Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.Quran 5:32
When nonMuslims condemn the beheadings, the bombings, and other forms of killing done by Islamic groups and pointed Allah as the causer of these heinous crimes, the Muslims will quote to them Quran 5:32 as evidence that Islam is a peaceful religion. Are the Muslims lying or just ignorant of the meaning of this verse?
First, this Quran 5:32 is part of the narration (verses 27 to 32) quoted from the story of Abel and Cain in the Bible where Cain killed his brother Abel, so it must be understood by its context rather than by a single verse. The author of the Quranic book took this story and edited it by adding a commentary from Jewish Talmud (“if you killed one man as if you killed mankind”), and inserted a fairy-tale story about a crow which was sent by God suposedly to scratch the earth in order to demonstrate to Cain how he should hide the corpse of his brother under the ground.
Second, Quran 5:32 was decreed only for the children of Israel in consequence of the killing of Abel, thus the Muslims or Arabs are not covered by this decree. To prove that Muslims are not covered by this decree, Muhammad beheaded 800 Jews [Sunan Abu Dawood, 38:4390 & Tabari, Volume 8, Victory of Islam, p. 35-36]. So this means that Muhammad had killed 800 mankinds? For Muhammad to kill hundreds of Jews indicates that he did not value a single life.
Third, the succeeding verse 33 tells us the command of Allah for his prophet against the nonMuslims that they should be brutally killed, crucified, their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides, or they be exiled from the land. This is a strong proof that Allah does not value the lives of other people.
To understand the context, let us read verses 27-33 of Quran chapter 5;
[Quran 5] Sahih International
27 And recite to them the story of Adam’s two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah ], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], “I will surely kill you.” Said [the former], “Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him].
28 If you should raise your hand against me to kill me – I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah , Lord of the worlds.
29 Indeed I want you to obtain [thereby] my sin and your sin so you will be among the companions of the Fire. And that is the recompense of wrongdoers.
30 And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers.
31 Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, “O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?” And he became of the regretful.
32 Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.
33 Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment