Who are the people that have to be killed (wajibul-qatl)? Will you explain the issue with the verses of the Quran and hadiths?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

First of all, we should say that there is no concept called “(wajibul-qatl) the people that have to be killed” in the Islamic resources. There is a penal code in the Islamic law as every state has a penal code.

There must be a parallelism between the formal legal structure of a legal sanction and its status in the legal ground of the community. Otherwise, there will be mismatches between formal law and philosophy of law, which will pave the way for unjust practices.

There are several clear verses and hadiths stating that the real aim of sanctions in Islam is deterrence.

When there is a disagreement between the philosophy of life and philosophy of law in the community, philosophy of life has the priority in the criterion of justice. As a matter of fact, during a period of famine, Hz. Umar did not apply the penalty of stealing and said, “We cannot ask people to obey laws before feeding them.”

Only six or nine hands were cut off in the first three centuries of Islam. This shows the harmony between the formal law and the philosophy of life and philosophy of law of the community.

The religion of Islam demanded four witnesses for the determination of the crime of fornication – unlike all other crimes and deals – in order to prevent abuses. As a matter of fact, the penalties applied in the Era of Bliss related to fornication took place as a result of the confession of the doers.

The most important capital punishment / execution in Islam is related to the murderer. The Quran explains its reason as follows:

“In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) Life to you, o ye men of understanding...” (al-Baqara, 2/179)

It is clearly stated in the verse above that qisas (equality / retaliation) is an institutional sanction because of its deterring feature. 

In fact, the only thing that will prevent a person from killing another person is belief in Allah and the hereafter, and the penalty of retaliation that will kill him. Thus, both the life of the person to be killed and the person to kill will be saved. Thus, the trueness of the statement “the existence of life for people in retaliation” will be proved with the saving of at least two lives.

Another important issue is the decree about the life of a person who exits the religion of Islam. There is a disagreement among the scholars regarding the issue. According to the scholars who support capital punishment for those who exit the religion of Islam, such a penalty is not for exiting from the religion. For, if a person who changed his religion were to be killed, it would be contrary to the principle of freedom of religion and conscience expressed clearly in the following Quranic verse: "…Let there be no compulsion in religion…" (al-Baqara: 2/256) It would mean to threaten and force a person to make him a Muslim or to keep him as a Muslim. However, according to the principle introduced by the verse, belief occurs with the decision of the mind, consent of the heart and conviction of the conscience. If a person is pressurized and is forced to say, "I believed", he will not be a believer; he will hide his faith and act as a hypocrite. Islam does not allow such hypocrisy.

To change one’s religion, means “to join the opposite front and to declare war against Muslims” in terms of balances in the international level and among nations in a sense. Or, it means a snake, a scorpion that poisons people, especially the young people by propaganda against the Muslim community, emitting poison. Therefore, a person is not killed because he changed his religion but because he waged war against Muslims and tries to poison them spiritually.

Doubtlessly, this execution will be carried out by the state if it is deemed appropriate. The state can execute an apostate only after giving him some time to think and scientific help to correct his mistake if he still insists on his apostasy.

For more information, please click on the link given below;

How should we understand "tit for tat"? Where can qisas (retaliation) be applied? What are its boundaries?

Questions on Islam

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