Is it permissible to kill all men from the kuffar when a city or a land have been conquered by muslims, there will be men who actually fought against the muslims and there will be some men who never participated in the fight but rather they were just civilians or non combatants who did not resist the muslims advancement into a said city or land, so are these type of men permissible to be killed while advancing or after being captured? I am not talking about old,sick or other types of men mentioned in hadith but men who are capable of fighting and are sane but did not actively participate in war

3 Answers 3



The ruler has the option to do any of the following with prisoners depending on what suits the interest of the Muslims:

  • Kill them. As long as they have not accepted Islam and are not women, children, old, disabled, monks etc.

  • Enslave them

  • Ransom them for wealth

  • Exchange them for Muslim prisoners

  • Impose Jizyah on them

  • Free them as a favor

There is difference among the madhabs on some of the latter options.

The evidence of killing all adult males are the verses such as:

فاقتلوا المشركين حيث وجدتموهم

kill the polytheists wherever you find them

Quran 9:5

واقتلوهم حيث ثقفتموهم ... كذلك جزاء الكافرين

And kill them wherever you overtake them ... such is the recompense of the disbelievers.

Quran 2:191

فإذا لقيتم الذين كفروا فضرب الرقاب

So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks

Quran 47:4

All of these verses say to kill those who disbelieve wherever they may be (regardless of whether they are in the battlefield or not). And do not say to kill only those who actually participate in fighting.

If it was the latter case the verses would have said 'kill only those who participate in fighting' and 'such is the recompense of those who participate in fighting' and 'when you meet those who participate in fighting'. When these verses do not limit fighting to that, then their general wording is understood to encompass all disbelievers by default. While disbelieving women and children etc. and those who have an extant treaty etc. are excluded by explicit evidence but everyone else is included by default.

The verse:

ولا يطئون موطئا يغيظ الكفار ولا ينالون من عدو نيلا إلا كتب لهم به عمل صالح

Nor do they tread on any ground that enrages the disbelievers, nor do they inflict upon an enemy any infliction but that is registered for them as a righteous deed.

Quran 9:120

Killing a disbeliever (regardless of whether he participates in fighting) is something that enrages other disbelievers and is an infliction upon them. Hence it is a permissible deed according to the above verse. Killing women and children or killing those who have a treaty are excluded by other explicit texts, however there is no evidence to exclude those male adults who do not participate in fighting. Hence they fall under the permission by default.

The hadith:

أمرت أن أقاتل الناس حتى يشهدوا أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله ... فإذا فعلوا ذلك عصموا مني دماءهم وأموالهم

I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger ... so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me.


This hadith clearly says that to save their lives they must accept Islam. This means that killing them is permissible as long as they do not accept Islam.

The example of the Prophet ﷺ at the siege of Bani Quraiza:

وأقر قريظة ومن عليهم، حتى حاربت قريظة، فقتل رجالهم

(The Prophet) allowed Bani Quraiza to remain at their places till they fought against the Prophet (ﷺ) again. He then killed their men.

Sahih Bukhari

عرضنا على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم قريظة فكان من أنبت قتل، ومن لم ينبت خلي سبيله

We were presented to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) on the day of (the battle of) Quraizah. Whoever had pubic hair was killed and whoever did not was left to his way.

Jami at-Tirmidhi

These ahadith say that the Prophet ﷺ executed everyone who was male and had pubic hair (i.e. was a adult). It does not say that he killed only those adult males who had fought him. It is unlikely that every single adult would have practically participated in fighting in a siege.

The caliphs also did the same at occasions, for example:

كتب عمر إلى أمراء الأجناد أن لا تقتلوا امرأة ولا صبيا وأن تقتلوا من جرت عليه المواسي

Umar Ibn Khatab wrote to the generals of the armies to not kill a woman or child and to kill whoever has pubic hair.

Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah

The hadith:

فنهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن قتل النساء والصبيان

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) forbade the killing of women and children.


This hadith implies that it is permissible to kill adult males. Otherwise it would have been more appropriate of the hadith to have said: 'do not kill those who do not participate in fighting', regardless of whether they are male, women and children. And you also can not find any other hadith which forbids killing adult males who do not participate in fighting.

The hadith:

كانت ثقيف حلفاء لبني عقيل فأسرت ثقيف رجلين من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأسر أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم رجلا من بني عقيل ... فقال بم أخذتني ... فقال ...‏ أخذتك بجريرة حلفائك ثقيف ... ‏ ففدي بالرجلين

The tribe of Thaqif were allies of Banu 'Uqail, and Thaqif captured two of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. And the Companions of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ captured a man from Banu 'Uqail.

Thereupon he (the prisoner) said: Why have you taken me as prisoner? ...

He (Muhammad ﷺ) said: 'I captured you because of the wrongdoing of your allies Thaqif.' ...

