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Honor Killings and Islam

There is no such concept in Islam that is called “honour killing”. Islam holds every soul in high esteem and does not allow any transgression upon it. It does not allow people to take the law into their own hands and administer justice, because doing so will be leading to chaos and lawlessness. Therefore, based on this, Islam does not permit such killings. “Like all other religions, Islam strictly prohibits murder and killing without legal justification. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

“O mankind! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and We made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, (the) most noble of you near Allah (is the) most righteous of you Indeed, Allah (is) All-Knower, All-Aware.” (Surah Al-Hujurat 49:13)

First of all, to sanction killing, it must be through a binding verdict issued by an authoritative law court. Individuals themselves have no authority either to judge cases or pass judgments. Therefore, a Muslim should not sanction such killing because doing so will be leading to the rule of the law of the jungle. A civilized society cannot be run by such laws. Allah says:

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا 

“Whoever kills a believer intentionally, their reward will be Hell, to abide therein forever, and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon them, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for them.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:93)

At present, there are numerous labels of negative connotations being associated with Islam. People all over the world fail to understand that culture and Islam are different in the Muslim population and the different acts which Muslims at present undertake because of their social or cultural constraints have nothing to do with Islam. Allah says:

إِنَّمَا تُنذِرُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الذِّكْرَ وَخَشِيَ الرَّحْمَٰنَ بِالْغَيْبِ فَبَشِّرْهُ بِمَغْفِرَةٍ وَأَجْرٍ كَرِيمٍ

“Only you (can) warn (him) who follows the Reminder and fears the Most Gracious in the unseen. So give him glad tidings of forgiveness and a reward noble.” (Surah Ya-Sin 36:11)

Although Islam in itself has the best culture, Muslims at present have a culture different from Islam but the west considers their culture as Islamic culture. This notion is wrong and has nothing but a biased bad name to Islam. One such cultural phenomenon that has been defaming Islam is the act of honour-killing.

Honour Killing from an Islamic Perspective:

  1. Islam does not allow individuals to  judge cases or pass judgments
  2. Islam does not allow people to take the law into their own hands
  3. Islam is against honour killing and honour-related violence
  4. Islam teaches us to live in peace and harmony
  5. Islam Commitment means striving for peace 
  6. Islam teaches one should not harm others
  7. Islam has no place for unjustifiable killing
  8. Islam is totally against gender inequality
  9. Islam free to no longer slaves to fashion
  10. Islam itself is an inherently inner peace 
  11. Islam understands the Majesty of Allah
  12. Islam teaches us about good and bad 
  13. Islam is against immoral behaviour
  14. Islam administer justice
  15. Islam never justify the crime
  16. Islam does not permit any killings
  17. Islam holds every soul in high esteem
  18. Islam teaches that ultimately be judged
  19. Islam gives a person a clear perspective
  20. Islam allows a person to truly God’s love
  21. Islam emphasizes both evidence and faith
  22. Islam teaches that God is the Most Justice
  23. Islam does not allow any transgression upon it
  24. Islam concerned bodies to maintain peace and security, etc
  25. Islam strictly prohibits murder and killing without legal justification

فَلَمَّا جَاءَ سُلَيْمَانَ قَالَ أَتُمِدُّونَنِ بِمَالٍ فَمَا آتَانِيَ اللَّهُ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا آتَاكُم بَلْ أَنتُم بِهَدِيَّتِكُمْ تَفْرَحُونَ

“So when came (to) Sulaiman he said, “Will you provide me with wealth? But what Allah has given me (is) better than what He has given you. Nay, you in your gift rejoice.” (Surah An-Naml 27:36)

All over the Muslim world, some people kill women just because of the suspicion or even a proven fact that women have defamed them by committing adultery. Although there have been very few cases in which such an action has been proved, however, still the figure of honor killing remains high. One must understand that honor killing has nothing to do with Islam and it is purely an act that is against the teaching of Islam and has no roots in Islam whatsoever. The lines below discuss how Islam views killing in general and honour killing in particular. Allah says:

مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعًا إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ يَرْفَعُهُ وَالَّذِينَ يَمْكُرُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَكْرُ أُولَٰئِكَ هُوَ يَبُورُ

Whoever [is] desires the honour, then for Allah (is) the Honor all. To Him ascends the words well, and the deed righteous raises it. But those who plot the evil, for them (is) a punishment severe, and (the) plotting (of) those – it (will) perish.” (Surah Fatir 35:10)

In Islam, there is no place for unjustifiable killing. Even in the case of capital punishment, only the government can apply the law through judicial procedures. No one has the authority to execute the law other than the officers who are in charge. Honour killing could be the wrong cultural tradition. It is unjust and inhumane action. The murderer of that type deserves punishment. It’s a well-known fact that Islam maintains the protection of life and does not sanction any violation against it. Allah says:

وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالْأَرْضُ جَمِيعًا قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

“And not they appraised Allah (with) true appraisal, while the earth entirely (will be) in His Grip (on the) Day (of) the Resurrection, and the heavens (will be) folded in His Right Hand. Glory be to Him! And High is He above what they associate (with Him).” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:67)

The so-called “honour killing” is based on ignorance and disregard of morals and laws, which cannot be abolished except by disciplinary punishments. People are not entitled to take the law into their own hands, for it’s the responsibility of the Muslim State and its concerned bodies to maintain peace, security, etc., and to prevent chaos and disorder from creeping into the Muslim society. Allah says:

وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا

“And (do) not kill your children (for) fear (of) poverty. We (We) provide for them and you. Indeed, their killing is a sin great.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:31)

From the mentioned hadiths it is clear that the only killing allowed about defaming of honour is the killing of an adulterer who is or has been previously married. It means that the killing of women who are not married is not allowed in Islam, moreover, the one thing that most people forget is that this rule and law is equally applicable to men as well. Moreover, if the woman is found guilty of the crime, even then an individual does not have any right to kill another person or woman in particular.

Islam is not the Cause of Honor Killings:

  1. Usually, in an honor killing, unmarried women are killed. Therefore, whoever does it doesn’t do it from Islam rather they do it from their social or cultural roots.
  2. The above discussion also shows that the mere accusation of a married woman about adultery is not sufficient enough for killing her.
  3. Rather, it is only allowed when there are witnesses available that testify to the adultery taking place and that too not out of forcefulness but out of consent.
  4. Most importantly the discussion shows that if there is to be honour killing then men were to be treated in the same was as are women because the ruling for killing a fornicator that Islam gives is free from gender biases and both the genders are to be held equally responsible for the act and its consequences.

وَالَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُوا هُمْ يَغْفِرُونَ

“And those who avoid (the) greater sins and the immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive.” (Surah Ash-Shuraa 42:37)

There is no concept of honour killing in Islam. The only condition allowed is when adultery is done by a married person and the ruling is the same for both men and women without any discrimination. Therefore, the notion of killing unmarried women or killing women only in the name of honor killing is not Islamic at all. May Allah guide us all to the straight path.