In one of a series of lectures about Jihad, Iraqi Shiite cleric Sabah Shabr said that during battle, taking prisoners was forbidden. They should either convert to Islam or be killed, he said. If, however, someone is taken captive after the fighting is over, they can be pardoned, ransomed, or enslaved, said Shabr, dealing with the question whether conversion to Islam could save them from enslavement. The lecture aired on the Bahraini TV channel Al-Maaref on October 13, 2015.
Following are excerpts
Sabah Shibbar: Taking prisoners during the fighting is forbidden. Why is that? A hadith by Imam Al-Sadiq says - or maybe it was Imam Al-Baqir: "If an infidel fighter is captured during battle, he should either be killed, or he should have his arm and leg chopped off, and be left there to bleed to death." There is no such thing as taking prisoners of war. The only thing that can save him from being killed is conversion to Islam. Surrendering is not enough. In the heat of battle, some enemies may raise a white flag. There is no such thing as a white flag. They should be told that if they convert to Islam, they will not be killed.
And if they ask to be enslaved by the Muslims? This is also forbidden. During battle, it is forbidden to take slaves or prisoners. They must be killed. We have read this verse in the Quran more than once: "A prophet may not take prisoners, until he has thoroughly decimated [the enemy] in the land." This verse is clear.
What happens when the fighting ends? If someone is taken captive after the fighting is over, the imam has three options: He can pardon him and set him free, if he finds it in his interest, or he can demand a ransom and free him in exchange for money... He can take a ransom and send him back to his country. Or he can enslave them, both the men and the women. Women, of course, become slave-girls because they cannot be killed. The old people, the women, and the children are taken as slaves.
What happens if they convert to Islam? Let's assume that they convert to Islam after having been taken captive - does this help them? No. Had they converted before being taken captive, it would have helped them. But after being taken captive, conversion to Islam does not save them from one of those three options. Conversion to Islam will save them from the torments of the afterlife.
One might ask: These are Muslims, so how can they be sold and bought? True, they are Muslims, but at the time of capture, they were not. They only converted afterwards, and this does not make them freemen. If there are women who participate in the fighting... There are infidel women who fight against the Muslims. We can see this happening today. Today, there are armies that have women in their ranks. Some are even high-ranking officers - colonels or even generals. They reach high ranks and participate in the fighting. If the Muslims cannot capture such a woman, they have no choice but to kill her. If you cannot capture her because she is armed, kill her. But if she is captured, she becomes a slave-girl and should not be killed.