Article Jordan: Religious Authorities Drafting New Law Regulating Blood Money Payments (Diya)

On October 10, 2021, the king of Jordan’s adviser for tribal affairs, Atef al-Hajaya, confirmed that work is underway to issue a new law regulating diya — monetary compensation, or “blood money” — paid by a killer and his relatives to the families of the victims in homicide cases.

Al-Hajaya stated that the chief justice of the religious court (qadi al-qudah) and the Jordanian Board of Ifta’, an official religious institution authorized to issue religious decrees, are working together on drafting a new law regulating the amount of diya to be paid according to the circumstances of each homicide case. Al-Hajaya also stressed that individuals from victims’ families who carry out acts of violence against the perpetrator or his family, including burning, vandalism, and destroying their property, will be held accountable according to the law.

Blood Money (Diya) Under Jordanian Law

In addition to the secular criminal court system, article 105(2) of the Jordanian Constitution grants religious law (shari‘a) courts jurisdiction to enable offenders to pay diya to victims’ families.

Article 2 of Law No. 11 of 2016 on Religious Courts allows victims’ families to file blood money complaints before the courts against the perpetrator in cases of murder and injury. Furthermore, Religious Decree [Fatwa] No. 3428 of October 18, 2018, issued by the Jordanian Board of Ifta’, states that it is permissible under Islamic jurisprudence to receive compensation from a person who caused the death of another human being.

Determination of Blood Money Compensation

The Jordanian Board of Ifta’ determines the amount of blood money. According to Decree No. 129 (7/2009), issued by the Board of Ifta’, the amount of diya the offender must pay to the victim’s family is 100 camels. Because camels are not circulated as property in the majority of Islamic countries, the board has ruled that the prices of camels must be determined in the currency of the individual countries. Accordingly, on the basis of the board’s calculations, the value of 100 camels in the Kingdom of Jordan is 20,000 Jordanian dinars (about US$28,189).

According to the board, in cases of manslaughter, the diya compensation is to be 20,000 dinars and may come from male family members of the killer. In the event of premediated murder, the diya compensation is to be 25,000 dinars (about US$35,236) and must come from the killer’s personal money. If a single person’s actions cause the deaths of a number of people, he or she must pay blood money for each victim.

However, if the family of the victim demands retribution (qisaas) for the killer, they cannot receive diya compensation.

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Jordan: Religious Authorities Drafting New Law Regulating Blood Money Payments Diya. 2021. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2021-11-29/jordan-religious-authorities-drafting-new-law-regulating-blood-money-payments-diya/.

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(2021) Jordan: Religious Authorities Drafting New Law Regulating Blood Money Payments Diya. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2021-11-29/jordan-religious-authorities-drafting-new-law-regulating-blood-money-payments-diya/.

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Jordan: Religious Authorities Drafting New Law Regulating Blood Money Payments Diya. 2021. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2021-11-29/jordan-religious-authorities-drafting-new-law-regulating-blood-money-payments-diya/>.

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