We do have cases where a person did not intend to kill the other but did it by mistake. For instance, an innocent man was killed by a security guard while he was cleaning his gun. In such a case, the security guard did not intend to kill the man, but he did.
In Islam life has been valued. Not only killing someone is a major sin, but also taking away one’s own life is a great sin. Even though a loss of life happened by mistake, yet it did and the culprit shall offer both a compensation and penalty. This is the reason why Islam has set expiation in case of an unintentional murder.[irp]
Surah Nisa’s verse 92 clearly mentions the ways of expiation by the culprit upon the killing of an innocent:
1- According to the verse, if a believer was killed by mistake then the culprit is to free a slave who is a believer. Now, one thing that is to be made clear here is that the word believer here refers to a Muslim.
2-If a person who is killed by mistake is a Muslim then the culprit is not only to free a Muslim slave but also to pay the blood money.
3-If the person who is killed by mistake is a Muslim killed in the war, then the culprit is to set a Muslim slave free.
4-If a person who is killed belongs to a non-Muslim country which holds a treaty with the Islamic state then the culprit is required to set a Muslim slave free as well as pay the blood money to the victim’s family. The blood money in such a case shall be determined through the treaty signed by the two states.
5-Those who cannot set a slave free shall fast for two consecutive months. If the fast got broke or the culprit was unable to fast without a valid and legal reason, he has to start fasting from new.
In case of blood money, it is to be received by victim’s family who has the option to forgo it or give it away to charity. During the Prophet’s PBUH time, blood money was fixed as 100 camels. – Sahih al-Bukhari 6898
It is important to mention here that in case of murder, there is no definite amount of blood money set by Islam. The legal heirs can ask for any amount they want. In case of intentional murder, the judge decides if the culprit is entitled to pay the blood money or he is to be executed.
In Saudi Arabia, the blood money for the unintentional death has been set as SR 300,000. It is normally paid in case of a traffic accident when the other person dies due to the mistake of the culprit.
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