And this kind of cruel killings to save family honor had happened, still happening, and will remain to happen—only to a Muslim family. Honor killings happen only to some designated Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, the Gaza strip and the West Bank (Palestine), Jordan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Somalia, Turkey, Iran and some other south and central Asian countries. Bangladesh though a Muslim majority country—regular pattern of honor killings never happened as of today. But it is not unknown or impossible to record some stray incidences in Bangladeshi rural Muslim family (only) in which girl was poisoned by family members, or asked to commit suicide after being impregnated by unwed sexual intercourse. However, this same kind of case history was never heard, or recorded in the non-Muslim family of Bangladesh.
Honor killing is different from other killings
Case-1: " Two months ago, when she tried to run away yet again, Kina (father of the girl) grabbed a kitchen knife and an ax and stabbed and beat the girl [his daughter] until she lay dead in the blood-smeared bathroom of the family's Istanbul apartment. He then commanded one of his daughters-in-law to clean up the mess. When his two sons came home from work 14 hours later, he ordered them to dispose of the 5-foot-3 corpse, which had been wrapped in a carpet and a blanket. The girl's head had been so mutilated, police said, it was held together by a knotted cloth."
Case-2: "Kifaya Husayn, a 16-year-old Jordanian girl, was lashed to a chair by her 32-year-old brother. He gave her a drink of water and told her to recite an Islamic prayer. Then he slashed her throat. Immediately afterward, he ran out into the street, waving the bloody knife and crying, 'I have killed my sister to cleanse my honor.' Kifaya's crime? She was raped by another brother, a 21-year-old man. Her judge and jury? Her own uncles, who convinced her eldest brother that Kifaya was too much of a disgrace to the family's honor to be allowed to live. The murderer was sentenced to fifteen years, but the sentence was subsequently reduced to seven and a half years, an extremely severe penalty by Jordanian standards."
Case-3: “A 25-year-old Palestinian who hanged his sister with a rope: "I did not kill her, but rather helped her to commit suicide and to carry out the death penalty she sentenced herself to. I did it to wash with her blood the family honor that was violated because of her and in response to the will of society that would not have had any mercy on me if I didn't . . . Society taught us from childhood that blood is the only solution to wash the honor."
Case-4: "Samia Sarwar, 29, mother of two boys aged 4 and 8, was shot dead today in lawyer Hina Jillani's office by a bearded man accompanying her mother and uncle. `He's my helper, I can't walk,' said the mother, when Hina told the two men to get out. As the mother went to sit down in front of Hina's desk, and Saima stood up from her chair, the bearded man whipped out a pistol from his waistcoat and shot Saima in the head, killing her instantly."
Case-5: ABU QASH, Palestine: Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud (mother of 9 children) killed her daughter ‘Rofayda Qaoud’ who had been raped by her brothers and was impregnated. Armed with a plastic bag, razor and wooden stick, Qaoud entered her sleeping daughter's room last Jan. 27, 2003. "Tonight you die, Rofayda," she told the girl, before wrapping the bag tightly around her head. Next, Qaoud sliced Rofayda's wrists, ignoring her muffled pleas of "No, mother, no!" After her daughter went limp, Qaoud struck her in the head with the stick. The 43-year-old mother of nine said. "I had to protect my children. This is the only way I could protect my family's honor."Case-6: A 23 year old Rania Arafat, whose plight was broadcast live on national TV in Jordan. Rania was promised to her cousin as a very young child. Rania repeatedly told that she doesn't love him and she is in love with someone else. She pled with her family to allow her to marry her lover, instead. She ran away twice, including two weeks before her forced marriage. She wrote to her mother and pled for forgiveness and understanding. Her parents promised that she would not be harmed and she could return home. On August 19, 1997, Rania returned home. The same night, her younger brother, Rami, shot her five times in the head and chest, killing her immediately. Her youngest brother was chosen to commit the murder not only to allow his defense to find protection under the laws protecting so-called honour crimes, but also because he was a juvenile. Rami served six months in jail for his crime.
