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.
|0:01||Commander: What is your name?|
|0:05||Commander: Raeen who?|
|0:07||POW: Shadidi (or something like that)|
|0.08||C: Are you from [the town of] Shasta?|
|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)