The Quran

Commentaries for 5.32

Al Maida (The food) - المائدة

5.32 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(For that) because Cain wrongfully killed Abel (cause We decreed for the Children of Israel) in the Torah (that whosoever killeth a human being for other than man slaughter) i.e. premeditatedly (or corruption in the earth) or because of idolatry, (it shall be as if be had killed all mankind) Hell will be decreed for him for premeditatedly and wrongfully killing a human being, as though he killed all mankind, (and whoso saveth the life of one) whoever abstains from killing a person, (it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind) Paradise will be decreed for him for sparing one soul, as though he spared the lives of all mankind. (Our messengers came unto them) i.e. the Children of Israel (of old with clear proofs) with commands, prohibitions and signs, (but afterwards lo! many of them) the Children of Israel (became) after the messengers (prodigals in the earth) ascribing partners to Allah.
5.32 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Because of that, which Cain did, We decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever slays a soul for other than a soul, slain, or for, other than, corruption, committed, in the land, in the way of unbelief, fornication or waylaying and the like, it shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether; and whoever saves the life of one, by refraining from slaying, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind — Ibn ‘Abbās said [that the above is meant] in the sense of violating and protecting its [a soul’s] sanctity [respectively]. Our messengers have already come to them, that is, to the Children of Israel, with clear proofs, miracles, but after that many of them still commit excesses in the land, overstepping the bounds through disbelief, killing and the like.
5.32 Kashani - Kashani
it shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether, because every individual [human] entails what is entailed by every individual of that species, for a species subsists in the one as it subsists in all outwardly and number has no bearing in this respect, for a species is not augmented in reality by the number of its individuals nor is it diminished by its being restricted to the one.
5.32-34 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Human Beings Should Respect the Sanctity of Other Human Beings
Allah says, because the son of Adam killed his brother in transgression and aggression,
كَتَبْنَا عَلَى بَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ
(We ordained for the Children of Israel...) meaning, We legislated for them and informed them,
أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْساً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً
(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.
وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا
(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,
فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً
(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,
مَن قَتَلَ نَفْساً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً
(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;
وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا
(And if anyone saved a life...) means, he refrains from killing a soul. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said that Allah's statement,
فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً
(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,
فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً
(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,
وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً
(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.''
Warning Those who Commit Mischief
Allah said,
وَلَقَدْ جَآءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا بِالّبَيِّنَـتِ
(And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with Al-Bayyinat,) meaning, clear evidences, signs and proofs,
ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيراً مِّنْهُمْ بَعْدَ ذلِكَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ لَمُسْرِفُونَ
(even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits in the land!) This Ayah chastises and criticizes those who commit the prohibitions, after knowing that they are prohibited from indulging in them. The Jews of Al-Madinah, such as Banu Qurayzah, An-Nadir and Qaynuqa`, used to fight along with either Khazraj or Aws, when war would erupt between them during the time of Jahiliyyah. When these wars would end, the Jews would ransom those who were captured and pay the blood money for those who were killed. Allah criticized them for this practice in Surat Al-Baqarah,
