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وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ أَن يَقْتُلَ مُؤْمِناً إِلاَّ خَطَئاً وَمَن قَتَلَ مُؤْمِناً خَطَئاً فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُّؤْمِنَةٍ وَدِيَةٌ مُّسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ إِلاَّ أَن يَصَّدَّقُواْ فَإِن كَانَ مِن قَوْمٍ عَدُوٍّ لَّكُمْ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُّؤْمِنَةٍ وَإِن كَانَ مِن قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِّيثَٰقٌ فَدِيَةٌ مُّسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىۤ أَهْلِهِ وَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مُّؤْمِنَةٍ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ تَوْبَةً مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً
-An-Nisâ’ ( النساء )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn

It is not for a believer to slay a believer, in other words, no such slaying should result at his hands, except by mistake, killing him by mistake, unintentionally. He who slays a believer by mistake, when he meant to strike some other thing, as in the case of hunting or [shooting at] trees, but then happens to strike him with what in most cases would not kill, then let him set free, let him emancipate, a believing slave (raqaba denotes nasama, ‘a person’), an obligation on him, and blood-money is to be submitted, to be paid, to his family, that is, the slain person’s inheritors, unless they remit it as a charity, to him by waiving [their claim to] it. In the Sunna this [blood-money] is explained as being equivalent to one hundred camels: twenty pregnant, twenty female sucklings, twenty male sucklings, twenty mature ones and twenty young ones [not more than five years old]; and [the Sunna stipulates] that it is incumbent upon the killer’s clan, namely, his paternal relations [and not other relatives]. They share this [burden of the blood-money] over three years; the rich among them pays half a dinar, while the one of moderate means [pays] a quarter of a dinar each year; if they still cannot meet this, then it can be taken from the treasury, and if this is not possible, then from the killer himself. If he, the slain, belongs to a people at enmity, at war, with you and is a believer, then the setting free of a believing slave, is incumbent upon the slayer, as a redemption, but no bloodmoney is to be paid to his family, since they are at war [with you]. If he, the slain, belongs to a people between whom and you there is a covenant, a treaty, as is the case with the Protected People (ahl al-dhimma), then the blood-money, for him, must be paid to his family, and it constitutes a third of the blood-money for a believer, if the slain be a Jew or a Christian, and two thirds of a tenth of it, if he be a Magian; and the setting free of a believing slave, is incumbent upon the slayer. But if he has not the wherewithal, for [setting free] a slave, failing to find one, or the means to obtain one, then the fasting of two successive months, is incumbent upon him as a redemption: here God does not mention the transition to [an alternative to fasting which is] giving food [to the needy], as in the case of [repudiating one’s wife by] zihār, something which al-Shāfi‘ī advocates in the more correct of two opinions of his; a relenting from God (tawbatan, ‘relenting’, is the verbal noun, and is in the accusative because of the implied verb). And God is ever Knowing, of His creation, Wise, in what He has ordained for them.

Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza
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