Laws of Religion

Laws of Islam Concerning Women and Men


Trials and Punishments of Men and Women


Expiation for Unintentional Killing


From Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh/sharia§):  The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer of Ibn Rushd, the Risala of al-Shafi‛i and Reliance of the Traveller



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Expiation for unintentional killing (jurisprudence/fiqh/sharia). The scholars* agree that for unintentional killing of a free man, expiation must be performed. In such cases, payment for the death of a free Muslim man is 100 animals including 20 one-year-old camels, 20 two-year-old camels, 20 three-year-old female camels and 20 two-year-old goats. In addition, bringing to total to 100 animals, are 20 two-year-old male camels for al-Shafiʽi and Malik and 20 one-year-old male camels according to Abu Hanifa. Reliance of the Traveller (Shafiʽi school) says that diya for unintentional killing is 20 one-year-old female camels, 20 two-year-old female camels, 20 two-year-old male camels, 20 three-year-old female camels and 20 four-year-old female camels.[1] For people who deal in gold and silver and whose life does not involve camels, payment may be made in gold or silver.  The amount for the life of a free Muslim man is based on the value of 100 camels.[2] The blood-money paid for the life of a woman is one-half that paid for a man.[3]


Reliance of the Traveller says that the blood money (diya)for killing a Christian or Jew is one-third that to be paid for a Muslim. For a Zoroastrian it is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim.[4] However, if a non-Muslim who is at war with Muslims is killed, no diya is required.[5]



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*Islamic scholars disagree on certain points of law based on different methodologies used in deriving the law from the Qur’an and the traditions (sunna) concerning the life of Muhammad and his closest companions, particularly as expressed in the compiled hadiths. There are four major schools of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam: the Maliki, the Hanafi, the Shafi‛i and the Hanbali. These names are derived from the individual scholars considered to have been the founders of each school: Malik, Abu Hanifa, al-Shafi‛i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, respectively. The source texts we have used to prepare our summaries of Islamic jurisprudence contain the legal views of these different founders and schools, as described at Source Texts Used for Laws of Islam.


§The specific derived laws of fiqh summarized here are often referred to by the more general term sharia law.



Laws of Religion is a project of the Religion Research Society.


Abbreviations used in footnotes:

DJP:  The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer, by Ibn Rushd, translated by Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, published by Garnet Publishing Ltd, Reading, UK. Volume 1, 1994. Volume 2, 1996. Full text online and download for Volume 1 are here and here and for Volume 2 are here and here.

RT:    Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, revised edition 1994, published by Amana Publications, Beltsville, Maryland, USA.  Reliance of the Traveller can be found here and here.

SR:    al-Shafi‛i’s Risala: Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence, translated by Majid Khadduri, Second Edition, published by The Islamic Texts Society.

●  The sources cited are described on the page Source Texts Used for Laws of Islam.

[1] RT o4.5 (page 589)

[2] DJP 56.3 (Vol 2, pages 495-505)

[3] DJP 56.3 (Vol 2, pages 495-505), RT o4.9 (page 590)

[4] RT o4.9 (page 590)

[5] RT o4.17 (page 593)