In the Light of the Holy Quran: Moral Precepts

The Light (Pakistan), 8th January 1985 Issue (Vol. 65, No. 1, p. 3)

“And kill not your children for fear of poverty — We provide for them and for you. Surely the killing of them is a great wrong.1

“And go not nigh to fornication: surely it is an obscenity. And evil is the way.2

“And kill not the soul which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause. And whoever is slain unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority — but let him not exceed the limit in slaying. Surely he will be helped.3

“And draw not nigh to the orphan’s property, except in a goodly way, till he attains his maturity. And fulfil the promise; surely, the promise will be enquired into.

“And give full measure when you measure out, and weigh with a true balance. This is fair and better in the end.

“And follow not that of which thou hast no knowledge.4 Surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, of all of these it will be asked.” (The Holy Quran, 17:31–36)


  1. Infanticide, in the case of daughters, was met with among the Arabs, but this was not for fear of poverty. According to Raghib, killing of children here means not giving them proper education; ignorance, or intellectual death, being treated as death. The word aulad includes both males and females, and this explanation is therefore more reasonable. Or the reference may be to the modern evil of birth-control, which also amounts to the slaying of offspring.
  2. This is another evil which is be­coming prevalent with the growth of civilization. The Quran not only forbids fornication but enjoins men not to go near it, thus avoiding all those oppor­tunities which are likely to tempt one to fall into the evil. Hence, it is that Islam discourages the too free interming­ling of the sexes.
  3. This verse contains nothing inconsistent with what is said in 2:178. The words he will be helped indicate that as the government is bound to help him by bringing the murderer within reach of the law, the heir should not take the law into his own hands. This is called exceeding the limits.
  4. If this injunction were followed, all gossip in society would immediately cease, thereby relieving many an in­nocent man and woman of the heart­burn which he or she suffers on account of evil and unfounded reports. The verse also forbids entering into discussions without accurate knowledge, or proffering uncertain opinion. In fact, peace and contentment would reign in society, instead of mutual strife and hat­red, if the injunction were observed.