Struck and killed a child with his car without any negligence on his part
Fatwa No: 131057

Question

Dear Sir, Assalam-o-Alaikum,I am emailing to you in a situation of distress and confusion.Yesterday,I was driving on the road with my family(wife,son2 yrs,house maid)from city A to City B.The highway has small villages/towns on the way and therefore small public transports stop on the sides of the road to take and offload passengers. I was driving at my usual speed of 80-100kph.As I was passing by one such parked van, a child aged 9-10 yrs suddenly ran on the road and hit his head on the side mirror (left door) of my car.After impact he rolled to the side, and I immediately stopped the car a little ahead to help the poor victim.I took the child along with his mother to the nearest hospital but he breathed his last after a few hours due to severe head injury.All the eye witnesses, including the child's mother, his uncle who saw what happened, did not blame me, rather they all reassured me that it wasn't my fault because their child after unboarding the van ran suddenly onto the road with his guardians unable to respond/prevent him from doing so.Despite the assurances of the victim's family and my own family gave me, my heart is at unrest as I keep thinking to myself "Would Allah forgive me?".The boy (victim) was youngest among four siblings,he had two elder sisters and an elder brother. He was a blessing from Allah to that family and suddenly I was used as a means of taking away that blessing by the order of Allah.I feel so down (sad) as I have never hurt even an animal in my life and even on the road I remain utmost alert so that I don’t hit any animal if it suddenly runs onto the road.I read a similar account in article (fatwa no. 93687). (a) Am I in any liability to pay Diya?(the deceased parents, relatives have not approached me for this and seemingly do not intend to do so). After the funeral I visited the family and asked forgiveness and also gave them some moneyto help them.Am I in any liability to observe expiation (two months fast)?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

The jurists  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them established a rule which is as follows: “There is no guarantee to cover a damage which is not possible to avoid.” Therefore, if this accident happened without negligence from your part, in a way that you were driving within the permitted speed limit at that place, while taking the necessary measures, then you are not obliged to pay Diyah or offer expiation.

However, if you were able to avoid the accident by using your car horn, or by reducing the speed and so forth, and you did not do so, then this is accidental killing and you are obliged to do two things:

  1. Expiation: which is to free a Muslim slave. If you cannot find one, then you must fast for two consecutive lunar months.
  2. Paying a Diyah to the heirs of the killed person because the Diyah is like inheritance, it should be distributed on the heirs. The Diyah must be paid by your heirs Aaqilah (i.e. killer’s paternal relatives who should undertake to pay Diyah) if it is an obligation on you to pay it. Nonetheless, you should make sure whether or not they want the Diyah. However, none can renounce the share of the young heirs [of the killed person] if any. For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 89696 and 88305.

Allaah Knows best.

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