Case-7: Amal, another Arab woman and victim of honour killing was run away because she insisted on her independence. Her family said that they were ashamed because of that and the gossip of neighbors. One night, when she returned home and went sleep, her brother accompanied by Amal's father, strangled her. He said: "I strangled her. She didn't fight back. I recited the "Holly Koran" as she was dying… it took a few minutes and she was dead." He and his father both given light sentences.Case-8: Death of Aqsa Pervez: A reflection on Canadian Muslim-Pakistanis-Honor killing in Canada!, December 16, 2007
A young Mississauga teenager (16-year old) Aqsa Pervez, was killed by her father last week who later called the police and confessed. Mohammad Pervez is now in police custody and his case hearings have begun. The young girl was killed by strangulation for her refusal to wear the hijab.
Case- 9: Texas manhunt on for father of slain his two girls (January 3, 2008)
Texas authorities continued a manhunt today for an Egyptian-born taxi driver accused of murdering his two teenage daughters. Yaser Abdel Said, 50, was wanted on a warrant for capital murder after police say he shot the girls Tuesday and left them to die in his taxi, which was found parked in front a hotel in Las Colinas, a suburb north of Dallas. Police said Mr. Said should be considered armed and dangerous.
Friends of Amina Yaser Said, 18, and Sarah Yaser Said, 17, described the girls to the Dallas Morning News as "extremely smart — like geniuses," saying the slain sisters had been enrolled in advanced placement classes and were active in soccer and tennis at suburban Lewisville High School. Family and friends told reporters that the girls' Westernized lifestyle caused conflict with their Muslim father, who immigrated from Egypt in the 1980s.
"He was really strict about guy relationships and talking to guys, as well as the things she wears," Kathleen Wong, a friend of the girls, told KTVT-TV, the Dallas CBS affiliate. Two boys who said they had been dating the sisters told KXAS-TV in Dallas that Mr. Said was upset that his daughters were involved with non-Muslims.
"She just wanted a normal life, like any American girl wanted," one of the boys told the NBC affiliate station, adding that Sarah "was always kind, gentle, always cheerful, always had a smile on her face."Dead: Amina and Sarah Said but .... family honour intact
Had it been the tribal/cultural practice, ‘honor killing’ would exist amongst the Arabs only. But honor killing does happen amongst the non-Arab Muslims also. Also Arabs belonged to all religions (Muslims, Christians, Jews, Bhai etc.) would practice honor killing with equal prevalence. Fact of the matter is—no Arab Christians, Jews or Bahai etc do practice this uncivilized act at all. Only Arab Muslims do practice this heinous act with a regular pattern.
Honor killing does happen only amongst the Muslims and these honor killings get support and encouragement from the ethical teachings of religion Islam. In 1986 this kind of honor killing did happen in the United States of America in an Arab Muslim family. In 2003 honor killing happened in Sweden again in a Muslim family. However, some very rare, sporadic case of such killing might have happened in other society or people of other religion. But they are no where near to compare with the regular pattern, or routine feature of honor killings which do happen in the Muslim nations that I have mentioned. It has been reported that in Pakistan and in Jordan several hundreds of “honor killings” do happen every year. Perhaps, it will be more plausible to name this so called ‘honor’ as the “Islamic honor”, which Muslims stupendously try to save by killing their love one!
Dictums of Quran and Hadiths which may dictate/incite honor killing:
Quran- 4:15 “If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witness from amongst you against them; if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them. Or God ordain for them some (other) way.”
Quran-24:2 “The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication—flog each of them with hundred stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by God, if ye believe in God and the last day.”
Quran-17:32 “ Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).
Quran-33:33 “stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display.”
Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 63, Number 196:
Narrated Abu Huraira: A man from Bani Aslam came to Allah's Apostle while he was in the mosque and called (the Prophet ) saying, "O Allah's Apostle! I have committed illegal sexual intercourse." On that the Prophet turned his face from him to the other side, whereupon the man moved to the side towards which the Prophet had turned his face, and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I have committed illegal sexual intercourse." The Prophet turned his face (from him) to the other side whereupon the man moved to the side towards which the Prophet had turned his face, and repeated his statement. The Prophet turned his face (from him) to the other side again. The man moved again (and repeated his statement) for the fourth time. So when the man had given witness four times against himself, the Prophet called him and said, "Are you insane?" He replied, "No." The Prophet then said (to his companions), "Go and stone him to death." The man was a married one. Jabir bin 'Abdullah Al-Ansari said: I was one of those who stoned him. We stoned him at the Musalla ('Id praying place) in Medina. When the stones hit him with their sharp edges, he fled, but we caught him at Al-Harra and stoned him till he died.
(See also Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 63, Number 195.)
