Is capital punishment allowed in Quran?

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The concept of Qasas in Quran is that if some one gets hurt from your actions, then  an equivalent compensation  commensurate with the hurt caused, should be paid to him by you.

An equivalency/relationship between the hurt caused and its appropriate equivalent compensation needs to be established keeping in view the circumstances.  In some societies general guidelines exists, for example, in an accident a person loses his leg, what amount should be paid to him as compensation. The hurts can be physical or psychological, but the same rule apply.

Qasas is absolutely not that if someone hurts your eye, then you should hurt his eye too. If someone commits any bad or cruel act, he will have an equivalent misfortune befallen on him either by the Law of the land punishing the person or  some other physical or psychological misfortune inflicted on him by divine intervention.  The believer who has been wronged by someone, need not take his revenge from the oppressor. He has to take help from this knowledge that the oppressor will get full compensation of his oppression as ordained in the Book. If the believer takes his own revenge then again a similar misfortune will befall on the believer himself as per divine law. For example if someone injures your ear wrongly, then as per divine law a misfortune proportionate to the injuring of your ear, will befall on the person doing it. Either he will get punishment from Law or an equivalent misfortune physical or psychological will befall on him. However, if you take a revenge by injuring his ear as well, then similar misfortune of injuring an ear will befall on you as well.

The believers help heal their psychological wounds with this knowledge if they have been wronged or oppressed. They don’t have to burn in the fire of revenge and hatred as this matter to be left to Allah to take care of. The best course of action is to forgive and let go this matter for divine justice.

5:45  وَكَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالْأَنفَ بِالْأَنفِ وَالْأُذُنَ بِالْأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ ۚ فَمَن تَصَدَّقَ بِهِ فَهُوَ كَفَّارَةٌ لَّهُ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

And we wrote on them in it (Taurat): “Nafs for Nafs, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds are related.” Thus the one who pays with it, it is an atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge/govern with what Allah has revealed, they are Zalimeen/wrong-doers.

When Al-Kitab mentions ‘an eye for an eye’ it does not mean that you have to take out an eye in compensation of your damaged eye. It means that if you damage some one’s eye, you must pay an equivalent compensation for that wrong doing or otherwise an equivalent form of punishment will befall on you. Ayat 5:45 is sometimes misunderstood in terms of compensation and people think that it means an eye is the compensation of an eye. However if you study Ayat 5:45 and 2:178 together; in the same Arabic syntax in which Ayat 5:45 says an eye for an eye, Ayat 2:178 says a woman for a woman, a slave for a slave. It is evident that if you kill some one’s woman, you will be punished for that crime, not your woman.

2:178  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

O you who believe! the Qasas is written on you in murder. the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand, and compensate him with handsome gratitude, this is a concession and a mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave penalty.

2:179  وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاةٌ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

In Qasas there is Life to you, o ye men of understanding; that ye may restrain yourselves.

Ayat 2:178 says that qasas is written on you which means qasas is mandatory on believers. (same syntax as fasting is written/mandatory on you in Ayat 2:183). However, Quran ordains that qasas is for life not for death in Ayat 2:179. It means that capital punishment is not allowed.  Ayat 17:150 states that the ‘wali’ of the victim should not transgress in killing as he is the helped one ( i.e he will get compensation and help from Allah as well).

17:33  وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۗ وَمَن قُتِلَ مَظْلُومًا فَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا لِوَلِيِّهِ سُلْطَانًا فَلَا يُسْرِف فِّي الْقَتْلِ ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مَنصُورًا

Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority; let him nor exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped one.

42:39  وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَهُمُ الْبَغْيُ هُمْ يَنتَصِرُونَ

 And those who, when a wrong reaches them, they help themselves

The believers help themselves when they are wronged from the knowledge of the fact that the oppressor who have oppressed them will meet similar fate (by Allah) i.e fully recompensed by Allah for their wrongful acts.

42:40  وَجَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا ۖ فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ

The recompense for a wrong doing is a similar wrong doing (which will be inflicted by Allah). but if a person forgives and makes correction, his reward is due from Allah. for (Allah) does not love those who do wrong.

The point here is that the recompense of the wrong will be inflicted by Allah, therefore taking revenge is not allowed, and the person who forgives with this knowledge, will be compensated by Allah.

42:41  وَلَمَنِ انتَصَرَ بَعْدَ ظُلْمِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَا عَلَيْهِم مِّن سَبِيلٍ

But indeed if any do help themselves after a wrong (done) to them, against such there is no way.

If the believer retaliate to an oppressor with a similar wrongdoing, then he will be in the same boat, therefore the believers must help themselves with the knowledge that this is not their way of doing things.

42:42  إِنَّمَا السَّبِيلُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَظْلِمُونَ النَّاسَ وَيَبْغُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

This way is for those who oppress people and do wrong-doings in the Earth without right, for such there will be a grievous penalty.

42:43  وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ

and the one who shows patience and forgive, that would truly be from the great affairs

41:34  وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ۚ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ

Nor is goodness and Evil equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better. Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were your friend and intimate!

Again it is said that that goodness and badness are not equal. The order for the believers is to respond to badness and hurts with something much better. They have to respond the wrongdoing on them with a good response and the result will be end of hatred among former enemies.



26:93  مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ هَلْ يَنصُرُونَكُمْ أَوْ يَنتَصِرُونَ

“‘Besides Allah? Can they help you or help themselves?’

The Arabic word Antasar means ‘to help one self’ as evident in above Ayat. This is to illustrate that this word has been translated by all translators as to ‘help one self’ in this Ayat, however, on other occasions in Quran, some of the translators have translated this word as revenge, which is not the case.

16:126  وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُوا بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُم بِهِ ۖ وَلَئِن صَبَرْتُمْ لَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لِّلصَّابِرِينَ

If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted. But if ye endure patiently, verily it is better for the patient ones.

If the scope of oppression falls under criminal code, then society and law of the land will follow the criminals. The punishments for any crime should be proportionate to the crime as prevalent in most judicial systems in the world. The oppressed ones should be patient as worldly judicial system takes their time in execution. Even, if the judicial system in the world fails to impart appropriate punishment to the criminals, there is no way that they will escape their due punishment from Allah.

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3 thoughts on “Is capital punishment allowed in Quran?

  1. […] Third type of psychological hurt come from hurting some one i.e reproach from your conscience. It can come even as a reaction to the 2nd type of hurts, i.e you react back to people and hurt them in return. It may feel good temporarily however, because of the law of Qasas/retribution, another hurt of similar proportion is inflicted on one’s nafs when one inflicts a hurt on someone (see previous post […]


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