Hadith 14. Prohibition of a blood of a Muslim

On the authority of ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “It is not legal [to spill] the blood of a Muslim except in one of three cases: the fornicator who has previously experienced legal sexual intercourse, a life for a life and one who forsakes his religion and separates from the community”

Reported in Bukhari and Muslim

Brief Commentary:

  • Islam came to organise the affairs of society, and these laws establish the well-being of a Muslim and seek to protect الضروريات الخمس  the five main things the shari’ah came to protect, which are:
    • Religion (from the hadith: “forsakes his religion”)
    • Life (from the hadith: “life for life”)
    • Honour (from the hadith: “fornicator”)
    • Wealth
    • Intellect
  • Shari’ah is not just laws and regulations, but refers to the whole religion, including matters of aqidah
  • The rights of society are far greater than the rights of an individual, which is why the shari’ah legislated these rulings although they consequence killing an individual
  • The fornicator is anyone who had experienced halal intercourse before, even if they were not married at the time of zina e.g. divorced, widow
  • Zina in this particular ruling refers to full sexual intercourse
  • Allah says in the Qur’an, [Al-Baqarah:179] {And for you in qisas is life}. Therefore doing qisas (Islamic retribution) is referred to as being life, and this is because it stops the murderer/criminal from committing the crime again, and acts as a deterrent for others
  • Other instances which can lead to someone being deserving the punishment of death include: committing the act of homosexuality, sorcery, abandoning salah, etc . All of these stem from the main 3 root causes mentioned in this hadith
  • The punishment is to only be carried out by a Muslim judge on those living under Islamic law, and cannot be done by anyone
  • If someone is not living in a place which rules by shari’ah, then these punishments cannot be carried out on them, as you cannot punish someone with a punishment without informing them of it beforehand, because these punishments also act as deterrents, so you cannot punish someone if they done the action while not expecting to receive this punishment as they are not living under Islamic law

Benefits and Action points to take from this hadith:

  • The sanctity of a Muslims is far greater than that of a non-Muslim
  • The blood of a Muslim is not allowed to be spilt in doubtful areas, hence the conditions for establishing the punishment of zina are extremely strict so as to avoid any doubt
  • Applying these rules is for the leader of the Muslims only
  • The hadith shows that Islam came to protect the الضروريات الخمس
  • Avoid even coming close to any of the three things mentioned in the hadith and anything that may stem from them

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