Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Honor Killing

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Honor killing has occured in many cultures, and is the murder by family members, usually of females, who are perceived to have brought shame on the family. The attitude is that the honor of the family in the community can be protected or restored in this way. Common triggers for honour killing occur when young couples have unmarried relations with each other, or when a woman marries someone against the wishes of her parents.

In Islam, there is no punishment merely for the shame caused upon a family by their female relations, nor to restore family honor by killing them. There are, however, punishments for various types of Zina (unlawful sexual relations) in Islam. Zina includes both fornication (when they are unmarried), for which the punishment is flogging, and adultery (when they are married, but not to each other), for which the punishment is death by stoning.

Honour killing has been condemned in a recent fatwa[1], which says that the punishment for fornication by the unmarried is flogging, and must be carried out by the proper authorities.

However, some statements about women and rules to control women in Islamic primary sources very much contribute to the underlying attitudes towards women and girls held by those who commit honor killing and honor violence. There are also some related topics in Islamic sources concerning parents and their children, zina and punishments, as detailed below.

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Qur'an[edit]

Boy murdered to prevent grieving his parents by rebellion and disbelief (Kufran)[edit]

Pickthall:

60. And when Moses said unto his servant: I will not give up until I reach the point where the two rivers meet, though I march on for ages.

61. And when they reached the point where the two met, they forgot their fish, and it took its way into the waters, being free.

62. And when they had gone further, he said unto his servant: Bring us our breakfast. Verily we have found fatigue in this our journey.

63. He said: Didst thou see, when we took refuge on the rock, and I forgot the fish - and none but Satan caused me to forget to mention it - it took its way into the waters by a marvel.

64. He said: This is that which we have been seeking. So they retraced their steps again.

65. Then found they one of Our slaves, unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and had taught him knowledge from Our presence.

66. Moses said unto him: May I follow thee, to the end that thou mayst teach me right conduct of that which thou hast been taught ?

67. He said: Lo! thou canst not bear with me.

68. How canst thou bear with that whereof thou canst not compass any knowledge ?

69. He said: Allah willing, thou shalt find me patient and I shall not in aught gainsay thee.

70. He said: Well, if thou go with me, ask me not concerning aught till I myself make mention of it unto thee.

71. So they twain set out till, when they were in the ship, he made a hole therein. (Moses) said: Hast thou made a hole therein to drown the folk thereof ? Thou verily hast done a dreadful thing.

72. He said: Did I not tell thee that thou couldst not bear with me ?

73. (Moses) said: Be not wroth with me that I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my fault.

74. So they twain journeyed on till, when they met a lad, he slew him. (Moses) said: What! Hast thou slain an innocent soul who hath slain no man ? Verily thou hast done a horrid thing.

75. He said: Did I not tell thee that thou couldst not bear with me ?

76. (Moses) said: If I ask thee after this concerning aught, keep not company with me. Thou hast received an excuse from me.

77. So they twain journeyed on till, when they came unto the folk of a certain township, they asked its folk for food, but they refused to make them guests. And they found therein a wall upon the point of falling into ruin, and he repaired it. (Moses) said: If thou hadst wished, thou couldst have taken payment for it.

78. He said: This is the parting between thee and me! I will announce unto thee the interpretation of that thou couldst not bear with patience.

79. As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working on the river, and I wished to mar it, for there was a king behind them who is taking every ship by force.

80. And as for the lad, his parents were believers and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief.

81. And we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in purity and nearer to mercy.

82. And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure belonging to them, and their father had been righteous, and thy Lord intended that they should come to their full strength and should bring forth their treasure as a mercy from their Lord; and I did it not upon my own command. Such is the interpretation of that wherewith thou couldst not bear.

