AN Abu Dhabi judge has called for new federal laws to ensure families of both male and female victims are recipients of “blood money”, or diyyah.
The mandatory payment, made to the families of anyone killed accidently by another person, is common practice in Islamic countries. It is used for both punishment and compensation, Abdul Wahab Abdool, president and chief justice of the Federal Supreme Court in the UAE said.
The UAE’s 16 Supreme Court judges, including Abdool, confirmed at a meeting this month to recommend to the Judicial Coordination Council, the body overseeing the local and federal judicial system, that diyyah be the same for male and female victims.
The UEA Constitution states that diyyah is Dh200,000 ($76,600), but can be applied differently by various courts. Sharia law, however, suggests that women should receive half what men do.
The justices agreed “more precise laws need to be adopted on a federal level to set [a male and female discrepancy] straight once and for all and avoid confusion”, Abdool said.
Sharia law is confusing the implementation of the diyyah, Abdool said, as is a conflict in the constitution.
“[The constitution] calls for the equality between men and women; on the other hand it calls for the implementation of the Islamic Sharia law … legal speaking, both are right.”
It is popularly believed the source of women receiving half the value in diyyah is the Quran. But Abdool said that while the Quran does make reference to this difference, it only specifies it should occur in inheritance. A collection of teaching from the Prophet Mohammed, the Hadith, extends the practice to the diyyah through interpretation, Abdool said.
“In the UAE, it should not be that a woman is worth more in Abu Dhabi that in Ajman, for example. We are all equal as human beings.”