Islam and Honor Killings

  notes

Imam Zaid Shakir


Posted Posted on 2007-07-12

73 Comments

One of the gravest charges levied against Islam, in terms of its alleged antipathy towards women, is the charge that it encourages a phenomenon known as honor killings. This un-Islamic practice consists of the murder of female family members who are seen as dishonoring their families through real or perceived acts, such as premarital sexual relations or unapproved dating.

This practice has absolutely no sanction in the Qur’an, the Prophetic practice, or in the evolved systems of Islamic law. In the case of fornication or adultery, the only way a charge can be levied against an individual, male or female, is through confession, which is discouraged, or by four people actually witnessing the male organ penetrating the female. Even if four people witnessed a naked man engaged with a naked woman, but could not actually testify that they witnessed penetration, their testimony would be rejected.

In a somewhat related issue, it should be noted that in three of the four Sunni schools of law, as is the case with all of the major Shiite schools, pregnancy is not a proof of fornication, as the possibility of rape exists in such a case. Therefore, if a single woman were to become pregnant, according to the overwhelming majority of Islamic jurists, there is no basis for punishing her. In the few well-publicized instances where a pregnant woman has been threatened with a punishment, the minority opinion of the Maliki School of law was unjustly evoked, as occurred in Nigeria[1],  or criminal malfeasance occurred as is the case in Pakistan[2]. 

In the case of dating, there is no Islamically-mandated punishment for a male or a female seeing a member of the opposite sex against the wishes of their families. Hence, to kill a female guilty of one of these offenses is not some sort of Islamic punishment, it is cold-blooded murder, and no Islamic authority can argue otherwise.

The overwhelming majority of Muslim societies are free from such practices, although they do endure in some parts of the Middle East and South Asia. According to statistics released by the United Nations in 2000 there are approximately 5,000 deaths annually from “honor” killings. Even if one death occurred due to such barbarity, it would be one too many, as the Qur’an emphasizes that whoever takes an innocent life without sanction it is as if the murderer has slaughtered the entirety of humanity (5:35).

To use the existence of such killings to smear Islam shows the desperation and misplaced priorities of those levying such attacks. Most of those deaths are the pathetic acts of sick individuals, who are far removed from the letter, as we have briefly shown above, and the spirit of Islam. An example of such an individual is Muhammad Riaz, a British Muslim of South Asian descent who died as a result of a fire he set to burn to death his wife and four daughters, allegedly because his wife resisted his attempt to arrange marriages for his daughters. His wife and daughters did perish in that fire. To present Riaz, whose daughters had neither fornicated nor dated, as anything other than a sick individual is a sad attempt to defame Islam and it teachings.

To attack Islam from this angle is a case of misplaced priorities because it distracts attention from far graver abuses of women that demand immediate redress. For example, the State Department estimates that approximately 800,000 women and girls are trafficked as sexual slaves annually. The overwhelming majority of these females are taken from and sent to nominally Christian countries. In spite of that, it would be disingenuous to use such statistics as an indictment against Christianity or Christian sexual ethics. This existence of such a practice is an affront to humanity and requires our collective attention.

Other issues that involve attacks against the persons and dignity of women such as rape and pornography are epidemic and require the immediate attention of the international community.

Saying this is not to minimize the gravity of so-called honor killings to the extent that they do occur in Muslim societies. As Muslims, we are commanded to be committed to justice. That commitment entails that as a community we oppose in the strongest terms “honor” killings and take immediate action to end such a practice in our communities. Practical steps include the following:

1. Emphasize that such killings have no sanction in the Qur’an, the Prophetic practice, or in Islamic law.
2. Declare anyone guilty of involvement in honor killings to be a cold-blooded murderer.
3. Encourage judicial authorities to enact the harshest punishments possible for anyone accused of involvement in such killings.
4. Educate our Muslim communities about the un-Islamic nature of honor killings, and the pressures, nuances, challenges and complications facing young Muslims in the West.
5. Work to eliminate the double standards and hypocrisy that exist in our communities, generally, concerning attitudes and standards relating to the indiscretions of males as opposed to females.