Sahi Buchari: 8:6814:
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansari: “A man from the tribe of Bani Aslam came to Allah’s Messenger [Muhammad] and informed him that he had committed illegal sexual intercourse; and he bore witness four times against himself. Allah’s Messenger ordered him to be stoned to death as he was a married person.”
Sahi Muslim No. 4206:
“A woman came to the prophet and asked for purification by seeking punishment. He told her to go away and seek God’s forgiveness. She persisted four times and admitted she was pregnant. He told her to wait until she had given birth. Then he said that the Muslim community should wait until she had weaned her child. When the day arrived for the child to take solid food, Muhammad handed the child over to the community. And when he had given command over her and she was put in a hole up to her breast, he ordered the people to stone her. Khalid b. al-Walid came forward with a stone which he threw at her head, and when the blood spurted on her face he cursed her.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 2. pg 1009; and Sahih Muslim Vol 2. pg 65:
Hadhrat Abdullah ibne Abbaas (Radiallahu Anhu) narrates the lecture that Hadhrat Umar (Radiallaahu Anhu) delivered whilst sitting on the pulpit of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). Hadhrat Umar (Radiallahu Anhu) said, "Verily, Allah sent Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) with the truth, and revealed the Quran upon him. The verse regarding the stoning of the adulterer/ess was from amongst the verse revealed (in the Quraan). We read it, secured it and understood it. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) stoned and we stoned after him. I fear that with the passage of time a person might say, ‘We do not find mention of stoning in the Book of Allah and thereby go astray by leaving out an obligation revealed by Allah. Verily, the stoning of a adulterer/ress is found in the Quraan and is the truth, if the witnesses are met or there is a pregnancy or confession."
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever guarantees me that he will guard his chastity, I will guarantee him Paradise”.
Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nisa’i and others:
Abu Hurayrah reports that the Messenger of Allah said, “No one commits adultery while still remaining a believer, for faith is more precious unto Allah than such an evil act!” In another version, it is stated, “When a person commits adultery he casts away from his neck the bond that ties him to Islam; if, however, he repents, Allah will accept his repentance”.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “O mankind! Beware of fornication/adultery for it entails six dire consequences: three of them relating to this world and three to the next world. As for the three that are related to this world, they are the following: it removes the glow of one’s face, brings poverty, and reduces the life-span. As for its dire consequences in the next world they are: it brings down the wrath of Allah upon the person, subjects him to terrible reckoning, and finally casts him in hell-fire.”
The above Quranic verses and authentic sahih hadiths clearly demonstrate beyond doubt that Prophet Muhammad, under Allah’s direction, stoned adulterers to death and flogged fornicators. Allah’s decree/choice of death for fornicators (Quran: 4:15) and flogging adulteress 100 times with no mercy (Quran: 24:2, which also could lead to certain death) has clearly sanctioned/dictated dreadful punishment for sexual intercourse outside marriage. It is from these scriptural divine spirits Iranian fundamentalist Islamic government practices stoning and flogging adulterers even today. The Iranian Supreme Court sanctioned that an adulteress should be buried up to her chest and stoned to death. Mullahs of Iran know the hadiths quite well. This august body is closely following Allah’s prophet. It is also quite prudent to consider that Muslim parents those who are practicing honor killing are directly motivated, or influenced by the above scriptural and historical (Hadiths) support; hence they are able to commit heinous crime called ‘honor killing’ with (almost) impunity, exultantly and with ample satisfaction that they are following the strict Islamic ethical code to guard chastity, as the holy Prophet repeatedly cautioned Muslims so seriously to guard their women’s chastity.
Islamic ethics for adultery:
The Arabic word ‘Zina’ means all extramarital sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. According to Islam “Zina” constituted social suicide—an entire society commits suicide over time if it allows fornication and adultery to go unpunished in the Islamic style. As per Islamic justice—unmarried fornicators receive a hundred stripes, but married adulterers must die by stoning, as described in the sahih hadiths.
The Saudi Ambassador to London, Ghazi al-Qusaibi, says that stoning may seem irrational to the western mind, but it is "at the core of the Islamic faith." An intellectual, the Saudi ambassador to London asserted that stoning adulterers to death is a legitimate punishment for society. He also says that Westerners should respect Muslin culture on this matter.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
“Adultery in Islam is one of the most heinous and deadliest of sins. Its enormity can be gauged from the fact that it has often been conjoined in the Qur’an with the gravest of all sins: shirk or associating partners with Allah.
