AN EYE for AN EYE will make the world BLIND
The above referred dialogue is quoted from Mahatma Gandhi and we listen it commonly. We the ‘People of The Book’ do not care where its repercussions are going. It is our tragedy that we know very little about the Heavenly Scriptures although we revered them and often quote them. According to my knowledge, this injunction of ‘An Eye for An Eye’ is the order of Almighty God appeared in the Holy Torah and with its reference said in Holy Qur'an chapter 5 verse 45 The quotation is as under:
I confess that it is impossible to translate the Divine Writ into another language without sacrificing its eloquence, beauty, dignity and clarity. Here, I made an attempt to reproduce it in the English language as per my understanding.
“And WE ordained for Children of Israel in that Torah that a life for a life, and an eye for an eye, and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and a similar retribution for body hurts. But if the sufferer pardons it in kindness, it will be an atonement. And they who do not make verdict in accordance with what GOD ALMIGHTY has revealed, they, they are the evil doers.”

Man has been imbued with the negative qualities as well as positive ones also. But he is given the conscience to judge his own acts. It is the tragedy that we act first and think later. Many a times we do not care the whisper of our conscience and we have our own excuses and justifications to tone down it. Every man is unique in himself and environment of the earth is quite tempting also. Many a times man loses his temper and transgress the limits and creates danger to the life of other person. Our CREATOR treats every human being equal and on a par regardless of his caste, color, gender, language and even religion. We can observe it daily as the most essential needs for the survival of human life like sun rays, water, rains, air etc are equally provided to all by the NATURE Supreme.

But usually we forget this and feel ourselves very much important not providing the same value to others. Due to other boons of Nature like money and power, we do not take care of our tongue and hands and many times cross our limits in hurting others physically also. Human dignity is prime in the sight of the CREATOR.

It is imperative for a responsible administration, to enact and enforce laws to protect the lives of the citizens from heinous crimes like murder. The injunction for such acts are not only prescribed in the Qur’an, but that Divine Guidance has been provided from the time of Adam, and made known through the Scriptures from time to time. But, sadly, man has in all ages, brutally killed and plundered with impunity. Man has constantly endeavored to develop weapons that can kill in the shortest of time, and even larger numbers. He has never thought for a moment the price he must pay eventually.

The high value and esteem that the Qur’an accords to human life is difficult to find in any other scripture or a book of law. This is evident from the commandment in chapter 5/32:


“With this very first murder, WE ordained, (and revealed in The Torah) to the Children of Israel (also), that if anyone slays a human being, unless it be for punishment for murder or for spreading mischief and corruption on earth, it shall be as though he has slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he has saved the lives of all mankind. And indeed there came unto the mankind OUR Messengers with all evidence of the truth; yet, behold, not withstanding all this, many of them go on committing all manners of excesses on earth.”


From the Qur’an, we are informed that the first murder occurred because of a religious dispute between the two sons of Adam. One of them killed the other, and this was not only the first murder on earth, but also the first death of mankind. GOD ALMIGHTY provides us lesson in the matter of disposing of the body through the demonstration of a crow. This lesson is contained in chapter 5/27 to 31 which may please be referred.


The worth of human life is amply and forcefully stressed in the above quoted verse. In the sight of the CREATOR, even one single human life is equal to the lives of the entire humanity put together! Is the world aware? Is there any other book which emphasizes more eloquently and more forcefully this value of a man’s life?

It is necessary that people are made aware of the worth of human life in the sight of the CREATOR, and even if one murder is prevented as a result of our efforts, we shall be rewarded with a reward fit for saving the lives of the entire mankind!

In the beginning I had referred to chapter 5/45 which deals with punishment for causing injury. In the same verse it is mentioned that before the revelation of the Qur’an, similar punishment were ordained in the Torah and the Gospel too.

In this injunction capital punishment is also prescribed. Law makers, especially of the West, and human right activists must ponder over, and discover the element of mercy and compassion inherent in these injunctions, and adopt these in evolving a more peaceful environment for society.

Of all the attributes that the Qur’an describes of our SUSTAINER, the attributes of Mercy and Compassion are predominant. Every letter and every word is to be understood in the light of these glorious attributes. Every chapter begins with the verse extolling HIS attributes of Mercy and Compassion. Therefore, when the immensely Merciful SUSTAINER has ordained certain laws of conduct, they are bound to be inherently merciful and of high standard, and for the well being of society. The need is to rediscover these and introduce to the world at large in the spirit they are meant to be.

In the referred verses, the message we get is that for a healthy and vibrant society, the wise and the resourceful should enact laws, which protect the lives and property of the citizens from the extremists. These laws should be enforced in a just manner, without any discrimination or favor or without providing advantage to the rich and powerful.