In conclusion, Islam honors the female, and values femininity. It is up to every Muslim to translate theoretical teachings in that regard into a beautiful reality that helps to elevate the status of women in all societies.


                                                                            Notes

1 In cases where the Maliki school is evoked, I describe that as unjustly because every effort should be made to ward off accusation of a crime in such cases. If the majority opinion does that then it should be the basis of the ruling.

2 In the Pakistani cases the Hanafi school of law, which is universally followed in Pakistan, discounts the existence of pregnancy as a basis for proof of fornication or adultery. Hence, any effort to punish a woman who comes up pregnant, especially due to rape, is a crime and a perversion of justice.

 


Comments
By Jav on July 12, 2007 at 2:53pm

May Allah give us hidaya.

By SC on July 12, 2007 at 6:05pm

This piece fails to address the actual problem of honor killings and attempts to make light of them by making human trafficking seem more morally reprehensible.

By R.T. Bann on July 13, 2007 at 7:33am

All this is very good, but when they tried to pass laws to crack down on it in Jordan it was the local Imaams who rose up in protest. In Pakistan recently Musharaff tried to make it easier for a woman to press rape charges, itwas the imaams who rose up and said that if it was easy for a woman to charge a man with rape it would lead to "sexual immorality". I read one muslim speaking these words, I see hundreds saying the opposite, who am I to believe?

By Hana on July 13, 2007 at 6:25pm

Assalaamu alaikum, SC, this piece compares not the moral significance of honor killing and sex slavery, but the statistical prevalence of the acts. R.T., the establishment of justice in any area of life is always a struggle precisely because few of us see matters clearly in our own day. I passed a book just the other day in an antique store titled, "A Biblical Justification of Slavery". The Catholic Church is embroiled in debate over the beatification of monks and nuns who were executed in the 30s by a Church-backed fascist Franco regime. In every era there are gross injustices that the majority of ordinary people and of religious leaders excuse for any number of reasons, reasons that are never founded in the light and grace of their faith-- Christian, Muslim, whatever. It's one of the great tragedies of this world that the religious so often betray their prophets and their God. By the grace of God (alhamdulillah) people like Imam Shakir are standing against this horrifying practice that no faith tradition permits and no number of shamefully misguided religious "leaders" can make permissible. I'd also remind you that in the non-hierarchical structure of Islam, the term "imam" has little innate significance, it has no authority or sanction outside of the acclaim of the community, so these Jordanian imams you mention carry no weight just by the title they claim.

By Hana on July 13, 2007 at 6:30pm

I would finally note, R.T., that in answer to the question, "Whom am I to believe?", the answer would be the teaching of the Qur'an and the hadith, both taken IN CONTEXT, and the elucidation of those by the established scholars and by those of the faith who have struggled with social justice issues. This applies equally in Christianity and Islam, the two religions I can speak about with any experience, but I'm sure also to Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.

By Khadija on July 26, 2007 at 12:48am

R.T, when you ask who to believe, you believe whoever is backed up by the quran and sunnah, and whatever imams you saw rising up; they would have no proof from the quran and sunnah for their advocating honor killings. And there are many imams and islamic scholars from those parts of the world that also speak out against honor killings.

By f.k. on August 1, 2007 at 3:37pm

It is incorrect to say that the "imams" of Pakistan oppose the taking of justice when it comes to rape. This misconception is what the secular Pakistani govt and its media setup want the world to believe, that the traditional scholars of Pakistan are profoundly anti-women. Musharraf has his own agenda, and it would be wise for thinking people to seek out the truth from both sides of the debate, not simply swallow all that the propagandist Pakistani media wishes to convey. See this article from the most prominent "imam" or Mufti in Pakistan, to get an idea of what the other side is saying. The piece was published out of the Hartford Seminary's well-known academic journal The Muslim World. The article can be found at: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1478-1913.2006.00129.x?cookieSet=1

By Imam Zaid Shakir on August 16, 2007 at 7:50pm

SC, I do not see how this article fails to address the issue of honor killings, or to make light of them. Mentioning the reality of sexual slavery was simply a secondary point, as Hana accurately reminds you. RT Bann, you imply that "Imams" support honor killings. As Khadija points out, many Imams in the Muslim world are against this foul practice, and many other practices that negatively affect women, and have no Islamic sanction. As for here in the United States, I do not know of a single Imam who defends this practice. As FK suggests, it is a gross generalization to assume or imply that all Imams are pre-modern, women-hating oppressors. It is interesting that in the most publicized rape case in Pakistan, that of Mukhtar Mai, it was the village Imam who announced in his Friday sermon that the gang rape had taken place and he urged the villagers to alertthe police. He then reported the incident to a journalist and it subsequently reached the attention of the entire world. It is easy to perpetuate biased stereotypes and to overlook evidence that argues against our entrenched assumptions and understandings. It is also conforting to imagine that we live in a world free of nuances. It is far more difficult to transcend all of that and work for greater understanding that can help us to create a safer and saner world for all of our children. I do thank you both for taking the time to respond and hope to hear from you in the future.

By jawad Al-Nawab on June 4, 2008 at 7:59am

for me a very moving and needed reminder that I simply do not do enough to oppose injustice by my actions and inactions. I think of my four year old daughter - how beautiful and precious she is and know i've been culpable by my silence, indifference and indulgent desires when other of my fellow humanity suffer. How selfish and dishonest of me. So this piece has just made me go to www.antislavery.org/ and offer to help - i hope i can overcome my silence and selfish ego. thank you - truly thanks with peace

By Iman Hamdani on July 5, 2008 at 12:37pm

Honor killings are truly a sin on the ummah. It is such a crime against our own Muslim sisters. May Allah protect us from our own injustices. Ameen. Thank you for your article Imam Zaid

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on October 14, 2010 at 3:15pm

It really is a shame the amount of misunderstanding there is in this country and I'm sure in many others about the Islamic faith. People just believe what radicals say about it and don't bother to look into the religion at all because so many just link 9/11 and terrorism with Muslims. The unfortunate thing about this is that there are way more very nice Muslim people in the world than there are Muslim terrorists. Islam is in itself a peaceful religion, just as all religions are. They unfortunately get a bad name when crazy people commit terrible acts in the name of a certain religion.

By accident helpline on November 25, 2010 at 10:51pm

Really accede this post. harder to arrangement the adequate from the bad sometimes, but I ahead you nailed it! accident claims

By Monty Richter on December 25, 2010 at 11:21am

Great writing! I want you to follow up to this topic!? <a href="http://www.live-girls-webcam-chat.com/">satellitenbilder live</a>

By Antwan Wilson on December 26, 2010 at 5:31am

Great post, been after that!! <a href="http://alternativemedicine.org.in/chiropractic.html">chiropractic institute in india</a>

By Amy on December 28, 2010 at 6:12am

Great writing, been waiting for that. Thanks <a href="http://www.SecurityCubed.com">home security system</a>

By Carolyn Bowden on December 29, 2010 at 4:37am

Great post! I wish you could follow up on this topic? <a href="http://www.cigars-now.com/humidors.html">humidor</a>

By Daren on January 2, 2011 at 1:40am

This is the best thing I have read today... -Warm regards Hector <a href="http://www.live-fetisch-webcam-chat.com/webcam-chat-fetisch.html">deutschland chat</a>

By Brigitte Haney on January 20, 2011 at 3:00pm

Maybe the most influential read I read today... <a href="http://www.fitness-buch.com/">fitness studio berlin</a>

