Honor killing is one of the major points for Islamophobes or haters of Islam to criticize Islam. Though Honor killing is also practised in Non Muslim societies but Propaganda of Islam Haters is so successful that it is widely viewed that only Muslims practise Honor killing and Islam allows it. In this Article I’ll try to show what Honor killing actually is and whether Islam condone or condemn honor killing.
Definition of Honor Killing:
According to definition of Merriam-Webster dictionary, Honor Killing is:
the traditional practice in some countries of killing a family member who is believed to have brought shame on the family
Indeed In Islam, illegal intercourse is one of the major sins. In Sharia, there are penal punishments for illegal intercourse. But these Punishments have no relation with honor killing based on following points:
First point to note that a person can’t himself apply these punishments. It is judicial court which will order such Punishments.
Secondly it is very difficult if not impossible to fulfill the requirements that validate these punishments because it can be applied only on 2 situation: 4 male witnesses are found who should have seen the act of penetration through eyes at the sametime or the adulterers ,without by force, themselves confess that they have committed adultery.
3rd point is that In Islam, these punishments are not because the culprit bring shame to the family but actually the acts of adultery are themselves a shameful act and breaking of the boundaries set by Allah.
In case If a person merely accuse a woman and doesn’t bring 4 witnesses or the woman doesn’t confess, the slanderer will receive 80 stripes for defaming her.
It is very clear from these points that Honor killing is not only un Islamic but Sharia provides a system that stop honor killing if Justly applied.
Now readers themselves should read the quotes themselves and decide.
Following verses are about illegal intercourse. Note that these verses condemn illegal sexual relations not because it bring shame to family(like Bible) but illegal Intercourse is itself an immoral and evil act
Reference: Chapter 17: AL-ISRA (THE NIGHT JOURNEY)>> Verse: 32
Online Source: https://quran.com/17/32
And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.
Reference: AL-FURQAN (THE CRITERIAN)>> Verse: 68
Online Source: https://quran.com/25/68
And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.
AN-NUR (THE LIGHT)>> Verse 3
The fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist, and none marries her except a fornicator or a polytheist, and that has been made unlawful to the believers.
In Quran Punishment for fornication is defined in following verse of Quran which is same for both man and woman.
AN-NUR (THE LIGHT)
The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah , if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.
AN-NISA (THE WOMEN)
Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women – bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them [another] way.
Sharia Saving victim from Honor Killing:
There is a hadd Punishment of 80 lashes for one who slanders a woman and doesn’t bring 4 witnesses . The punishment is known as Hadd E Qadaf.The whole purpose of this hadd is to save honor of women. It may not be impossible but is surely very difficult to bring 4 witnesses on fornication and later day fiqh even makes it really impossible. One can see that this hadd is clearly condemning what is practised in Honour killing.
Reference: Chapter 24: AN-NUR (THE LIGHT)>> Verse 4-9
Online Source: https://quran.com/24/4
And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses – lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient,
Except for those who repent thereafter and reform, for indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
And those who accuse their wives [of adultery] and have no witnesses except themselves – then the witness of one of them [shall be] four testimonies [swearing] by Allah that indeed, he is of the truthful.
And the fifth [oath will be] that the curse of Allah be upon him if he should be among the liars.
But it will prevent punishment from her if she gives four testimonies [swearing] by Allah that indeed, he is of the liars.
And the fifth [oath will be] that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he was of the truthful.
Types of Honor Killing and their Condemnation in Islam:
1) Honor Killing Because Infidelity of Wife:
Perhaps the most common type and even practised in the West by Non Muslims. In America, Every year between 2001-2012, 11,766 are killed by their partners .
Does Islam Allow It?
A companion comes to prophet SAWW and asks whether a person himself kill or find 4 witnesses if he find his wife having sexual relation with another person.. The Prophet SAWW replies that he should find 4 witnesses.
Malik (1509, 1421)
Malik related to me from Suhayl ibn Abi Salih from his father from Abu Hurayra that Sad ibn Ubada said to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “What do you think I should do if I were to find a man with my wife? Should I leave him there until I had brought four witnesses?” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Yes.” 1
Muslim reported it like this
Muslim 1498 a, Also see Sunan Abi Dawud 4532, Ibn Majah 2605
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Sa’d b. ‘Ubada al-Ansari said:
Messenger of Allah, tell me if a man finds his wife with another person, should he kill him? Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: No. Sa’d said: Why not? I swear by Him Who has honored you with the Truth. There upon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Listen to what your chief says. 2
Imam Ahmad reported it little longer where Sa’d RA repented after he was surprised
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) said: When the verse
“And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four
witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever” [an-Noor 24:4] was revealed, Sa’d bin Ubadah, who was the leader of the Ansar, said:
“Is this how it was revealed, Messenger of Allah?”
