CHAPTER 37:A Chapter on Homicide Cases and other Judgements



Nobody should be killed in respect of a homicide except where men of integrity give evidence, or where the killer makes a confession, or if the relatives of the deceased swear an oath (qasamah) if that should be necessary. The form that qasamah oaths take is for the relatives of the deceased to swear fifty times, and when they have done that they are entitled to have the accused executed. A qasamah oath is sworn by no less than two men in a murder case. And in respect of a qasamah oath, never is more than one person executed. A qasamah becomes necessary if the deceased declares, on being wounded, that so-and-so has my blood, or when one person testifies against the accused, or when two people testify to seeing the deceased being wounded, if he survives all that and is able to eat and to drink.

If the plaintiff fails to swear, the defendant is asked to swear and free himself from liability. He does that fifty times. If the defendant is not able to get some of his kinsmen to swear with him, he swears alone fifty times. If the accusation of homicide is levelled against a group of people, each one of them will have to swear fifty times. But if kinsmen are suing in respect of a murdered kinsman, fifty of them must swear once each. But if they are less than fifty, the surplus oaths are redistributed to them. However, a woman does not swear in the murder case. The heirs shall swear in the event of accidental homicide in direct proportion to the amount they inherit of the blood-wit, whether they are men or women. If the division should present a problem by producing fractions, the person with the biggest share of the blood-wit shall be made to swear the extra oath.

If from the relatives of the deceased person come, (while others do not show up), in respect of an accidental killing, those present shall swear the full number of oaths on a qasamah. If afterwards others turn up, they swear in direct proportion to their share of the estate.

In respect of the qasamah oaths, the litigants shall swear standing. Moreover, people living in the provinces of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are brought there to swear qasamah oaths. Nobody is taken to any other places except where the distance involved is a few miles.

Qasamah oaths are not sworn in respect of wounds, nor slaves, nor among the Christians or Jews (People of the Book), nor a person killed between two rows of warring enemies, nor when a dead body is found in the vicinity of some settlement.

There cannot be any pardon in respect of a treacherous murder.

A man can pardon in respect of his own murder if it did not involve treachery. But in respect of accidental killing, he can only waive up to one third of the blood-wit. If one of the sons of the victim in a homicide case decides to forgive the killer, the killer cannot be executed. The remaining heirs can then have their shares of the blood-wit. When in a homicide case the heirs comprise sons and daughters, the daughters are not empowered by law to waive this claim for retaliation and grant pardon.

When a homicide is pardoned, he is to be given one hundred strokes of the cane and imprisoned for a year.


The blood-wit in respect of people who have camels is to consist of one hundred camels. In respect of people who have gold, it is to be one thousand pieces.

For the people who have silver, it is to be twelve thousand dirhams. The bloodwit in respect of murder when it is accepted shall consist of twenty-five four year old she-camels and twenty-five five year old she-camels and twenty-five three year old she camels and twenty-five two year old she-camels. And the blood-wit in respect of accidental killing is to consist of five types, that is, twenty of each we have mentioned. And in addition to that, twenty males of the type known as 'banu labun'.

The payment of blood-wit is only made more stringent in the case of a father who throws a piece of iron at his son and then kills him. The father shall not be killed on account of killing his son under these circumstances. He shall however be made to pay thirty jadha'ahs, thirty hiqqahs and forty khalifahs, that is, pregnant ones. But according to some learned men, that payment shall be made by members of his clan. Yet others insist that the payment must come from his own property.


The blood-wit for a woman shall be half that of a man. Similarly the blood-wit for a male Christian or Jew is half that of a male Muslim, and the blood-wit for their women is half that of their men. As for a Magian, his blood-wit is eight hundred dirhams. The blood-wit for their women is half that of their men. Similarly, in respect of wounds, compensation given to non-Muslims is half what is given to their Muslim counterparts.


Whoever is made to suffer the loss of both his hands is paid a whole blood-wit (as a case of a homicide). Similarly in respect of a loss of both legs or a loss of both eyes, complete blood-wit is paid. If a man is made to suffer the loss one of these, he is paid half a complete blood-wit. In respect of the cartilage separating the base of the nostrils marin a complete blood-wit is paid. The same rule applies when loss of hearing is inflicted, or when loss of mental balance is inflicted, or when the backbone is broken, or testicles are impaired, or when the glans penis is destroyed, or when the tongue is made useless, or when the power of speech is destroyed. For destroying the two bosoms of a woman or the eye of a one-eyed person a full blood-wit is also paid.


