“But whoever pardons anything from his brother…” : Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِصَاصُ فِي الْقَتْلَى ۖ الْحُرُّ‌ بِالْحُرِّ‌ وَالْعَبْدُ بِالْعَبْدِ وَالْأُنثَىٰ بِالْأُنثَىٰ ۚ فَمَنْ عُفِيَ لَهُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ شَيْءٌ فَاتِّبَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُ‌وفِ وَأَدَاءٌ إِلَيْهِ بِإِحْسَانٍ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ تَخْفِيفٌ مِّن رَّ‌بِّكُمْ وَرَ‌حْمَةٌ ۗ فَمَنِ اعْتَدَىٰ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَهُ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“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. But whoever pardons anything from his brother, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment. “

[al-Qur’an 2:178]

Commenting on this in his famous book of tafsir, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

وفي قوله: { فَمَنْ عُفِيَ لَهُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ } ترقيق وحث على العفو إلى الدية، وأحسن من ذلك العفو مجانا. وفي قوله: { أَخِيهِ } دليل على أن القاتل لا يكفر, لأن المراد بالأخوة هنا أخوة الإيمان, فلم يخرج بالقتل منها، ومن باب أولى أن سائر المعاصي التي هي دون الكفر, لا يكفر بها فاعلها, وإنما ينقص بذلك إيمانه

In His statement, ‘But whoever pardons anything from his brother‘ there is a softening of the hearts and an encouragement towards pardoning and (accepting instead) blood money – and even better than that is pardoning him completely.

And in His statement, ‘his brother‘ is proof that the killer does not take the ruling of a kaafir (disbeliever), because the intended meaning of brotherhood here is ‘brother in faith’, so the killer is not excluded from this. And from this subject also is the fact that the rest of the sins which are less than al-kufr (disbelief) do not confer the status of kaafir to their perpetrator – they only decreases thereby from his eemaan.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 82]

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