View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Diya or Blood Money in the UAE

A recent (4 November 2008) court case in Fujairah reported by Gulf News, stated that following an appeal a two-month jail term was upheld as was the need to pay Dh200,000 in diya for the accidental death of a pedestrian.

The Shariah law relates to all nationalities in the UAE (the convicted in this case was an Indian national).

Quranic Foundations
There are many references to justice in the Qur’an and the demand of diya (blood money) as a form of compensation to dependents following the willful or accidental taking of a life. Here are some excerpts that relate to the accidental taking of life:

“It is not for a believer to kill a believer except (that it be) by mistake; and whosoever kills a believer by mistake, (it is ordained that) he must set free a believing slave and a compensation (blood-money, i.e. Diya) be given to the deceased’s family unless they remit it. Sura An-Nisa: 92 (4:92)

Awareness of Blood Money in the UAE
The Gulf News ran this informative article in July 2007:

“With so many nationalities living here with their different ethnic backgrounds, religions and traditions, it is important for everyone to know about Sharia or the Islamic Law, as it is the law of this Islamic nation.”

“Ignorance of the law is not a justification in the eyes of the courts.”

To see this essential reading for residents and tourists follow this link:

Bassma Al Jandaly, Blood Money in Islamic Law, Gulf News, 20 July 2007.

One of the contentious aspects of diya is that the amount one pays for the death of a woman is approximately half the amount one has to pay for the death of a man. The campaigns that are currently proceeding in Iran and Yemen represent calls for the equality of women.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Photo courtesy of Gulf News at the above link.