Societies at risk
The pace of collecting blood money escalated recently, and there has been controversy over such collection and its legality. Consequently, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Subeeh announced that a regulation will be issued very soon on the collection of donations for the purpose of resolving feuds, that is to say, blood money.
The minister has affirmed coordination between the Ministries of Social Affairs and Interior on the issuance of this regulation. This comes after monitoring several calls to collect funds for the purpose of resolving disputes arising from differences over retribution.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor has asked the Fatwa and Legislation Department about its legal opinion on individuals or charitable societies collecting donations for this purpose. This is in view of the ministry’s commitment to efficiently play its supervisory and oversight roles over charitable and fundraising activities in Kuwait. Such activities are being carried out in a chaotic manner, without following rules or regulations that prevent thugs, who are so many, from exploiting these activities.
Blood money is the sum paid by a person or his tribe to the family of the victim or the murdered, so the punishment imposed on the offender like hanging or beheading will be dropped.
Although ‘blood money’ is an ancient tribal system, it is established in Islam with rules and regulations which vary from one sect to another. However, there are great differences between the sects in the mode of payment. How? For whom?
For example, the victim must be a ‘free’ male Muslim, otherwise, there are countless complications and differences among sects.
Blood money is paid for the loss of one’s life, or less than that, such as amputation of a part of the body, for instance, as a result of unintended and unpremeditated act. This also has complications.
Nonetheless, what concerns us here is the issue of blood money which is paid due to premeditated murder, as it happened a few years ago in a famous complex where the offender took a sharp object from a shop in the same complex and used it to kill a foreign doctor in front of his family and others due to disagreement over a parking space or behavior he did not like.
The blood money phenomenon is prevalent in Saudi Arabia, where large amounts — a total of around 70 million Saudi riyals — were collected in the middle of this year. The tribe of the murderer usually uses influence to obtain consent from the victim’s family to waive the right of retribution in exchange for money.
Thus, a murderer belonging to a large, rich or influential tribe is lucky enough to avoid the punishment of cutting his neck. He is luckier than a murderer belonging to a small or poor tribe or does not have a tribe.
From all this, we see that blood money contributes to division of society and exclusion of the latter from civilization.
Sentence, temporal or physical punishments have been put in place to serve as a deterrent, based on the principle stipulated in the Holy Qura’an: “And there is for you in legal retribution [saving of] life’’.
For thousands of years, human beings have known that the survival of societies is linked to the application of retribution among their members. When an individual feels he can do whatever he pleases without being punished, this will be the beginning of the collapse of societies, and eventually, the nations.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is kindly requested to ensure justice for all members of the society by preventing or restricting the collection of blood money, such that it becomes very difficult rather than regulating it.
Regulating the collection of blood money means the rich tribe can collect this money while the small or poor tribe cannot do so. The blood money story means the rich can kill the poor and then just pay, but the poor cannot kill the rich due to his inability to pay.
Thus, what we usually hear when collecting blood money that the purpose is to save the life of someone is an inappropriate excuse. The ‘saving life’ mentioned in religious texts is not intended for the protection of murderers, it is for the liberation of slaves whose number grew because of invasions and wars. Some would buy slaves, regardless of race or color, and then release (free) them.
Ali Al Noumah Al-Qahtani, a lecturer at King Khalid University, says the system of blood money is not justifiable in societies seeking modernity.
By Ahmad Al Sarraf