A reading in Gilad Shalit’s Video
Since the airing of Gilad Shalit’s video people have been wondering about how well he looked for someone who’s been in captivity for over three years.
As well as his physical wellbeing, people were also surprised by his composure, as instead of looking terrified as people would have expected, he looked calm and collected.
Yet what was seen in the video is not surprising from a Muslim perspective because treating captives well is enshrined in the teachings of Islam.
Shalit’s wellbeing is proof that the Qassam brigades and the rest of the freedom fighting brigades applied the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
The Prophet urged his followers to treat their captives with clemency. He said to them “You have to treat your captives kindly,” which means captive must be treated in the best way possible in regard to his food, drink and living conditions to allow the captive to maintain his health.
Islam has laid down rules for the treatment of prisoners of war long before any Geneva conventions. Good treatment of captives has become part of the behavior of Muslim armies throughout Muslim history.
Shalit appeared in his army uniform with a neat hair cut and overall orderly in appearance, taking into consideration that Shalit is an occupation soldier, who has caused death and suffering to Palestinians. The question that is raised here; how can his captors control their anger and treat him kindly?
The Prophet (Peace be upon him), who was described by God as a "Mercy to mankind" taught Muslims through instruction and his own behavior how to treat people, including captives. He even went into details, such as providing captives with proper dress. It was narrated by Jaber (may Allah be pleased with him) that the prophet (Peace be upon him) after the Battle of Bader saw one of the captives not wearing a shirt so he asked one of his companions to give him his own. Also it was narrated in many incidents that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) gave the captives his own clothes.
There is a verse in Surat Al-Insan in the Quran that carries in it one of the most beautiful humanitarian ethics of all times: "And they give food, in spite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to the Miskin (the poor), the orphan, and the captive" (LXXVI: 8). The verse was interpreted in two ways reflected in the English translation here, one is that they give food despite their love for that food, or they give it for the love of God.
Here in this great verse we see that the Quran goes hand in hand with the Prophet’s teachings in giving humanity one of the greatest lessons about the proper treatment of prisoners of war, and this lesson was clear in the video, as it was clear that Shalit was well looked after.
They treated him in the best way possible, earning by that the respect of the viewers and maybe earning the divine reward of guiding someone to Islam.
It was narrated that Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) had fed some prisoners and let them drink with his own noble hands. Abu Aziz Bin Omaiyer, who was a prisoner of Badr Battle, had spoken about the way he was treated by Muslims: “I was held by the Ansar (Muslims originally from Medina) when they returned from the battle.
At meal times they gave me bread and they ate dates because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had commanded that prisoners be taken care of. When I was given the piece of bread I was embarrassed and tried to return it back to them, but they insisted that I eat it.”
When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw the Jewish captives of Bani Quraydha detained outdoors at noon in the sweltering heat, he addressed the guards and said “Don’t make them suffer both the fear of arms and the heat of the weather. Let them take a nap to cool down.”
These Islamic teachings do explain why Shalit was in a good physical condition after more than three years of captivity, no torture, no sleep depravation, no rotten food and no damp dungeons as Palestinian captives have to endure in Israeli occupation jails.
The smile that Shalit showed every time he uttered the word “Mujahdeen” astonished some political analysts, who could only explain it as a derisive smile. However I think it is the smile of amazement at those “Mujahdeen” who treat their enemy with such kindness.