"eye for an eye", or retributive justice, in traditional Islamic law

Qisas or Qiṣāṣ (Arabic: قِصَاص‎, romanized: Qiṣāṣ, lit. 'accountability, following up after, pursuing or prosecuting') is a term interpreted to mean "retaliation in kind",[1][2] "eye for an eye", or retributive justice. In traditional Islamic law (sharia), the doctrine of qisas allows a punishment analogous to the crime. Qisas is available to the victim or victim's heirs against a person convicted of murder or intentional bodily injury.[3] In the case of murder, qisas gives the right to take the life of the killer, if the latter is convicted and the court approves.[4] Those who are entitled to qisas have the option of receiving monetary compensation (diyya) or granting pardon to the person instead.


  1. Mohamed S. El-Awa (1993), Punishment In Islamic Law, American Trust Publications, ISBN 978-0892591428
  2. Shahid M. Shahidullah, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: Global and Local Perspectives, ISBN 978-1449604257, pp. 370-372
  3. Tahir Wasti (2009), The Application of Islamic Criminal Law in Pakistan: Sharia in Practice, Brill Academic, ISBN 978-9004172258, pp. 12-13
  4. Encyclopædia Britannica, Qisas (2012)