Retaliation of the murder
Surah ‘Al-Baqarah (The Cow) – Chapter – 2)
Stage – 1, Verse – 178 of 286, Section –22 of 40 (Part - 2)
In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female.
Yaaa-‘ayyuhallaziina ‘aa- manuu kutiba ‘alaykumul-Qisaasu fil-qatlaa. ‘Al-hurru bil-hurri wal-‘abdu bil-‘abdi wal-‘unsaa bil-‘unsaa.
Qatlaa – (the murdered person) particularly those individuals, who are killed intentionally and purposely by someone.
Qisaasun – (Retaliation) that is to say, for taking the revenge against any crime keeping it in equality/balance. According to the Divine’s Law, technically the murderer will be killed or if anybody has injured to some other person, he will be punished with the wound at the same scale and the same part of the body.
Kutiba ‘alaykum – (prescribed for you) the literal meaning of the word kutiba is ‘written’. Due to use of the word ‘alaa with it, now it means ‘prescribed’ and ‘obliged to do under regulations’.
During the times of darkness before Islam, it was a custom in the Arabians that if any person from any higher family was killed, they used to kill many persons from the family of murderer. If any slave was killed from the higher family, they used to kill any freeman from the family of killer whether the killer would also be a slave because they considered that the respect of higher family’s slave was equal to the freeman of a lower family; also it was more than that. So instead of killing the slave, any freeman was killed as revenge. Then if any female was killed from the higher family by a female from the lower family, the heirs of the murdered female used to kill any male of that lower family leaving the murderer female. Because they used to think that their female was equal to the male of lower family.
Holy Qur’an finished this racial distinction and difference, and commanded that being humankind, entire people are equal, their lives are alike, whether any individual is rich or poor, noble or mean, scholar or illiterate, young or old, healthy or ailing, male or female. If any female kills any male then only that woman should be killed. Because her life is equal to that male’s life. If any slave is the killer then only he will be killed. If any mean person has murdered then in the retaliation that mean person will be killed only, not any other individual.
And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his the (victims heir’s injured) brother, prosecution according to usage and payment unto him in kindness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord, He who transgresseth after this will have a painful doom.
Faman ‘ufi-ya lahuu min ‘akhiihi shay-‘un- fattibaa-‘um-bil-ma’-ruufi wa ‘adaaa-‘un ‘ilayhi bi-‘ihsaan. Zaalika takhfiifum-mir-Rabbikum wa rahmah. Fama-ni’-tadaa ba’-da zaalika fala-huu ’azaabun ‘aliim.
Min ‘akhiihi – (by his brother) it signifies unto the heir of the murdered. To excite the feeling of love he has been addressed with the word ‘brother’.
‘Ittibaa-‘um-bil-ma’-ruufi – (prosecution according to usage) its purpose is that if the heirs of the murdered forgive the retaliation of the murder, and agree to take the payment of blood then it is the responsibility of the murderer to pay according to usage full reasonable payment with kindness, mercy and righteousness.
We have discussed in the previous lesson that, which principle of the natural equation among the entire human beings has been fixed by God Almighty, that is “murder is in retaliation to the murder”. Now, it is being commanded that the heirs of the murdered can forgive to the killer or they can give up after getting the blood money from the killer or they can lessen also some of the blood money. The killer can be saved from the punishment of ‘to be killed’ in these conditions.
Then, it is commanded that if the heirs of the murdered agree to forgive the murderer and take the blood money, then they should not demand too much heavy amount which would be out of the reach of the killer. They should not narrow him intentionally due to anger or they should not begin to demand the entire blood money after forgiving the payment of blood. Moreover, they should receive proper and reasonable amount according to usage.
After urging the heirs of the murdered, now the killer is being emphasized that he should remit this amount also very elegantly and beautifully. He should not try to prolong purposely, to grow intricacy or displeasure. God Almighty has imposed perfect physical punishment of murder to the killer along with this method of reduction in punishment. Allah Almighty is the Merciful upon the mankind. With His Kindness, He has reduced the punishment but if, even then, any individual opposes or disobeys these laws and steps out of these limitations, then God Almighty will punish him with a painful doom.