The Messenger of Allah () said: “Ansar, don’t you hear what your leader is saying?” They said: Messenger of Allah, do not blame him, for he is a man of protective jealousy; by Allah, he has never married any woman but a virgin and he never divorced any wife of his but no man among us would dare to marry her because of his strong protective jealousy.
Sa’d said: By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, I know it is true and that it is from Allah, may He be exalted, but I was surprised that if I were
to find this stupid woman with a man on top of her, I should not disturb him or make him move until I bring four witnesses; by Allah, I would not be able to bring them before he finishes what he is doing. …………
Comments: Hasan (Darussalam) 3
4 Witnesses(or 4 time self Confession) are only proofs for Establishing Penal Punishment in Case of Adultery and Fornication:
In following it was clearly proved that wife of a companion committed adultery yet she was not punished because these evidences are not acceptable in laws. Only 4 witnesses and 4 time self confession are acceptable proof.
Bukhari (4745) See Also Bukhari (5259, 5308, 5309, 423, 7166, 7304), Muslim (1492 a, 1493 a), Sunan Abi Dawud (2245), Sunan an-Nasa’i (3402, 3466), Ibn Majah (2066,2068), Muwatta Malik(1191)
Narrated Sahl bin Saud:
‘Uwaimir came to `Asim bin `Adi who was the chief of Bani Ajlan and said, “What do you say about a man who has found another man with his wife? Should he kill him whereupon you would kill him (i.e. the husband), or what should he do? Please ask Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) about this matter on my behalf.” `Asim then went to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! (And asked him that question) but Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) disliked the question,” When ‘Uwaimir asked `Asim (about the Prophet’s answer) `Asim replied that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) disliked such questions and considered it shameful. “Uwaimir then said, “By Allah, I will not give up asking unless I ask Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) about it.” Uwaimir came (to the Prophet ) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! A man has found another man with his wife! Should he kill him whereupon you would kill him (the husband, in Qisas) or what should he do?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Allah has revealed regarding you and your wife’s case in the Qur’an “So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) ordered them to perform the measures of Mula’ana according to what Allah had mentioned in His Book. So ‘Uwaimir did Mula’ana with her and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! If I kept her I would oppress her.” So ‘Uwaimir divorced her and so divorce became a tradition after them for those who happened to be involved in a case of Mula’ana. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) then said, “Look! If she (Uwaimir’s wife) delivers a black child with deep black large eyes, big hips and fat legs, then I will be of the opinion that ‘Uwaimir has spoken the truth; but if she delivers a red child looking like a Wahra then we will consider that ‘Uwaimir has told a lie against her.” Later on she delivered a child carrying the qualities which Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) had mentioned as a proof for ‘Uwaimir’s claim; therefore the child was ascribed to its mother henceforth. 4
And she was not killed
………The woman was pregnant and the husband denied that he was the cause of her pregnancy, so the son was (later) ascribed to her. Then it became a tradition that such a son would be the heir of his mother, and she would inherit of him what Allah prescribed for her. 5
Muslim reports that dower(Mehr) wasn’t repayable to the husband after Liyan. This incident is of Uwamir same one that is mentioned above.
Muslim 1493 c
Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying to the invokers of curse:
Your account is with Allah. One of you must be a liar. You have now no right over this woman. He said: Messenger of Allah, what about my wealth (dower that I paid her at the time of marriage)? He said: You have no claim to wealth. If you tell the truth, it (dower) is the recompense for your having had the right to intercourse with her, and if you tell a lie against her, it is still more remote from you than she is. Zuhair said in his narration: Sufyan reported to us on the authority of ‘Amr that he had heard Sa’id b Jubair saying: I heard Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) saying that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) had said it. 6
The Child became Chief of tribe of Mudar according to a report of Abu Dawood but Albani has classified this narration as Da’if(weak).
Sunan Abi Dawud 2256
………………..The Apostle of Allaah(ﷺ) said “Had there been no oaths, I would have dealt with her severely.”
‘Ikrimah said “Later on he became the chief of the tribe of Mudar. He was not attributed to his father.”
Grade : Da’if (Al-Albani)
Sahih (Shoaib Arnout)
Behavior’s hint is not enough:
Along with above incident, another incident is narrated but the women is not killed despite of her behavior clearly hinted that she was an adulterer.
