Was It Explicitly Permitted for This Umma to Take War Spoils?
Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
How do we understand that the nation of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and give him peace) was distinctly permitted to take war spoils – as opposed to previous nations – in light of Deuteronomy 20:14 of the Old Testament?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
When trying to understand apparent discrepancies between the Quran and the Bible or even between the Prophet’s narrations and the Bible – we must first understand the following:
The Criterion – Al-Furqan
The Quran (and, by extension, the Sunna) is known as the al-Furqan (the criterion). This means that the measuring stick between what is true of the previous revelations and what has been changed is the Quran.
Anything that coincides with the Quran is firmly established as true, and everything that goes against the Quran is emphatically rejected and false. As for that which neither perfectly accords with the Quran nor obviously contradicts it, we consign the reality of the matter to Allah Most High.
Understanding Previous Revelations
Allah Most High mentions in many verses that the revelation sent to the People of the Book (i.e., the Jews and Christians) has been tampered with and changed by the people. What we have today of those revelation is certainly not the exact revelation as it was sent from Allah Most High. There are remnants of the truth, but due to a lack of Divine preservation, it is no longer trustworthy as guidance.
For this reason, we take our guidance and truth from Allah Most High and His Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace). Anything that seems to go against the words of Allah and His Messenger, either we do not fully understand the context of the passages, or they are false.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.
He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.
In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.