What does Islamic law say regarding the recently reported killing of hostages


What does Islamic law say regarding the recently reported killing of hostages by Muslims mentioned in the media, such as Alan Henning?


The reported killing of an innocent individual as mentioned, is strictly prohibited in Islamic law and regarded as Haram. The Qur'an considers the crime of killing an innocent person as tantamount to the killing of the whole of humanity.

Even thought it appears to be Muslims who carried out such criminal acts, one should understand that this type of action has no basis in Islamic law and is no way representative of Islamic teachings or the Muslims.

As more and more Muslims are apparently confused regarding the authentic islamic teachings on such issues, it seems appropriate to explain what constitutes authentic islamic learning and who holds such qualifications.

Any one who wishes to correctly understand, study or learn Islamic teaching from the Qur'an and Sunnah, should take authentic Islamic knowledge from Ulema (scholars) who have a license and authorisation (Ijazah) to teach the Islamic sciences, whose teachers themselves in turn have an Ijazah to teach from their teachers and so on and so forth in an unbroken chain back to the Prophet peace be upon him.

Thus it is important to not only verify the authenticity of a given text, but it is as important to verify the qualification of the one interpreting it.

It is mentioned in the Sahih of Imam al-Bukhari in The Book of Knowledge, chapter 10, that: "...the inheritors of the prophets are the Ulema, knowledge is inherited from them as inheritance, whoever inherits from them has taken a generous share."

It should be clear that learning islamic law, from any source such as the internet or books without the guidance of qualified and reputable Ulema is never sufficient and does not constitute a portion of the inheritance of Islamic teaching as mentioned above.

If ever a book could have been understood without a qualified teacher, it would have surely been the Qur'an, yet the Prophet peace be upon him was sent to explain the correct meaning and correct interpretation of the Qur'an.

Learning without qualified Ulema is the equivalent of learning medicine without studying under qualified doctors, resulting in the individual endangering himself and others.

It is stated on the authority of Amr ibn al-Ass, he said I heard the Prophet peace be upon him say:

"Indeed Allah does not take away the knowledge by extracting it from the (hearts of) people, however, He will lift the knowledge away by the death of Ulema, until there is no scholar left and the people will take as their leaders ignorant people, who when consulted will give rulings without knowledge. Thus they will go astray themselves and lead others astray.
[Al-Bukhari, The Book of Knowledge hadith No. 100].

It is noted that this hadith indicates that neither the Qur'an or sunnah were lost, rather, the absence of qualified Ulema who could correctly understand and interpret the Qur'an and Sunnah was the reason for the deviation of Muslims, as seems to be the case with the actions mentioned in the question.

And Allah knows best.

Answered by FCB Fatwa Department