With all the talk of Sharia in the news lately — the measure to outlaw it in Oklahoma, the ongoing attempts by Islamic apologists to whitewash it — it is useful to recall some of its more notable aspects. One of these is qisas, or retaliation, which allows for blood money to be paid by the perpetrator to the relatives of the deceased in cases of accidental death or even murder.
In such cases, the compensation is higher if the victim was a Muslim than if he was a non-Muslim. Only the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence allows for the possibility of capital punishment in the case of a Muslim who has murdered an unbeliever. The Maliki and Hanbali schools set a Muslim’s life as worth twice that of a non-Muslim — hence this Saudi Hanbali ruling below. The Shafi’i school sets a Muslim’s life as worth two-thirds that of a Jew or Christian. Polytheists, as here, are valued less. The Shafi’i Sharia manual ‘Umdat al-Salik dictates: “The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man. The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim.” (o4.9)
From the website of the Consulate General of India, Jeddah, who is recording these matters because they come up in connection with his people who are working in Saudi Arabia (thanks to bestproject):
4. Mode of Pavment [sic] :
All Death Compensation cases (except industrial accidents) in Saudi Arabia are settled through concerned Shariat Courts in accordance with the Shariat Law.
5. Maximum Amount admissible :
The maximum amount of Death Compensation (Diyya) generally admissible in Saudi Arabia, in respect of road/traffic/fire accident, murder, etc. is as under:
Death Compensation in respect of a male person:
i. Muslim – SR. 100,000/-
ii. Christian/Jew – SR.50,000/-
iii. Other religions : such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, etc. – SR 6666.66
In the case of death of a female, death compensation allowed is equal to half the amount as admissible to males professing the same religion. Further the amount of compensation admissible, is based on the percentage of responsibility fixed on the causer e.g. if the causer is held 50% responsible for the accident resulting in the death of a Muslim, the amount of Death Compensation admissible will be SR 50,000 only.
100,000 Saudi riyals = $26,665.25
50,000 Saudi riyals = $13,332.62
6,666.66 Saudi riyals = $1,777.69
The Iranian Shi’ite Sufi Sheikh Sultanhussein Tabandeh explains: “Thus if [a] Muslim commits adultery his punishment is 100 lashes, the shaving of his head, and one year of banishment. But if the man is not a Muslim and commits adultery with a Muslim woman his penalty is execution…Similarly if a Muslim deliberately murders another Muslim he falls under the law of retaliation and must by law be put to death by the next of kin. But if a non-Muslim who dies at the hand of a Muslim has by lifelong habit been a non-Muslim, the penalty of death is not valid. Instead the Muslim murderer must pay a fine and be punished with the lash….Since Islam regards non-Muslims as on a lower level of belief and conviction, if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim…then his punishment must not be the retaliatory death, since the faith and conviction he possesses is loftier than that of the man slain…Again, the penalties of a non-Muslim guilty of fornication with a Muslim woman are augmented because, in addition to the crime against morality, social duty and religion, he has committed sacrilege, in that he has disgraced a Muslim and thereby cast scorn upon the Muslims in general, and so must be executed….Islam and its peoples must be above the infidels, and never permit non-Muslims to acquire lordship over them.” — Sultanhussein Tabandeh, A Muslim Commentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights