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We ordained therein for them: “Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.” But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers.

The retaliation is prescribed in three places in the
Pentateuch, viz,. Exod. 21:23-25: Leviticus 24:18-21,
and Deut, 19:21.
The wording in the three quotations is different, but in
none of them is found the additional rider for mercy, as
Note that in Matt. 5:38. Jesus quotes the Old Law “eye
for eye,” etc,, and modifies it in the direction of
forgiveness, but the Quranic injunction is more practical.
Even where the injured one forgives, the State or Ruler
is competent to take such action as is necessary for the
preservation of law and order in Society. For crime has a
bearing that goes beyond the interests of the person
injured: the Community is affected: see 5:32


Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the QuranMicrosoft Word – 005 Ma’ida.doc (

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