Displaced Palestinian children gather to receive food at a government school in the Gaza Strip (French)

News comes daily after the stifling and deadly siege on the people of Gaza, of people dying of starvation, in light of shameful international inaction and neglect. Even worse is that countries contribute to establishing a land bridge that helps the Zionist entity, while the people of Gaza are suffering from the siege of starvation and killing: children, women, And old men and women, unfortunately.

A person in Gaza either dies due to the weapons and bullets of the occupation, or by withholding medicine from him if he is injured or injured, or he dies of starvation by withholding food from him. Many cases of death from starvation are not due to poverty, or lack of means, but rather they have money to buy what they eat and drink, but Food and drink are forbidden in order to make them thirsty and hungry.

This is what prompted many to ask about the ruling on this killing by starvation, and the ruling on those who assist in it, or support what their governments are doing towards these oppressed and killed by starvation, and the ruling on letting them down. Is it considered participation in the crime or not?

The Arabs called death by starvation: the dusty death, and dusty death: which is death by starvation, because it makes everything dusty in his eyes.

The Prophet sought refuge from hunger

Islam’s view of hunger is one of rejection and hatred, in addition to it being a punishment for innocent people. The Prophet - may God’s prayers and peace be upon him - used to seek refuge from hunger. The Companions narrated about him that “he used to seek refuge from bad judgment, the gloating of enemies, the enduring misery, and the struggle of calamity.” They said, explaining the meaning of his refuge from (the effort of affliction), that it is killing out of patience.

Anas - may God be pleased with him - said: Patience kills the effort of affliction.

He - may God bless him and grant him peace - said: “The most difficult affliction is when you need what is in the hands of people and they prevent you.

He - may God bless him and grant him peace - used to seek refuge from hunger, saying: “O God, I seek refuge in You from hunger, for it is miserable to sleep.”

The Arabs called death by starvation: dusty death, and dusty death: which is death by starvation, because everything is dusty in his eyes.

It was reported from him - may God bless him and grant him peace - that he forbade punishing people with death for patience, that is, by withholding food and drink from them until they die.

Sharia’s position on participating in starvation killing

The Holy Qur’an has spoken about the crime of murder, whether of a human being, an animal, or any living creature - as long as it is transgression and injustice on earth - as a crime, in which Sharia law considers a criminal to be a participant in it. Anyone who participates, even with support or abandonment, if he is able to do so. Preventing crime: The Holy Qur’an mentioned to us in the stories of those who passed away, the story of the camel of the Prophet of God, Saleh, and those who killed her. Although the perpetrator of the crime was one person, known and known, and the Holy Qur’an referred to him for his action, but when it spoke about the crime, it did not exclude anyone. Of those who were able to prevent it, God Almighty said: (When the most wretched of them were brought forth. Then the Messenger of God said to them, “God’s she-camel” and watered it. But they denied him and made her barren, so their Lord murmured against them for their sin, and he made it easy and did not fear its consequences.) Al-Shams: 12-14.

The pronoun here in denying and slaughtering the she-camel is a plural pronoun, even though the one who slaughtered it was one person, and the Qur’an said about him: (When the most wretched of them were resurrected), but when talking about crime and punishment, it was used in the plural, because there are those who incited, there are those who slaughtered, and there are those who cheered. What does the criminal do, and there are those who remain silent, encouraging him to commit his crime?

He - may God’s prayers and peace be upon him - said about the case of killing by starvation, and about witnesses to the act, or being silent about it specifically: “If you see a man being killed out of patience, do not attend his place, for perhaps he will be killed unjustly and wrath will descend upon you.”

He also said about someone who accepts the crime and does not deny it, even if no one was present or witnessed it, or were a party to the act. He, may God bless him and grant him peace, said: “If sin is committed on earth, whoever witnesses it and hates it - and in one narration - denies it, is like one who was absent from it.” And whoever is absent from it and fulfills it, is like one who witnessed it.”

That is: being satisfied with what is happening to people through killing through starvation, or justification or acceptance, is considered the same as the killer in sin, let alone those who clearly help and help.

The position of Islamic jurisprudence on killing by starvation

Islamic jurisprudence and most jurists consider killing by starvation to be one of the forms of premeditated killing, if the person doing it deliberately intends to do it, knowing that the matter will lead to death. We find in the books of the doctrines when they talk about forms of killing - or in the books of contemporary Islamic criminal jurisprudence, when they divide the types of killing, what Between direct, murder by reason, and others - mention among them: Whoever withholds food or drink from him, intentionally, while they are present, and the possibility of the forbidden person eating them, had the authority or person not prevented him from doing so, then he is, in their view, considered a murderer.

There is a dispute between them: Is it intentional killing that requires retaliation, or blood money? According to their disagreement about the extent of the killer’s knowledge and certainty of the effectiveness of his act.