By Isidro on January 27, 2011 at 8:55am

Maybe the most influential paper that I have read today! <a href="http://www.oregonlngpropertysearch.com/">moncler jacket</a>

By Nicolas on January 28, 2011 at 12:13pm

I'm very happy that you wrote that post!! -Yours, Araceli <a href="http://www.asparagus-soap.com/index.php/scrubs.html">Oatmeal scrubs</a>

By Courtney on January 30, 2011 at 10:59am

Great writing! You should definitely follow up to this topic =D -Kindest regards Heath <a href="http://www.cigars-now.com/cigars/padron.html">padron</a>

By Bradford on January 31, 2011 at 10:37am

This is the best page I read this year??? Yours Hal <a href="http://www.kaufen-viagra.com/">silagra kaufen</a>

By Vance on February 1, 2011 at 2:00pm

This is the most amazing paper I have read ever!!! -Thank you Willie <a href="http://www.kaufen-viagra.com/">impotenz selbsthilfe</a>

By Winnie on February 2, 2011 at 3:46pm

I am glad you said that!! Thank You, Brianna <a href="http://www.lida-schlankheitskapseln.com/">li da kaufen</a>

By Bernadine Beyer on February 9, 2011 at 8:32am

The GREATEST post that I read in my life!!! <a href="http://www.sumobulldogs.com/">bulldog pups for sale</a>

By Jerri on February 13, 2011 at 9:53am

Maybe the best topic that I have read in my life :D Brittany <a href="http://www.kredite-einfach.com/">online kredit ohne schufa</a>

By Clare Odonnell on February 14, 2011 at 12:41pm

Mervin is the greatest!! <a href="http://www.gume-oblak.si">gume</a>

By computer monitor reviews on February 14, 2011 at 4:01pm

Hey very good website! Man Attractive Remarkable I will bookmark your blog site and consider the feeds also.

By Marlon on February 16, 2011 at 1:03pm

I am curious what Sarah thinks with that :P Gwendolyn <a href="http://www.houseofrapidcreditrepair.com/">credit repair</a>

By Wyatt on February 20, 2011 at 11:43am

I am wondering exactly what Frances can do with that :D Dave <a href="http://www.oregonlngpropertysearch.com/">moncler jacket</a>

By Flip on April 25, 2011 at 11:24pm

I'm not easily impressed. . . but that's imrspesnig me! :)

By affordable car insurance quotes on May 16, 2011 at 10:07pm

Good website! I truly love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I'm wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I've subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day! <a >find affordable car insurance</a>

By Antoine on May 22, 2011 at 6:19am

You got great points there, that's why I always love checking out your blog. My blog: rachat credit banque aussi <a href="http://www.rachatdecredit.net">Rachat De Credit</a> voiture

By low cost car insurance on June 14, 2011 at 5:47pm

Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your web-site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and just couldn't come across. What an ideal web site. <a >affordable car insurance</a>

By flower delivery thailand on June 18, 2011 at 3:02am

I really like it. such a wonderful and knowledgeable post you have posted.

By Francis Halbert on June 29, 2011 at 3:05am

Hi there, just became aware about your weblog via Google, and discovered that it can be seriously informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I'll appreciate for those who continue this in future. Many people today will probably be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

By Lionel Kakeh on July 1, 2011 at 9:56am

I don't even recognize how I stopped up suitable here, having said that I thought this put up was terrific. I do not recognize who you may be but certainly you are going to a famous blogger inside the event you are not already. Cheers!

By Santo Horan on July 4, 2011 at 6:59am

An individual built several advantageous facts presently there. I did looking with regard to inside the challenge and also noticed a lot of men and girls could agree inside your web page.

