Blood money, also known as blood ransom, is Diya in Arabic. It is defined as a sum of money that serves as compensation paid to the heirs or family of the victim.
The blood money practice is a part of the Islamic culture and tradition. According to the Qur’an, when a Muslim is harmed, he must not only practice retaliation, but also, he should seek compensation and not demand retribution.
All countries that abide by the laws of the Shari’a practice the custom of offering blood money to the heirs of the victim. These countries include Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan. In Saudi Arabia particularly, the heirs of the victim have the choice to choose between a settlement through blood money and an execution of the murderer. This is also a common practice in Somalia. Somalian people recognize the settlement through blood money, but define it as being within subgroups only.
Blood Money Rates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Blood money rates in Saudi Arabia follow a certain hierarchy of rates for the lives of people. The rates vary depending upon several modulating factors, such as religious affiliation and gender. Blood rates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are computed as follows:
- 400,000 Riyals intentional murder of Muslim man
- 300,000 Riyals victim is a Muslim man
- 150,000 Riyals victim is a Muslim woman
- 150,000 Riyals victim is a Christian or Jewish man
- 75,000 Riyals victim is a Christian or Jewish woman
- 20,000 Riyals victim is a man of any other religion
- 10,000 Riyals victim is a woman of any other religion
There are also countries that compute blood money based on the proportion of responsibility. Blood money is not just paid for murder cases. It can also be applied to cases of unnatural death, such as death in a fire, road accident, or industrial accident, as long as the responsibility for the incident falls on the culprit.
Blood Money Rates in Iran
In Iran, the variation of the blood money compensation is dependent on the month when the crime was committed. Thus, the Iranian Judiciary system announces the amount to be paid annually. During the four haram months, wars and killings are traditionally discouraged. Thus, crimes committed in these months would be charged with a blood money three times larger than the regular rates. However, the rates for female murder cases are half that of men. Yet, the rates become the same for cases of insurance and accidental death.