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Salamun Alaikum (Peace be upon you)

 

 

QURANIC PUNISHMENT - MURDER vs MANSLAUGHTER

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Copyright 2009 Joseph A Islam: Article last modified 22nd October 2011


 

 

Please refer to your own translations. For purposes of the flow of the article in note form, only relevant Arabic phrases have been cited in bold along with the verse numbers in red from which the directives can be sourced.

 

 

From the Quran's perspective, the right to take life is only allowable in two circumstances (5:32). This is a generic law (applicable to all) and has been cited in the context of the Children of Israel in the backdrop of the first murder ever committed. This being the murder of one son of Adam by another (5:27-31)

 

TWO CIRCUMSTANCES       

 

(1) As a retribution for causing 'fasaad' (gross mischief / evil, beyond all bounds) in the land (punishable by the state)

(2) As a retribution for murder (punishable by the state).

 

 

MURDER

 

[Again, the exception of pardon was also granted to the Children of Israel (5:45)]

 

[(*) The Quranic statement (5:45) with regards the Children of Israel can be further ratified from the Hebrew Tanakh  (Jewish Old Testament) Exodus 21:22-25 (23 - life (soul) for life (soul) - Hebrew: nephesh [neh'-fesh] for nephesh [neh'-fesh]);  Leviticus 24:19-21 (so it shall be done to him (19 - done, accomplished - Hebrew: asah [aw-saw])) and confirmed in respects by Deuteronomy 19:16-21]

 

(**) The Arabic word 'akhihi' (his brother) in the expression 'faman ufiya lahu min akhihi' in my humble opinion may not necessarily represent 'his brother' literally. This would amount to an unnecessary linguistic restriction as a literal brother may not always be applicable in the case of the murdered. The term 'akhihi' within the context may denote 'brethren in faith' which would then possibly imply the legal heirs or community.

 

 

 

MANSLAUGHTER

 

 

 

Please Note:

 

 

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

 

No individual has the right to take another life. The Quran only sanctions the right to take a life in two cases:

 

(1) As a retribution for causing 'fasaad' (gross mischief / evil, beyond all bounds) in the land.

(2) As a retribution for murder.

 

In both cases, they must be sanctioned and administered by the state. Murder and manslaughter attract different punishments. 

 

 

Related Article:

(1)    Apostasy

 

 

 

Joseph Islam

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