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Does Our Theology Fail The Innocent Child? Do Our Ulama Care?

By Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef, New Age Islam

19 March 2022

O, my God! Can these people be called civilized? The horrible and heartrending incident of killing a seven-day baby girl in Mianwali Panjab, Pakistan, on March 6, 2022, by her own 'father,' is not only terrifying and dehumanizing the environment wherein the heinous crime took place. Nevertheless, posing a question mark of its legitimacy and existence, for, the earlier peoples as Quran and other scriptures tell us used to be punished by Divine wrath and severe capital punishments on committing such heinous crimes.

 In a fit of bewilderment and shock, one may ask where are the demagogues who praise the East and its ethos sanctimoniously day in and day out?

One cannot imagine how a Muslim man, that too, a young father aged 22 could kill a seven-day-old baby girl, beautiful like a rose, savagely, only because he wanted a baby boy!

All our mullahs and religious zealots, who taunt the West and its values and question its civilized ethos on every occasion, will they now come forward and give any explanation? The traumatized young, poor mother of the innocent child, though alive but so shocked that even after several days, she is continuously being given medicines, is still in a coma-like situation and not coming to her senses. She may be stable one day, but will she trust any male anymore? Forget and forgive the horrible scene when her rosy baby was sucking on her. Suddenly, the savage husband Shahzeb snatched the baby that clung to her bosom, threw her to the ground, and fired at her five times in cold blood. By this inhuman act, the killer father did not make all the born or would-be-born baby girls vulnerable to such male atrocities, especially in a male-dominated society?

I wonder why all the savage images come from Muslim lands? 'You are a Muslim basher' may be an escapist answer, but will it satisfy a human conscience? I think it may not. This savage and barbaric image reminds me of another nine-year-old innocent girl of Yemen  6 years back, whose parents married (sold) her to an aged rich Arab Shaikh due to their wretched poverty. The savage rich man merely to satisfy his sensual desire, did not even wait for her to reach the age of  puberty, not to speak of adulthood, but on the night of their wedding, he raped her; the poor child did not survive the shock and excessive bleeding and died immediately. Her low-income family was compelled to be silent  as they thought it was God's will! The culprit, rich Shaikh went scot-free and untouched because the theology was at his side to save his skin. With bogus reasoning that the girl was married to him and being a husband, he was entitled to have sex with her without any hindrance or consideration. For, theologically, there was no age limit for marriage, justifying that it is cited that Hazrat Aisha was married to the prophet (PBUH) at nine. (Although all the reports on whose authority this theological dictum is based, are either concocted, weak or abridged, wrongly understood, interpreted by their narrators, none the less our theologians still endorsed this view.)

One more example may be relevant here, some days before an Islamabad High Court abolished a young girl's marriage on the age ground, saying that the age limit for marriage should not be less than 18. Commenting on the court's judgment Tahir Ashrafi, a consultant of prime minister Imran Khan for interfaith harmony, said," It may be a court's judgment yet not of a Shariah verdict."

You may wonder a Pakistani mullah and big mufti boasted to a brainwashed audience that if any one of you dare to marry a widowed woman, I guarantee him to have a 16-year girl as a spouse, if not 16 years old, then two girls of 8 years and three girls of 4. The sarcastic tone tells you the degree of respect for women in his mind! There was none to question the uncivilized mufti. What kind of  nonsense is this! Still a majority of Muslim jurists believe and propagate that a wife is a chattel (milk) of her husband, so all is well for these long-bearded boasting men who still dream for the revival of the caliphate wherein they may find concubines on sale, young lads are enslaved and satisfy their sensual desires as was the case in old days.

When you raise a question regarding a girl's age, ulama retort absurdly that questioning an elder's wisdom is sinful on the one hand. On the other, you people are opening the door for promiscuity, adultery, and westernization! How can one engage with the people of this mindset?

Concerning the issue at hand, Ulama and muftis have harshly condemned this unprecedented infanticidal incident. Yet no one came forward to demand capital punishment for the horrific killing. Because be it Maulana Taqi Usmani, the great Deobandi elder jurist, or Mufti Muneebur Rahman, a major authority, from the Barelvi school of thought, everyone is dumb and silent. Because according to the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, if a father kills his ward, so being the proprietor of his issue, the killer should not be given capital punishment. Based on some false prophetic narrations for the same effect, authorities on Hadees like Tirmizi indicated that these reports were weak. I argue that there is an authentic hadees reported by Tirmizi himself: لايرث القاتل المقتول (No killer can be an heir of his slain man) The point is that according to this Hadees, every connection stands abolished between the killer and whom he has killed, thereby, a father killer may be punished with capital punishment. This opinion is further accentuated by the general Quranic sense derived from the verse:

"One who kills a human being without due justification (meaning murder of a person or for corruption in the land) his act should be regarded as he killed the whole mankind" (5:32)

 So, to me, the above-mentioned soulless father has committed two crimes at one time. On the one hand, he killed his issue, an innocent child; on the other, he did commit corruption in the land: Fasad fil Arz bringing about a vulnerability to all girl children in future. Therefore, there must be capital punishment for this inhuman being.

How strange it is that Maulvies and Mufties who issue fatwas of disbelief over very petty issues again and again, are not moved this time? The mullahs who justify killing innocent people in blasphemy are silent on this human tragedy today! These are the same people for whom Islam comes under threat with merely women marching on the street, demanding human rights. Because their "sacred" jurisprudence's credibility is at stake? It is a dilemma from which they cannot get out because they are not able to make direct inferences from Qur'an and Hadith!

 Now it is a litmus test for our clergy if they demand due punishment for the killer or not! We have to see now that if ulama dare to do ijtihad based on Quran or again, they will fall prey to the old Fiqhi swamp?


A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef is a Research Associate with the Centre for Promotion of Educational and Cultural Advancement of Muslims of India, AMU Aligarh.


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