Hani Ramadan head of the Islamic Center in Geneva (Hani Ramadan is the elder brother of famed Swiss Muslim intellectual Tarek Ramadan, who are both the grandsons of Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.) stated, “Islam has taken a firm and decisive stance against Zina (fornication or adultery). Allah, the Almighty, commands in explicit and unequivocal words: “And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way.” (Al-Isra’: 32).”
Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Illahi Muhajir Madani (Illuminating Discourses on the Noble Qur’an, Karachi, Pakistan, Zam Zam, 2003) also follows this tactic of describing society that does not undergo Islamic punishments for the two sexual crimes. Families fall into ruin, which means society also is ruined. Sexual sins also cause widespread disease (vol. 6, pp. 360-66).
Al Skudsi bin Hookah , (roving reporter and foreign correspondent for The Gaza Gajeera.):
“I am very unhappy. Our way of life is under attack. And we are not fighting back. Deep down, we know that when a woman has disgraced her family, nothing will restore honor except by killing her. This is understood in Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, the Gaza strip and the West Bank. So why are we Arabs telling the Western press that honor killing is cultural, that it is not really part of Islam? Our way of life is based on maintaining our honor. And make no mistake about it: a woman does tarnish her family's honor by engaging in pre-marital sex, or by getting herself raped, when she seeks divorce and when she marries against her family's wishes. And keeping our women pure is a big part of our honor. So there's no point saying honor killing isn't really part of our religion. Honor and Islam are inextricably bound; they are what give our life meaning. A strong religion demands we choose to maintain our honor.”
Status of Women in Muslim society:
According to Islamic tradition the woman is an object owned by the man who assumes responsibility for her behavior and her life. The social and religious traditions lead to the isolation of the woman in her home. She is required to cover her entire body in order to maintain the honor of the man. In Qur’an, prophetic tradition and law, one finds a very strong presumption of women’s chastity along with numerous safeguards to prevent any imputation of un-chastity A Muslim feminist sexual ethics must help create the conditions for the Qur’anic and traditional values of modesty and chastity to be lived by Muslim women and men in ways that are faithfully chosen and equitably maintained.
A woman who is either raped or commits adultery becomes the source of shame to her family. People will not marry her because she has been spoiled; she and her family becomes the object of gossip of everyone in the society; hence the entire family can lose prestige. No one would give a daughter to the brothers of that girl in marriage and no one would marry her sisters. The family and even the extended family are maligned and become outcasts. This can only stop if the family cleanses that stain with blood. The woman thus defiled must be killed even if she is a victim of rape.
Role of Misogynistic attitude in Islam:
Islam is dreadfully anti-women. This statement can be proven with 100% guarantee by the well known and established fact that—women folks in every Muslim country in general, and in every Islamic paradise (country where Islamic Shariaat is enforced) in particular, are severely subjugated, oppressed, and considered less than second class citizen. Women in Islam are considered half human and in the Quran women have half the rights of men, sister has half the rights of brother, and women are considered deficient in intelligence.
Practically and Literally Islam consider women as the sources of great shame. Prophet Muhammad said women are awrah which can be translated as object of shame. What is awrah? The Encyclopedia of Islam defines 'awrah’as pudendum, which is the external genitals, especially of the female. The word Pudendum derives from the Latin pudor which means sense of shame and modesty. Therefore, awrah signify an object of shame that needs to be covered.
Interestingly, in the Indian sub-continent (Bangladesh-India-Pakistan)—women have another alternative name calling, in spite of having their usual name for the English word woman in the respective language. And this famous name calling is “Auraat” and common in all the three countries of the Indian sub-continent. Obviously this common word “Auraat” for women came from the Arabic word Awrah. This common word “Auraat” is usually used as the synonym for woman with empathy, hatred, mercy and shame.
According to the following Hadiths, women not only have ten 'awrah, but the woman herself is perceived as 'awrah: "The woman is 'awrah. When she goes outside (the house), the devil welcomes her" (Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut , Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 65. Reported by Tirmizi as a true and good Ahadith).
" Hazrat Ali (rightly guided Caliph) reported the Prophet saying:
“Women have ten ('awrah). When she gets married, the husband covers one, and when she dies the grave covers the ten." ( Kanz-el-'Ummal, Vol. 22, Hadith No. 858. See also Ihy'a).
