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Living The Quran

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From Issue: 506 [Read full issue]

Al-Maidah (The Table Spread)
Chapter 5: Verse 32 (Partial)

Abomination
"he who slays a soul unless it be (in punishment) for murder or for spreading mischief on earth shall be as if he had slain all mankind; and he who saves a life shall be as if he had given life to all mankind."

The Guidance:

No human being has any right by himself to take human life in retaliation or for causing mischief on this earth. Therefore it is incumbent on every human being that under no circumstances should he be guilty of taking a human life. If anyone has murdered a human being, it is as if he has slain the entire human race.

The Prophet, may God's blessings be on him, has declared murder as the greatest sin only next to polytheism. The Tradition of the Prophet reads: "The greatest sins are to associate something with God and to kill human beings."

In the Quran and the Traditions of the Prophet the word 'soul' (nafs) has been used in general terms without any distinction or particularization. Therefore the injunction to not kill does not refer only to the persons belonging to one's nation, the citizens of one's country, the people of a particular race or religion. The injunction applies to all human beings and the destruction of human life in itself has been prohibited.

The Reason:

The survival of human life depends on everyone respecting other human beings and in contributing actively to the survival and protection of others. Whosoever kills unjustly is thus not merely guilty of doing wrong to one single person, but proves by his act that his heart is devoid of respect for human life and of sympathy for the human species as such. Such a person, therefore, is an enemy of all mankind. This is so because he happens to be possessed of a quality which, were it to become common to all men, would lead to the destruction of the entire human race. The person who helps to preserve the life of even one person, on the other hand, is the protector of the whole of humanity, for he possesses a quality which is indispensable to the survival of mankind.

The Abomination:

The terrorist attacks that have taken place recently are an abomination. We feel great pain and sorrow for the innocent victims of these attacks. We also feel great sorrow for the sake of our religion. Islam has been treated unjustly by these attacks. Islam's global reputation has been severely wounded. We need to fear Allah and not disgrace our religion. The Prophet Muhammad whom Allah sent as a mercy to all humanity refrained from causing any harm even to the hypocrites who were plotting against the Muslims while living right in their midst and under his authority. He could have dealt with them easily in any manner he chose and he chose to show them peace and mercy. He explained: "It will never be said that Muhammad killed his companions."

When will we wake up and see reason? When will we face up to our responsibility towards our religion? When will we start acting like we realize there are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world who share with us this religious identity? Does it make any sense to wipe their faces with mud or disgrace them?

Compiled From:
"Human Rights in Islam" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol.2, 155-156
"Mumbai - Islam's Reputation is at Stake" - Salman al-Oadah

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