Assalamu Alaikum.
My question is, is it permissible according to the Quran or hadith? In contexts such as prisoners of war, non-believers, sharia law and so forth. We've seen that this action has been done by many terrorist organizations, so is it really haram or halal?

  • Beheading is just a method of execution. It is well-known execution is mandated in Islam for some crimes like murder. As for the terrorists, the question is not in the method of execution but whether they were correct in executing in the first place.
    – The Z
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


Islam prescribes execution for certain crimes such as murder, apostasy, robbery etc. , see Why do Muslims kill other Muslims?. Further, with certain exceptions like women and children, Islam allows for execution of disbelieving prisoners of war, see Does Quran 8:67 say that prisoners of war should be killed and not ransomed? .

Historically, the standard means of execution in Islam has been beheading. Scholars have even recorded that it is the preferred method of execution, because the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

فإذا قتلتم فأحسنوا القتلة

So when you kill, kill in a good way


This hadith prescribes killing in the best possible manner, which causes the least suffering. Commenting on this hadith, Ibn Rajab said:

وأسهل وجوه قتل الآدمي ضربه بالسيف على العنق

And the least painful means of killing a human is striking at the neck with a sword

Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam

Similarly Ibn al-Qayyim wrote:

ضرب العنق بالسيف أحسن القتلات

Striking the neck with a sword is the best of the ways of execution

Kitab al-Salat

Further, it has been mentioned at least literally as the means of killing in Quranic verses and ahadith such as:

فاضربوا فوق الأعناق

so strike [them] upon the necks

Quran 8:12

فضرب الرقاب

strike [their] necks

Quran 47:4

اذهب فاضرب عنقه

Go and strike his neck


فأمرني أن أضرب عنقه وآخذ ماله

(the Prophet) has commanded me to strike his neck and seize his wealth.


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