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَـقَكُمْ لاَ تَسْفِكُونَ دِمَآءِكُمْ وَلاَ تُخْرِجُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ مِّن دِيَـرِكُمْ ثُمَّ أَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ - ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاَءِ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقًا مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَـرِهِمْ تَظَـهَرُونَ علَيْهِم بِالإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَنِ وَإِن يَأْتُوكُمْ أُسَـرَى تُفَـدُوهُمْ وَهُوَ مُحَرَّمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِخْرَاجُهُمْ أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَـبِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ فَمَا جَزَآءُ مَن يَفْعَلُ ذلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلاَّ خِزْىٌ فِي الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى أَشَدِّ الّعَذَابِ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
(And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not your (people's) blood, nor turn out your own people from their dwellings. Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bear witness. After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of your own from their homes, assist (their enemies) against them, in sin and transgression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their expulsion was forbidden to you. Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.) 2:84-85
The Punishment of those Who Cause Mischief in the Land
Allah said next,
إِنَّمَا جَزَآءُ الَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَسَاداً أَن يُقَتَّلُواْ أَوْ يُصَلَّبُواْ أَوْ تُقَطَّعَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُم مِّنْ خِلَـفٍ أَوْ يُنفَوْاْ مِنَ الاٌّرْضِ
(The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.) `Wage war' mentioned here means, oppose and contradict, and it includes disbelief, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways. Mischief in the land refers to various types of evil. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Ikrimah and Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that the Ayat,
إِنَّمَا جَزَآءُ الَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ
(The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger) until,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(Allah is Of-Forgiving, Most Merciful,) "Were revealed about the idolators. Therefore, the Ayah decrees that, whoever among them repents before you apprehend them, then you have no right to punish them. This Ayah does not save a Muslim from punishment if he kills, causes mischief in the land or wages war against Allah and His Messenger and then joins rank with the disbelievers, before the Muslims are able to catch him. He will still be liable for punishment for the crimes he committed.'' Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i recorded that `Ikrimah said that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,
إِنَّمَا جَزَآءُ الَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَسَاداً
(The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land...) "Was revealed concerning the idolators, those among them who repent before being apprehended, they will still be liable for punishment for the crimes they committed.'' The correct opinion is that this Ayah is general in meaning and includes the idolators and all others who commit the types of crimes the Ayah mentioned. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that Abu Qilabah `Abdullah bin Zayd Al-Jarmi, said that Anas bin Malik said, "Eight people of the `Ukl tribe came to the Messenger of Allah and gave him their pledge to follow Islam. Al-Madinah's climate did not suit them and they became sick and complained to Allah's Messenger. So he said,
«أَلَا تَخْرُجُونَ مَعَ رَاعِينَا فِي إِبِلِهِ، فَتُصِيبُوا مِنْ أَبْوَالِهَا وَأَلْبَانِهَا»
(Go with our shephard to be treated by the milk and urine of his camels.) So they went as directed, and after they drank from the camels' milk and urine, they became healthy, and they killed the shepherd and drove away all the camels. The news reached the Prophet and he sent (men) in their pursuit and they were captured. He then ordered that their hands and feet be cut off (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron. Next, they were put in the sun until they died.'' This is the wording of Muslim. In another narration for this Hadith, it was mentioned that these people were from the tribes of `Ukl or `Uraynah. Another narration reported that these people were put in the Harrah area (of Al-Madinah), and when they asked for water, no water was given to them. Allah said,
أَن يُقَتَّلُواْ أَوْ يُصَلَّبُواْ أَوْ تُقَطَّعَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُم مِّنْ خِلَـفٍ أَوْ يُنفَوْاْ مِنَ الاٌّرْضِ
(they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said about this Ayah, `He who takes up arms in Muslim land and spreads fear in the fairways and is captured, the Muslim Leader has the choice to either have him killed, crucified or cut off his hands and feet.'' Similar was said by Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Mujahid, `Ata', Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and Ad-Dahhak, as Abu Ja`far Ibn Jarir recorded. This view is supported by the fact that the word Aw (or), indicates a choice. As Allah said,
