Diyya Legal Definition:

Muslim law: the payment by an aggressor to his victim of a sum of money to thus avoid a retaliation punishment ("kisas").

Related Terms: Quesas , Hudud , Ta'azir , Wergeld

Also diya or diyat.

Some, but not all Islam jurists classify diyya as a category of crime with hudud, quesas and ta’azir.

Al-Awwa writes:

“[C]rimes of retribution and compensation (diyya) ... the punishment is either a retributive penalty equivalent to the injury inflicted on the victim, or it takes the form of pecuniary compensation for the victim’s injuries and is imposed only if retribution is not executable or the victim waives his right to demand it.”

Where the victim of the crime has died, the aggressor would have to offer and pay to the victim’s family an amount of money deemed sufficient to compensate them; failing which, he would face death by quesas.

An alternative to quesas (aka kisas).

Diyya is sometimes referred to as the price of blood or, simply, blood money.

A formula is provided to establish the amount of the diyya in particular cases; for example, 100 camels for the life of a Muslim man (50 for a woman).

REFERENCES:

  • Al-Awwa, Muhammad Salim, “The Basis of Islamic Penal Legislation”, published in The Islamic Criminal Justice System (Rome: Oceana Publications Inc., 1982), page 127 (note 1).
  • Blanc, F.-P. and Milliot, L., Introduction à l’Étude du Droit Musulman (Paris : Dalloz, 2001), page 591
  • Pearl, D., A Textbook on Muslim Law (London: Croom Helm Ltd., 1979), page 196

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