Date :Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 | Time : 16:27 |ID: 76322 | Print

Retribution and Forgiveness: Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:178-179) By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:178-179)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Retribution and Forgiveness

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِصَاصُ فِي الْقَتْلَى ۖ الْحُرُّ بِالْحُرِّ وَالْعَبْدُ بِالْعَبْدِ وَالْأُنثَىٰ بِالْأُنثَىٰ ۚ فَمَنْ عُفِيَ لَهُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ شَيْءٌ فَاتِّبَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَأَدَاءٌ إِلَيْهِ بِإِحْسَانٍ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ تَخْفِيفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۗ فَمَنِ اعْتَدَىٰ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَهُ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴿١٧٨﴾ وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاةٌ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ﴿١٧٩

Translation:

2:178 O you who believe! Al-Qisas (the Law of Retribution) is prescribed for you in case of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever is pardoned for it (the guilt) by his brother (in religion) anything (against blood money), then it (the blood money) should be sought in a fair and good manner, and (the offender) make payment to him (the heir of slain) with kindness. This is an alleviation from your Lord and an act of His mercy. So, after this, whoever transgresses the limits (i.e. kills the killer after taking the blood money), he shall have a painful torment.

2:179 And there is for you in legal retribution [saving of] life, O you [people] of understanding, that you may become righteous.

Commentary:  The verse 2:178 states that the penalty for a murderer is death after conviction in the court of law:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِصَاصُ فِي الْقَتْلَى ۖ الْحُرُّ بِالْحُرِّ وَالْعَبْدُ بِالْعَبْدِ وَالْأُنثَىٰ بِالْأُنثَىٰ ۚ …. ﴿١٧٨

2:178 O you who believe! Al-Qisas (the Law of Retribution) is prescribed for you in case of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female.

With options that the heir of the slain could either accept the court’s judgement and let the authority execute the murderer or forgive the guilt of the murderer and seek financial compensation instead. The former is called Qisas [(Arabic: قصاص)] and means “equal retribution”. The latter one is called Diya [(Arabic: دية)] and translates to “blood money”.

It is worth mentioning that the verse reminds the victim’s family very delicately that the murderer is their (guilty) brother in religion and humanity, and Allah (SWT) has given them the right to accept blood money and in return forgive the murderer. Conversely, it asks the murderer to appreciate the family’s benevolence and pay restitution promptly and with full respect.

…. فَمَنْ عُفِيَ لَهُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ شَيْءٌ فَاتِّبَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَأَدَاءٌ إِلَيْهِ بِإِحْسَانٍ …. ﴿١٧٩

2:178 …But whoever is pardoned for it (the guilt) by his brother (in religion) anything (against blood money), then it (the blood money) should be sought in a fair and good manner, and (the offender) make payment to him (the heir of slain) with kindness.

Killing an innocent believer is considered such a heinous crime in Islam that the murderer’s place is deemed to be in eternal Hell fire [An-Nisa, 4:93]:

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا ﴿٩٣

4:93 Whoever kills a believer deliberately – his penalty is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has deprived him from His mercy and has prepared for him a great punishment.

Within the context of the verse 4:39, one could ask how blood money lessens the penalty of the murderer from death to life with freedom? Does blood money represent the value of the slain life? Of course not. What is the divine wisdom behind the concept of blood money?

Indeed, worldly treasures neither lessen the grief of the victim’s loved ones nor brings the slain back to life. However, Allah (SWT) wants to promote forgiveness, love and compassion within society and more importantly, grant an opportunity of repentance to the murderer. Perhaps the murderer can sincerely repent for his transgression and save himself from eternal punishment. The alleviation of such a penalty is evidence of the grace and mercy of Allah (SWT) toward His creation.

… ذَٰلِكَ تَخْفِيفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۗ … ﴿١٧٨

2:178 This is an alleviation from your Lord and an act of His mercy.

The verse asserts that the victim’s family after “equal retribution” against the murderer cannot seek vengeance against the murderer and his family. Equally, after receiving blood money, the victim’s heir cannot seek vengeance against the murderer. A painful torment awaits those who violate the “equal retribution” law.

… فَمَنِ اعْتَدَىٰ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَهُ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴿١٧٨

2:178 So, after this, whoever transgresses the limits (i.e. kills the killer after taking the blood money), he shall have a painful torment.

The verse 2:179 acknowledges that the death penalty is intended to deter criminals from taking the lives of innocent people. In general, the severe consequences of committing crimes dissuade mankind from engaging in criminal acts.

وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاةٌ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ﴿١٧٩

2:178 And there is for you in legal retribution [saving of] life, O you [people] of understanding, that you may become righteous.

Word by Word Translation:

يَا أَيُّهَا  (O you)الَّذِينَ  (who) آمَنُوا (believe)كُتِبَ(prescribed)  عَلَيْكُمُ(for you)  الْقِصَاصُ(is the legal retribution)  فِي(in)  الْقَتْلَى(the matter of the murdered)  ۖ الْحُرُّ  (the freeman)بِالْحُرِّ(for the freeman)  وَالْعَبْدُ(and the slave)  بِالْعَبْدِ  (for the slave)وَالْأُنثَىٰ(and the female)  بِالْأُنثَىٰ(for the female) ۚ فَمَنْ(but whoever)  عُفِيَ  (is pardoned)لَهُ  (for it)مِنْ(from)  أَخِيهِ (his brother) شَيْءٌ(anything)  فَاتِّبَاعٌ(then follow up)  بِالْمَعْرُوفِ(with suitable)  وَأَدَاءٌ (and payment)   إِلَيْهِ(for him)  بِإِحْسَانٍ(with kindness)  ۗ ذَٰلِكَ(That is)  تَخْفِيفٌ(a concession)  مِّن  (from)رَّبِّكُمْ(your Lord)  وَرَحْمَةٌ (and mercy)ۗ فَمَنِ  (Then whoever) اعْتَدَىٰ  (transgress)بَعْدَ  (after)ذَٰلِكَ  (that)فَلَهُ  (then for him)عَذَابٌ(is a punishment)  أَلِيمٌ(painful)  ﴿١٧٨﴾ وَلَكُمْ(And for you)  فِي  (in)الْقِصَاصِ(the legal retribution)  حَيَاةٌ  (is life)يَا أُولِي(O man)  الْأَلْبَابِ(of understanding)  لَعَلَّكُمْ  (so that you may)تَتَّقُونَ(become righteous)  ﴿١٧٩

 

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