The Preservation and Protection of Life (Nafs) is among the Higher Objectives of Islamic Law
Author : Dr. Mohammad Al-Hunaiti
Date Added : 05-01-2022


The Preservation and Protection of Life (Nafs) is among the Higher Objectives of Islamic Law




Praise be to Allah Who honored man and appointed him vicegerent on the earth to make it a better place. Allah The Almighty Says (What means): "Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? - whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He Said: "I know what ye know not." [Al-Baqarah/30].


Praise be to Allah Who sent the Messengers and revealed with them scriptures so that mankind may uphold justice. Allah wouldn`t leave people live like animals where the strong preys on the weak and deny him/her the right to live. To solve this dilemma, Allah has set up limits and granted rights to make sure that nobody would transgress against others and that conflict of interests amongst people would happen.


However, some people, and this does exist in all times and places, don`t seek the path of Allah and go astray surrendering to whims and desires and sell their souls to the devil. This chaotic situation causes the strong to overpower the weak, the rich to overpower the poor, and the ruler to overpower the ruled leading to the spread of crimes and the shedding of blood.


For that, Sharia, through its clear rulings, preserved life and made this a necessity. Allah The Almighty Says (What means): "On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land." [Al-Ma`idah/32]. In addition, on the authority of Ibn Masood (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "It is not permissible to spill the blood of a Muslim except in three [instances]: the married person who commits adultery, a life for a life, and the one who forsakes his religion and separates from the community." [Moslim]. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (Blessings and peace be upon him) said: "Everything belonging to a Muslim is inviolable for a Muslim; his honour, his blood and property. Piety is here (and he pointed out to his chest thrice). It is enough for a Muslim to commit evil by despising his Muslim brother." [Moslim].


Based on these texts, Islam forbids taking life and considers this a major sin that has serious repercussions on the individual and the society considering the panic and fear it causes. Thus, it can`t be imagined that a Muslim would kill another Muslim save by mistake. Allah Says (What means): "Never should a believer kill a believer; but (If it so happens) by mistake," [An-Nisa`/92].


In explaining this verse, the great scholar Al-Alousi said: "Because belief discourages killing." [Tafseer Al-Alousi, vol.4/pp.178]. Commenting on this verse, Al-Qortobi said: "It means that a believer should never kill a believer, but if this happens it is by mistake." [Tafseer Al-Qortobi/ vol.5/272]. 


As for the one who kills deliberately, Allah has threatened to inflict the severest punishment on them. Allah Says (What means): "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever):  "And the wrath and the curse of God are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him." [An-Nisa`/93]. Abu Darda` reported God’s Messenger as saying: "God may forgive every sin, except in the case of one who dies a polytheist, or one who purposely kills a believer." [Abu Dawood].


Due to the gravity of this crime, Allah holds the son of Adam, Cain, liable for every time someone is killed unjustly as he was the first to introduce this evil practice. The Messenger (Blessings and peace be upon him) said: "Cain is accountable for every life taken unjustly for he is the one who introduced this evil practice." [Musnad Ahmad, Hadith No.3450]. Unfortunately, this phenomenon has spread throughout our society and even within the family itself.


It is worth noting that this crime is committed for trivial reasons and unrightfully; for money, revenge or honor. Therefore, officials, government and nongovernment bodies must curb this serious phenomenon, deter the offenders, and execute the punishments stipulated by Sharia in this regard to make them an example to others.


Furthermore, there are punishments in Sharia that suffice to deter offenders and murderers; so severe that they would never even think about committing a crime. Allah the Almighty says: "In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) Life to you, o ye men of understanding; that ye may restrain yourselves." [Al-Baqarah/179]. Moreover, Narrated Anas (May Allah Be Pleased with him): A girl was found with her head crushed between two stones. She was asked: Who has done this to you? Is it so and so? Is it so and so, until a Jew was named, and she gave a sign with her head. The Jew was caught and he admitted. So the Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him) gave command that his head should be crushed with stones." [Abu Dawood].

Qisas (The Law of Equality) should be the punishment for whoever commits this heinous crime (murder) for restoring safety and security to our society.


In addition, it is also the duty of the scholars and the intellectuals to help curb this phenomenon. Therefore, religious media should intensify its role in terms of explaining this major sin and the punishment stipulated in Sharia for it.


Finally, the spread of this dangerous phenomena indicates killer`s weakness of belief, even total absence of belief, at the time of committing crime. Narrated Abu Huraira (May Allah Be Pleased with him): The Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him) said: "The one who commits an illegal sexual intercourse is not a believer at the time of committing illegal sexual intercourse and a thief is not a believer at the time of committing theft and a drinker of alcoholic drink is not a believer at the time of drinking. Yet, (the gate of) repentance is open thereafter." [Bukhari].


All praise is due to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds, and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad, his household and upon and Companions.



هذا المقال يعبر عن رأي كاتبه، ولا يعبر بالضرورة عن رأي دائرة الإفتاء العام

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Summarized Fatawaa

Should a woman who broke her fast because of delivery make up for missed fasting days before the next Ramadhaan, and what is the expiation due on her in case she delayed making up for them ?

She should make up for missed fasting days before the start of next Ramadhaan if possible, but if she didn`t while being able to, then she is obliged to make up for them along with feeding a needy person for each delayed day of the missed fasting days. However, if she wasn`t able to make up for the missed fasting days before the start of next Ramadhaan, she has to fast a day for every day that she missed, and no ransom is due on her.

Is it permissible for the mother to offer an Aqeeqah (the sheep slaughtered on the seventh day from the child`s birth)for her son?

Aqeeqah is due on the one obliged to provide for the newborn, and it is permissible for the grandfather, or the mother to offer the Aqeeqah.

What is the ruling on having brotherly ties between a strange man and a strange woman, and is the former considered a Mahram(unmarriageable) to the latter?

Such a relation between a strange man and a strange woman is forbidden in Islam because it involves forbidding what Allah has allowed by marriage, and allowing what Allah has forbidden such as looking and the like. Such a relation doesn`t render any act lawful between them, thus they are forbidden to look at each other, have a Khulwah(seclusion), and travel together.

Is it permissible for one to give the Zakah(obligatory charity) to his indebted brother?

It is permissible for one to give the Zakah to his indebted , or poor brother.