Judging everything I have described in this essay, one can very genuinely lead to the conclusion that ‘honor killing’ is indeed the vice of Islam. Islam has much to do with honor killing practices which only do exist amongst the Muslims of the world. Had it been un-Islamic practice, we would have seen some Muslim nations prohibiting such cruel practice by Sharia law. We have not seen any Muslim country did enact any such law to curve honor killing. We have seen innumerable cases of fatwas by Mullahs to prohibit alcohol drinking, pork eating or listening western music; but never ever heard any such fatwa against honor killing. Rather, honor killing has silent support from the devout Islamists of all kinds. Islamists condone honor killing silently! No wonder that the Al Skudsi bin Hookah (reported of Gazagejeera) so passionately said: “So there's no point saying honor killing isn't really part of our religion. Honor and Islam are inextricably bound; they are what give our life meaning. A strong religion demands we choose to maintain our honor.”
One may argue that Quran does not say clearly about honor killing! Fact is there are plenty of things Muslims practice that are also not mentioned in the Quran. Stoning death also not available in the Quran. Yet Iranian Islamic government does practice stoning death by the decree of Islamic court. Afghan Taliban government did routinely practice stoning and flogging of adulterers. Most importantly, Quran did not create any scriptural instruction to ban the so called Arab tribal practice of “honor killing” either! Besides, if the honor killing was simply a tribal practice—then it would have been prevailed amongst the Arabs of all religions. There is no evidence to support that a Christian or Jewish family of Jordan or Palestine did practice honor killing.
Muslims who are stunningly devout and laden with Islamic superstitious beliefs do commit crime of Honor killing to fulfill their obligation of preserving Islamic ethics, and women chastity. The more a country gets fanatically religious the more frequent are honor killings (Pakistan is a perfect example). Islam has incorporated many pre-Islamic practices of Arab pagans (stoning deaths, flogging the fornicators, slavery, war booty, beheading the criminals, cutting hands and foots of thieves, many rituals of animal sacrifice, annual pilgrimage to Mecca etc.) and readily called them Islamic or Allah’s laws. Honor killing is one such pre-Islamic practice of Arab pagans which has been practicing by some devout Muslim families of many good Islamic nations of the world.
Because of the fact that the “honor killings” do have silent support from Islam, the killers are given light sentences, sometimes with little or no jail time at all. The killers are primarily influenced by Islamic ethics, and mainly defend their act of murder by referring to the Koran and Islam. They usually justify their evil deeds by the directives set down in the Islamic ethical beliefs and principles. Koran is very strict and belligerent regarding how to control women's sexuality, and Islamic Law; Sharia, rules harsh punishments including lashing and stoning to death for women's voluntary sexual activities. And it is because of these Islamic elements of support, no Islamic government dares to enact any criminal law to ban this barbaric slaughtering of innocent family girls. Even then some Islamists will still say that “honor killing” has nothing to do with Islam; just the way they say “Islamic terrorism” has nothing to do with the so called peaceful Islam. Their hypocritical denial is utter nonsense and stupendously deceptive. I urge those Islamists to tell us why this “honor killing” never happens among the non-Muslim Arab families? They must also tell us—why no Arab and non-Arab Muslim government dare to make any strict law to ban honor killings in their land?
Denying the truth is tantamount to committing this heinous crime to humanity, and denying will never solve this chronic problem of Islamic nations. Only way honor killing can be stopped is to admit the truth (real cause), and stop controlling public lives by the draconian laws (Sharia) of Islam. Let there be a strict separation of ‘Mosque and State’ in every Muslim majority nation of the world. Honor killing will definitely cease to exist.
1. Honor killing-maintaining family honor: by Al Skudsi bin Hookah, roving reporter and foreign correspondent for The Gaza Gajeera. Jan 20, 2003
2. The Seattle Times: 'Honor killing' shakes up Sweden after man slays daughter who wouldn't wed: By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times (Link).3. Culture of death? Palestinian girl's murder highlights growing number of 'honor killings’. (Link )4. Honor Killing: By Ali Sina (Link )
5. The Holy Qur’an, Translated by A. Yousuf Ali, Published by Amana Corporation, Brentwood, Maryland, 1983
6. Buchari Sharif, Bengali Translation by Maulana Muhammad Mustafizur Rahman, Sulemani Printers and Publishers, Dhaka, Second edition-1999.
7. "Crimes of Honour" Women's Tragedy under Islam & Tribal Customs By Azam