Tafsir Maududi- Surah 4. An-Nisaa, Ayaat 92 To 93



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وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ أَنْ يَقْتُلَ مُؤْمِنًا إِلَّا خَطَأً ۚ وَمَنْ قَتَلَ مُؤْمِنًا خَطَأً فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُؤْمِنَةٍ وَدِيَةٌ مُسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ إِلَّا أَنْ يَصَّدَّقُوا ۚ فَإِنْ كَانَ مِنْ قَوْمٍ عَدُوٍّ لَكُمْ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُؤْمِنَةٍ ۖ وَإِنْ كَانَ مِنْ قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِيثَاقٌ فَدِيَةٌ مُسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ وَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُؤْمِنَةٍ ۖ فَمَنْ لَمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ تَوْبَةً مِنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا٩٢وَمَنْ يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا٩٣


[92-93] It does not behoove a Believer to slay another Believer except by error,120 and if one slays a Believer by error, he must set free one believing slave as expiation121 and pay blood-money to the heirs122 of the slain person unless they charitably forego it. But if the murdered Muslim belonged to a people who are at enmity with you, then the expiation shall be the freeing of one believing slave; and if the slain person belonged to a non-Muslim ally of yours, then the blood-money must be paid to his heirs123 and a believing slave has to be set free. But if one could not afford a slave, then he must fast two consecutive months.124 This is the way enjoined by Allah for repentance;125 Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. As regards the one who kills a Believer willfully, his recompense is Hell, wherein he shall live for ever. He has incurred Allah's wrath and His curse is on him, and Allah has prepared a woeful torment for him.

120This does not refer to the category of the above-mentioned hypocrites whose blood has been made lawful, but to the sincere Muslims who lived either in "the Abode of Islam", or in "the war zone" or "the abode of unbelief", against whom there was no proof that they had taken part in the hostile activities of the enemies of Islam: such a warning was necessary because there were many people who had accepted Islam sincerely but were still forced by circumstances to live among the foes of Islam; and there had been cases when some of them were accidentally killed by their Muslim brethren during an attack on an enemy clan. Therefore, Allah has enjoined what a Muslim, who kills a Muslim by mis-chance, must do to expiate such an accidental sin.

121As the slain person was a Believer, a believing slave is to be set free as expiation for his accidental murder.

122The Holy Prophet prescribed one hundred camels or two hundred cows or two thousand goats as blood-money to be paid to the survivors of the slain man. If one desired to pay it in any other form, he would have to calculate it in terms of the market price of these animals. For instance, the blood-money paid in cash during the time of the Holy Prophet was eight hundred gold dinars or eight thousand silver dirhams. During his Caliphate, Hadrat 'Umar declared, "Now that the price of a camel has gone up, one thousand dinars or twelve thousand dirhams should be paid as blood-money. " It should, however,, be noted that the blood money prescribed here is not for a willful murder but for an accidental one.

123In brief, the following are the Commandments contained in v. 92:

If the slain person is an inhabitant of "the Abode of Islam," his murderer shall have to pay blood-money as compensation and also to set free a slave to earn his forgiveness from God.

And if he is an inhabitant of a "war zone", the murderer shall have only to set free a slave and not to pay any blood-money.

And if he belongs to an "abode of unbelief" which is an ally of the Islamic State, the murderer shall have to set free a slave and also have to pay blood-money equal to the amount of the blood-money of a non-Muslim victim as contained in the treaty.

124These fasts must be consecutive without a single day's break; if there is a single break, except if it be in accordance with the Law, one shall have to begin the prescribed fasting anew for two full months.

125That is, "The freeing of a slave or the payment of blood-money or the fasting for two consecutive months is not a penalty but is repentance and kaffarah (cover) for the offense. The difference between the two is that in the case of penalty, there is no feeling of self-reproach, compunction, contrition and self-reform, but there is a feeling of disgust and aversion, and it leaves disgust and bitterness behind it. That is why Allah enjoins kaffarah and repentance so that the offender may be able to purify his soul by means of good deeds, devotion and fulfillment of the rights, and turn to Allah through self-reproach and compunction. in this way the sinner will not only atone for his present sin but will also refrain in future from such errors.

Kaffarah literally means a cover; a good deed that is performed as kaffarah for a sin, so to say, covers it just as a white-wash covers a blot on a wall.

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