He was then ransomed for two the two (muslim) men (who had been taken prisoner by Thaqif).


The Prophet ﷺ captured and imprisoned a disbeliever and then ransomed him. This person had not personally fought against the Muslims, rather he belonged to a tribe who in turn was allied to another tribe who had captured some Muslims. This is evidence that any Harbi disbeliever can be made a prisoner and treated in the ways that a prisoner can be treated. And it is not necessary for him to have personally participated in fighting.


إذا أسر الرجل منهم في القتال أو غير القتال مثل أن تلقيه السفينة إلينا أو يضل الطريق أو يؤخذ بحيلة فإنه يفعل فيه الإمام الأصلح من قتله أو استعباده أو المن عليه أو مفاداته بمال أو نفس عند أكثر الفقهاء كما دل عليه الكتاب والسنة. وإن كان من الفقهاء من يرى المن عليه ومفاداته منسوخا

If a (Harbi Kafir) male is made prisoner in fighting or without fighting, such as if he is cast adrift from a ship, or loses his way (and ends up in Islamic territory), or is taken by some ruse then the Imam will deal with him according to what best suits the Muslim interests. The choices being between executing him, or enslaving him, or freeing him as a favor, or exchanging him for ransom or for life (prisoner exchange) according to most of the jurists as this is evident from the Quran and Sunnah. And some of the jurists held that freeing as a favor or exchange are abrogated.

Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa

والأصل فيه أن كل من كان من أهل القتال يحل قتله، سواء قاتل أو لم يقاتل، وكل من لم يكن من أهل القتال لا يحل قتله إلا إذا قاتل حقيقة أو معنى بالرأي والطاعة والتحريض، وأشباه ذلك على ما ذكرنا

The rule is that it is permissible to kill every one who is capable of fighting, regardless of whether they practically fight or do not fight. And it is haram to kill anyone who is not capable of fighting except where they fight in reality or implicitly by giving advice or being obeyed or by inciting others to fight or in any other way which has been mentioned previously

Badaa'i' as-Sanaa'i

  • don't quote verses out of context like non muslims do 9:5 is not license to kill all non muslims, just read verse before and after that, it is clear that it is regarding some polythiest who didn't adhere to treaty, quran says to continue with treaty for those who didn't break it in 9:4
    – Shafeek
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 6:40
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    @Shafeek 9:5 isn't being taken out of context here; it indicates that, at least for that particular situation, the killing was commanded, and it is being used as evidence that such killing remains a permissible (not necessarily recommended or obligatory) option in the general case since Allah allowed it here and didn't explicitly forbid or abrogate it afterwards. The treaty exception is irrelevant since the question is clearly asking about the scenario where a people are already conquered by Muslims, which wouldn't happen if there was a treaty.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 8:08
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    did you deliberately remove parts of Quran 2:191. The parts that are removed says "and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter."
    – Shafeek
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 10:45
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    @Shafeek maybe read a little on the classical islamic jurisprudence books from different madhhabs and learn about what they said , especially on book of jihad, islam is built upon what Allah said and what his prophet ﷺ said, if you involve your emotions and desires into it then you are setting yourself into failure.
    – user56122
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 20:13
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    @Abunaza I agree with shafeek. It's your mistake to associate peace with emotions , perhaps hoping that it would weaken the argument ? The verses here are indeed taken out of context and even is contradictory to one of the popular question closely related to violence and quran. Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 14:36

What are you talking about? It's not permissible to kill anyone, unless in like self-defense or something.


If you study the Quran and Sunna, you will understand that violence and forcing people to believe something is usually done by unbelievers or kuffar. Just go through the history of prophets mentioned in Quran, never did any prophet use force to make others believe but you can see non believers trying to force Muslims to abandon their faith.

Those who persecute the believing men and women and then do not repent will certainly suffer the punishment of Hell and the torment of burning. Quran 85:10

And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, you recognize in the faces of those who disbelieve disapproval. They are almost on the verge of assaulting those who recite to them Our verses. Say, "Then shall I inform you of [what is] worse than that?1 [It is] the Fire which Allāh has promised those who disbelieve, and wretched is the destination." Quran 22:72

Had your Lord so willed ˹O Prophet˺, all ˹people˺ on earth would have certainly believed, every single one of them! Would you then force people to become believers? Quran 10:99

So killing all those who didn't accept Islam is indirectly forcing them to accept Islam, which is against what Quran taught us.

About forgiving those who fought against muslims, prophet (s.a) shown us lot of example in this regard. When he returned back to Mecca, there were lot of people who fought against Muslims in the past. He forgave them, even forgave Wahshi ibn Harb, who has killed lot of prominent muslims in previous wars. So Islam is all about forgiving and establishing peace.

If those who fought and killed muslims were forgiven, you can think about how to deal with those who didn't ever fight against muslims.

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