By low cost auto insurance on July 5, 2011 at 8:28pm

I'm so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc. <a href="http://barbarouslycrunched.info/the-web-is-the-best-method-to-locate-cheap-automobile-insurance-coverage/">affordable auto insurance</a> <a href="http://geobloggers.org/advice-on-where-to-find-an-inexpensive-auto-insurance/">affordable auto insurance</a>

By compare auto insurance quotes on July 15, 2011 at 4:17am

I was just looking for this information for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your web site. I wonder what's the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this type of informative web sites in top of the list. Generally the top sites are full of garbage. <a >compare auto insurance prices</a> <a >compare auto insurance quotes</a> <a >auto insurance quotes comparison</a>

By edu backlinks on July 20, 2011 at 2:39am

Great post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am inspired! Extremely useful info specially the final part :) I handle such info a lot. I was seeking this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck. <a >get edu backlinks</a>

By Wedding Fashion on July 28, 2011 at 3:07am

I am so happy here and enjoy this story. It brings me some special feelings. Hope you have a cheerful day.

By Wedding Fashion on August 2, 2011 at 1:23am

This is a great platform for us to share our opinion, suggestions and comments. Let's enjoy it.

By virginia car insurance quotes on August 9, 2011 at 9:09pm

Hi there, You've done an incredible job. I

By concrete floor paints on August 20, 2011 at 12:12pm

Thanks for one's marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and may come back someday. I want to encourage you to continue your great work, have a nice morning!

By concrete floor paints on August 20, 2011 at 12:15pm

Honor Killing is growing at rapid pace.Its really a curse for society.Even educated people doing this.There should be some restrict laws against it and stop killing innocent people.Nice post about...

By mivpl on August 21, 2011 at 10:52pm

indulgent desires when other of my fellow humanity suffer. How selfish and dishonest of me. So this piece has just made me go to .<a href="http://www.spela-casino.org/">casinospel</a>

By Diamonds Investment on August 25, 2011 at 3:48am

Thanks for taking this opportunity to discuss this, I feel fervently about this and I like learning about this subject. If possible, as you gain information, please update this blog with more information. I have found it really useful. <a href="http://www.diamondglobalsales.com">Diamonds Investment</a> | <a href="http://www.diamondglobalsales.com">Diamonds as an Investment</a

By spiritual healer on August 25, 2011 at 7:55am

I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a great site. <b><a href="http://www.healerliberator.com/">spiritual healer</a></b>

By razors for men on August 28, 2011 at 8:03am

I was glad I happen to stop by on your blog. My research is almost done, thanks for sharing this.<b><a href="http://www.mens-razors.com">razors for men</a></b> | <b><a href="http://dog-behavior-tips.com/dog-grooming/">dog grooming</a></b>

By Diamonds For Sale on August 31, 2011 at 11:04pm

I must show my thanks to the writer just for rescuing me from such a crisis. As a result of looking throughout the world-wide-web and seeing thoughts which were not productive, I assumed my entire life was well over. Being alive devoid of the solutions to the difficulties you’ve resolved as a result of your entire site is a serious case, as well as the kind which could have in a negative way affected my entire career if I had not discovered the website. Your personal natural talent and kindness in dealing with almost everything was helpful. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come upon such a point like this. I am able to at this point relish my future. Thanks so much for your high quality and effective help. I will not hesitate to propose your web site to any individual who needs to have counselling on this problem.

By Quinceanera Dresses on September 1, 2011 at 3:23am

I wanted to be the first to comment on this post and say that the points you have touched here are really interesting and inspiring. <b><a href="http://www.weddinggowns-wholesale.com/Wholesale-quinceanera-dresses_c16">Quinceanera Dresses</a></b>

By average cost of health insurance on September 7, 2011 at 11:57pm

Sometimes everything works differently than what you expected so it's important to go with the flow of the game. <a href="http://www.averagecostinsurance.com/healthinsurance.html">average cost of health insurance</a>

By Corrinla on September 8, 2011 at 12:49am

The article is worth while reading,I like it very much and which you shared the info in this post is very useful.

