Islam allows a murderer to avoid his death punishment by paying blood money to the murdered person’s relatives. What is the reason behind this provision? Often slain’s relatives are easily bribed with huge amount of money and the murderer goes scot free. Is this not great injustice? How does Islam check this loop hole?
Islam has indeed allowed the relatives of the victim to forgive the murderer. This provision is made to save a life from being taken, if the relatives of the victim desire to be merciful upon the perpetrator. This allowance, if properly benefited from, can clearly go a long way in ending generation long feuds between families. However, there can, on the other hand, be circumstances where people may misuse the allowance given by the Qur’an and allow a criminal to go free merely to earn a few pennies. Nevertheless, this misuse of the allowance relates to the administration and implementation of the allowance rather than to its spirit or to the wisdom entailed in it. Thus, it is the duty of the authority implementing the laws to safeguard all abuse of the allowance and to protect its implementation in its true letter and spirit. If, for example, the competent court of law is of the opinion that the relatives of the victim are not interested in seeking justice for their murdered relative, the state may disqualify them from taking the decision. Under such circumstances, the state itself may become the guardian/inheritor of the victim and implement the decision, which it deems justified.
We must remember that however wise and full of justice a law may be, because it is to be implemented by and upon human beings, there would always remain a chance of abuse in its implementation and administration. It is, therefore, one of the primary duties of a Muslim state to implement all necessary supplementary laws that may help in ensuring the letter and spirit of all the laws of the Shari`ah.
I hope this helps.
August 27, 2002