AL-TANZIL
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[26:192]


Ibn Kathir on Life: Whoever kills a life unjustly is as if he has killed all mankind


By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

Ibn Kathir writes in his commentary on Surah Al-Ma’idah:

Allah says, because the son of Adam killed his brother in transgression and aggression:

كَتَبْنَا عَلَى بَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ

We ordained for the Children of Israel (5:32)

Meaning, We legislated for them and informed them:

أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْساً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً

That if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or to spread corruption in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.

The verse states, whoever kills a soul without justification — such as in retaliation for murder or for causing corruption on earth — will be as if he has killed all mankind, because there is no difference between one life and another.

وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا

And if anyone saved a life

Meaning by preventing its blood from being shed and believing in its sanctity, then all people will have been saved from him, so:

فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً

It would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.

Al-A’mash and others said that Abu Salih said that Abu Huraira said: I entered to see Uthman when he was under siege in his house and said, “I came to give you my support. Now, it is good to fight (defending you), O Leader of the Faithful!” He said, “O Abu Huraira! Would it please you to kill all people, including me?” I said, “No.” He said, “If you kill one man, it is as if you killed all people. Therefore, go back with my permission for you to leave me. May you receive your reward and be saved from burden.” So I went back and did not fight.

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas mentioned the verse:

مَن قَتَلَ نَفْساً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً

If anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or for spreading corruption in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.

Then he said, “Saving life in this case occurs by not killing a soul that Allah has forbidden. So this is the meaning of saving the life of all mankind, for whoever forbids killing a soul without justification, the lives of all people will be saved from him.”

A similar meaning was said by Mujahid:

وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا

If anyone saved a life

This means he refrains from killing a soul.

Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said that Allah’s statement:

فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً

It would be as if he killed all mankind.

This means, “Whoever kills one soul that Allah has forbidden to kill is just like he who kills all mankind.”

Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “He who allows himself to shed the blood of a Muslim is like he who allows shedding the blood of all people. He who forbids shedding the blood of one Muslim is like he who forbids shedding the blood of all people.” In addition, Ibn Jurayj said that Al-A’raj said that Mujahid commented on the verse:

فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً

It would be as if he killed all mankind.

This means, “He who kills a believing soul intentionally, Allah makes the Fire of Hell his abode, He will become angry with him, and curse him, and has prepared a tremendous punishment for him equal to if he had killed all people, his punishment will still be the same.”

Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that the verse:

وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً

If anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.

This means, “He who does not kill anyone, then the lives of people are safe from him.”

Edited from:
http://www.faithinallah.org/ibn-kathir-whoever-kills-a-life-unjustly-is-as-if-he-has-killed-all-mankind/
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