4 - An Nisa (The women)

6 Tafsir(s) related to verse 4.93


And whoever slays a believer deliberately, intending to kill him, with something that is lethal, aware of the fact that he [the slain] is a believer, his requital is Hell, abiding therein, and God is wroth with him and has cursed him, He has removed him from His mercy, and has prepared for him a mighty chastisement, in the Fire: this may be explained as [referring to] the person that deems such [killing] licit, or as being his requital if he were to be requited, but it would not be anything new if this threat [of punishment] were to be forgone, because of what He says: Other than that [that is, idolatry] He forgives whomever He will [Q. 4:48]. It is reported from Ibn ‘Abbās that it [the verse] should be understood as it stands, abrogating other verses of ‘forgiveness’. The verse in [sūrat] al-Baqara [Q. 2:178] clearly indicates that the one who kills deliberately should be killed in return, or if he is pardoned then he has to pay the blood-money, the value of which has already been mentioned. It is made clear in the Sunna that between the intentional and the unintentional, there is a type of killing that is identified as [being with] quasi-deliberate intent (shibh al-‘amd), where the killer has slain with what in most cases is not [a] lethal [implement]. In such a case, there is no [right to] retaliation and blood-money is paid instead, so that it [this type of killing] is described as intentional, but [considered] unintentional in [that there applies] the fixing of the period [for payment] and the sharing of the burden [by the killer’s clan]; in this [case] and that of intentional killing redemption is more urgent than in unintentional killing.


And whoever slays a believer deliberately his requital is hell abiding therein and God's wrath is with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a mighty chastisement. Just as the slaying of another [human being] has been prohibited to you so is slaying yourself: whoever follows his whims sets out to shed his own blood. Whoever does not give good counsel and admonition to an aspirant and does not assist him in his resolve is endeavoring to shed [the aspirant's] blood. Such a person is held captive to his own state-it is fitting that the consequence to him should be an unpleasant one for he should not enjoy [the states] from which he has held aspirants back. [God] سبحانه said “O David when you see someone seeking me become a servant to him.”

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi

(Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose…) [4:93]. Said Ibn ‘Abbas, according to the report of al-Kalbi from Abu Salih: “Maqis ibn Subabah, who was Muslim, found his brother Hisham murdered at Banu’l-Najjar. He went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and mentioned what had happened to him. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent with him an emissary from Banu Fihr and said to him: ‘Go to Banu’l-Najjar, greet them with the greeting of peace and say to them: ‘The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, commands you, if you know the killer of Hisham ibn Subabah, to hand him over to his brother to exact his retaliation; and if you do not know the killer, to pay him the blood money’. ‘The man from Fihr conveyed to them the message of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and they said: ‘We hear and obey Allah and His Messenger. By Allah, we do not know who the killer is, but we are willing to pay the blood money’. They gave him one hundred camels and they headed toward Medina. When they were very close to Medina, the devil whispered to Miqyas: ‘What have you done? Your acceptance of your brother’s blood money will be a slur on you. Kill the person who is with you and it would be as if you have avenged your brother in surplus of the blood money’. Miqyas did just that. He fractured the skull of the man from Fihr with a rock, rode a camel and drove away the rest to Mecca. He went back to Mecca as a disbeliever. Through him I avenged Fihr and charged his blood-wit To the chiefs of Banu’l-Najjar, the lords of Fari‘ castle. By killing him I gave vent to my vengeance and eased my tension, And was the first to return to the idols. This verse was then revealed (Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose…). The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, sentenced him to death upon the conquest of Mecca. He was chased and captured by some people in the market place and executed”.

Ibn Al Kathir

The Ruling Concerning Killing a Believer by Mistake

Allah states that the believer is not allowed to kill his believing brother under any circumstances. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«لَا يَحِلُّ دَمُ امْرِىءٍ مُسْلِمٍ يَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللهُ، وَأَنِّي رَسُولُ اللهِ، إِلَّا بِإِحْدَى ثَلَاثٍ: النَّفْسُ بِالنَّفْسِ، وَالثَّيِّبُ الزَّانِي، وَالتَّارِكُ لِدِينِهِ الْمُفَارِقُ لِلْجَمَاعَة»

(The blood of a Muslim who testifies that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, is sacred, except in three instances. (They are:) life for life, the married adulterer, and whoever reverts from the religion and abandons the Jama`ah (community of the faithful believers).) When one commits any of these three offenses, it is not up to ordinary citizens to kill him or her, because this is the responsibility of the Muslim Leader or his deputy. Allah said,