By Florida Car Insurance on September 8, 2011 at 1:00pm

We see many Women in America support the Muslim practices. Yet when you ask them about Sharia Law and Honor Killings, they look dumbfounded. Some must just think it is

By evin on September 11, 2011 at 1:57pm

After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your web site. I wonder what

By Buy Acai on September 16, 2011 at 12:15pm

I believe there is a lot of misunderstanding concerning Islam. We need more sites like yours to present the facts.

By Clyde on September 18, 2011 at 11:51pm

Hey there. I want to drop you a quick note to state my thanks. I've been following your blog for a month or so and get picked up lots of reliable information together with appreciated the way you've structured your blog. I will be seeking to perform my own personal website on the other hand consider its too general and I would like to focus much more about scaled-down issues.

By Mickey Habiby on September 20, 2011 at 3:17am

Nice post, I really admire this web <a href="http://live-chatsoftware.com/">live help chat software</a>

By Shop Window Dressing on September 24, 2011 at 7:04pm

I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise.

By Android developer on October 21, 2011 at 12:24am

keep up the nice work, and I will be a frequent visitor for a very long time.This is a really good read for me. Must admit that you are one of the best blogger I have ever read. Thanks for posting this informative article.

By web hosting provider on November 17, 2011 at 5:04am

pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Thanks!

By alfuzosin extended-release tablets on November 23, 2011 at 12:21pm

Condition makes, and condition breakes.

By buy revia on November 24, 2011 at 12:58pm

As many heads as many wits.

By Antabuse on November 24, 2011 at 1:12pm

Every man slams the fat sows Arse.

By Register domain name on December 5, 2011 at 1:44am

Really good content Thanks for the update; it

By Non-Plagiarized Essays on January 17, 2012 at 12:42pm

Hi ! I love the common sense and judgement of the contributor. Terrific to view such concepts talked about on the internet. You actually should stimulate guest communication and chat <a href="http://www.magicessays.com">Plagiarism Free Term Papers</a>. Carry on the excellent work!

By Buy Essay on January 31, 2012 at 1:38am

Outstanding information. Appreciate your web blog. Simply a idea. That's not me promoting Google in any respect, however i have noticed that you aren't using Google Analytics on your website. This is a great way to increase your site and generate income from it in a better way. It actually allows to keep track of visits to check out precisely what specific content material is most liked. I recommend it. Another great piece of software for that purpose is PIWIK and it's an open source no cost package that you install on your own web hosting account <a href="http://www.royalessays.com/buy_essay_online">Buy Essay Online</a>

By Motivation to lose weight on April 6, 2012 at 10:00pm

d9uLaD Im obliged for the article post.

By airport taxi on April 15, 2012 at 5:12am

Thanks for this wonderful post and i really recommened it!

By TimurDumb on April 17, 2012 at 12:22am

I'd like to give thanks to you pertaining to your blog. You have a lot of entertaining information as a result the site is very beneficial. I am a university student in Southern california and I have got an important school assignment scheduled in the week. I am just frozen and get writers-block presently as I am investigating. Would just like anyone to support me modify the cost-free article I found over the internet <a href="http://www.customessaymeister.com/customessays/Architecture/6150.htm">greek and roman contributions essay</a>. That document fits my personal prerequisites nevertheless is authored in an undesirable fashion and there are sentence structure errors. Do you reckon I would proceed? Now i'm simply just anxious for help, and so any kind of idea would be wonderful.

By location guadeloupe on April 27, 2012 at 2:28am

Hello, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to �return the favor�.I'm trying to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

By Foister on October 30, 2012 at 6:01am

A couple of months ago I discovered another website that talked in depth about this subject. I'm glad you were able to shed some light on what’s really happening out there. Some webistes are overtly biased towards issues like this. Exactly where do you believe the industry is going in response to this? <a >ceasuri perete personalizate</a><a >imprimare pungi</a>

Leave a Comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


Categories

NID Shop
 
Latest Tweets
 
NID Newsletter