"The fairest penalty to be given to a person who kills another person is to kill him." Will you explain this statement?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Qisas (retaliation/equality) means to punish a person who kills or wounds another person deliberately with a penalty equal to what he has done. The penalty of qisas exists in the Islamic law. The penalty of qisas is based on the evidences of the Book and the Sunnah. The following is stated in the Quran:

"O ye who believe! The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of 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. In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) Life to you, o ye men of understanding…" (al-Baqara, 2/178-179)

"…And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law)." (al-Isra, 17/33)

"We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers." (al-Maida, 5/45)

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following:

"If a person kills another person deliberately, the penalty is qisas (retaliation)." (Abu Davud, Diyat, 5).

One of the basic rights and freedom of humanity is the right to live. Allah did not give anyone the right to take the life of anybody unjustly. No other penalty except capital punishment given to a murderer is equal to the right to live. Since he has killed an innocent person, the penalty equal to it is his life.

It is among the common issues of the divine religions that it is a major crime and sin to kill a person unjustly. The following is stated in the Torah: 

"Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death." (Exodus: 21/12)

"But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death." (Exodus: 21/14)

"Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death." (Leviticus: 24/17)

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