For a blow to the head resulting in an injury of the type known as 'mudihah', five camels are paid. For an injury which results in the lost of a tooth, five camels are paid. For injuries resulting in the loss of a finger, ten camels are paid. And in respect of injuries causing the loss of the tip of either of the thumbs, five camels are paid each. And in respect of injuries of the type known as 'munaqqilah' one tenth and half of one tenth is paid.

'Mudihah' injuries are injuries to the head which expose the bone. 'Munaqqilah' injuries are those which affect the bone itself but do not affect the brain. But injuries to the skull reaching the brain are known as 'ma'mumah'. In respect of them, one third of the blood-wit is paid.

But for injuries affecting the stomach known as 'ja'ifah', no specific remedy is prescribed nor for injuries less serious than a mudihah. Compensation for these therefore shall depend upon the discretion of a judge. Similarly compensation is suggested for wounds inflicted on the body.

The victim of any injuries is not compensated unless and until the wounds are healed. Any injury which heals without leaving a disfiguring scar shall not fetch anything by way of compensation if it is less than a mudihah in seriousness.


In respect of wounds deliberately inflicted retaliation is prescribed except when it is feared that death may result from such an action, such as ma'mumah, ja'ifah and munaqqilah, or when the retaliation involves the thigh, the testicles and the backbone and some similar vital organs. For each of those a full blood-wit is prescribed.


The relative of a homicide if the killing is intentional shall not bear the burden of paying the blood-wit; nor must they be compelled to avow that the killing has been intentional. But they can own accidental injuries, or injuries whose compensation shall not exceed one third of the blood-wit or more. But what less is than one third of the blood-wit shall be borne by the accused himself. However, Malik insisted that a ma'mumah or a ja'ifah, even if intentional, should be settled by the relative of the accused. But Malik on second thoughts also said that, in that respect, the accused shall pay the compensation himself except where he happens to be insolvent. That shall be so because no retaliation is exacted from a ma'mumah or ja'ifah, even if intentional due to the hazards involved.

If a man commits suicide, whether accidentally or intentionally, his relatives shall not have to pay any compensation to anybody.


A woman equals a man in the amount of compensation that shall be paid in respect of her sustaining injuries, up to one-third of his compensation. But after reaching one-third, she goes back to the schedule already allotted to her.


If a group of people kill one person jointly, they shall all be killed on that account. If a person who is drunk kills another person, he is to be killed. But if a madman kills a person, the blood-wit shall be paid by his relatives. An intentional killing or the intentional infliction of injuries committed by a minor are both regarded as accidental, as long as their degree exceeds one-third of a blood-wit, or is equal to one-third. But if the amount to pay as compensation is less than one-third of a blood-wit then it must come from the minor's personal property.

A woman shall be killed for killing a man, and a man shall be killed for killing a woman, and retaliation is exercised in respect of mutual wounding. A freeborn person shall not be killed for killing a slave. But a slave shall be killed for having killed a freeborn person. A Muslim shall not be killed for having killed a non-Muslim, but a non-Muslim is to be killed for having killed a Muslim. There is no retaliation in the case of a freeborn person wounding a slave. Nor shall thee be retaliation for a Muslim wounding a non-Muslim.


A driver of an animal or one who leads it, or a rider on it, shall be liable to pay compensation for what their animal trampled on. But the injury or damage an animal inflicts without being incited by anybody shall not be compensated for. If anybody dies as a result of falling down a well or down a mine shaft without anybody causing his fall, that also shall not be compensated for by anybody.


Compensation shall be paid by relatives by instalments within three years. The compensation of a third of a blood-wit shall be paid in one year, and a compensation of a half a blood-wit is to be paid within two years.

The blood-wit is to be distributed as a legacy according to the schedule in the Qur'an.


In respect of causing the miscarriage of a freeborn woman, a young slave boy or slave girl valued at fifty gold pieces or six hundred dirhams is given as compensation. The value of this young slave is obviously a legacy along the lines drawn up by Allah Most High in the Qur'an.


The person who committed an intentional homicide is not allowed to inherit his victim's property or the blood-wit paid. However an accidental homicide can inherit his victim's property but not the blood-wit.


The amount of money paid for killing the foetus of a slave girl by her own master is equal to the amount to be paid for the foetus of a freeborn woman. But if the foetus is by someone other than the master, one tenth of the slave girl's own value is to be paid.


If anybody kills a slave he must pay, as compensation, the value of the slave.



But a group of people shall all be killed if they jointly kill one person in order to rob him, or if they kill him treacherously, even if some perpetrated the actual killing on behalf of others. The atonement in respect of accidental homicide is obligatory. It consists of setting a Muslim slave free. If the person who committed homicide cannot afford to set a slave free, he has the option of fasting for two consecutive months. If a person guilty of wilful homicide is forgiven by the relative of the victim, he is ordered either to set free a Muslim slave or in default, to fast for two consecutive months; that is beneficial to him (in the eyes of God Most High).


