Surah Al-Isra >> Currently viewing Surah Al-Isra Ayat 33 (17:33)

Surah Al-Isra Ayat 33 in Arabic Text

وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا۟ ٱلنَّفْسَ ٱلَّتِى حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ إِلَّا بِٱلْحَقِّ ۗ وَمَن قُتِلَ مَظْلُومًۭا فَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا لِوَلِيِّهِۦ سُلْطَـٰنًۭا فَلَا يُسْرِف فِّى ٱلْقَتْلِ ۖ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ مَنصُورًۭا
Wa laa taqtulun nafsal latee harramal laahu illaa bilhaqq; wa man qutila mazlooman faqad ja’alnaa liwaliyyihee sultaanan falaa yusrif fil qatli innahoo kaana mansooraa

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 33

Sahih International
And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly – We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Indeed, he has been supported [by the law].

Yusuf Ali
Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).

Abul Ala Maududi
(ix) Do not kill any person whom Allah has forbidden to kill, except with right. We have granted the heir of him who has been wrongfully killed the authority to (claim retribution); so let him not exceed in slaying. He shall be helped.

Muhsin Khan
And do not kill anyone which Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause. And whoever is killed (intentionally with hostility and oppression and not by mistake), We have given his heir the authority [(to demand Qisas, Law of Equality in punishment or to forgive, or to take Diya (blood money)]. But let him not exceed limits in the matter of taking life (i.e. he should not kill except the killer only). Verily, he is helped (by the Islamic law).

Pickthall
And slay not the life which Allah hath forbidden save with right. Whoso is slain wrongfully, We have given power unto his heir, but let him not commit excess in slaying. Lo! he will be helped.

Dr. Ghali
And do not kill the self that Allah has prohibited, except by truthful (right) (Literally: with the truth). And whoever is killed unjustly, We have (already) appointed to his patron authority. So let him not exceed (Literally: be extravagant) in killing; surely he will be vindicated.

Abdel Haleem
Do not take life, which God has made sacred, except by right: if anyone is killed wrongfully, We have given authority to the defender of his rights, but he should not be excessive in taking life, for he is already aided [by God].

Quran 17 Verse 33 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Isra ayat 33, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(17:33) (ix) Do not kill any person whom Allah has forbidden to kill,[33] except with right.[34] We have granted the heir of him who has been wrongfully killed the authority to[35] (claim retribution);so let him not exceed in slaying.[36] He shall be helped.[37]


33. “And do not kill a person” includes not only the prohibition of the killing of other souls but also his own soul as well for it is also included in the prohibition that immediately follows this command. Thus suicide is regarded as heinous a sin as murder. Some foolish people object to the prohibition of suicide saying that they themselves are the masters of their souls. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in killing one’s own self or in destroying one’s own property. They forget that every soul belongs to Allah, and none has any right to destroy it, nay, even to abuse it. For this world is a place of trial, where we should undergo the test up to the end of our lives in accordance with the will of Allah. It does not matter whether our circumstances are favorable or adverse for trial. Therefore, it would be wrong to run away from the place of test, not to speak of committing such a heinous crime as suicide (which Allah has prohibited) to escape it. For it means that the one who commits suicide tries to run away from small troubles and ignominies towards greater affliction and eternal torment and ignominy.

34. When the Islamic state was established, “killing by right” was confined to five cases only, namely to punish, (1) A willful murderer for retribution. (2) Opponents of the true religion during war. (3) Those who attempt to overthrow the Islamic system of government. (4) A man or woman guilty of adultery. (5) An apostate.

35. We have translated the Arabic word sultan as “the authority of retribution”. Here it stands for “a ground for legal action”. This also lays down the legal principle that in a case of murder, the real plaintiff is not the government but the guardian or the guardians of the murdered person who are authorized to pardon the murderer or receive blood money instead of taking his life.

36. Exceed limits in killing would be to kill more persons than the murderer or to kill the criminal by degrees with torment or to disfigure his dead body or to kill him after receiving blood money, etc. All these things have been forbidden.

37. It has not been defined how succor will be given because at the time of its revelation the Islamic state had not yet been established. After its establishment it was made clear that a guardian was not authorized to enforce retribution by murdering the criminal. The Islamic government alone is legally authorized to take retribution; therefore, succor for justice should be demanded only from it.

Ibn-Kathir

33. And do not kill anyone whose killing Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause. And whoever is killed wrongfully (not by mistake), We have given his heir the authority. But let him not exceed limits in the matter of taking life. Verily, he is helped.


Prohibition of Unlawful Killing Allah forbids killing with no legitimate reason

It was reported in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said:

«لَا يَحِلُّ دَمُ امْرِىءٍ مُسْلِمٍ يَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ، إِلَّا بِإِحْدَى ثَلَاثٍ: النَّفْسُ بِالنَّفْسِ، وَالزَّانِي الْمُحْصَنُ، وَالتَّارِكُ لِدِينِهِ الْمُفَارِقُ لِلْجَمَاعَة»

(The blood of a Muslim who bears witness to La ilaha illallah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, is not permissible (to be shed) except in three cases: a soul for a soul (i.e., in the case of murder), an adulterer who is married, and a person who leaves his religion and deserts the Jama’ah.) The following is recorded in the books of the Sunan:

«لَزَوَالُ الدُّنْيَا عِنْدَ اللهِ أَهْوَنُ مِنْ قَتْلِ مُسْلِم»

(If the world were to be destroyed, it would be of less importance to Allah than the killing of a Muslim.)

﴿وَمَن قُتِلَ مَظْلُومًا فَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا لِوَلِيِّهِ سُلْطَـناً﴾

(And whoever is killed wrongfully, We have given his heir the authority.) The authority is over the killer. The heir has the choice; if he wishes, he may have him killed in retaliation, or he may forgive him in return for the payment of the Diyah (blood money), or he may forgive him with no payment, as is reported in the Sunnah. The great scholar and Imam Ibn `Abbas understood from the general meaning of this Ayah that Mu`awiyah should take power, because he was the heir of `Uthman, who had been killed wrongfully, may Allah be pleased with him, and Mu`awiyah did event- ually take power, as Ibn `Abbas said on the basis of this Ayah. This is one of the stranger of matters.

﴿فَلاَ يُسْرِف فِّى الْقَتْلِ﴾

(But let him not exceed limits in the matter of taking life.) They said: this means the heir should not go to extremes in killing the killer, such as mutilating the body or taking revenge on persons other than the killer.

﴿إِنَّهُ كَانَ مَنْصُورًا﴾

(Verily, he is helped.) means, the heir is helped against the killer by the Shari`ah and by divine decree.

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