Punishments and Remedies in Islam: Qisas and Diya
True Islam answers /part 6

It should be noted that the reason Diya is prescribed is that although the one who has injured the other person, didn’t do iton purpose, what he did gave rise to the injury.

According to rahyafte ( the missionaries and converts website ):  In previous part of “True Islam Answers” (the fifth part) we had a general explanation of punishments in Islam and studied the history behind some punishments.

In the sixth part we are going to study about two major reactions taking place in order to deter the society and remedy the victim.

A. Legal retribution (Qisas): Qisas is a kind of punishment which is provided in the case that somebody hurts someone else physically by intention. For instance if somebody thrusts a knife in order to wound or kill another person, the type of punishment prescribed for the criminal in Sharia law is called “Qisas”. It should be noted that 1400 years ago in Arab Peninsula when somebody killed the other person, the victims’ family considered themselves as entitled to kill not only the murderer but also the whole tribe the murderer came from. After the emergence of Islam, this tradition changed and it was prescribed that the punishment would involve only the murderer, not his family or tribe. As Quran says in (6:164):

“Every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another.”

According to this verse, we cannot punish a person instead of someone else and what was common before emergence of Islam was completely unjust.
What Quran states particularly about Qisas in (2:178-179) is:

“O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment. And there is for you in legal retribution [saving of] life, O you [people] of understanding, that you may become righteous.”

These verses show that Qisas is different from getting revenge. The victim’s family have the right to forgive the murderer and nobody can force them to execute the murderer if they really choose forgiveness instead of punishment.

We must also keep in mind that each harmful and illegal act has to be reacted in order to deter and prevent the others from doing the same thing in future. In other words, in a society which the wrongdoers are not punished, it won’t be possible to safeguard people’s lives, property and reputation.

B. Diya (Financial compensation): According to Islamic jurisprudence, Diya is a kind of financial compensation which is paid to the victim or his family in the case of physical and unintentional harm. For instance a driver losing the control of his car and hitting a person passing the street, which leads to fracture in his leg or leads to his death, has to pay Diya as a compensation and remedy. Since there is no intention to hurt in this case and it was actually by accident, Qisas is not applicable.

It should be noted that the reason Diya is prescribed is that although the one who has injured the other person, didn’t do iton purpose, what he did gave rise to the injury. Therefore he must pay the compensation as the one who caused the harm. It is the responsibility of the cause to remedy the injured . But the injured has also the right to forgive the responsible and receive nothing from him.

Quran (4:92) says:

“And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake – then the freeing of a believing slave and a compensation payment presented to the deceased’s family [is required] unless they give [up their right as] charity…. “

May God increase our knowledge and faith and keep us determined in the right path. Amen

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