And We ordained for them therein 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 for wounds is legal retribution. (...) [Qur'an, 5:45]
Sayyid Qutb (rahimahullah) said:
"He empathizes the retaliation, seeing in it the life of the community:
And there is for you in legal retribution [saving of] life, O you [people] of understanding, that you may become righteous. [Qur'an, 2:179]
And in fact it does mean life; for it safeguards life by discouraging murder and because it preserves the vitality and power of the life of society."
[REFERENCE: "Al-'Adalat Al-Ijtima' iyyah fi 'l-Islam" (Social Justice in Islam) (pag. 91)]