Importance of human life
Allah (SWT) blessed humans with the distinctive title of “Best of creation”. After honouring him the ranks of superiority, nobility, knowledge and distinction, Allah (SWT) made him to be prostrated by the angels.
Allah(SWT) blessed him with the crown of ‘Ahsan-e-Taqweem’ [best of the physical appearance] by blessing him with physical beauty as well as intellect; and announced the reverence of his life in His Glorious Book [i.e. the Holy Quran] which says: Do not take a human life made sacred by Allah except with legal right. If anyone is killed unjustly, We have given their heirs the authority, but do not let them exceed limits in retaliation, for they are already supported by law. (Chapter 17, verse 33).
Islam provides for protecting the best creation of Allah (SWT) “human”, from various aspects. It is beautiful teaching in relation to the protection of the “human life”. The dignity and elevation Islam has given to the “human life” can be understood from the following fact that Islam has declared the murder of one person without a reason to be the murder of the entire humanity; and the one who provides refuge to one person.
Quran says: ‘That is why We ordained for the Children of Israel that whoever takes a life—unless as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land—it will be as if they killed all of humanity; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity’. Although Our messengers already came to them with clear proofs, many of them still transgressed afterwards through the land. (Surah Al-Ma`idah, Verse 32).
This blessed Ayah clearly depicts the teachings of Islam that how peaceful the religion of Islam is and what importance Islam holds for a human life.
The beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: Destruction of the entire universe is lighter in the sight of Allah (SWT) than the unjust murder of one person. Whether it is our own life or someone else’s, Islam wants protection for both.
To such an extent that we have been commanded to refrain from every such thing that becomes a means of danger and destruction for us. That’s why suicide is Haraam [unlawful] in Islam. Moreover, Islam has not only deemed killing someone unjustly to be a major sin, but has also mentioned severe punishments for the one who does so.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has even forbidden us from merely pointing at our Muslim brother with a weapon. (Sahih Bukhari).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has condemned the murder of humanity in various Ahadees. Therefore, it is narrated that ‘the most major of the sins are to commit Shirk [associate partners] with Allah (SWT), kill someone, disobey parents and bear a false witness’.(Sahih Bukhari).
From this blessed Hadees, we deduce that among major sins, killing someone comes at the top of the list after shirk [associating partners with Allah (SWT)]. On the Day of Judgement, out of the matters of ‘Huqooq-ul-‘Ibaad [rights of people], the first matter to be questioned will be the unjust murder.
Therefore, Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘On the Day of Judgement, first matter to be dealt among people will be the matter of bloodshed [killing someone].’(Sahih Muslim). These excellent and most effective teachings regarding the protection of human life require one to abide by them in his life wholeheartedly and that he regards these rights thoroughly.
(The author is a student at Kashmir University)