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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 1 Sept 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Honour Killing: Religious Connections


By Sonika Rahman, New Age Islam

1 September, 2012

What kind of an ideology causes a man to show no remorse for murdering his own daughter, sister? Does it has anything to do with the religious teaching? In the following exercise we will try to explore these two very aspects.

A patient asked Shafilea, teenage girl, why she had drunk bleach Shafilea told "You don't know what my parents did to me."She told that her parents had accepted a formal offer of marriage from her cousin and "that is why she drank the bleach". And she didn't even like the guy, she wanted to get out of there but they had taken away her passport.

In February 2003, When Shafilea was going for the trip to Pakistan, Shafilea was abducted by her father outside the gates at Great Sankey high school in Warrington, The parents of Shafilea had spent the best part of 12 months trying to crush her will, realised they were not going to succeed and finally killed her because she had dishonored the family and brought shame on them.

Indian story of Honour killing:

In the most recent case of honour killing in India, a girl was allegedly killed by her two brothers for marrying a boy against the wishes of her family, police said. Shikha's family used to live in Harnarayan area of Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh. Around 18 months back, she eloped with Devendra, who was a friend of her brothers Dharamveer and Ravi. Following the incident, the family shifted to Mathura. Shikha married Devendra and the couple settled in Noida. Recently, Shikha called up her mother who invited her and Devendra to Mathura. Devendra told police that the brothers attacked them as they entered the house. While Devendra managed to escape, Dharamveer and Ravi caught hold of Shikha.

Statistics related to Honour killing in India is quite horrifying:

        More than 1,000 young people in India have been done to death every year owing to 'Honour Killings' linked to forced marriages and the country needs to introduce stringent legislation to deal firmly with the heinous crime.

        HISSAR  (HARYANA): Nineteen honour killings between April 9 and June 30. That translates to 80 days. Roughly, one murder every four days. Clearly, north India is waging an undeclared war against love.

What the above mentioned details suggests:

Killings are often done in the name of dishonour of family and elevated to the status of so-called "honour killings." According to the report, there are also a number of cases of fake honour killings in which stories of infidelity may be fabricated in order to get rid of somebody for financial or other reasons.

Cultural Connections of Honour Killing:

Honor killings are justified under Islam in some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia. For example, tenth-grade textbooks teach Saudi children that it is permissible to kill adulterers. In April 2008, a girl was killed by her father for talking to a boy on Facebook, an online social networking website. A leading Saudi cleric, Sheikh Ali al-Maliki, was outraged that girls had access to such websites where they could post pictures of themselves and otherwise "behave badly," but showed no concern over the girl actually killed.

"Honour killings" are justified as a necessary part of culture in other Muslim countries such as Jordan, which is technically a secular kingdom with a representative parliament. In 2001 King Abdallah presented a bill outlining stiff penalties for honor killings, but parliament rejected it, stating, "it [punishing honor killings] would encourage adultery and create new social problems." Four years later, honor killings accounted for one-third of all violent deaths in Jordan in 2005, where perpetrators received as little as six months in prison under the penal code.

This is a tribal, medieval mentality that is seen in tribes in Pakistan, India and other non Muslim countries. It's basically part of the ignorance of the tribal community.

What Holy Scripture Says:

The fact is that Islam has laid down universal fundamental rights for humanity, which are to be observed and respected under all circumstances. It is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded; women’s honor and chastity must be respected; the hungry must be fed, the naked clothed, and the wounded or diseased treated medically. All Muslims within an Islamic state must recognize these rights.

There is nothing in the Qur'an that permits or sanctions honor killings. The first and foremost basic right in Islam is the right to life. The Sacred Qur’an lays down: Whoever kills a human being, except as punishment for manslaughter or corruption on earth, it is as though he had killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind. (5:32) The Qur’an also makes clear: Do not kill a soul which Allah has made sacred except through the due process of law. (6:151)


The barbaric practice of "honor killings" prevalent in the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere is an atrocity that is wholly illegal and without scriptural basis. What is more objectionable and immoral in the eyes of millions of individuals today, is the abject failure of the governments to reign in and extirpate this heinous and criminal tradition. We thus call on every nation of the world to denounce the gruesome murders of women on the mere suspicion of sexual misconduct -- wherever in the world such injustice takes place.

For, as the sacred Qur’an commands: You, who believe, be upholders of justice, witnesses to Allah, even it be against yourselves, your parents, or your kinsmen -- whether he be rich or poor. . . . And if you distort or turn away from (truth), surely Allah is ever aware of what you do. (4:135)

Hope someday we could understand there is no honour in killing!