The tribal custom of taking one-third of the Diyah

Q: One of our tribal customs dictates that whoever has an accident and his family takes Diyah (blood money) or is offered condolences, the tribe requests the deceased's family to pay one-third of the Diyah to them. They claim that this is an old custom, which they have inherited from their ancestors. We have advised them that this is impermissible. Some of them have given up this custom while others have not. What is the ruling of Shari`ah (Islamic law) on this custom?

A: Diyah is the lawful right of the heirs of the killed person only and no one is entitled to have a share of it, as Allah (Exalted be He) says: ...and whosoever kills a believer by mistake, (it is ordained that) he must set free a believing slave and a compensation (blood-money, i.e. Diya) be given to the deceased’s family, unless they remit it. (Part No. 21; Page No. 241) The old custom of taking one-third of the Diyah, which is currently practiced by some tribes, is Batil (null and void). They take what is unlawful for them, because they take people's money unjustly. If customs are contrary to the rulings of Shari`ah, they should be abandoned and priority should be given to the rulings of Shari`ah. Allah (Exalted be He) says: O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.