they) prepares arrows for the enemy, gives them water to drink, or encourages them to fight; because they will be considered as fighters.[35]

So according to Muhammad, any woman or child is considered a fighter if they engage in such actions as ridiculing Muslims, simply revealing a naked body to distract Muslim warriors, or giving water to the “enemy.” And such a fighter can be killed.

631 AD

In December Muhammad sent an expedition to Dhul-Khalas, a pagan shrine in Yemen. Jarir bin ‘Abdullah, the commander of that expedition, later explained what they did there and Muhammad’s reaction:

So I set out with one hundred and fifty riders, and we dismantled it and killed whoever was present there. Then I came to the Prophet and informed him, and he invoked good upon us…[36]

There was no record of Muhammad inquiring about the status of any women or children who might have been “present there.”

632 AD

Muhammad died on June 7, 632. However, in May he had ordered an expedition to attack the Byzantines at a town named Ubna (known as the Expedition to Mu’ta). Muhammad chose Usama ibn Zayd ibn Harithah to lead the expedition. Muhammad said,

O Usama, attack in the name of God and in the path of God, and fight those who do not believe in God. Attack, but do not act treacherously. Do not kill a new born or a woman…[37]

But it was also reported that Muhammad gave the following general order to Usama:

I have appointed you commander of this army. Attack the people of Ubna early in the morning and set fire (to their camp).[38]

Muhammad’s death on June 7th delayed the attack. Soon afterward, Usama led his force to Ubna and said,

But the Messenger of God commanded me and this was his last command to me: To hasten the march and to be ahead of the news. And to raid them, without inviting them [to Islam], and to destroy and burn.[39]

Usama obeyed that command:

When Usama reached Ubna and could see it with his eyes, he mobilized his companions and said, “Go and raid…draw your sword and place it in whoever confronts you.” Then he pushed them into the raid. A dog did not bark, and no one moved. The enemy did not know except when the army attacked them calling out their slogan, “O Mansur, Kill!” He killed those who confronted him and took prisoner those he defeated. He set the borders on fire and their houses and fields and date palm on fire.[40]

So with the last expedition he dispatched, Muhammad initially told the commander not to kill women and newborn children, but then gave a final command to indiscriminately “destroy and burn.” Muhammad’s final command was obeyed.

Conclusion

As we have seen, during Muhammad’s lifetime he both approved of and prohibited the killing of women and children. It was a situational decision and not an enduring command and a part of Islamic Doctrine.

In the essay The Clarification Regarding Intentionally Targetting [sic] Women and Children there is a chapter providing examples of allowable ways of both intentionally and unintentionally killing women and children. This chapter ended with an apt summary of what we have seen:

These are some of the situations which are exceptions to the general [[41]] prohibition against killing women and children of the kuffar; amongst these situations, it is permissible to sometimes kill them intentionally, and also unintentionally – as long as there is a Maslahah [benefit (in this case, greater than the benefit of enslaving them)] for the Muslims and Mujahidin in doing so.

 So all these prove that the protection [‘Ismah] of their blood is not unrestricted – unlike the prohibition of fornication and sodomy and the likes, which are unrestrictedly forbidden. Rather – the Shari’ah of Islam has made the blood of their women and children permissible in these exceptions. So this reveals the mistake of the people who claim that their protection [‘Ismah] is unrestricted and absolute under all circumstances.[42]

Dr. Stephen M. Kirby is the author of six books about Islam. His latest book is Islamic Doctrine versus the U.S. Constitution: The Dilemma for Muslim Public Officials.

[1]           Abu’l Hussain ‘Asakir-ud-Din Muslim bin Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naisaburi, Sahih Muslim, trans. ‘Abdul Hamid Siddiqi (New Delhi, India: Adam Publishers and Distributors, 2008), Vol. 5, No. 1731R1, pp. 162-163.

[2]           Abu ‘Eisa Mohammad ibn ‘Eisa at-Tirmidhi, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, trans. Abu Khaliyl (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2007), Vol. 3, No. 1569, pp. 341-342.

[3]           Abu Dawud Sulaiman bin al-Ash’ath bin Ishaq, Sunan Abu Dawud, trans. Yaser Qadhi (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2008), Vol. 5, No. 4361, pp. 20-21.

[4]           Ibid., No. 4362, p. 21.

[5]           Muhammad ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), trans. Alfred Guillaume (Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 676.

[6]           Ibid., p. 676.

