14 Mart 2015 Cumartesi

Collective Responsibility: Qasama and Aqila

You most probably have heard or read the following warning in metro stations: “Safety is a shared responsibility”. Fourteen centuries ago, the issue of collective responsibility was considered under two chapters of fiqh (Islamic law) books: Kitab al-Qasama and Kitab al-Maaqil. Hence, the collective responsibility has been one of the key principles providing with public order in an Islamic society.

Consider a body is found and the murderer cannot be found. When the legal guardian (wali) of the victim sues, the guardian has a right to select fifty men in the town where the voice from the locus of crime can be heard. These men are obliged to take an oath that they are not murderers and they do not have any information about the murderer. After the oath, people of the town have to pay diyat (blood-money for murder) to the heirs of  the victim. This is called Qasama (literal meaning: to divide). If the town has fewer than fifty men, the oath is repeated until the number of oaths becomes fifty. If someone avoids taking the oath, he is put in prison until he accepts the crime or takes the oath. If there is no evidence of murder, the death is considered natural and qasama is not applied [1].

Aqila is the group of people who have to be concerned with each other, to observe each other's behavior, and have cooperation among themselves. Due to these responsibilities, they have to pay diyat for an accidental death one of the members causes [2].

By means of qasama and aqila, Islamic law has introduced the principle of collective responsibility so as to prevent crimes. Hence people would be more careful about what's going on around their environment.


[1] Ekrem Bugra Ekinci, Osmanli Hukuku (Ottoman Law), 3rd Edition, Istanbul, 2014, p. 362

[2] Ibid., p. 361-362.

Hiç yorum yok:

Yorum Gönder