Sanctity Of Life: “If Anyone Kills A Person It Would Be As If He Killed All Mankind” – Surah 5:32

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Kaleef K. Karim

Content:

1. Introduction
2. Surah 5:32 plagiarized from Talmud?
3. Do Muslims take 5:32 out of context?
4. Is Surah 5:32 only binding on the ‘Children of Israel’, not Muslims?
5. Conclusion

1. Introduction

As special creatures on earth, God Almighty has mandated for us to manage this earth with consideration for life. This command is expressly stated in the Quran and Prophetic sayings. For example:

“Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” – Quran 5:32

This beautiful Quranic verse orders humans not kill a person which God has forbidden. Anybody going against this command, God states it would be as if he has killed all mankind, and saving a soul is as if as saving whole of mankind.

Some critics really get bothered and say that Surah 5:32 is always is taken out of context by Muslims, and news organizations. They claim that 5:32 is plagiarized from Talmud – that it does not say murder is wrong and prohibited. They also claim that the verse was aimed at ‘Children of Israel’ only, therefore, the verse is not binding on Muslims.

The main claims that will be addressed in this article are:

– Surah 5:32 plagiarized from Talmud?
– Do Muslims take 5:32 out of context?
– Is Surah 5:32 only binding on the ‘Children of Israel’, not Muslims?

2. Surah 5:32 plagiarized from Talmud?

At the start of writing this article, we thought to add ‘plagiarism’ claim and the explanation for Surah 5:32 together. However, we came to notice that the article would be too long to read. To make things easier for our respected readers, we have published the ‘plagiarism’ claim in separate place. Please click on the following link for more information: ‘Surah 5:32, Sanhedrin, Talmud Plagiarism?

3. Do Muslims take 5:32 out of context?

This is the question, short answer no. But let’s read the verse again:

“Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with clear proofs, evidences, and signs, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits (e.g. by doing oppression unjustly and exceeding beyond the limits set by Allah by committing the major sins) in the land!.” – Quran 5:32

The above verse states that if any person were to kill another human, if not for murder or corruption (mischief) it is as if killing whole of humanity. The shedding of blood is prohibited (Haram) in Islam, unless it be for spreading mischief. The mischief in the Quran entails murder, armed robbery and rape, as the next verse (Q. 5:33) states. We have written a detailed article on Surah 5:33, on how the Prophet Muhammed (p) interpreted mischief (corruption) in the land. Please click on the following article for more information: Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33

In short, we see that Muslims do not take the verse out of context. Surah 5:32 clearly states that killing another human being is wrong and Haram (forbidden) in Islam.

4. Is Surah 5:32 only binding on the ‘Children of Israel’, not Muslims?

The issue critics have is that the verse does not apply to Muslims. They say that the order in the verse is directed at the children of Israel only. Hence, they claim that such commandment is not binding, nor to be followed by Muslims. These claims don’t stand up to critical scrutiny – given when we consider the fact that the companions of Prophet Muhammed (p) and earliest scholars of Islam used 5:32 as evidence that killing any human is forbidden.

4.1 Every commandment given in the Quran was for the betterment of humanity. Hence, if as critics’ claim that such order was only binding, to be followed by the children of Israel and not Muslims, this order wouldn’t be in the Quran in the first place. But given that the verse is in there, should be proof in itself that Surah 5:32 is binding on Muslims.

4.2 The Quran has many injunctions in them that were revealed for people before Islam came to Arabia, but yet Muslims are obliged to follow them. Sometimes revelation came down for specific person or event, but one cannot restrict its meaning, rather it should be understood in its general wordings.

Meaning: The specific reason for a verse’s revelation, or the specific event or people it was revealed about, does not restrict its meaning, rather it is to be understood to be as general as the wording allows. Take for example this verse:

5:33 Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption (mischief) is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,
5:34 Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

We know from historical reports, and exegesis that this verse (Q. 5:33) was specifically revealed concerning a group of people from Ukil (Or Urayna) who murdered an innocent shepherd, and went on to rape women. When the perpetrators were caught, they were put to death for the heinous crimes they had committed.

Although the verse is specific to the event, its meaning and ruling cannot be limited to 1400 years ago. Example, if similar incident did happen today, in a country which is governed under Islamic Law, such criminals could still be put to death, similar to how democratic country like America, where the crime of murder is still punishable by death.

