O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female...(2:178)

The law of retribution is established here.

And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake – then the freeing of a believing slave and a compensation payment [diyah] presented to his [i.e., the deceased's] family [is required], unless they give [up their right as] charity. But if he [i.e., the deceased] was from a people at war with you and he was a believer – then [only] the freeing of a believing slave; and if he was from a people with whom you have a treaty – then a compensation payment presented to his family and the freeing of a believing slave. And whoever does not find [one or cannot afford to buy one] – then [instead], a fast for two months consecutively, [seeking] acceptance of repentance from Allah. And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. ([4] An-Nisa : 92)

And here the murder of a believer is allowed only by mistake.

That is, in fact, it follows from the text that verse 4:92 cancels verse 2:178 in relation to Muslims. In other words, a Muslim can only be killed by mistake, and therefore it follows from the text that qisas or the execution of Muslims for any crime is prohibited.

But the interpretations of the Koran tell us the opposite: that verse 2:178 also applies to Muslims and that a Muslim should be executed for killing another Muslim. I know that this principle of retribution is correct, but I cannot understand why then 4:92 says that a Muslim can only be killed by mistake.

My question is: How to explain that verse 4:92 does not cancel verse 2:178 in relation to Muslims?

  • I don't understand why minus. Who does this?
    – Insan
    Oct 5, 2023 at 19:13
  • 1
    I think it's a valid question (upvoted). Of possible relevance: verse 17:33 - "Do not take a [human] life—made sacred by Allah—except with [legal] right."
    – Zayn
    Oct 5, 2023 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


Prophet's definition of Muslim is

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "A Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe; and a Muhajir (Emigrant) is the one who refrains from what Allah has forbidden". https://sunnah.com/riyadussalihin:211

So a muslim will never kill another muslim intentionally. So if someone kills then he is not a true muslim as per the above definition. So the rule of law, that is Qisas need to be applied. But the victims relatives can always forgive him.

Another case is when two armies fight each other and there are muslims in either side, then the muslim soldier do not have option except to fight and in that way he may be killing another muslim in the enemy side. So in that case, as in the Quran verse you noted 4:92, you have to give compensation and free a slave, if not possible, have to fast 2 months consecutively

  • And the execution of an adulterer? Since an adulterer does not harm another person. Does the execution of an adulterer contradict verse 4:92?
    – Insan
    Oct 7, 2023 at 15:35
  • 1
    That is a different topic. There is some confusion in the early generation if rajm (stoning) was carried out after sura nur . see this hadith sunnah.com/bukhari:6813
    – Shafeek
    Oct 7, 2023 at 15:41
  • Also in sura nur, there is a case of husband accusing wife of adulatory in 24:6. In the 24:8, it is said how she can be spared of "the punishment" ( العذاب ) . So the punishment should be some thing that is mentioned already, we know it is mentioned in 24:2. Also زان is used for both married and unmarried adulterer.
    – Shafeek
    Oct 7, 2023 at 15:48
  • And does remorse for murder get rid of kisas? Because the repentant becomes a true believer again, and falls under the action of verse 4:92. If not, why?
    – Insan
    Oct 7, 2023 at 18:11
  • No, kisas can be get rid of by the family of victim only. if you do a crime being a criminal and then become a good man, it is not an excuse to avoid punishment for the crime.
    – Shafeek
    Oct 8, 2023 at 1:06

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