An RPG for an RPG

In the following video, you’ll see a young man executed for making war against the Islamic State. His crime was to attack the IS with an RPG, so he is being executed by RPG. As the translator points out, this summary punishment is administered according to the sharia doctrine of qisas, the Islamic version of “an eye for an eye”.

The biblical doctrine of “an eye for an eye” was actually an important advance in the development of the rule of law: it was instituted as a limitation on retributive justice. Its adoption prevented those seeking retaliation from exacting a punishment in excess of the original crime.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s the spirit in which these ISIS mujahideen administered this particular instance of qisas. Their augmented firing squad was simply their indulgence of a penchant for gore and mayhem, and also an opportunity to strike terror into the hearts of the infidels via the resulting propaganda video.

Many thanks to ritamalik for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling. WARNING: Although not as graphic as most ISIS videos, this clip does depict violent death, and shows the corpse of the victim. Viewer discretion is advised:

To understand the Islamic doctrine of qisas, or retaliation, it is recommended that readers study section o3.0 of Book O, “Justice”, in ’Umdat al-salik wa ’uddat al-nasik, or The reliance of the traveller and tools of the worshipper, which is commonly referred to as Reliance of the Traveller when cited in English. Reliance is an authoritative source on Sunni Islamic law, because it is certified as such by Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

For those who are interested, the complete text of Chapter O3.0, “Retaliation for Bodily Injury or Death (Qisas)”, is below the jump. Pay special attention to this provision (O3.4):

It is not permissible to exact retaliation against someone without the presence of the caliph… or his representative… If someone takes retaliation without the caliph’s permission, then it is valid… but the person who took it is disciplined… for arrogating the caliph’s prerogative, since administering retaliation is one of his functions, and to encroach upon it is wrong.

From this we may conclude that (1) Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi designated the commander shown in this video as his representative, or (2) the commander acted outside his authority, and will be punished accordingly. In the latter case, however, the punishment against the executed man is still considered valid and just, since it was carried out in full compliance with Islamic law.

The full text of o3.0 (emphasis added):

O3.1   Retaliation is obligatory (A: if those entitled wish to take it (dis: o3.8)) when there is a (N: purely) intentional injury (def: o2.4) against life or limb.
O3.2   Retaliation is obligatory in return for injuries (A: part for commensurate part) whenever the retaliatory injury can be (O: fully) inflicted without exceeding the extent of the original injury, such as (A: when the retaliatory injury is on) an eye, eyelid, the soft part of the nose, the ear, tooth, lip, hand, foot, finger, fingertip, penis, testicles, vulva, and the like; provided that the retaliatory injury is like the original, meaning that a right member is not taken for a left, an upper one for a lower, nor a functional member for a paralyzed one. (N: Nor is there retaliation for nonfatal bullet wounds in the stomach or chest, for example, because such injuries cannot be reproduced without risk of greater damage than the original, for which reason they call for an indemnity (dis: o4.15) alone.) There is no retaliation for (O: breaking) a bone (A: though payment is due to cover the cost of treatment and so forth).
O3.3   Females are entitled to retaliate against males, children against adults, and lower class people against upper class; whether the retaliation is a life for a life, or limb for a limb.
O3.4   It is not permissible to exact retaliation against someone without the presence of the caliph (def: O25) or his representative (O: meaning that it is necessary to have the permission of one of them because of the danger and lack of knowledge involved in exacting retaliation oneself, as it requires the judgement and personal reasoning of a ruler. If someone takes retaliation without the caliph’s permission, then it is valid (A: i.e. suffices the demand for it) but the person who took it is disciplined (def: o17) for arrogating the caliph’s prerogative, since administering retaliation is one of his functions, and to encroach upon it is wrong).

If a person who is entitled to retaliate is able to do so proficiently (O: being a strong man who knows how to do it), he is allowed to. If not, he is ordered (N: by the rules or his representative) to have another do it.

O3.5   If two (O: or more) people are entitled to exact retaliation against the offender, it is not permissible for just one of them to insist on doing so (O: though if they choose one of themselves to exact it, this is permissible, and the one chosen is considered as the other’s commissioned agent. The two may not take retaliation together, as this amounts to torturing the person being retaliated against). If each insists that he be the one, they draw lots to see who will do it.
O3.6   There is no retaliation against a pregnant woman until she has given birth and the infant is able to suffice with another’s milk.
O3.8   Whenever someone who is entitled to exact retaliation decides instead to forgive the offender and take an indemnity (def: o4) from him, then retaliation is no longer called for, and the deserving person is entitled to the indemnity. If some of a group of people who are entitled to retaliation agree to forgo it, as when a murder victim has children and one of them forgives the murderer, then retaliation is no longer obligatory, and the group deserves an indemnity from the offender. (A: Or the indemnity may also be waived.)
O3.9   When someone kills a group of people or maims them one after another, retaliation is exacted for the first individual attacked, and the other deserving parties receive an indemnity. If the offender injures them all at one, then those entitled to retaliate against him draw lots to determine who will do so.
O3.10   When a group of people together murder a single person, they are all killed in retaliation, no matter whether the amount of injury inflicted by each upon the victim is the same or whether it differs.
O3.12   There is no retaliation against anyone for an injury or death caused by someone who did so intentionally but in conjunction with someone who did so by mistake.