4.3 As discussed earlier, those who claim the verse (Q. 5:32) was only binding to the ‘Children of Israel’ alone, this claim cannot be true. As I briefly discussed earlier, Prophet Muhammed’s own Companions used Surah 5:32 as proof – forbidding others to kill people. Ibn Kathir reports to us an incident involving protesters who wanted to harm Uthman, a companion of Prophet Muhammed (p):

Al-A`mash and others said that Abu Salih said that Abu Hurayrah said, “I entered on `Uthman when he was under siege in his house and said, `I came to give you my support. Now, it is good to fight (defending you) O Leader of the Faithful!’ He said, `O Abu Hurayrah! Does it please you that you kill all people, including me’ I said, `No.’ He said, `If you kill one man, it is as if you killed all people. Therefore, go back with my permission for you to leave. May you receive your reward and be saved from burden.’ So I went back and did not fight.” (Tafir Ibn Kathir, Online source) [1]

 

This narration is also reported in a Hadith book:

“Abu Huraira reported: I entered upon Uthman on the day he was under siege in his house and I said, “O leader of the believers, I have come to give you my support.” He said to me, “O Abu Huraira, does it please you to ‘kill the people altogether’ (5:32) including me?” I said, “No.” He said, “BY ALLAH, IF YOU HAVE KILLED ONE MAN THEN IT IS AS IF YOU HAVE KILLED ALL THE PEOPLE.” SO I RETURNED AND I DID NOT FIGHT.” (Sunan Sa’id ibn Mansur, Number 2776) [2]

 

When we read the above two reports, we see Uthman, one of the Prophet’s closest companions was surrounded by aggressive, and threatening people outside of his home. They were there to harm Uthman. When Abu Hurayrah, another companion of the Prophet (p) entered into Uthman’s house, he (Abu Hurayra) said to Uthman that he wanted to kill those hostile protesters. Upon Hurayra’s words, Uthman admonished him and quoted Surah 5:32.

In Another narration, Ibn Abbas who was companion of the Prophet (p) explains Surah 5:32,

“Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “It is as Allah has stated, (if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.) SAVING LIFE IN THIS CASE OCCURS BY NOT KILLING A SOUL THAT ALLAH HAS FORBIDDEN. So this is the meaning of saving the life of all mankind, for whoever forbids killing a soul without justification, the lives of all people will be saved from him.” (Ibn Kathir Online source) [3]

 

Notice, in this narration Ibn Abbas clearly states that killing any human (Muslim or non-Muslim) is prohibited, unless the person spreads mischief in the land. As explained before, ‘mischief’ entails murder, armed robbery and rape (Read more about the word mischief here: ‘Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33).

This leads us to ask the following question; since Prophet Muhammed’s own companions recognized that Surah 5:32 was binding on every Muslim. How could critics claim to know better than the Companions of Muhammed (p) and say that the verse is not binding on Muslims?

Moving forward, throughout history classical scholars to contemporary ones have used Surah 5:32 as proof that killing any human is forbidden (haram) in Islam. Scholar, Imam Abu Abdullah al-Qurtubi (1214 – 1273 AD) commenting on the verse (Q. 5:32), says:

“The meaning is that whoever makes it lawful to take the life of a single innocent person has made everyone’s life lawful, because he has REJECTED THE DIVINE LAW [establishing the prohibition of killing innocents].” [4]

 

Here, it should be noted that anyone kills an innocent person, as stated by one of the eminent scholars in history Imam al-Qurtubi, as going against God’s Divine Law.

Similarly, Imam Fakhruddin al-Razi (1149 – 1209 AD), one of the greatest exegete on the Quran, stated the following on Surah 5:32:

“When he [a murderer] resolves to intentionally kill an innocent person HE HAS GIVEN PREFERENCE TO THE DICTATES OF HIS BLOODLUST AND ANGER OVER THE DICTATES OF OBEYING ALLAH. When this prioritization occurs, in his heart he has resolved to kill anyone who opposes his demands, were he capable of doing so.” [5]

 

Imam al-Razi goes further:

