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Introduction

On September 11, 2001, a few individuals hijacked four civilian airplanes and used them as weapons to create terror in United States, especially on the two World Trade Center buildings. All the crew and passengers in the four planes as well as about three thousand civilians lost their lives in those attacks.

The foreign policies of the United States of America vis-à-vis the Muslim countries do not justify that American civilians in the planes and the World Trade Center buildings be killed. This is not what Islam teaches. Look at the instructions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during war-time: he clearly forbade the killing of the old, the children, and the women.1 Those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center towers and in the planes were all civilians, and quite a few of them were Muslims.

All Muslim leaders in the United States of America, Canada, and the entire world clearly condemned the hijacking that was committed in the United States as act of terrorism which is not acceptable by Islam.

This condemnation is based on the universal value of sanctity for human life. The holy Qur’an relates the story of the first murder in human history, that of the two sons of Adam in which Cain (Qabil) murdered his brother Abel (Habil). This is in Chapter 5 of the Qur’an, verses 27 to 31.

At the conclusion of this story, Almighty God says:

“Whosoever kills a person without any reason (of murder or mischief in the earth), it is as though he has killed all the people. And whosoever saves a single life, it is as though he has saved all the people.” (Surah al-Maaida, 5:32)

It is clear from this verse that unless a person is put on trial and proven to have murdered someone, he or she cannot be killed - and that killing an innocent person is tantamount to killing all humans.

  • 1. Hurr al-‘Amili, Wasa’il ush-Shi‘a, vol. 11, p. 43.