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Did the Prophet accept the presentation of severed heads?

August 19, 2014

Terrorism has no religion 2

By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

Question:

We have seen reports of an armed Muslim group beheading their enemies and posting pictures of it on social media. Did the Prophet approve of such actions?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The Prophet never accepted the presentation of a decapitated head and he did not accept acts of brutality that serve no purpose in Islam. Rather, a severed head was once presented to Abu Bakr and he condemned it.

Uqbah ibn Amir reported: He came to Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, with a severed head and Abu Bakr condemned it. Uqbah said, “O Caliph of the Messenger of Allah, they do that to us!” Abu Bakr said:

فَاسْتِنَانٌ بِفَارِسَ وَالرُّومِ لا تُحْمَلْ إِلَيَّ رَأْسٌ فَإِنَّمَا يَكْفِي الْكِتَابُ وَالْخَبَرُ

So you follow the way of the Persians and Romans? Rather, do not come to me with a severed head. It is sufficient for you to write and inform me.

Source: Sunan ibn Mansur 2490, Grade: Sahih

Az-Zuhri said:

لَمْ تُحْمَلْ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَأْسٌ قَطُّ وَلا يَوْمَ بَدْرٍ وَحُمِلَ إِلَى أَبِي بَكْرٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ رَأْسٌ فَأَنْكَرَهُ وَأَوَّلُ مَنْ حُمِلَتْ إِلَيْهِ الرُّءُوسُ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ

A severed head was never presented to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and neither was it on the day of Badr. A severed head was presented to Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, and he condemned it. The first to accept the presentation of severed heads was Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair.

Source: Al-Murasil Abu Dawud 79

Glorifying and publicizing acts of violence is the practice of some non-Muslim religions and ideologies. It is not an Islamic tradition. Rather, whenever the Prophet sent his companions on a mission, he commanded them to make things easy for the common people and to avoid frightening them.

Abu Burda reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

يَسِّرَا وَلَا تُعَسِّرَا وَبَشِّرَا وَلَا تُنَفِّرَا وَتَطَاوَعَا وَلَا تَخْتَلِفَا

Make things easy and do not make things difficult. Give glad tidings and do not repel people. Cooperate with each other and do not become divided.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 2873, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Any justified legal punishment to be carried out by necessity must be done according to due process and should be witnessed only by small group as a means of documentation.

Allah said:

ۖ وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.

Surah An-Nur 24:2

Therefore, posting violent images on social media intended to terrorize people is against Islamic teachings and should be denounced. These images only reinforce negative and false views of Islam in the minds of people.

Furthermore, the militant group responsible for these atrocities has been condemned by Muslim scholars on every continent. By their actions these extremists have demonstrated that they are deluded by their pride and their lust for blood.

We seek refuge in Allah from those who defame our religion.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.