“If all of humanity knew that a single individual intends to exterminate them they would undoubtedly try their utmost to prevent him from obtaining his objective. Likewise, if they knew that he intends to kill a single person then their seriousness and exertion in trying to deter him from killing that person should be just as great as it would be in preventing their own mass murder.”
هو أن جميع الناس لو علموا من إنسان واحد أنه يقصد قتلهم بأجمعهم فلا شك أنهم يدفعونه دفعا لا يمكنه تحصيل مقصوده فكذلك إذا علموا منه أنه يقصد قتل إنسان واحد معين يجب أن يكون جدهم واجتهادهم في منعه عن قتل ذلك الإنسان مثل جدهم واجتهادهم في الصورة الأولى –
[6] 

 

The respected scholar Abu l-Fidaʾ Ismail Ibn Umar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373 AD), also emphasizes that killing any human is forbidden. Anybody carrying out such heinous crime has committed a major sin. He brings up many reports and latter scholars that say similar to what the two previous scholars mentioned before.

HUMAN BEINGS SHOULD RESPECT THE SANCTITY OF OTHER HUMAN BEINGS
Allah says, because the son of Adam killed his brother in transgression and aggression, (We ordained for the Children of Israel…) meaning, We legislated for them and informed them, (that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.) The Ayah states, whoever kills a soul without justification — such as in retaliation for murder or for causing mischief on earth — will be as if he has killed all mankind, BECAUSE THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONE LIFE AND ANOTHER.
(and if anyone saved a life…) by preventing its blood from being shed and believing in its sanctity, then ALL PEOPLE WILL HAVE BEEN SAVED FROM HIM, so, (it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.) Al-A`mash and others said that Abu Salih said that Abu Hurayrah said, “I entered on `Uthman when he was under siege in his house and said, `I came to give you my support. Now, it is good to fight (defending you) O Leader of the Faithful!’ He said, `O Abu Hurayrah! Does it please you that you kill all people, including me’ I said, `No.’ He said, `If you kill one man, it is as if you killed all people. Therefore, go back with my permission for you to leave. May you receive your reward and be saved from burden.’ So I went back and did not fight.”’ `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “It is as Allah has stated,
(if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.) Saving life in this case occurs by not killing a soul that Allah has forbidden. So this is the meaning of saving the life of all mankind, for whoever forbids killing a soul without justification, the LIVES OF ALL PEOPLE WILL BE SAVED FROM HIM.” Similar was said by Mujahid; (And if anyone saved a life…) means, he refrains from killing a soul. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said that Allah’s statement, (it would be as if he killed all mankind.) means, “Whoever kills one soul that Allah has forbidden killing, is just like he who kills all mankind.” Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “He who allows himself to shed the blood of a Muslim, is like he who allows shedding the blood of all people. He who forbids shedding the blood of one Muslim, is like he who forbids shedding the blood of all people.” In addition, Ibn Jurayj said that Al-A`raj said that Mujahid commented on the Ayah,
(it would be as if he killed all mankind,) “He who kills a believing soul intentionally, Allah makes the Fire of Hell his abode, He will become angry with him, and curse him, and has prepared a tremendous punishment for him, equal to if he had killed all people, his punishment will still be the same.” Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that the Ayah, (and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.) means, “HE WHO DOES NOT KILL ANYONE, THEN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE ARE SAFE FROM HIM.” [7]

Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi (1892 – 1977) in his exegete of the Quran, commenting on the verse (Q 5:32) says that it was used by Muslim scholars in history, in Islamic jurisprudence [8] that to murder is a crime against humanity. Here, the respected scholar makes no distinction from Muslim or non-Muslim life, they are all sacred:

“… 324. i.e., in retaliation for.
325. i.e., for creating disorder and bloodshed.
326. AS THE DOCTRINE IMPLIES IN ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE THE MURDER OF AN INDIVIDUAL IS A CRIME AGAINST THE WHOLE COMMUNITY, OR RATHER HUMANITY, and therefore, it is the duty of the community to see to it that lawful vengeance through the direct and lawful avenger has its course.
327. i.e., saves a life from unjust murder. … is here synonymous with …, and signifies the making one to continue in life and the preserving him alive. (LL)
328. i.e., the children of Israel.
329. (of their apostleship).
330. i.e., after We had impressed upon them the gravity of the sin of unjustifiable murder even so much.” [9]

 