Hadith[edit]

A female who arranges her own marriage is a Zaniyah (commits unlawful sexual relations)[edit]

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that: the Messenger of Allah said: “No woman should arrange the marriage of another woman, and no woman should arrange her own marriage. The adulteress is the one who arranges her own marriage.” (Sahih)

Punishments by stoning for adultery between a married person and someone who they are not married to[edit]

Narrated 'Aisha: Sad bin Abi Waqqas and 'Abu bin Zam'a quarreled over a boy. Sad said, "O Allah's Apostle! This boy is the son of my brother ('Utba bin Abi Waqqas) who took a promise from me that I would take him as he was his (illegal) son. Look at him and see whom he resembles." 'Abu bin Zam'a said, "O Allah's Apostle! This is my brother and was born on my father's bed from his slave-girl." Allah's Apostle cast a look at the boy and found definite resemblance to 'Utba and then said, "The boy is for you, O 'Abu bin Zam'a. The child goes to the owner of the bed and the adulterer gets nothing but the stones (despair, i.e. to be stoned to death). Then the Prophet said, "O Sauda bint Zama! Screen yourself from this boy." So, Sauda never saw him again.
Narrated Abu Huraira and Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani: A bedouin came and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Judge between us according to Allah's Laws." His opponent got up and said, "He is right. Judge between us according to Allah's Laws." The bedouin said, "My son was a laborer working for this man, and he committed illegal sexual intercourse with his wife. The people told me that my son should be stoned to death; so, in lieu of that, I paid a ransom of one hundred sheep and a slave girl to save my son. Then I asked the learned scholars who said, "Your son has to be lashed one-hundred lashes and has to be exiled for one year." The Prophet said, "No doubt I will judge between you according to Allah's Laws. The slave-girl and the sheep are to go back to you, and your son will get a hundred lashes and one year exile." He then addressed somebody, "O Unais! go to the wife of this (man) and stone her to death" So, Unais went and stoned her to death.

No need for a judge, vigilantism is encouraged against sinners[edit]

Narrated 'Ali: Whenever I tell you a narration from Allah's Apostle, by Allah, I would rather fall down from the sky than ascribe a false statement to him, but if I tell you something between me and you (not a Hadith) then it was indeed a trick (i.e., I may say things just to cheat my enemy). No doubt I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, where-ever you find them, kill them, for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection."
Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet (peace be upon him) and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas: A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (peace be upon him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace be upon him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was informed about it.

He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up.

He sat before the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.

Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.

Carry out legal punishments on relatives and do not let the fear of blame stop you[edit]

It was narrated from `Ubadah bin Samit that the Messenger of Allah said: “Carry out the legal punishments on relatives and strangers, and do not let the fear of blame stop you from carrying out the command of Allah (SWT).” (Hasan)

Scholars[edit]

No retaliation against parents for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring[edit]

Who is Subject to Retaliation for Injurious Crimes

o1.1 - Retaliation

Retaliation is obligatory (A: if the person entitled wishes to take it (dis: o3.8)) against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right. (O: Intentionally is a first restriction and excludes killing someone through an honest mistake, while purely excludes a mistake made in a deliberate injury (def: o2.3), and without right excludes cases of justifiable homicide such as lawful retaliation.)

o1.2 The following are not subject to retaliation:

-1- a child or insane person, under any circumstances

-2- a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim;

-3- a Jewish or Christian subject of the Islamic state for killing an apostate from Islam (O: because a subject of the state is under its protection, while killing an apostate from Islam is without consequences);

-4- A father or mother (or their fathers of mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring;
Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law
Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Edited and Translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (p. 508, o1.1-2)

Vigilantism is encouraged if there is no judge to carry out Allah's punishments[edit]

Defaming the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is a kind of kufr. If that is done by a Muslim then it is apostasy on his part, and the authorities have to defend the cause of Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by executing the one who defamed him. If the one who defamed him repents openly and is sincere, that will benefit him before Allaah, although his repentance does not waive the punishment for defaming the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which is execution. If the person who defames him is a non-Muslim living under a treaty with the Muslim state, then this is a violation of the treaty and he must be executed, but that should be left to the authorities. If a Muslim hears a Christian or anyone else defaming the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) he has to denounce him in strong terms. It is permissible to insult that person because he is the one who started it. How can we not stand up the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? It is also obligatory to report him to the authorities who can carry out the punishment on him. If there is no one who can carry out the hadd punishment of Allaah and stand up for the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) then the Muslim has to do whatever he can, so long as that will not lead to further mischief and harm against other people.

See Also[edit]

External Links[edit]

  • Fatwa 101972 Ruling on honour killing