Abbreviated Remarks Regarding Qisas

The Concept of Qisas

The article is good.  But regarding the death of   Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot, Muath al-Kasasbeh, the concept of “equal retaliation”  must be tied to a different line of thought from Islamic history.  Let me merely quote regarding the right of retaliation when a Muslim kills another Muslim on behalf of a kafir (unbeliever):

“Oh killer of a Muslim for a kafir, you have done wrong, for the just person is not the same as the unjust person…. Abu Yusuf has done wrong regarding the deen by killing a believer for a kafir.”

Not equal… but more severe retaliation.

Remember this event?

As I recall, this soldier had angst over going into battle and killing fellow Muslims.

What about this?

Conveniently, the narrative is one of mental illness and workplace violence.  Of course.  These Muslim men were perfectly comfortable with the idea of killing other Muslims on behalf of the Unbeliever.

Let me make you a bit more uncomfortable. Let’s look at the concept of blood money as a means of  “equal retaliation”.  Let’s look at the work of one of the Jurists from one of the four primary schools of jurisprudence:  Here is what ash-Shafi’i taught:

The blood money for a Jew or a Christian is one-third of that which would be given for a Muslim.

Now if we look at Jurist Abu Hanifah (the softer Hanafi school of thought) the blood money for a Jew or Christian is the same as that given for a Muslim.

But hold onto that thought for a moment.  Let’s think about women.  According to Abu Hanifah the blood money for a woman is one-half the amount given for a man regarding both her life or loss of limbs.

The concept of equal retaliation, or the payment of Diyah/blood money does not level the playing field in the court of justice nor justice meted out in the battlefield. The scales do not always balance.

Pray not to be a Jew, nor a Christian, nor a woman…. nor a Jordanian pilot flying missions against fellow Muslims –  if coming under Shari’ah and the many precedents and applications.

It is my belief that the Jordanian pilot received a more severe punishment for killing Muslims on behalf of the “kafir”.






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