Posts Tagged ‘spoils’

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New York court rejects “right to pillage”

December 8, 2013

U.S. law and practice prohibits pillaging—a prohibition that was recently reaffirmed by the New York Court of Appeals.  In a case involving an artifact that surfaced in New York that was taken from a German museum in 1945 (probably by Soviet troops) the court held that, “we decline to adopt any doctrine that would establish good title based upon the looting and removal of cultural objects during wartime by a conquering military force.”  The insightful Rick St. Hilaire has all the details here.

Pillaging is also prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

At stark contrast to these national and international norms, traditional Islamic jurisprudence expressly authorizes such plunder, with an entire chapter of the Qur’an entitled “The Spoils” (Sura 8).  Verse 42 of that chapter reads, “And know ye, that when ye have taken anything as spoil—that to Allah belongs a Fifth of it, and to the Messenger [Muhammad] and to the Relatives, Orphans, the Poor, and the Followers of the Way…”

Abu Yusuf, author of the Kitab Al-Kharaj, the classical tax treatise of Islam, further explains that this verse “refers to the movable properties captured by Muslims from the pagans, i.e. provisions, arms and animals.  A fifth of such booty is taken out for those named by God in His Book, and the remaining four fifths are divided among the soldiers who captured it.”

Why is this contrast relevant and worth understanding within the context of terrorist financing?  Prominent Islamists such as deceased terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, the Britain-based rabble-rouser Anjem Choudary, and Sheikh Hoeweyni of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood have used the spoils provision of Islamic law to justify theft from non-Muslims in the course of waging jihad.

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Following the money in early Islam

January 13, 2013

The Koran dictates that 20 percent of the booty or spoils of war, known as khums, belongs to Allah and Muhammad.  As Iraqi expatriate I.Q. al-Rassooli points out in this talk entitled “Allah’s Share of the Plunder,” does it really make sense that Allah needs a cut of the spoils?  What’s the exact breakdown between Muhammad and Allah—10 percent for each?  The only logical explanation is that Muhammad got it all.  What kind of religion would devise such a system?  As al-Rassooli points out, the kind of religion that attracted other men who believed that they too could become very wealthy from plundering and looting non-believers.  This is about 5 minutes long:

Revisit another great analysis from Mr. Rassooli here.