We find Imam al-Nawawi saying in one of the most important texts of Shafi’i jurisprudence: (If he was imprisoned/deprived of food, drink, and seeking until he died, then if a period of time passes in which someone like him dies - most likely from hunger or thirst - then he baptizes. If he did not have previous hunger or thirst, then it is similar to baptism, even if there was some hunger. He was thirsty, and the thirsty person knew the situation, so he baptized.)

The jurists also say about someone who kills people by stripping him in the cold: (If he locked him up and stripped him naked until he died in the cold, it is as if he locked him up and withheld food and drink.)

Al-Khatib al-Shirbini, one of the commentators on the text of al-Nawawi, says: “And if he imprisoned him and prevented him from eating and drinking, or either of them, and also prevented him from seeking that until he died because of the prohibition, then if a period of time elapsed, he would die like him, that is: the one who was imprisoned in it would often die, from hunger or thirst, so he deliberately intended, because the intention to destroy him would appear. The period varies depending on the strength or weakness of the detainee’s condition, and the time in the heat and the cold, because losing water in the heat is not the same as losing it in the cold.

Al-Mawardi lays down the rules for preventing killing by starvation

As for Imam Al-Mawardi, the great jurist, politician, and judge of judges, he detailed in great detail the right of the hungry and thirsty to obtain their rights to food and drink, and whether they have the right to fight those who prevent them from them, and to what extent they are entitled to that. He said in his book (Al-Hawi Al-Kabir): (And if the owner of the food does not give him permission to eat, then the person in need must meet three circumstances:

  • One of them: that he is able to take food from him without fighting. He has the right to take the food by force, and the one who takes it does not go beyond fighting him. There are two sayings regarding the amount of what is permissible to take from him: one of them is: as much as he can hold his breath.

    The second: what ends up being satiated, and he eats it in its place, and does not carry it.

  • The second case: He is unable to take it, nor to fight him over it. The owner of the food is disobedient by withholding it, and his disobedience if it leads to damage to the one in need is greater.

  • The third case: Is the one who is forced to take it unable to take it except by fighting him over it? So he has the right to fight him over it, and is it obligatory for him to fight him until he reaches his food or not?

    In two ways: Whoever wants his soul must be prevented from it? One of them: He must fight him;

    In order to revive himself with his food, just as he must eat a dead animal to revive himself with it.

    The second aspect is that fighting is permissible for him, but not obligatory for him.

    Because the owner of the food is often motivated by religion or reason to revive the distressed person with his money, it is permissible for it to be entrusted to him, and it is not obligatory to eat a dead animal.

    Because there is no way for him to revive himself except through it, so if he begins to fight him, he will achieve by fighting him the food that permissibility relates to.

  • It contains what we have presented of the two opinions: One: He fights him until he reaches the point of grabbing the spear, and if he fights him after reaching the point of grabbing the spear, he is a transgressor.

    The second opinion: He fights him until he reaches satiety, and fighting after reaching the limit of his thirst is permissible, and not obligatory in any way, and fighting him after reaching satiety is aggression.

Then Al-Mawardi spoke about if a hungry person fights someone who is hungry, and he is a Muslim, and that leads to the death of one of them, what is his ruling?

He said: (If the fight does not reach any of his food until one of them spoils, then he will look. If the spoiled person was the owner of the food, then his life is a waste, and he is not liable for money or blood money, because he was killed by right, like someone who seeks the life of a human being, and he kills him in order to defend himself, then his life is a waste, and if the spoiled one is The person in need was liable to the owner of the food, because he killed an oppressed person, then looked. If the owner of the food knew of the necessity of the person in need, he would be liable for it by force, and if he did not know of its necessity, he would be liable for the blood money, because with knowledge of it, he is intentional, and with ignorance of it, he is mistaken.

What is supposed to be the obligation to feed the person who is being killed by starvation here: the law, and the international community with its laws that impose on those who impose a siege on a people, and the jurists in the past talked about cases of individuals to whom the authority of the Sultan or the ruler did not reach, but the jurists elevated the relief and legal aspect at the time by what was achieved by it. Save people's lives.

The basic principle of the jurists in their position on this issue is that confining human beings from food and drink is considered intentional killing that requires retaliation against them through the law, and that is because it was proven in the Sahih that the Prophet - may God bless him and grant him peace - said: “A woman will enter Hell because of a cat that she imprisoned; not her.” “I fed it, but it did not let it eat from the vermin of the earth,” which indicates that this is considered murder, and that if the soul is deprived of its food and drink until the relevant period has passed, then this is considered the taking of a soul, and intentional killing that entails punishment in this world and the hereafter.

This is the view of the Sharia and the jurists on those who kill people by starvation, and the situation is between a clear legal position and the political reality that people live in, without doing anything significant to prevent this genocide of a people, between direct killing and killing by starvation. We saw the view of the ancient jurists more advanced and humane than the view of those claiming enlightenment. Contemporary freedom and human rights.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.