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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 4 (Al-Nisa’ - The Women) > Section 13 (Verses 92 to 96)


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Section/Ruku Ruku 13 [Verses 92 to 96]: Murderer of a Muslim:
Chapter Chapter 4: (Al-Nisa’: The Women)
(Revealed at Madinah: 24 sections; 176 verses)

1. Translation:

92 And a believer would not kill a believer except by mistake.
a And he who kills a believer by mistake should free a believing slave, and blood-money should be paid to his people unless they remit it as alms. But if he be from a tribe hostile to you and he is a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (suffices). And if he be from a tribe between whom and you there is a covenant, the blood-money should be paid to his people along with the freeing of a believing slave; but he who has not the means should fast for two months successively: a penance from Allah. And Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.

93 And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell, abiding therein; and Allah is wroth with him and He has cursed him and prepared for him a grievous chastisement.a

94 O you who believe, when you go forth (to fight) in Allah’s way, make investigation, and say not to any one who offers you salutation, Thou art not a believer,a seeking the good of this world’s life. But with Allah there are abundant gains. You too were such before, then Allah conferred a benefit on you; so make investigation. Surely Allah is ever Aware of what you do.b

95 The holders-back from among the believers, not disabled by injury, and those who strive hard in Allah’s way with their property and their persons, are not equal. Allah has made the strivers with their property and their persons to excel the holders-back a (high) degree. And to each Allah has promised good. And Allah has granted to the strivers above the holders-back a mighty reward —

96 (High) degrees from Him and protection and mercy. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

2. Commentary:

92a. This verse and the one following it show that the man who killed a believer intentionally could not be a believer. In the state of warfare which then existed in Arabia, disbelievers often made use of ruses, professing a firm belief in Islam and thus tempting the Muslims to go over to them as religious teachers, and afterwards murdering them. [Back to verse 92]

93a. The commentators are agreed that this verse speaks of a disbeliever who murders a believer. In fact, the word intentionally stands here for murdering a man because he is a believer, as this was what the disbelievers often did. [Back to verse 93]

94a. The original word for salutation is salam (meaning peace). The first word of the Muslim salutation stands therefore for the Muslim salutation. The Muslims were surrounded by enemies on all sides, yet they were told not to presume that every Arab tribe belonged to the enemy camp but were to make an investigation first, whether the tribe was really hostile to Islam. Even when a man belonging to an enemy tribe offered the Muslim salutation, to show that he was a Muslim, he was to be taken as a brother Muslim and could not be dealt with as an enemy. I‘Ab relates a case in which the Muslims while searching for the enemy came upon a man who was tending his goats. The man offered them the Muslim salutation but was killed as he gave no other indication of being a Muslim (B. 65: iv, 18). It was to stop such cases that the revelation came. Incidentally, it lays down the principle that no Muslim can be called a kafir; not even the man whose claim to Islam is borne out only by offering the Muslim salutation. The general tendency among the Muslims to declare each other kafir is, however, so strong that even the plain injunction of this verse is set at naught under the pretext that no Jew or Christian or Hindu can be called a Muslim simply because he offers the Muslim salutation. What the verse lays down is not when a person known to us as a Jew or a Christian or a Hindu can be declared to have become a Muslim, but that a Muslim cannot be called a kafir if he gives indication of his being a Muslim simply by offering the Muslim salutation. [Back to verse 94]

94b. The Muslims were forbidden to kill a man merely because he was a disbeliever. This is made clear in Section 12, where it is laid down that only those disbelievers could be killed who fought against the Muslims. But even when a people fought against the Muslims, a man from among them was not to be killed if he gave the slightest indication that he was a Muslim. [Back to verse 94]

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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 4 (Al-Nisa’ - The Women) > Section 13 (Verses 92 to 96)


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