When an injurious crime is caused by a nonfamily member in cooperation with the victim’s father, retaliation is only taken against the nonfamily member (dis: o1.2(4)).

O3.13   Retaliation is also obligatory (dis: o3.8) for every wound that cuts to the bone, such as a cut on the head or face that reaches the skull, or a cut to the bone in the upper arm lower leg, or thigh. To the bone means that it is known that a knife or a needle, for example, has reached the bone, not that the wound actually exposes the bone to view.

Video transcript:

0:01   Commander: What is your name?
0:02   POW: Raeen
0:05   Commander: Raeen who?
0:07   POW: Shadidi (or something like that)
0.08   C: Are you from [the town of] Shasta?
0:09   P: Yes.
0:11   C: What have you done? P: …
0:16   C: You are a murderer then? P: …
0:21   C: When did you kill him? (a bit unintelligible) P: …
0:24   C: (Unintelligible, but the gist is that the prisoner is being interrogated about the circumstances of the murder that he committed.)
0:28   C: No problem! This man is an enemy of Allah, most high, … and has killed a brother with RPG, so now,
0:32   …with Allah, most high’s permission, we will perform the punishment of Qisas (Islamic an eye for an eye) on him and execute his person with an RPG shell in the same way!
0:36   Jihadi 1: Blood for blood, this is a just government!
0:38   A Murtad (apostate) is being executed in [the town of] Shaitat! Allah is greater!…. (difficult to understand)
0:47   Jihadi shouting: Takbir! Allah is greater! Allah is greater!
0:52   Jihadi 2: We shed the blood of this a Murtad (apostate) …
0:53   Jihadis shouting: Islamic State is eternal! The Caliphate is eternal! (Prisoner shot with RPG)
0:41   Jihadis shooting and shouting: Takbir! Allah is greater!
2:05   Commander: He is a corpse! This was a man who fought the religion of Allah!
2:10   …I swear to Allah! I swear this is what happens to Kafirs and Mushriks, with Allah most high’s permission! (Heavy accent, hard to understand, approximate)
2:22   Commander (to the Jihadi kicking the corpse with his foot): Enough brother! He is finished!
2:25   Jihadi1: This is what happens amongst you enemies of Allah as well, Allah willing! (Heavy accent, hard to understand, approximate)

11 thoughts on “An RPG for an RPG

  1. This excerpt from ‘Umdat al-Salik (and the whole of “Reliance”?) is remarkably unQuranic. It gives legal rulings, but none of the rulings are backed up with the citation of an aya or hadith.

    The video shows that the Arabic word for “RPG” is “arpiji”. Conversely, the word “qisas” has found its way into Andalusian music (despite Mo’s aversion to flutes and songstresses):

  2. Just a note for regular readers: ….A Handbook on Islam. I’ve just approved it for release and it should be available for sale on Amazon in a day or two. In the meantime, the Kindle edition has already registered some sales. Both editions feature Bosch Fawstin’s drawing of Mohammad as the sole illustration.

  3. Allah willing, we will finally put the hammer down on these savages, and then peace will finally reign. Because everywhere there is Islam, there is chaos. Some god they believe in.

  4. I don’t pretend to be an authority on Islamic law, but in regard to Mark Spahn’s comment on the passages from “Reliance of the Traveler” not citing the Koran or Hadith: reading “Catastrophic Failue” (a book recommended by Dympha and the Baron and richly deserving of the recommendation), you see that the basis of Islamic law is not only the Koran and Hadith, but ijma, or unanimity in judicial rulings by mujtahid, or qualified Islamic legal judges or experts. The Reliance may have relied on these rulings, rather than strictly Koranic or Hadith sources.

    Also, see

    I do have an observation on the Islamic legal system and the law of retaliation. Reading through the passages, it is more than obvious that the law is based on a tribal and family system: justice is decided and dispensed through the individual or the tribe, rather than by the interests in society as a whole.