A freethinker (zindiq) must be put to death and his repentance is rejected. A freethinker is one who conceals his unbelief and pretends to follow Islam. A magician also is to be put to death, and his repentance also is to be rejected. A apostate is also killed unless he repents. He is allowed three days grace; if he fails to utilise the chance to repent, the execution takes place. This same also applies to women apostates.

If a person who is not an apostate admits that prayer is obligatory but will not perform it, then such a person is given an opportunity to recant by the time of the next prayer; if he does not utilise the opportunity to repent and resume worship, he is then executed. If a Muslim refuses to perform the pilgrimage, he should be left alone and God himself shall decide this case. If a Muslim should abandon the performance of prayer because he disputes its being obligatory, then such a person shall be treated as an apostate - he should be given three days within which to repent. If the three days lapse without his repenting, he is then executed.

Whoever abuses the Messenger of God - peace and blessing of God be upon him - is to be executed, and his repentance is not accepted.

If any dhimmi (by 'dhimmi' is meant a non-Muslim subject living in a Muslim country) curses the Prophet - peace be upon him - or abuses him by saying something other than what already makes him an unbeliever, or abuses God Most High by saying something other than what already makes him an unbeliever, he is to be executed unless at that juncture he accepts Islam.

The property of an apostate after his execution is to be shared by the Muslim community.


As for an armed robber - he is not to be granted pardon when he is caught. If he happens to have killed someone, then he must be killed. But if he has not killed anybody, the Muslim ruler shall then use his discretion as to the nature of the punishment to be awarded to him, based on the seriousness of his crimes and the length of the time during which he operated. The Muslim ruler can kill him, or crucify him and later kill him, or he can cut off his right hand and left foot, or left hand and right foot. Alternatively the Muslim ruler can banish him to another town where he will be imprisoned until he repents. But if he has not been overpowered and caught and he comes on his own to repent, then the Muslim ruler shall forgive him and excuse him from whatever punishment his crime has earned for him in respect of his disobedience to God Most High. Then he shall be liable for any punishment his crime has earned for him in respect of his assault on the property and the persons of other people.

Each member of a band of robbers is liable to pay the total amount they robbed jointly. Moreover a group of people shall be killed in respect of killing a single person treacherously or in order to rob him, even if the actual killing was undertaken by one of them. Also a Muslim shall be killed for killing a scripturary (a Jew or a Christian) if the killing is treacherous or in order to rob.


If a freeborn Muslim who has been married (muhsan) commits adultery or fornication, he is to be stoned to death. What is meant by 'muhsan' is a man who has married a woman properly and has had sexual intercourse with her in a proper way.


But if he has not been a muhsan, he is beaten one hundred lashes and then banished to another town where he should be imprisoned for a year. A slave who commits adultery or fornication is to be beaten fifty lashes. A slave woman is to be treated likewise, even if they are married. Besides, they are not exiled nor is a woman exiled.


The person who committed adultery does not receive the hadd punishment except through confession, or through pregnancy which becomes evident, or through the testimony of freeborn adult men of integrity who witnessed the action like a mirwad in a mukhulah. (A 'mirwad' is the little stick for applying kohl or antimony to the eyelids. 'Mukhulah' is the container for kohl or antimony). The witnesses must see the action at the same time. And if one of them failed to complete the description, the three should receive hadd punishment for qadhf (or false accusation of fornication).


A There shall be no hadd punishment for anybody who is not mature.


If a man has intercourse with a slave woman belonging to his father, he is to be given hadd punishment. But if a man had intercourse with a slave woman belonging to his son, he shall not be given the hadd punishment. But she must be valued and he will pay the value and own her, even if she did not conceive. A joint owner of a slave woman who had intercourse with her is to be disciplined and he will pay the the balance of her value if he has the money. But if she did not conceive, the joint owner is given the choice of continuing to share the ownership or to permit his partner who had intercourse with her to pay the rest of the value.


If a woman who turns out to be pregnant says, "I was compelled to have sexual intercourse", she is not to be believed and she shall be given the hadd punishment except where there is a witness who testifies that she was carried away until the abductor disappeared with her, or if she comes looking for help at the time of the event, or she comes bleeding.


If a Christian rapes a Muslim woman he is to be killed.


And if a person who confessed having committed adultery retracts the judgement is repealed and he is to be left alone.