Sayyid Qutb (1906 – 1966), in his voluminous exegeses on the Quran, unequivocally, in clear words says that the verse is aimed at every human. The principle enshrined in Surah 5:32 is aimed at every person on earth. That they have a right to ‘life’. He writes:

THE KILLING OF ALL HUMANITY
The Surah then makes use of the profundity of relating this story by enhancing a positive response to the legislation enacted to deal with such a crime. The legislation achieves the dual purpose of weakening the motive to commit a murder and establishing the just punishment for such a crime whenever it takes place:
‘Because of this did We ordain to the children of Israel that if anyone slays a human being, for anything other than in punishment for murder or spreading corruption on earth, it shall be as though he had slain all mankind. Our messengers brought them clear evidence of the truth, but despite all this, many of them continue to commit all manner of excesses on earth.’ (Verse 32)
This type of person exists and aggression is committed against peaceful and good-natured people who harbour neither grudges nor ill-feelings towards others. A reminder and a warning may achieve nothing with those who have an evil nature. Adopting a peaceful attitude may not be sufficient to prevent aggression. For all this, the ghastly crime of killing one person is considered so grave and so sordid that it is equated with the crime of killing all mankind. One the other hand, efforts to prevent killing and to spare the life of one person are considered a great action, equal to saving all mankind. The law given to the Children of Israel included THIS PRINCIPLE WHICH EQUATES THE LIFE OF ANY HUMAN BEING WITH EVERY LIFE. THE RIGHT TO LIVE IS APPLICABLE TO ALL. Hence, killing one person is an aggression against the right to live in which all people stand equal. Similarly, preventing murder and sparing the life of one person, either through defending the would-be victim or inflicting the penalty on the killer in order to prevent the murder of another, is to save the BASIC RIGHT OF LIFE APPLICABLE TO ALL. … God has decreed this principle for the Children of Israel, because at that time, they were the recipients of Divine revelation and, as such, they represented the land of Islam as long as they implemented the law of the Torah in its fullness, without any distortion. But the Children of Israel exceeded their limits after God’s Messengers came to them with clear proof of the truth. Ever since the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) many of them continue to commit excesses of all sorts. The Quran records against these excesses as well as the fact that they have no argument to justify their errors:
‘Our [i.e. God’s] messengers brought them clear evidence of the truth, but despite all this, many of them continue to commit all manner of excesses on earth.’ (Verse 32)
What excess is greater than distorting or ignoring God’s Law? …” [10]

 

Austro-Hungarian Jewish born Muhammad Asad (1900 – 1992), who later in life converted to Islam and became a scholar. In his exegete on the Quran, he says that although it refers to the ‘children of Israel’, this principle is however universal:

“40 This moral truth is among those to which the first sentence of verse 15 of this surah alludes, and its succinct formulation fully explains the reason why the story of Cain and Abel is mentioned in this context. The expression “We have ordained unto the children of Israel” DOES NOT, OF COURSE, DETRACT FROM THE UNIVERSAL VALIDITY OF THIS MORAL: it refers merely to its earliest enunciation.” [11]

 

Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, who is a Professor of law at the international Islamic University of Malaysia, comments on the verse (5:32). He says, although the verse (Q.5:32) doesn’t specifically specify whether it is binding on Muslims, however, majority of the earliest Jurists held the view that the verse is binding on every Muslim. Furthermore, he states, the fact the verse (Q. 5:32) is in the Quran should be sufficient proof that every Muslim has to follow and obey the injunction set:

“…the Qur’an stresses the enormity of murder in the following terms: ‘We ordained for the children of Israel that anyone who slew a person, unless it be for murder or mischief in the land, it would be as if he slew the whole of mankind’ (al-Ma’idah, 5:32). Once again, this ayah narrates a law of the previous revelation but does not specify whether this also constitutes a part of the Shari’ah of Islam. THE MAJORITY OF HANAFI, MALIKI, HANBALI AND SOME SHAFI’I JURISTS HAVE HELD THE VIEW THAT THE FOREGOING IS A PART OF THE SHARI’AH OF ISLAM AND THE MERE FACT THAT THE QUR’AN REFERS TO IT IS SUFFICIENT TO MAKE THE LAW OF RETALIATION BINDING ON THE MUSLIMS. For the Lawgiver spoke of the law of the Torah to the Muslims and there is nothing in the Shari’ah of Islam either to abrogate it or to warrant a departure from it. This is the law of God which He spoke of to us that He might be obeyed. IT IS ON THE BASIS OF THIS CONCLUSION THAT THE HANAFIS HAVE VALIDATED THE EXECUTION OF A MUSLIM FOR MURDERING A NON-MUSLIM (i.e. a dhimmi), and a man for murdering a woman, as they all fall within the meaning of the Qur’anic phrase ‘life for life’.” (Khallaf, Ilm, page 94; Shaltut, Al-Islam, page 489; Badran, Usul, page 235.) [12]

