Physical & Cultural Genocide of Non-Kinsmen in Islamic Society

This article analyses deeply embedded cultural traits of pre-Islamic/early-Islamic Arabia that influenced and spread its tenets in many parts of world. The immediate trigger for writing this article has been a recent tweet of renowned scholar, Mr. Tarek Fatah, who has been critiquing Islam, describing plight of Hindus in Pakistan

I have tried to decode traditional and cultural practices of pre-Islamic Arabia through reliable sources made available in the public database of Wikipedia. These practices are relevant in understanding many of the events taking place around us in the contemporary world.

Source 1: Society in 7th century Arabia

Wikipedia page

Topic : Raids in pre-Islamic Arabia

Quote “The Arabian Peninsula was largely arid and volcanic, making agriculture difficult except near oases or springs. The landscape was dotted with towns and cities; two of the most prominent being Mecca and Medina. Medina was a large flourishing agricultural settlement, while Mecca was an important financial center for many surrounding tribes. Communal life was essential for survival in the desert conditions, supporting indigenous tribes against the harsh environment and lifestyle. Tribal grouping was encouraged with unity being based on blood relations. Indigenous Arabs were either nomadic or sedentary, the former constantly travelling from one place to another seeking water and pasture for their flocks, while the latter settled and focused on trade and agriculture. Nomadic survival also depended on raiding caravans or oases; nomads did not view this as a crime.” Unquote

This paragraph gives important insight into nature of survival strategies used by pre-Islamic Arabian societies. Except for Oases, people were essentially leading nomadic life and “Nomadic survival also depended on raiding caravans; nomads did not view this as a crime”.

This pre-Islamic practice of raiding and looting of Caravans and Oases for survival has continued for more than two thousand years into present day ISIS controlled areas of Iraq and Syria. Medieval and pre-Islamic land of Bharat could be considered as Oases, so it witnessed countless raids by Nomadic tribes influenced by same doctrine of survival. Most of the times these raids would annihilate native population and usurp their movable assets. Surviving men and children were made slaves. Surviving women were preferred to be made concubines/ sex slaves.

Monotheistic scriptures based on direct revelations were used to bolster moral & ethical support and credence to these raids and genocide. In more recent times genocide of Yazidis in 2014 bear stark similarity to these Nomadic raids, though not for survival. Source

Source2: Battle of Khaybar

Wikipedia page

Topic: Role of Jizya in Islamizing Arabia in 7th Century CE

Quote “The Jews of Khaybar finally surrendered and were allowed to live in the oasis on the condition that they would give one-half of their produce to the Muslims. Jews continued to live in the oasis for several more years until they were expelled by caliph Umar. The imposition of tribute upon the conquered Jews served as a precedent for provisions in the Islamic law requiring the exaction of tribute known as jizya from Dīn under Muslim rule.” Unquote

Another Wikiipedia page makes following comment about practice of Jizya in Bharat. (Source

Quote” Though jizya was mandated initially for People of the book (Judaism, Christianity), it was extended by Islamic jurists to all non-Muslims. Thus Muslim rulers in Bharat collected jizya from Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs under their rule” Unquote

This discriminatory taxation practice adopted against conquered helped the conquerors in fastest spread of Islam compared to any other religion to date. One, it generated regular source of booty for undertaking further raids in new frontiers. Two, the poor and middle class non-Muslims (kafirs), who could not afford to pay Jizya, converted to Islam on mass scale, to avoid this financially crippling tax.

Source3: Diyah And Qisas

Wikipedia page,

Topic: Diyah and Qisas as forms of jurisprudence

Quote Diyah in Islamic law, is the financial compensation paid to the victim or heirs of a victim in the cases of murder, bodily harm or property damage. It is an alternative punishment to Qisas

Qiṣāṣ is an Islamic term meaning “retaliation in kind” or revenge, “eye for an eye”, or retributive justice. It is a category of crimes in Islamic jurisprudence, where Sharia allows equal retaliation as the punishment. Qisas principle is available against the accused, to the victim or victim’s heirs, when a Muslim is murdered, suffers bodily injury or suffers property damage….

Diyah compensation rates have historically varied based on the gender and religion of the victim. Muslim women victims have typically been compensated at half the rate as Muslim male victims, while non-Muslims compensation rates have varied between 1/16 to 1/2 of a Muslim…..

Islamic law treats homicide and unintentional homicide (not just bodily injury and property damage), as a civil dispute between believers, rather than corrective punishment by the state to maintain order…..

The non-Hanafi Islamic codes of sharia have historically ruled that Qisas does not apply against a Muslim, if he murders any non-Muslim (including dhimmi – i.e non-Muslim who was ‘protected’ as long as he/she paid jizya) or a slave for any reason. Both Shafi’i and Maliki sharia doctrines maintained, notes Friedmann, that the Qisas only applies when there is “the element of equality between the perpetrator and the victim”; Qisas is not available to an infidel victim when the crime’s perpetrator is a Muslim because “equality does not exist between a Muslim and an infidel, and Muslims are exalted above the infidels….” Unquote

Pre-Islamic societies must have settled crimes against fellow tribesmen through mutual negotiations, reconciliation and arbitration. These principles of reconciliation and arbitration helped in maintaining harmony among Kinsmen by delivering justice for crimes committed against each other, who otherwise might have settled the matter violently among themselves. However committing crimes against Non-Kinsmen would not have been considered a crime – raiding of Oases (cited above) being one such example.

It is plausible that these underlying principles of reconciliation and arbitration among kinsmen only, got embedded in principles of Diyah and Qisas, and later got codified in Islamic jurisprudence. It seems quite plausible that a financially and politically strong Kinsman had better chance of settlement of violent crime through Diyah (compensation) than Qisas (eye for eye).

Source 4: Renowned scholar Dr. Koenard Elst’s seminal essay – ‘Was There an Islamic “Genocide” of Hindus?’


Topic: Cultural and Physical Genocide

Quote “There is no official estimate of the total death toll of Hindus at the hands of Islam. A first glance at important testimonies by Muslim chroniclers suggests that, over 13 centuries and a territory as vast as the Subcontinent, Muslim Holy Warriors easily killed more Hindus than the 6 million of the Holocaust. Ferishtha lists several occasions when the Bahmani sultans in central India (1347-1528) killed a hundred thousand Hindus, which they set as a minimum goal whenever they felt like “punishing” the Hindus; and they were only a third-rank provincial dynasty. The biggest slaughters took place during the raids of Mahmud Ghaznavi (ca. 1000 CE); during the actual conquest of North India by Mohammed Ghori and his lieutenants (1192 ff.); and under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526). ” Unquote

From the above citation, it is abundantly clear that during the Islamic imperialist invasion of Bharat for over one thousand years, the same story of holocaust and Genocide against Kafirs was repeatedly played. Pre-Islamic cultural practices and Islamic revelations provided solid foundation of moral and ethical support to these extremely violent expeditions against non-Muslims, non-kinsmen.

In recent times, the Islamist terror attack on non-Muslims in a Bangladesh restaurant, or the truck attack in French city of Nice come in similar category of attack on non-Kinsmen. Along with news of persecution and forced conversions of Hindu girls in Pakistan, as shared by Mr. Tarek Fatah, these events are actually on expected lines as dictated by history and culture. Moreover, many non-Muslim victims like this Hindu girl would not have any recourse to justice as stipulated under tenets of Diyah and Qisas.

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About the Author

Pankaj Prasad
Working Professional, Student of Dharma