    One consequence of the need for a tribe to enforce your rights is that a lone individual is extremely vulnerable to crime and coercion. Imagine a lone individual in an Islamic society. Anyone could rob or injure him. Even if the “caliph representative” should bring charges against the perpetrator, the perpetrator’s relatives could threaten later retribution against the victim if the victim insists on retribution, or even compensation.

    Thus, the tribal nature of Islamic law.

    The nature of Western law is equal rights for all individuals, and the use of justice to provide security and some degree of satisfaction for the victim: but, a crime is against the social order first and foremost, so a victim has a limited say in the punishment. This provides protection to the victim against further violence.

    Also, in Western law, there is a limit to the savagery allowed to the legal system. Perpetrators are not allowed to be tortured. The worst penalty is incarceration and death. Again, this is in contrast to the savagery and barbarity of the Islamic legal system and the sociopath Muhammad, who multiple times prescribed the cutting off of hands and feet on the opposite side. And the mindless Islamic zombies take these prescriptions as timeless.

    • I do have an observation on the Islamic legal system and the law of retaliation. Reading through the passages, it is more than obvious that the law is based on a tribal and family system: justice is decided and dispensed through the individual or the tribe, rather than by the interests in society as a whole.


      As I said, the Koran is scripture. Reliance is the juridical workbook. I should have added that the justice meted out is tribal in nature and wouldn’t work in a pluralistic society. Islam doesn’t plan on living in pluralism but in the Ummah.

  5. Islam is disgusting. Aren’t we getting tired of talking about them? We have to change them and get rid of this doctrine.

    • Islam is disgusting.
      But not all of its adherents are, as I know from personal experience. And the ones I know personally don’t live tribally but they have the vestiges of that kind of existence in their very close interaction among extended kin.

      Back when the bad earthquakes happened in Iran, I asked an Iranian-American what we could “do” to help the orphans, and wouldn’t people take them in. His face got stony – this otherwise affable man – and he said there was nothing an American could do to help, and NO, people would not take in children who weren’t from their own family. It was unsettling: I felt as though I were suddenly talking to someone from a long-disappeared culture. It made me realize how revolutionary Judaism and Christianity really had been in (re)forming the West’s world view re the treatment of widows and orphans.
      Aren’t we getting tired of talking about them

      Tired of talking about them? Yes.
      Tired of thinking about them? For sure.
      Saddened when I remember my life before 9/11? … Absolutely.

      But when I see look around to see what others are talking about it seems to be mainly centered on : people famous for being famous or for being rich and what these famous/rich folk were doing, eating, wearing (or not wearing)…sometimes they tell how you can dress like these people and look like them.

      And then there are the consumables and the consumers: food, food, food. Everywhere. Fast and slow, Fat and lean, how to avoid poisons in your diet, etc.

      Or gadgets. Whole websites devoted to electronic gadgets.

      …well, since I really do want to comprehend the foundations of this strange and dangerous cult, in hopes of constructing a work-around, I’ll stick with that rather than those other conversations.
      And then you say:

      We have to change them and get rid of this doctrine.

      But you left the directions off the box of RID-ALL and there are no directions on the label of your spray bottle of GO-AWAY.

      Then I realize how hard it is to change even one of my own bad habits, so how can I hope to change the thinking of a few billions othes, most of whom detest us.

      So I think I’ll continue on talking to others, thinking about the problem and attempting to change the way WE go about handling this problem.

      See, that’s the problem: Islam doesn’t have a problem being Islam, WE have the problem with them doing it where we have to see it. In other words, we own the problem.

  6. Thanks Dymphna.

    Don’t you think that they all hate it too? Deep down? It is not human biology to go around being mean and hateful all the time. There is too much beauty and love and adventure in this world to tolerate this barbarity any longer.

    • Many people seem to want to think that various things are biological when they want them to be, and conditioned when they want them to be. Muslims think that everyone is “naturally a Muslim” and neo-Marxists think that everyone is naturally a neo-Marxist.

      In the first case the belief is that if someone is not Muslim then they just haven’t read the Quran yet. In the second case the belief is that if someone isn’t a neo-Marxist then it’s because they don’t have a decent job and/or an education.

    • More than one imam has said if apostasy didn’t carry a death sentence, lots of Muslims would leave. Instead they stay and keep their mouths shut. And if ISIS thinks they’re not up to snuff, well snuffed they will be. Keep repeating the truth of it: Islam is not a religion; Islam is a utopian politico-juridical totalitarian movement begun by an illiterate man who made his living robbing caravans. He approved of wholesale murder and convinced his followers that the only way to be utterly sure of avoiding hell was to murder people en masse. As he did, many times.

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