[7]           Muhammad b. ‘Umar al-Waqidi, The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, trans. Rizwi Faizer, Amal Ismail, and AbdulKader Tayob, ed. Rizwi Faizer (London and New York: Routledge, 2013), p. 127.

[8]           The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 375.

[9]           Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari: The Foundation of the Community, Vol. VII, trans. M. V. McDonald and annotated W. Montgomery Watt (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1987), p. 164.

[10]         The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), pp. 464-465, and Endnote 711, p. 765.

[11]         Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3, Comment to Hadith No. 2671, p. 297.

[12]         Commentary in The Clarification Regarding Intentionally Targetting [sic] Women and Children, At-Tibyan Publications, October 31, 2004, n. 89, p. 37, http://archive.org/details/IntentionalityTargetingWomenAndChildren.

[13]         The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 466.

[14]         The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, pp. 256-257.

[15]         Muslim scholars differ about when this incident happened. I consulted six different biographies of Muhammad and found four different time periods for this occurrence between December 624 and January 628. Three of the biographies agreed on the time period of April 627 (see below); consequently, I am using this as the time frame for the murder of Abu Rafi’:

Al-Tabari wrote that it happened around December 624 (The History of al-Tabari: The Foundation of the Community, p. 100).

Al-Waqidi maintained it happen around May of 626 (The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 192).

Ibn Ishaq wrote that it happened shortly after the defeat of the Bani Qurayzah, which would be around April 627 (The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 482). This was the time frame also pointed out by Ibn Kathir (‘Imaduddeen Isma’eel ibn Katheer al-Qurashi, In Defence of the True Faith: Battles, Expeditions, Peace Treaties and their Consequences in the life of Prophet Muhammad, trans. Research Department of Darussalam (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2010) p. 212); and repeated in Safiur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2008), p. 381.

Ibn Sa’d wrote that it happened around January 628 (Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Sa’d ibn Mani’ al-Zuhri al-Basri, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, trans. S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi, India: Kitab Bhavan, 2009), Vol. 2, p. 112).

[16]         The History of al-Tabari: The Foundation of the Community, p. 102.

[17]         Ibid., pp. 102 and 104.

[18]         The Al Qaeda Reader, trans., and ed. Raymond Ibrahim, (New York: Broadway Books, 2007), p. 167.

[19]         The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 672.

[20]         Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, Vol. VIII, trans., and annotated Michael Fishbein (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1997), p. 96. The same story is related in The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 665.

[21]         Sahih Muslim, Vol. 5, No. 1745, p. 167. Al-Waqidi wrote that this happened during the al-Hudaybiyah incident: The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 283.

[22]         Muhammad bin Ismail bin Al-Mughirah al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari, trans. Muhammad Muhsin Khan (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 1997), Vol. 5, Book 64, Nos. 4178-4179, p. 303.

[23]         The Clarification Regarding Intentionally Targetting Women and Children, p. 17.

[24]         The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, pp. 318-330; and The Sealed Nectar, pp. 434-438.

[25]         The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 355; Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3, No. 2638, pp. 275-276; and Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 146.

[26]         Muhammad bin Yazeed ibn Majah al-Qazwini, Sunan Ibn Majah, trans. Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2007), Vol. 4, No. 2840, pp. 88-89.

[27]         Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 146.

[28]         The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, pp. 372-373.

[29]         Ibid., p. 383.

[30]         The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 551; The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, pp. 179-181; and The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 423.

[31]         The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 439.

[32]         Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 187; and The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 444.

[33]         Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 3, No. 1569, pp. 341-342. I established this timeframe from reports about the finding of a dead woman and Muhammad’s command to tell Khalid not to kill women: The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 448; The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 576; Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3, No. 2669, p. 295; Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 4, No. 2842, p. 89; and ‘Imaduddeen Isma’eel ibn Katheer al-Qurashi, Winning the Hearts and Souls: Expeditions and Delegations in the Lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, trans. Research Department of Darussalam (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2010), p. 90, on which reference was made to Sunan Abu Dawud, No. 2669.

[34]         The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 165.

[35]         The Clarification Regarding Intentionally Targetting Women and Children, p. 31.

[36]         Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 64, No. 4355, p. 390.

[37]         The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 546.

[38]         Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 235.

[39]         The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 549.

[40]         Ibid.

[41]         It is difficult to understand how the adjective “general” can be used here when there are so many exceptions to the “General Prohibition” mentioned in this writing. This is another argument in favor of Muhammad’s prohibition against the killing of women and children being specific and situational, instead of a general prohibition.

[42]         The Clarification Regarding Intentionally Targetting Women and Children, p. 39.

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