Misinterpretation of Qisas (retaliation in kind)
The commandments in the Qur'an are intended to eliminate the arbitrary punishments resulting from personal vengeance and grudges, a common occurrence in Arab society of the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The principle of deterrence prevalent throughout the Qur'an is also visible in the commandment of "qisas" and protects life by preventing and eliminating crime:
"You who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the case of people killed: free man for free man, slave for slave, female for female. But if someone is absolved by his brother, blood-money should be claimed with correctness and paid with good will. That is an easement and a mercy from your Lord. Anyone who goes beyond the limits after this will receive a painful punishment. (Qur'an, 2:178)
The noteworthy point about this verse concerning retaliation in kind is that it encourages forgiveness and pardoning, and says that these are better forms of behavior. In this sense, there is life in retaliation for us.
There are some requirements for retaliation as to the manner of its application – and by whom as well as to whom. In the Qur'an, God explains that the ones who are entitled to retaliation are the "next of kin":
Do not kill any person God has made inviolate, except with the right to do so. If someone is wrongly killed We have given authority to his next of kin. But he should not be excessive in taking life.... (Qur'an, 17:33)
In addition to that, as explained in the Qur'an 2/178, the said next of kin has the option to waive retaliation and ask for compensation, which is favouring forgiveness. In another verse, God explains that forgiving is preferable:
The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with God. Certainly He does not love wrongdoers. (Qur'an, 42:40)
As is clear in the verses of the Qur'an, the best course of action is forgiving and improving. It is explained that this is a behaviour that God favoured even before Islam:
We prescribed for them in it [the Torah]: a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and retaliation for wounds. But if anyone forgoes that as a sadaqa, it will act as expiation for him. Those who do not judge by what God has sent down, such people are wrongdoers. (Qur'an, 5:45)
In the eyes of the Qur'an, it is wrong to respond to evil with evil
When the leaders of the terrorist organizations that abuse the religion of Islam, or the clergy that seek to legitimize them, are asked why they issue fatwas allowing such massacres and suicide bombings, they will say that it is in retaliation for attacks on Muslims. It is true that Muslims have been massacred in various parts of the world, wronged, oppressed and treated unfairly; nonetheless, God forbids responding to tyranny with tyranny. The way that forgiveness is recommended in the commandments concerning retaliation in kind is a reflection of this fact.
In the eyes of Islam, guilt is personal, and retaliation in kind must not be applied out of arbitrary feelings of revenge
God forbids wickedness in the Qur'an. Furthermore, Islam states the principle of the "individuality of crime." Bombing people, attacking them regardless of them being innocent civilians, children, women or elderly is nothing but sheer murder. Likewise, killing people merely for the reason of their nationality, faith, or sect or taking revenge based on such reasons, is also completely against Islam.
At the basis of the law of war in Islam is being just, and always aiming to establish peace, compromise and forgive. The goal is always ensuring the continuance of life for oneself as well as for others. For these reasons, the principle of "retaliation" that God allowed only as a deterrent principle against deliberate killing, and only through certain restrictions and conditions and over which forgiveness should be chosen, cannot be applied against individuals or societies based on personal thoughts of vengeance.
The commandments in the Qur'an are perfectly clear, but the existence of people who seek to perpetrate terror in the name of religion makes it essential to investigate the psychology of terror: