If I remember correctly, the Bible mentions the fact that Elijah was killing people (directly or by ordering for them to be killed) because they were worshiping some idols and Baal and maybe to some other gods. Also Moses ordered the killing of the locals when he moved the Israelites to Canaan, for the same reason (although the real reason could be because they wanted the land of those "infidels"). Both Elijah and Moses are considered to be prophets in Islam - and in Judaism too.

I would like to know if there were more prophets of Islam doing such acts (according to any source) and most importantly, what does Islamic sources say about them: does the Islamic sources (Quran and other Islamic canonical sources) admit that the were killing people for having the wrong religion? Or if they don't mention that, do they explicitly deny such claims?


1 Answer 1


There's several ahadith where Prophet Muhammad ordered people to be killed for crimes. As for having the wrong religion:

  1. Prophet Muhammad directly ordered some apostates to be killed, e.g. Sahih Muslim 1671 a.

  2. Prophet Muhammad is considered to have killed in battle, yet strongly objected to killing someone after they said There is no god but Allah (Sahih Muslim 96 a). They could have been spared had they converted to Islam, like some people who were spared beheading at Banu Qurayza.

I did not find an example of Prophet Muhammad killing someone himself solely for having the wrong religion (despite searching the Islam-critical site WikiIslam.net's list). Most records are of Prophet Muhammad ordering people to be killed. However, Prophet Muhammad is recorded as killing people for other crimes. For example: The Prophet killed a Jew for killing a girl in order to take her ornaments (Sahih al-Bukhari 6885).

The line is a bit blurry when it comes to Islamic battles which include religious motivations. Some examples of these are Prophet Muhammad and the Battle of Badr and Conquest of Mecca (see also List of expeditions of Muhammad on Wikipedia).

Other Prophets are not reported to have engaged in fighting as much. This is what I'm aware of:

  • Prophet Dawud killed Goliath in battle (Qur'an 2:251).

  • Prophet Musa killed a man (before prophethood):

    And he entered the city at a time of inattention by its people and found therein two men fighting: one from his faction and one from among his enemy. And the one from his faction called for help to him against the one from his enemy, so Moses struck him and [unintentionally] killed him. [Moses] said, "This is from the work of Satan. Indeed, he is a manifest, misleading enemy."
    Qur'an 28:15

    IslamWeb describes it as accidental (as does the Sahih International translation).

  • Prophet Ibrahim attempted to sacrifice his son, but he was saved.

  • Prophet Sulayman was prepared for war with the Queen of Sheba, but she accepted Islam.

  • Prophet Job made an oath that he would beat his wife with 100 strokes, although Allah gave him a way to uphold the oath by lightly beating her: ...take in your hand a bunch [of grass] and strike with it and do not break your oath... (Qur'an 38:44).

  • Prophet Musa, thinking that his brother Harun allowed idol worshipping, ...seized his brother by [the hair of] his head, pulling him toward him... (Qur'an 7:150).

Some of the Prophets' warnings were ignored, which resulted in Allah killing them: Prophet Lut, Prophet Nuh, Prophet Hud, Prophet Shuaib, and Prophet Saleh. There's also Prophet Musa and the parting of the seas (Qur'an 26:63-66), where the pursuers were drowned.

  • Maybe you should add the reasons given for the Bani Israeel to fight the people in the land in 2:246.
    – The Z
    Mar 28, 2018 at 0:55
  • @TheZ Maybe I'm missing something, but as I understand, they were ordered to fight, but didn't. (But when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned away, except for a few of them.) And they were punished by having to wander the desert for 40 years (as per haqislam.org/prophet-musa-and-the-bani-israel). Mar 28, 2018 at 2:31
  • Many ignored the command, but the prophet ordered them to fight and a lot of them did fight behind Talut against Goliath
    – The Z
    Mar 28, 2018 at 18:56

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