To demonstrate that Islam does not promote violence Muslims often quote a part of the quranic verse 5:32.
“Whosoever killed a person it shall be as if he killed all mankind; and whoso saved a life, it shall be as if he has saved the life of all mankind.”
That sound pretty good. The problem is that it is not a teaching of Muhammad. It is a quote from Judaic scriptures.
“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Jerusalem Talmud Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a)
Killing one person is not the same as the genocide of all mankind. It only makes sense in its context. It is related to the mythology of Abel and Cain. Since these two brothers were the only men at that time, killing one of them would have prevented his offspring to be born and humanity would not come to exist.
Actually despite Muslims’ claim Muhammad did not say this is his own teaching. The complete verse is as follow:
“On account of this, WE prescribed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killed a person it shall be as if he killed all mankind; –unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land– and whoso saved a life, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. And our Messengers came to them with clear Signs, Yet even after that, many of them commit excesses in the land.”
Muhammad is quoting a biblical fable. How can Muslims claim credit for it?
The problem does not end there. Talmud is not considered to be the word of God. It is the recorded teachings of Sanhedrin, the high council of rabbis.
So why Allah says “WE prescribed for the Children of Israel…”?
The god of the Quran is claiming ownership of something he never said. This leaves us with few options.
- Allah has plagiarized the teachings of the rabbis.
- He was confused and had forgotten that those words were not his.
- This verse is not from God. Muhammad admitted that sometimes Satan came and whispered some verses to him that he thought were from God. Could this verse be one of those satanic verses?
- Muhammad lied. The Quran is not the word of God.
I cannot think of another option to explain why Allah claims ownership of a verse that he never said. The quote is not in the Bible; it is from Talmud and Talmud is not considered to be the word of God.
Now, this verse emphasizes that killing is bad. But Muhammad told his followers that waging war, fighting and killing are the best commerce, which will have the highest reward.
“O you who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment? That you believe in Allah and His Messenger and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives… (Q .61:10-11)
So he had to make a disclaimer. While quoting the Talmud he inserted “unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land” in the verse. This disclaimer does not exist in the original text of the Talmud.
With this disclaimer his followers were left free to raid and to kill non-Muslims. Those who resisted Islam and opposed it were considered to be spreading mischief.
The word mischief is the translation of the word “fitnah”, which means dissention, opposition, sedition. If you dissent Islam or oppose it you are causing sedition and spreading mischief. You are considered to be waging war against it. This war does not have to be violent. Your mere disagreement with Islam is the same as waging war against it. If you criticize Islam or preach a faith other than Islam to Muslims you are causing sedition. All these are mischief.
What is the punishment of those who spread mischief?
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”
So the only verse that Muslims oft quote to claim Muhammad prohibited killing is from Judaism, is wrongly attributed to Allah and it contains a disclaimer, which allows Muslims to kill all those who don’t agree with Islam.