Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Human Beings should Respect the Sanctity of Other Human Beings


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 32

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says because the son of Adam killed his brother in transgression and aggression a law was given to Bani Israel.

مِنْ أَجْلِ ذلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَى بَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْساً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً

“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.”

The law was that whoever kills a soul without justification i.e. an innocent who was neither a murderer nor causing mischief on earth – will be as if he has killed all mankind, because there is no difference between one life and another. Mischief on earth means killing or harming people, snatching other people’s property, hurting people when they are traveling, sins for which there’s capital punishment (apostasy, adultery, fornication). This person needs to be stopped otherwise he will encourage others to do the same. Therefore it is allowed to kill such a person.

Whoever kills an innocent soul it is as if he is killing the entire mankind. By killing one person the murderer is showing that killing people is okay. The punishment in the hereafter is going to be so serious that it’d be as if he has killed all people. Every human life is sacred. When a person kills one man that would not end there. This one murder will lead to many murders. Therefore law and order must be maintained.

Al-Amash and others said that Abu Salih said that Abu Hurairah radhiAllahu anhu 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.’”

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. This includes both refraining one’s own hand from killing someone as well as rescuing someone. Rescuing someone includes saving an innocent person from a tyrant who is killing him, saving someone from fire or feeding the people who will otherwise die out of hunger, etc.

Someone’s life can also be saved by educating them. For example, a doctor spreads the awareness that abortion is similar to murder then he is saving lives. Similarly, we need to stop our children from playing such video games where they have to kill others. Playing a video game for one or two hours for several days makes them desensitized to killing. People become so used to watching violence either through television or video games that their hearts become hard. Same is the advice for those who watch action movies. By deliberately being involved in such activities we begin to lose respect for human lives.

Ibn Jurayj said that Al-A`raj said that Mujahid commented on the Ayah,

فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً

“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.”

We should also take care of “emotionally killing” people. A person whose emotions are hurt it is as though he is dead from inside.

Chastising and criticizing those who commit the prohibitions, after knowing that they are prohibited from indulging in them, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

وَلَقَدْ جَآءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا بِالّبَيِّنَـتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيراً مِّنْهُمْ بَعْدَ ذلِكَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ لَمُسْرِفُونَ

“And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with Al-Bayyinat, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits in the land.”

Bani Israel killed many prophets of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala therefore this was in their law that if someone kills one person it is as if he killed the entire mankind and so on. Al-Bayyinat means the signs or miracles that the Messengers brought and those who commit murder after knowing the repercussions of murder are over stepping the bounds of disbelief. They have no respect for human life.


– Every command that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given is based on some hikmah [wisdom]. No command is meaningless.

– Killing is a great sin, a person who murders someone without any justification it is as if he has killed the entire mankind.

– When someone utters in anger words such as, “I wish I could kill him” or “I wish I could end his life”, then it becomes our responsibility to stop them, to calm them down and make them change their mind. It will come under saving the life of entire mankind.

– The punishment for fasad fil ard is qatal [murder]. But every fasad fil ard is not  of the same severity. There are different levels which are decided by the judge.

– This ayah also teaches us the love that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has for people. He says that if you save one person it means you have saved the entire mankind. He is so Protective about us that if someone kills us unjustly He will give them the punishment of killing entire mankind and how neglectful are we about our own selves? We put ourselves in danger and bring harm upon ourselves, whereas Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala teaches us how precious we are. We are so least concerned about ourselves that we present ourselves for punishment.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us patience and hikmah [wisdom] in dealing with the matters of this world, aameen.


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