Four fundamental conditions must be met for the laws of capital punishment to be enforced. An administration with authority, law making machinery – the legislature, judiciary, and the executive. History is evident that when the public takes the law into their hands, there is widespread bloodshed, chaos and anarchy.

When the other part of the verse referred above, which contain the injunction of capital punishment, is pondered over, the aspect of Mercy and Compassion become apparent.


“……But if the sufferer pardons it in kindness, it will be an atonement. And they who do not make verdict in accordance with what GOD ALMIGHTY has revealed, they, they are the evil doers.”
Firstly, in this verse, human life is referred to; then different parts of the body are referred to. Let us analyze this verse with the prayer that,
“O Our sustainer, guide us in our effort so that may recognize the true spirit of the verses that you have revealed and that we may deliver it to all people without distinction of caste and creed.”

“Life for life” means the life of the murderer. Only the one who has committed the crime is punished. Action cannot be taken against his parents or children nor anyone of his community individually or collectively. Undoubtedly, life must be compensated with life, but only of the culprit. Have men forgotten, or are even aware of the words of the Mercy of all Mankind, Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s), commanded his followers during the course of the Last Sermon from the valley of Arafaat!

Listen carefully! Only the committer of the crime be punished. A son should not be avenged for the crime of the father, nor should the father be avenged for the crime of the son. Nor should any relative of the culprit be harmed.
“Eye for an eye,” is the next order. It is quite explicit that for the harm done to one eye, only the culprit’s one eye is sufficient retribution. In one of the Hadiths which deals with jurisprudence, there is an explanation, which goes to say that when the right eye is harmed, the culprit’s right eye is to be harmed. And if the culprit does not have a right eye, then the left eye cannot be touched, but the matter is left to the final court of the hereafter where GOD ALMIGHTY, the Supreme shall Judge with Infinite Power to Judge and Punish.
Next part of the body referred to in the verse is the nose. For the injury to the nose only the nose of the culprit bears the pain of punishment. No other part is substituted. The same applies to the ear. And in the same way a tooth for a tooth, and any other injury with a similar. All other parts of the culprit are as secure as of any other citizen. Do these verses not declare unambiguously that, under no circumstances, quantum and quality of punishment can exceed the crime?
Here it must be noted that all these punishment can be implemented only after the due process of law has run its course, and the culprit is pronounced guilty. These commands are from the LORD of all that exists, and who is the LORD of the culprit, LORD of the victim and Who is the Owner of the Day of Judgment, The Most Merciful The Most Compassionate, and The Dispenser of Grace.
The other aspect of this injunction which remains unnoticed is that, the status of the culprit may be however high, the punishment has to be carried out without discrimination of any sort. Finally, it is very clearly stated in chapter 17/33.
“…. do not exceed the bounds of equity in retributive execution of murder ….”
And an even more important aspect is discovered is that, legislation should be in such a way that it does not favor the rich or the powerful, nor should there be any scope for special favor. No authority however high or mighty has the right to commute the sentence of the culprit, except the aggrieved party. These noble and just aspects of the laws prescribed in the Qur’an are nowhere to be found in any other book of law.
Of course, the administration or the executive is duty bound to carry out the sentences, but the right to condone or commute lies only with the immediate and worst sufferers. In case of murder, it is the victim’s children, parents or the spouse who have the right to pardon, and no authority however high, can pardon or commute the sentence.
It is the old parents, the young children and the widow who has suffered grievous loss. Therefore the right to pardon should justifiably be vested with them only. No head of state or judge has suffered any loss or harm, therefore how can they have a say in the matter of pardon or commuting the sentence! If these victims are prepared to pardon in recognition of GOD’s Supremacy, or are prepared to settle for compensation, then they have this right which alleviate their suffering. In this Noble and Merciful legislation lies the welfare of human society and the protection of human rights. Truly, such noble legislation full of compassion and that which elevates human dignity could come only from the Most Merciful CREATOR. Alas, humanity needs to rediscover it and implement it.

It is my fervent appeal to all and draw their attention to the Message of the CREATOR which was revealed more than fourteen centuries ago for the welfare of humanity.


Finally, I invite all the people of the Book, people in power, officers and every individual, to personally study the various aspects of the all encompassing guidance, including that of the judiciary, and ponder over its various aspect of Mercy and the development of human character. This we must adopt in our lives and convey the Message throughout the world.
But yes, if the laws are hijacked by citizens and they decide the matters at their own using such Heavenly injunctions as a tool for vengeance among them, all on the earth will be become blind due to such terror. May Almighty save us with such and may HE help us in understanding the Scriptures in its original language and spirit and apply it accordingly.