Bukhari 6856 See also Bukhari (5316, 7238, 6855, 5310), Muslim 1497 a, 1497 c, Ibn Majah (2559, 2560), Sunan an-Nasa’i (3470, 3471)
………………..A man said to Ibn `Abbas in the gathering, “Was that the same lady about whom the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “If I were to stone any lady (for committing illegal sexual intercourse) to death without witnesses, I would have stoned that lade to death?” Ibn `Abbas said, “No, that was another lady who used to behave in such a suspicious way among the Muslims that one might accuse her of committing illegal sexual intercourse.” 8
An act of Honor killing during reign of 4th Caliph:
Malik reported an actual case of “Honour Killing” During reign of Hazrat Ali RA and Emir Muawiya RA
Muwatta Malik 1422
Malik related to me from Yahya ibn Said from Said ibn al-Musayyab that a Syrian man called Ibn Khaybari found a man with his wife and killed him, or killed them both. Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan found it difficult to make a decision and he wrote to Abu Musa al-Ashari to ask Ali ibn Abi Talib for him about that. So Abu Musa asked Ali ibn Abi Talib and AIi said to him, “Is this thing in my land? I adjure you, you must tell me.” Abu Musa explained to him how Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan had written him to ask Ali about it. Ali said, “I am Abu Hasan. If he does not bring four witnesses, then let him be completely handed over,” (to the relatives of the murdered man). 9
2) Marriage against Father’s Will:
Ibn Majah 1878
It was narrated from Ibn Umar that:
when Uthman bin Mazun died, he left behind a daughter. Ibn Umar said: “My maternal uncle Qudamah, who was her paternal uncle, married me to her, but he did not consult her. That was after her father had died. She did not like this marriage, and the girl wanted to marry Mughirah bin Shubah, so she married him.”
Grade : Sahih (Darussalam) 10
Online Scholars’ Fatwas on Prohibition of Honour killing:
- Darul Ifta Australia http://www.fatwa.org.au/honour-killing.html
- Darul Ifta Australia http://askimam.org/public/question_detail/18642
- Darul Ifta Chicago USA http://askimam.org/public/question_detail/29294
- Darul Ifta Birmingham http://daruliftabirmingham.co.uk/honour-killing-in-islam/
- Islamqa.info https://islamqa.info/en/101972
- Islamqa.info https://islamqa.info/en/199064
- Islamqa.info https://islamqa.info/en/8980
- Islamweb.net http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=123261
- Reference: Muwatta Malik » Hudud – كتاب الحدود » HadithUSC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 41, Hadith 7Arabic reference : Book 41, Hadith 1509
Online Source: https://sunnah.com/urn/415800
And repeated https://sunnah.com/urn/414670
- Sahih Muslim » The Book of Invoking Curses
Reference : Sahih Muslim 1498 a
In-book reference : Book 19, Hadith 19
USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 9, Hadith 3569
Online Source: https://sunnah.com/muslim/19/19
Abu Dawood reported https://sunnah.com/abudawud/41/39
ibn majah reported https://sunnah.com/urn/1269220
- Reference: Musnad Ahmed bin Hanbal >> Musnad of ‘Abdullah bin al-‘Abbas>> 2331(1:238)
Online Source: https://archive.org/stream/musnad_ahmad_bin_hanbal_arabic_-english_translation-volume_1/musnad_ahmad_bin_hanbal_arabic_-english_translation-volume_2_djvu.txt
- Sahih al-Bukhari » Prophetic Commentary on the Qur’an (Tafseer of the Prophet (pbuh)) – كتاب التفسير » HadithUSC-MSA web (English) reference : Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 269Arabic reference : Book 65, Hadith 4745https://sunnah.com/urn/44240
This tradition is repeated again and again by Bukhari
Abu Dawood reported
Ibn Majah reported
Imam Malik reported it in his hadith collection
- Sahih al-Bukhari » Prophetic Commentary on the Qur’an (Tafseer of the Prophet (pbuh)) – كتاب التفسير
USC-MSA web (English) reference : Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 270
Arabic reference : Book 65, Hadith 4746
- Reference : Sahih Muslim 1493 c
In-book reference : Book 19, Hadith 6
USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 9, Hadith 3557https://sunnah.com/muslim/19/6
- Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 6856In-book reference: Book 86, Hadith 79USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 8, Book 82, Hadith 839
(deprecated numbering scheme)
This tradition is reported again and again by bukhari
Muslim reported it
- USC-MSA web (English) reference: Book 36, Hadith 18Arabic reference : Book 36, Hadith 1422https://sunnah.com/urn/414680
- Sunan Ibn Majah » The Chapters on Marriage – كتاب النكاح » HadithEnglish reference : Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 1878
Arabic reference : Book 9, Hadith 1952