Hadith on Justice: Three Criteria for Punishing Muslims

📖Sahih al-Bukhari 6878
Narrated `Abdullah: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.”

Releted: Apostasy Punishment In Islam

From this Hadith, we can gather a few key points:

  1. The blood of a Muslim who testifies to the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad is considered sacred and should not be shed except in specific circumstances.
  2. The three cases mentioned in the Hadith where shedding the blood of a Muslim is permitted are: a) in cases of qisas (retaliation) for murder, b) for a married person who commits adultery or fornication, and c) for an apostate who leaves Islam and becomes an enemy of the Muslims.
  3. The Hadith does not contradict the general prohibition in the Qur’an against killing innocent people. The Qur’an emphasizes the sanctity of life and prohibits the killing of any innocent person Surah Al-An’am (6:151) | Surah Al-Ma’idah (5:32)

The overall understanding is that this Hadith specifically refers to Muslims, while both the Qur’an and Hadith contain passages that forbid the killing of innocent individuals.