فَجَزَآءٌ مِّثْلُ مَا قَتَلَ مِنَ النَّعَمِ يَحْكُمُ بِهِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِّنْكُمْ هَدْياً بَـلِغَ الْكَعْبَةِ أَوْ كَفَّارَةٌ طَعَامُ مَسَـكِينَ أَو عَدْلُ ذلِكَ صِيَاماً
(The penalty is an offering, brought to the Ka`bah, of an eatable animal equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you; or, for expiation, he should feed the poor, or its equivalent in fasting.)5:95 Allah said,
فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ
(And whosoever of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp (necessitating shaving), he must pay a ransom of either fasting or giving charity or offering a sacrifice.) and,
فَكَفَّارَتُهُ إِطْعَامُ عَشَرَةِ مَسَـكِينَ مِنْ أَوْسَطِ مَا تُطْعِمُونَ أَهْلِيكُمْ أَوْ كِسْوَتُهُمْ أَوْ تَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ
(...for its expiation feed ten of the poor, on a scale of the average of that with which you feed your own families, or clothe them, or free a slave.) All of these Ayat offer a choice, just as the Ayah above. As for Allah's statement,
أَوْ يُنفَوْاْ مِنَ الاٌّرْضِ
(or be exiled from the land.) some said that it means, he is actively pursued until he is captured, and thus receives his prescribed punishment, or otherwise he escapes from the land of Islam, as Ibn Jarir recorded from Ibn `Abbas, Anas bin Malik, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Az-Zuhri, Al-Layth bin Sa`d and Malik bin Anas. Some said that the Ayah means these people are expelled to another land, or to another state by the Muslims authorities. Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Ash-Sha`tha', Al-Hasan, Az-Zuhri, Ad-Dahhak and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that he is expelled, but not outside of the land of Islam, while others said that he is to be imprisoned. Allah's statement,
ذَلِكَ لَهُمْ خِزْىٌ فِى الدُّنْيَا وَلَهُمْ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
(That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.) means, the punishment We prescribed, killing these aggressors, crucifying them, cutting off their hands and feet on opposite sides, or expelling them from the land is a disgrace for them among mankind in this life, along with the tremendous torment Allah has prepared for them in the Hereafter. This view supports the opinion that these Ayat were revealed about the idolators. As for Muslims, in his Sahih, Muslim recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said, "The Messenger of Allah took the same pledge from us that he also took from women: That we do not associate anything with Allah in worship, we do not steal, commit adultery, or kill our children, and that we do not spread falsehood about each other. He said that he who keeps this pledge, then his reward will be with Allah. He who falls into shortcomings and was punished, then this will be his expiation. And those whose errors were covered by Allah, then their matter is for Allah: If He wills, He will punish them and If He wills, He will pardon them.'' `Ali narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,
«مَنْ أَذْنَبَ ذَنْبًا فِي الدُّنْيَا فَعُوقِبَ بِهِ، فَاللهُ أَعْدَلُ مِنْ أَنْ يُثَنِّيَ عُقُوبَتَهُ عَلى عَبْدِهِ، وَمَنْ أَذْنَبَ ذَنْبًا فِي الدُّنْيَا فَسَتَرهُ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَعَفَا عَنْهُ، فَاللهُ أَكْرَمُ مِنْ أَنْ يَعُودَ عَلَيْهِ فِي شَيْءٍ قَدْ عَفَا عَنْه»
(He who sins in this life and was punished for it, then Allah is far more just than to combine two punishments on His servant. He who commits an error in this life and Allah hides this error and pardons him, then Allah is far more generous than to punish the servant for something that He has already pardoned.) iRecorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and At-Tirmidhi who said, "Hasan Gharib.''Al-Hafiz Ad-Daraqutni was asked about this Hadith, and he said that it was related to the Prophet in some narrations, and it was related to the Companions in others, and that this narration from the Prophet is Sahih. Ibn Jarir commented on Allah's statement,
ذَلِكَ لَهُمْ خِزْىٌ فِى الدُّنْيَا
(That is their disgrace in this world,) "Meaning, shame, humiliation, punishment, contempt and torment in this life, before the Hereafter,
وَلَهُمْ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
(and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.) if they do not repent from these errors until death overcomes them. In this case, they will be stricken by the punishment that We prescribed for them in this life and the torment that We prepared for them therein,
عَذَابٌ عظِيمٌ
(a great torment) in the Fire of Jahannam.''
The Punishment of those who Wage War Against Allah and His Messenger is Annulled if They Repent Before their Apprehension
Allah said,
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَقْدِرُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(Except for those who (having fled away and then) came back (as Muslims) with repentance before they fall into your power; in that case, know that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) This Ayah is clear in its indication that it applies to the idolators. As for the Muslims who commit this crime and repent before they are apprehended, the punishment of killing, crucifixion and cutting the limbs will be waved. The practice of the Companions in this regard is that all of the punishments prescribed in this case will be waved, as is apparent from the wording of the Ayah. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ash-Sha`bi said, "Harithah bin Badr At-Tamimi was living in Al-Basrah, and he committed the crime of mischief in the land. So he talked to some men from Quraysh, such as Al-Hasan bin `Ali, Ibn `Abbas and `Abdullah bin Ja`far, and they talked to `Ali about him so that he would grant him safety, but `Ali refused. So Harithah went to Sa`id bin Qays Al-Hamadani who kept him in his house and went to `Ali, saying, `O Leader of the Faithful! What about those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and cause mischief in the land' So he recited the Ayah until he reached,
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَقْدِرُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ
(Except for those who (having fled away and them) came back cas Muslims) with repentance before they fall into your power. ) So `Ali wrote a document that granted safety, and Sa`id bin Qays said, `This is for Harithah bin Badr.''' Ibn Jarir recorded this Hadith. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Amir Ash-Sha`bi said, "A man from Murad came to Abu Musa, while he was the governor of Al-Kufah during the reign of `Uthman, and said to him after he offered the obligatory prayer, `O Abu Musa! I seek your help. I am so-and-so from Murad and I waged war against Allah and His Messenger and caused mischief in the land. I repented before you had any authority over me.' Abu Musa proclaimed, `This is so-and-so, who had waged war against Allah and His Messenger and caused mischief in the land, and he repented before we had authority over him. Therefore, anyone who meets him, should deal with him in a better way. If he is saying the truth, then this is the path of those who say the truth. If he is saying a lie, his sins will destroy him. So the man remained idle for as long as Allah willed, but he later rose against the leaders, and Allah punished him for his sins and he was killed.'' Ibn Jarir recorded that Musa bin Ishaq Al-Madani said that `Ali Al-Asadi waged war, blocked the roads, shed blood and plundered wealth. The leaders and the people alike, sought to capture him, but they could not do that until he came after he repented, after he heard a man reciting the Ayah,
يعِبَادِىَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُواْ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لاَ تَقْنَطُواْ مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعاً إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
(O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) So he said to that man, "O servant of Allah! Recite it again.'' So he recited it again, and `Ali put down his sword and went to Al-Madinah in repentance, arriving during the night. He washed up and went to the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah and prayed the dawn prayer. He sat next to Abu Hurayrah amidst his companions. In the morning, the people recognized him and went after him. He said, "You have no way against me. I came in repentance before you had any authority over me.'' Abu Hurayrah said, "He has said the truth,'' and he held his hand and went to Marwan bin Al-Hakam, who was the governor of Al-Madinah during the reign of Mu`awiyah. Abu Hurayrah said, "This is `Ali and he came in repentance and you do not have a way against him, nor can you have him killed.'' So `Ali was absolved of punishment and remained on his repentance and went to the sea to perform Jihad in Allah's cause. The Muslims met the Romans in battle, and the Muslims brought the ship `Ali was in to one of the Roman ships, and `Ali crossed to that ship and the Romans escaped from him to the other side of the ship, and the ship capsized and they all drowned.''
5.32 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "Allah enjoined the Israelites to refrain from murder because they were showing the same murderous symptoms as had been shown by the cruel son of Adam. That is why such strict checks on murder were applied." But the pity is that these precious instructions are not found in the present Bible. The Talmud, however, says, "To him who kills a single individual of Israel, it shall be reckoned as if he had slain the whole race and he who preserves a single individual of Israel, according to the Book of Allah, he preserves the whole world." It also says that a judge of the Israelites in a case of murder would warn the witness saying, "To him who kills a single individual of Israel, it shall be reckoned as if he has slain the whole race."
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.