 

Scholar Abu Ala Maududi (1903 – 1979):

“54 This is to emphasize the sanctity of human life: IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE PRESERVATION OF HUMAN LIFE THAT EVERYONE SHOULD REGARD THE LIFE OF THE OTHER AS SACRED AND HELP TO PROTECT IT. The one who takes the life of another without right, does not commit injustice to that one alone, but also proves that he has no feeling for the sanctity of human life and of mercy for others. Hence he is most surely the enemy of the whole human race, for if every individual suffered from the same kind of hard-heartedness, the whole human race would come to an end. On the contrary, if one helps to preserve a single human life, he is indeed a helper of all mankind for he possesses those qualities upon which depends the survival of the whole human race.” [13]

 

Shari’ah: Islamic Law – Professor (Abdur) Abd ar-Rahman I. Doi (1933 – 1999):

“A. Qatl (homicide)
The Qur’anic revelation endorsed that given to the Children of Israel in this respect:
So we decreed for the tribe of Israel that if someone kills another person – unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth – it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind. (Surat al-Ma’idah 5:32)
This the way in which the legal injunction of the Qur’an have declared the sanctity of human life. In Surah Bani Isra’il, also known as Surat al-Isra, Allah has said:
‘Do not kill any person Allah has made inviolate, except with the right to do so. (Surat al-Isra 17:33)
In this verse, homicide has been distinguished from capital punishment carried out in pursuit of justice. Only a competent qadi (Judge) will decide whether or not an invidual has forfeither his right to life by disregarding other human beings’ right to life. The Prophet Muhammad declared homicide one of the greatest wrong actions…” [14]

 

Qasas-ul-Hadith – Maulana Muhammad Zakaria Iqbal:

“It is a serious crime to kill a man unjustly. According to the Qur’an, killing one man is like killing all mankind. One who is guilty of unjust killing is a perpetrator of the worst crime which is punished by being sent to hell. …” [15]

 

Islamic theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi (b. 1926):

“…Islam, the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem, and considers the attack against innocent human beings a grave sin, this is backed by the Qur’anic verse which reads: ‘Who so ever kills a human being [as punishment] for [crimes] other than manslaughter or [sowing] corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind’ (Al-Ma’idah:32).” [16]

 

Egyptian religious scholar Muhammad Fathi Osman (1928 – 2010):

“… Islam teaches believers how to cure egotism and remove hostility and aggression, through both faith and ethics on one side and law and authority on the other. Justice in all fields, social and economic, political and legal, internal and universal, should be maintained. The protection of the human soul, body, property, mind, dignity, family, and freedom of belief and expression represents the main goals of Shari’ah, as Muslims jurists have concluded. The divine teachings indicate how grave is the taking of human life. If anyone slays a human being – unless it be (in punishment) for murder or for spreading mischief on earth – it shall be as ‘though he had slain all mankind’ whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved all the lives of mankind’ (Quran 5:32).
Those who spread mischief and destruction are condemned and punished severely – whatever their arguments may be…” [17]

 

Dr. Anicee Van Engeland

“… PEACE, FREEDOM (ESPECIALLY FREEDOM OF RELIGION), SECURITY, EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE LIE AT THE CORE OF ISLAM (2:190, 2:194).Many verses in the Quran and Sunnah support this view. According to verse 60:8 of the Quran, ‘God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers.’ Verse 5:32 states:
‘Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.’
It is said that the following words were inscribed upon the hilt of the Prophet Muhammed’s sword: ‘Forgive him who wrongs you; join him who cuts you off, do good to him who does evil to you, and speak the truth although it be against yourself’ (Bennett 1998: 60-61).” [18]

 

Professor Federico Lenzerini:

THE QUR’AN, FUNDAMENTAL RELIGIOUS TEXT OF ISLAM, ALSO INCLUDES SEVERAL PRESCRIPTIONS RELATED TO HUMAN RIGHTS. First of all, all human beings are equal and brothers to one another, to the extent that respect is due even for one’s enemy and follower of a different religion: ‘Allah does bot forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them’. Strictly connected to equality is the idea of justice, solemnly expressed as followers: ‘[O] you have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives.’ THE RIGHT TO LIFE IS ALSO SACRED:
‘whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.’” [19]

 

Maulana Muhammad Ali:

“32a. THE REFERENCE IS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD TO BE TO THE GRAVITY OF THE CRIME OF MURDER, requiring the execution of the criminal. But by the killing of a person may as well be meant the killing of the Prophet, who had come to establish righteousness. The killing of that great teacher of righteousness was indeed equivalent to the killing of all men and the saving of the life of that great Saviour of humanity was equivalent to saving humanity itself. The reference is to the Jewish plots against the life of the Holy Prophet, and that is the reason for mentioning here the Israelites in particular.” [20]

 

Besides this verse, there are many other Quranic verses [21] and Hadith from Prophet Muhammed (p) in which he exhorts believers not to kill any human which God has forbidden.

The word ‘dhimmi’ refers to non-Muslim citizens who reside in Muslim lands.

“…The Prophet said, “THE BIGGEST OF AL-KABA’IR (THE GREAT SINS) ARE (1) to join others as partners in worship with Allah, (2) to MURDER A HUMAN BEING, (3) to be undutiful to one’s parents (4) and to make a false statement,” or said, “to give a false witness.” (Sahih Bukhari, volume 9, Book 83, Number 10)

Sahih Bukhari:

“…One of the evil deeds with bad consequence from which there is no escape for the one who is involved in it is to kill someone unlawfully.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 83, Number 3)

Kitab Al-Siya – Sunan Al-Kubra An-Nasai

“The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever kills a Dhimmi (non-Muslim) will not smell the fragrance of paradise, but it’s fragrance can be felt from forty years of travel.” (Kitab Al-Siya – Sunan Al-Kubra An-Nasai, #8432 – Declared Marfu With Trustworthy Narrators – Online Source)

Sahih Bukhari:

“…The Prophet (p) said: “Whoever killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims, shall not smell the smell of Paradise though its smell is perceived from a distance of forty years.” (Sahih Bukhari, #2995 – online Source).

 

Tabarani:

“…The Messenger Of Allah (p) said: “Whoever gives a man a promise of security and kills him, I am innocent of the killer, EVEN IF THE ONE WHO WAS KILLED WAS A DISBELIEVER.” (Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat Lil Tabarani, #4264 online Source) [22] 

 

The Prophet said:

“Whoever hurts a dhimmi (non-Muslim), hurts me; and whoever hurts me, hurts Allah” (Bayhaqi, as-sunan al-Kubra, volume 5, page 205).

5. Conclusion

The sanctity of any human is sacred in Islam. As we have read, the general principle in Surah 5:32 is that killing any human is the moral equivalent to genocide. Anyone who goes against these Divine Laws has gone against God’s teachings. The claim by some that the verse (Q. 5:32) was not binding on Muslims, could not be true – given the fact that we seen throughout history, from the earliest of days, Prophet Muhammed’s companions used Surah 5:32 that shedding the blood of any innocent human life is forbidden.

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References:

[1] Tafsir Ibn Kathir http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/5/32
[2] Source: Tabaqat Al-Kubra 2871 – Graded: Sahih (authentic) by scholar Ahmad Shakir, retrieved from here: http://dailyhadith.abuaminaelias.com/2012/09/17/uthmans-martyrdom-if-you-kill-one-person-it-is-as-if-you-have-killed-all-the-people/
[3] Tafsir Ibn Kathir http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/5/32
[4] The quote from Imam al-Qurtubi exegesis was taken from an article “Answers to ‘Would-be Mujahids’, by scholar Zaid Shakir, 20 January 2011 http://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/print/answers_to_would-be_mujahids
[5] The quote from al-Razi on Surah 5:32 was taken from an article “Answers to ‘Would-be Mujahids’”, by scholar, Imam Zaid Shakir, 20 January 2011 http://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/print/answers_to_would-be_mujahids
[6] Muhammad b. ‘Umar Fakhruddin al-Razi, mafatih al-ghayb (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1995), volume 4, page 344. This quote as well was taken from the respected American scholar, Imam Zaid Shakir’s article, ‘The Deeper Implications of Muslims Targeting Innocent Civilians’, See more at: http://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/articles/the_deeper_implications_of_muslims_targeting_innocent_civilians_reprinted#sthash.TCqrxkAb.dpuf
[7] Tafsir Ibn Kathir http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/5/32
[8] Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 769/1386):
“P.2.0 KILLING A HUMAN BEING
P2.1 Allah Most High says:
(1) ‘Whoever intentionally kills a believer, his recompense shall be hell, abiding therein forever, and Allah hall be wroth with him, damn him, and ready for him a painful torment’ (Koran 4:93).
(2) ‘Whoever takes a life other than to retaliate for a killing or for corruption in the land is as if he had slain all mankind’ (Koran 5:32).
P.2.2 The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
‘When two Muslims meet with drawn sword, both the slayer and the slain go to hell.’ Someone said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, that is for the slayer. But why the slain?’ And he replied, ‘Because he meant to kill the other.’”
Reliance of the Traveller A translation of the classical manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Shari’ah) `Umdat as-Salik by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 769/1386), in Arabic with facing English text, commentary and appendices edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Page 653 – 654
[9] Tafsir -Ul- Qur’an: Translation And Commentary Of the Holy Qur’an [Published by Darul – Isaaht Urdu Bazar Karachi- 1 Pakistan – First Edition 1991] By Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, volume 1, page 425
[10] In the Shade Of The Qur’an, Sayyid Qutb, volume 4, page 74 – 75
[11] The Message of The Quran translated and explained by Muhammad Asad, page 221 http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/private/cmje/religious_text/The_Message_of_The_Quran__by_Muhammad_Asad.pdf
[12] Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence [1989] by Mohammad Hashim Kamali, page 208
[13] Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an http://www.englishtafsir.com/Quran/5/index.html#sdfootnote54sym
[14] Shari’ah – Islamic Law, by Abd ar-Rahman I. Doi [Revised and expanded by Abdassamad Clarke – Ta-ha Publishers Ltd., 1429/2008CE, reprinted 2013], page 353 – 354
[15] Stories From The Hadith – (Qasas-ul-Hadith), by Maulana Muhammad Zakaria Iqbal [Eng Translations by Rafique Abdu Rahman – Darul Ishaat, Karachi-1, Pakistan – 2009 Edition], page 254
[16] Yusuf al-Qaradawi, quote retrieved from Qaradawi’s site: http://www.qaradawi.net/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=1665&version=1&template_id=130&parent_id=17
[17] The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought [2006] Muhammad Fathi Osman, page 382 – 383
[18] The Liberal Way of War: Legal Perspectives By Dr. Anicee van engeland, page 248 – 249
[19] The Culturalization of Human Rights Law, [Oxford, 2014] By Federico Lenzerini, page 37
http://www.dgiur.unisi.it/it/dipartimento/docenti/professori-aggregati/federico-lenzerini
[20] The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction [Year 2002 Edition] by Maulana Muhammad Ali, page 257
[21] Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722) states that whoever murders another will suffer the punishment that Allah shall be angry with him, will curse him and subject him to the great torment of Hell. This has been discussed in verse 93 of Surah Nisa (chapter 4 of Quran). Since the person who kills the entire mankind will also suffer the same combination of punishments, killing one will be like killing all mankind.  Tafsir al-Qurubi, volume 6, page 146
[22] This Hadith is declared Sahih by Sheikh Albani In: Sahih Al-Jami As-Saghir, volume 2 – page 45  and by Imam As-Suyuti In: Jami As-Saghir Min Hadith Al-Bashir Al-Nadhir – volume 2 – page 301

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3 Responses »

  1. Sometimes Christians and anti-islamic polemics say that this verse is written in past tense (Ordained, not Ordain) and clearly does not apply to Muslims but to “the Children of Israel”, How would you answer this?

  2. I am preparing a commentary on Qur’anic Deviations from the Torah and New Testament. Let me know if you are interested in seeing it:
    mevashir@aol.com

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