إِلاَّ خَطَئاً

(except by mistake). There is a difference of opinion concerning the reason behind revealing this part of the Ayah. Mujahid and others said that it was revealed about `Ayyash bin Abi Rabi`ah, Abu Jahl's half brother, from his mother's side, Asma' bint Makhrabah. `Ayyash killed a man called Al-Harith bin Yazid Al-`Amiri, out of revenge for torturing him and his brother because of their Islam. That man later embraced Islam and performed Hijrah, but `Ayyash did not know this fact. On the Day of the Makkan conquest, `Ayyash saw that man and thought that he was still a disbeliever, so he attacked and killed him. Later, Allah sent down this Ayah. `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that this Ayah was revealed about Abu Ad-Darda' because he killed a man after he embraced the faith, just as Abu Ad-Darda' held the sword above him. When this matter was conveyed to the Messenger of Allah, Abu Ad-Darda' said, "He only said that to avert death.'' The Prophet said to him,

«هَلَّا شَقَقْتَ عَنْ قَلْبِه»

(Have you opened his heart) The basis for this story is in the Sahih, but it is not about Abu Ad-Darda'. Allah said,

وَمَن قَتَلَ مُؤْمِناً خَطَئاً فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُّؤْمِنَةٍ وَدِيَةٌ مُّسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ

(and whosoever kills a believer by mistake, he must set free a believing slave and submit compensation (blood money) to the deceased's family) thus, ordaining two requirements for murder by mistake. The first requirement is the Kaffarah (fine) for the great sin that has been committed, even if it was a mistake. The Kaffarah is to free a Muslim slave, not a non-Muslim slave. Imam Ahmad recorded that a man from the Ansar said that he brought a slave and said, "O Messenger of Allah! I have to free a believing slave, so if you see that this slave is a believer, I will free her.'' The Messenger of Allah asked her,

«أَتَشْهَدِينَ أَنْ لَا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللهُ؟»

(Do you testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah) She said, "Yes.'' He asked her,

«أَتَشْهَدِينَ أَنِّي رَسُولُ اللهِ؟»

(Do you testify that I am the Messenger of Allah) She said, "Yes.'' He asked,

«أَتُؤْمِنِينَ بِالْبَعْثِ بَعْدَ الْمَوْتِ؟»

(Do you believe in Resurrection after death) She said, "Yes.'' The Prophet said,


(Then free her.) This is an authentic chain of narration, and not knowing the name of the Ansari Companion does not lessen its authenticity. Allah's statement,

وَدِيَةٌ مُّسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ

(and submit compensation (blood money) to the deceased's family) is the second obligation which involves the killer and the family of the deceased, who will receive blood money as compensation for their loss. The compensation is only obligatory for the one who possesses one of five; as Imam Ahmad, and the Sunan compilers recorded from Ibn Mas`ud. He said; "Allah's Messenger determined that the Diyah (blood money) for unintentional murder is twenty camels which entered their fourth year, twenty camels which entered their fifth year, twenty camels which entered their second year, and twenty camels which entered their third year.'' This is the wording of An-Nasa'i. This Diyah is required from the elders of the killer's tribe, not from his own money. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "Two women from Hudhayl quarreled and one of them threw a stone at the other and killed her and her unborn fetus. They disputed before the Messenger of Allah and he decided that the Diyah of the fetus should be to free a male or a female slave. He also decided that the Diyah of the deceased is required from the elders of the killer's tribe.'' This Hadith indicates that in the case of what appears to be intentional murder, the Diyah is the same as that for killing by virtual mistake. The former type requires three types of Diyah, just like intentional murder, because it is somewhat similar to intentional murder. Al-Bukhari recorded in his Sahih that `Abdullah bin `Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to Banu Jadhimah and he called them to Islam, but they did not know how to say, `We became Muslims.' They started saying, `Saba'na, Saba'na (we became Sabians). Khalid started killing them, and when this news was conveyed to the Messenger of Allah, he raised his hands and said,

«اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَبْرَأُ إِلَيْكَ مِمَّا صَنَعَ خَالِد»

(O Allah! I declare my innocence before You of what Khalid did.) The Messenger sent `Ali to pay the Diyah of those who were killed and to compensate for the property that was destroyed, to the extent of replacing the dog's bowl. This Hadith indicates that the mistake of the Leader or his deputy (Khalid in this case) is paid from the Muslim Treasury. Allah said,

إِلاَّ أَن يَصَّدَّقُواْ

(unless they remit it), meaning, the Diyah must be delivered to the family of the deceased, unless they forfeit their right, in which case the Diyah does not become necessary. Allah's statement,

فَإِن كَانَ مِن قَوْمٍ عَدُوٍّ لَّكُمْ وَهُوَ مْؤْمِنٌ فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُّؤْمِنَةٍ

(If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (is prescribed);) means, if the murdered person was a believer, yet his family were combatant disbelievers, then they will receive no Diyah. In this case, the murderer only has to free a believing slave. Allah's statement,

وَإِن كَانَ مِن قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِّيثَاقٌ

(and if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance,) meaning, if the family of the deceased were from Ahl Adh-Dhimmah or with whom there is a peace treaty, then they deserve his Diyah; full Diyah if the deceased was a believer, in which case the killer is required to free a believing slave also.

فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ

(And whoso finds this beyond his means, he must fast for two consecutive months) without breaking the fast (in the days of) the two months. If he breaks the fast without justification, i.e. illness, menstruation, post-natal bleeding, then he has to start all over again. Allah's statement,

تَوْبَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً

(to seek repentance from Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.) means, this is how the one who kills by mistake can repent, he fasts two consecutive months if he does not find a slave to free.

وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً

(And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise), we mentioned the explanation of this before.

Warning Against Intentional Murder

After Allah mentioned the ruling of unintentional murder, He mentioned the ruling for intentional murder. Allah said,

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِناً مُّتَعَمِّداً

(And whoever kills a believer intentionally,) This Ayah carries a stern warning and promise for those who commit so grave a sin that it is mentioned along with Shirk in several Ayat of Allah's Book. For instance, in Surat Al-Furqan, Allah said,

وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَـهَا ءَاخَرَ وَلاَ يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِى حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ

(And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah, nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause). Allah said,

قُلْ تَعَالَوْاْ أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ أَلاَّ تُشْرِكُواْ بِهِ شَيْئاً

(Say: "Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him.) 6:151. There are many Ayat and Hadiths that prohibit murder. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«أَوَّلُ مَا يُقْضَى بَيْنَ النَّاسِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِي الدِّمَاء»

(Blood offenses are the first disputes to be judged between the people on the Day of Resurrection. ) In a Hadith that Abu Dawud recorded, `Ubadah bin As-Samit states that the Messenger of Allah said,

«لَا يَزَالُ الْمُؤْمِنُ مُعْنِقًا صَالِحًا، مَا لَمْ يُصِبْ دَمًا حَرَامًا، فَإِذَا أَصَابَ دَمًا حَرَامًا بَلَّح»

(The believer will remain unburdened in righteousness as long as he does not shed prohibited blood. When he sheds forbidden blood, he will become burdened.) Another Hadith, states,

«لَزَوَالُ الدُّنْيَا أَهْوَنُ عِنْدَ اللهِ مِنْ قَتْلِ رَجُلٍ مُسْلِم»

(The destruction of this earthly life is less significant before Allah than killing a Muslim man (or woman).)

Will the Repentance of those who Commit Intentional Murder, be Accepted

Ibn `Abbas held the view that the repentance of one who intentionally murders a believer, will not be accepted. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Jubayr said, "The people of knowledge of Al-Kufah differed on this subject, I traveled to Ibn `Abbas to ask him about it. He said, `This Ayah,

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِناً مُّتَعَمِّداً فَجَزَآؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ

(And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell) was the last revealed on this subject and nothing abrogated it.''' Muslim and An-Nasa'i also recorded it. However, the majority of scholars of the earlier and later generations said that the killer's repentance can be accepted. If he repents, and goes back to Allah humbly, submissively, and performing righteous deeds, then Allah will change his evil deeds into good deeds and compensate the deceased for his loss by rewarding him for his suffering. Allah said, R

وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَـهَا ءَاخَرَ

(And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah), until,

إِلاَّ مَن تَابَ وَءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلاً صَـلِحاً

(Except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds). The Ayah we just mentioned should not be considered abrogated or only applicable to the disbelievers who become Muslim, for this contradicts the general, encompassing indications of the Ayah and requires evidence to support it. Allah knows best. Allah said,

قُلْ يعِبَادِىَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُواْ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لاَ تَقْنَطُواْ مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ

(Say: "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah). This Ayah is general, covering all types of sins, including Kufr, Shirk, doubt, hypocrisy, murder, sin, and so forth. Therefore, everyone who repents sincerely from any of these errors, then Allah will forgive him. Allah said,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ

(Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills). This Ayah is general and includes every sin except Shirk, and it has been mentioned in this Surah, both after this Ayah and before it, in order to encourage hope in Allah, and Allah knows best. It is confirmed in the Two Sahihs, that an Israeli killed one hundred people then he asked a scholar, "Is it possible for me to repent'' So he replied, "What is there that would prevent you from repentance'' So he told him to go to another land where Allah was worshipped. He began to emigrate to it but died on the way, and the angel of mercy was the one to take him. Although this Hadith is about an Israeli, it is even more suitable for the Muslim community that their repentance be accepted. Indeed, Allah relieved Muslims from the burdens and restrictions that were placed on the Jews, and He sent our Prophet with the easy Hanifiyyah way (Islamic Monotheism). As for the honorable Ayah,

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِناً مُّتَعَمِّداً

(And whoever kills a believer intentionally), Abu Hurayrah and several among the Salaf said that this is his punishment, if Allah decides to punish him. And this is the case with every threat that is issued for every sin. For instance, there could be good deeds that this person has done that would prevent him from being punished for that, and Allah knows best. Even if the murderer inevitably enters the Fire -- as Ibn `Abbas stated because his repentance was not accepted, or he did not have good deeds to save him, he will not remain there for eternity, but only for a long time. There are Mutawatir Hadiths stating that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِنَّهُ يَخْرُجُ مِنَ النَّارِ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ أَدْنَى ذَرَّةٍ مِنْ إِيمَان»

(Whoever has the least speck of faith in his heart shall ultimately depart the Fire.)

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This does not refer to the category of the above-mentioned hypocrites whose blood has been made lawful, but to the sincere Muslims who lived either in "the Abode of Islam", or in "the war zone" or "the abode of unbelief", against whom there was no proof that they had taken part in the hostile activities of the enemies of Islam: such a warning was necessary because there were many people who had accepted Islam sincerely but were still forced by circumstances to live among the foes of Islam; and there had been cases when some of them were accidentally killed by their Muslim brethren during an attack on an enemy clan. Therefore, Allah has enjoined what a Muslim, who kills a Muslim by mis-chance, must do to expiate such an accidental sin.

As the slain person was a Believer, a believing slave is to be set free as expiation for his accidental murder.

The Holy Prophet prescribed one hundred camels or two hundred cows or two thousand goats as blood-money to be paid to the survivors of the slain man. If one desired to pay it in any other form, he would have to calculate it in terms of the market price of these animals. For instance, the blood-money paid in cash during the time of the Holy Prophet was eight hundred gold dinars or eight thousand silver dirhams. During his Caliphate, Hadrat 'Umar declared, "Now that the price of a camel has gone up, one thousand dinars or twelve thousand dirhams should be paid as blood-money. " It should, however,, be noted that the blood money prescribed here is not for a willful murder but for an accidental one.

In brief, the following are the Commandments contained in v. 92:

If the slain person is an inhabitant of "the Abode of Islam," his murderer shall have to pay blood-money as compensation and also to set free a slave to earn his forgiveness from God.

And if he is an inhabitant of a "war zone", the murderer shall have only to set free a slave and not to pay any blood-money.

And if he belongs to an "abode of unbelief" which is an ally of the Islamic State, the murderer shall have to set free a slave and also have to pay blood-money equal to the amount of the blood-money of a non-Muslim victim as contained in the treaty.

These fasts must be consecutive without a single day's break; if there is a single break, except if it be in accordance with the Law, one shall have to begin the prescribed fasting anew for two full months.

That is, "The freeing of a slave or the payment of blood-money or the fasting for two consecutive months is not a penalty but is repentance and kaffarah (cover) for the offense. The difference between the two is that in the case of penalty, there is no feeling of self-reproach, compunction, contrition and self-reform, but there is a feeling of disgust and aversion, and it leaves disgust and bitterness behind it. That is why Allah enjoins kaffarah and repentance so that the offender may be able to purify his soul by means of good deeds, devotion and fulfillment of the rights, and turn to Allah through self-reproach and compunction. in this way the sinner will not only atone for his present sin but will also refrain in future from such errors.

Kaffarah literally means a cover; a good deed that is performed as kaffarah for a sin, so to say, covers it just as a white-wash covers a blot on a wall.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

Then Allah revealed about Miqyas Ibn Sababah, the killer of al-Fihri, the emissary of Allah's Messenger (pbuh) who, after taking the blood money for the killing of his brother Hisham Ibn Sababah, left Islam and fled to Mecca, saying: (Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose, his reward is hell) for this wilful killing (for ever) due to his idolatry. (Allah is wroth against him) for taking the blood money (and He hath cursed him) because he killed a person who did not kill his brother (and prepared for him an awful doom) because of his boldness towards Allah.