what is diyat & Qisas in Islam for Non-Muslims?
What diyat means and what is it all about?
Generally, punishment of killing a person in Islam is the capital punishment or life imprisonment. However, there is an exception to this general rule provided the heirs of the slain person opt to receive blood wit or diyat. Heirs of a slain include his parents, spouse, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons etc. It is up to them to forgive the culprit or instead receive blood wit/ diyat. This law is fully explained in Quran, which is also embodied in the Qisas & Diyat Ordinance of Pakistan. This coded law explicitly narrate the rules regarding diyat. Salient features of Diyat are as under:-
1. The law of Diyat is explained in Quran as under:-
Translation from Pickthal:
It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless (it be) by mistake. He who hath killed a believer by mistake must set free a believing slave, and pay the blood-money to the family of the slain, unless they remit it as a charity. If he (the victim) be of a people hostile unto you, and he is a believer, then (the penance is) to set free a believing slave. And if he cometh of a folk between whom and you there is a covenant, then the blood-money must be paid unto his folk and (also) a believing slave must be set free. And whoso hath not the wherewithal must fast two consecutive months. A penance from Allah. Allah is Know-er, Wise.
The above verse of Quran about Diyat/ dyat shows that the option of diyat is available provided the murder was by mistake and not intentional.
The relevant Hadith dealing with the payment of diyat is as follows:-
Abu Huraira stated that two women of Hudhail tribe fought and one of them throw a stone towards the other, killing her. The slain was about to give birth a child which was also died. The case was brought before the court of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him, who gave his verdict that the diyat (blood wit) of her unborn child is a male or a female slave of the best quality. He further ordered that the diyat of the woman is to be paid by her relative on the father's side, and he (the Holy Prophet) made her sons and those who were with them her heirs. Hamal bin al-Nabigha argued, "Messenger of Allah! why should I pay blood-wit for one who neither drank, nor ate, nor spoke, nor made any noise; it is like a nonentity(hence it is not just to pay diyat for unborn) . The Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) said: "He seems to be one of the brothers of sooth savers on account of the rhymed speech which he has composed."
Miswar bin Makhrama states 'Umar bin Khattab consulted people about the diyat of an unborn. Mughira bin. Shuba said, "I bear witness to the fact that Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) gave judgment about it that a good quality of slave or female slave should be given for it." On hearing this Umar said: Bring one who may bear witness to you. Then Muhammad bin Maslama bore witness to him.
It was the custom of Arabs that they used to receive diyat/blood wit on account of slain person of their tribe. Usually, the amount was equal to the value of ten camels. In some tribes diyat was received and paid according their customs. However, shortly, before the birth of the Holy Prophet, this custom has underwent a change and diyat was re-fixed at 100 canals that is why the grandfather of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) sacrificed 100 camels instead of sacrificing Abdullah, father of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).
2. In the Qisas & Diyat Ordinance, Diyat is defined as, "It means compensation specified in section 323, payable to the heirs of the victim by the offender."
3. Diyat for a murder not committed intentionally is set at not be less than 170,610/-. However, under section 323 the court is authorized to fix diyat.
4. In a recent case, Raymond Davis was benefited from the Diyat law. According to the reports, the killer of two Pakistanis namely Raymond Davis was released by a Pakistani Court for payment of diyat to the heirs of slain. The total amount of diyat is paid at Rs.20,000,000/-, which is distributed among the heirs according to the law of inheritance in Islam. However, question arises whether a non-Muslim could get the benefit of the Diyat law, especially when the murder was not un-intentional.