The hadd punishment can be awarded by a master to his slave or to his bondswoman in the case of adultery when a pregnancy becomes evident, or if, apart from him, four people have testified to that effect or if there is a confession. But if that bondswoman has a husband who is either a freeborn person or a fellow slave belonging to somebody other than him, then nobody can award punishment on her other than the Muslim ruler.


If a man commits sodomy with a male adult who consented, then the two must be stoned to death whether they were muhsans or not.


If anybody levels a false accusation against a freeborn person he is to be beaten eighty lashes. But if a slave commits the same offence, he is to be beaten forty lashes. But in respect of committing fornication he is to be beaten fifty lashes. If an unbeliever levels false accusation, he is to be beaten eighty lashes. But there should be no hadd punishment in respect of any who levels a false accusation against a slave or an unbeliever. But the person who levels a false accusation against a minor girl should receive the hadd punishment if a girl of that age is big enough to go to bed with. But a person who levels a false accusation of adultery against a minor boy should not receive the hadd punishment. There shall be no hadd punishment in respect of minors either in respect of levelling a false accusation of unchastity or in respect of committing fornication. Anybody who denies the paternity of another, then the former should receive the hadd punishment. Accusations of unchastity should always be given the hadd punishment even if they are veiled in innuendoes. If a man said to another, `O you homosexual', he shall receive hadd punishment.


If a man levelled a false accusation against a group of people he shall receive only one hadd punishment when all of them demand it. Afterwards he is free and guiltless.

If a man drinks wine repeatedly or commits adultery repeatedly he is to receive only one hadd punishment in respect of each of the repeated offences. This rule applies in respect of the person who levels false accusations against a group of people. If a person is liable to receive hadd punishment and at the same time liable to be executed, the execution alone is sufficient for all that, except where the hadd punishment is in respect of adultery. Under such circumstances the man must receive the hadd punishment and then be executed later on.


If a man drinks wine or some intoxicating stuff he should receive eighty lashes whether or not he is intoxicated. He must not be imprisoned.


A person to receive hadd punishment must have his clothes removed, except such as may cover his private parts. But a woman shall have clothes on except such as may protect her from the beating. The punishment is to be given to the culprits in a sitting posture. A woman under pregnancy shall not be beaten until she is delivered of her baby. Nor shall a sick man be beaten until he is well again.


A person who had sexual intercourse with a beast shall not be executed but he must be punished for it.


If a person steals a quarter of a dinar in gold, or something the value of which on the day of the theft equals three dirhams of property, or something the weight of which represents three dirhams of silver, such a person shall have his hand cut off if the stolen property was in the possession of somebody else when stolen. But there shall be no amputation if the property is stolen surreptitiously. In respect of those amounts mentioned above, the hand of a man or a woman or that of a slave is cut off. Then if the person steals again, he has his foot on the opposite side cut off. If he should steal again he will have his other hand cut off. If he steals for the fourth time, he shall have the remaining foot cut off. If he should steal for the fifth time, he shall be beaten and imprisoned.


Further, if a person confesses to having stolen, he should have his hand cut off, but if he should retract he shall be pardoned.


But he must return the article in question if he still has it, otherwise it shall be a debt upon him.


If a person takes an article from where it is being kept, he shall not have his hand cut off until he has taken the article out of the place where it is being kept. Similarly the person who steals the shrouds shall not have his hands cut off until he has taken it away from the grave. The person who steals from a house he is permitted to enter shall not have his hand cut off. Nor shall a person who steals secretly have his hand cut off. The confession of a slave to a crime which results in corporal punishments only is accepted, such as lashes in respect of false accusations or the cutting of a hand.

But his confession of crimes the punishment of which shall result in his death, is not accepted by law. Further there shall be no amputation of hands for taking a fruit which is still on a tree. Nor shall there be amputation of hands in respect of the taking of someone else's palm pith. Nor shall there be amputation of hands in respect of stealing a beast from a flock while out in fields grazing, until they come come back to their resting place, at which juncture stealing them should be punished by amputation of a hand. Nor shall there be amputation for stealing dates from a store.


There shall be no attempt to plead for leniency for a person whose case has reached the Muslim ruler upon the person being convicted of the crime of theft or adultery. But in respect of false accusation, opinions are conflicting.


If a man steals from another man's sleeve, he shall have his hand cut off. If a man steals from a store or treasury or from some booty, he shall have his hand cut off. But according to another authority he can only have his hand cut off if the amount he stole exceeded what would have been his share of that booty by three dirhams.


When the thief has his hand cut off and in returning the amount he stole, the balance shall be a debt on him of he is well-to-do, but if he is poor that balance shall not be a debt on him. However whatever circumstances he is in, the balance shall always be a debt on him if the total amount he stole is such that it is insufficient to warrant his hand being cut off.