Does Islam have just laws? Why is the blood-money of a woman half that of a man? Does a woman’s soul have no value, and does her family have the right to get justice (blood-money) for her murder?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide every dimension of our lives to that which pleases Him.
Allah is Just and Defines Justice
We often struggle to understand God’s Wisdom and Providence in the world, leading us to confusion and even resentment at times. Know with certainty that among Allah’s names are ‘The Wise Judge’ and ‘The Just One (Al-Hakim wa Al-ʿAdl). Right and Wrong is not what we think or believe to be correct and wrong, but Allah defines right, wrong, good, bad, and what constitutes justice. [Khinn, Al-Aqida Al-Islamiyya]
The concept of ‘indemnity (diya)’ or ‘blood-money’ does not represent the value of the departed soul, nor does it amount to exacting justice for its murder. The ‘Blood-money’ assists the bereaved family who may have lost a stable income along with the loss of a loved one. The money benefits those left behind and not the deceased.
In Islam, the responsibility of the ‘breadwinner’ is that of the male. The loss of a breadwinner is financially more difficult for the bereaved (especially the widow). Therefore, in the wife’s best interests, Sacred Law (sharia) secures a double ‘indemnity’ for her, in the loss of her husband, then it would for him in the case of her murder.
Retaliation for Females
Sacred Law does offer a form of this-worldly justice, and it is equal for males and females. Females are entitled to retaliate (qisas) against males, children against adults, and “lower-class people” against “upper class,”; whether the retaliation is a life for a life or limb for a limb. [Misri, ʿUmda Al-Salik]
Value of Her Soul
Killing any human soul (male or female) is like killing all people. Allah says: “Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul [male or female] unless for a soul or corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain humanity entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved humanity entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.” [Qur’an 5:32]
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.