Refutation: The Honourable Way Out of “Honour Killings”


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Introduction

It is almost absurd to believe that of all peoples, that Christendom has decided to become outspoken and condemn honour killings, when they are almost single handedly responsible for promoting this culture of honour killings, beliefs enshrined in their own scripture. Note, this is not a defense of honour killings as this sort of act is haram in Islam, as this is seen as murder, but this is a treatise on the issue as raised by the Answering Islam team. The Qur’an says on murder:

“Whoever kills a believer deliberately, his reward is Jahannam: he shall remain FOREVER therein, and Allah will be furious with him and will curse him, and will prepare for him a wretched torment”. – Qur’an Surah 4: Ayah 93.

The article on Answering Islam, demonstrates that this was an act common some 1075 years before Christ, credited to the Assyrian civilization, yet fails to recall, that this was an act that YHWH prescribed:

“‘If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.” – Bible, Leviticus 21:9.

Oddly enough, this very act is defined as an honour killing according to the the definition as provided by Oskar’s article:

Honour killings regularly make media headlines. Clan or family members are brutally murdered by one or more relatives because they feel that their victims have brought shame upon them by what is perceived as unacceptable sexual behaviour, marriage partners or dress codes. In order to restore lost honour, blood has to flow.

Actually, to be a bit more explicit, the act in Leviticus, fulfils every criteria that the Answering Islam team has highlighted in their definition to label an act as an honour killing. Hold this example from Leviticus in mind, as Oskar of the Answering Islam team, completely ignores what his own scripture says in this regard and tries to pin some loosely based conjectural concept on honour killings and then tie it to Islam.

Conditions That Still Allow Honour Killings to Happen Today

Oskar then references, several ayat from the Qur’an, namely: 18:66-84, 24:2, 4:34-35, 3:110, some ahadith, such as in Sahih Bukhari, #2.413, #8.805, #814, and #819. The problem is however, that none of these ayat or hadith references permit or allow honour killings. They do however, do state that there are punishments for adultery and fornication:

“The fornicating woman and the fornicating man, flog each one of them with one hundred stripes. No pity for them should prevail upon you in the matter of Allah’s religion, if you really believe in Allah and the Last Day; and a group of believers must witness their punishment.” – Qur’an Surah 24, Ayah 2.

None of these ayat, or ahadith permit civilian justice, meaning then, that anyone can take it upon himself to carry out the injunctions as listed in them. In fact, I’d request that the Answering Islam team, demonstrate for me, one ayah or hadith from that which they have referenced in the aforementioned article where they are supposed to take the law into their own hands. The truth is, such an injunction does not exist and their evidences for trying to atleast imply so, are shoddy at best. Oskar and the Answering Islam team seem to have forgotten that Muslims have Shari’ah courts, where these laws are supposed to be applied. On one end you seem Christians condemning Shari’ah courts but on the other, in an article on the use of Islamic law, they seem to have intentionally forgotten the processes through which Islamic law is practised.

To begin with, the Shari’ah in Islam, when it comes to the Hudud (penal code) are relegated to a Mufti (legal jurist), or a Shura (judging council) or Qadhi (Islamic Judge) wherein a fatwa (legal opinion) is delivered. This is done after consultation, evidence discussion, witness reports etc. Mufti Ebrahim Desai [db], expounds upon the legal tradition/ methodology in Islam in the following excerpt:

1.       According to Shariah, Fatwa is defined as:

“Fatwa is to communicate the Law of Allah with regards to matters of Deen substantiated by validations stipulated in the Shariah to those who enquire with regards to matters of revelation in a general way and in manner that is not enforcing or compelling (Al Misbah Fi Rasmil Mufti Wamanahihil Ifta Vol.1 Page 16)”

The words “matters of Deen” has been used in the definition and not “Laws of Shariah” as sometimes a Mufti is questioned with regards to issues that do not pertain to Amal (actions) like Salah, Wudhu etc. for example issues of Tafseer, Aqeedah, Hadith, general advice etc.

Stipulated validations refers to those Masaa’il which are proven from the recognized sources of Shariah.

“In a general way” means that the Fatwa could be applied or practiced upon by more than one individual. If others are faced with the same situation of the questioner, the fatwa issued could be practiced by them as well. This draws a distinction between Iftaa and Qadhaa. A Fatwa is more general and could be practised upon by many individuals. However, a Qadhaa (decree) issued by a Qadhi (Judge) can only be practised upon by the specific person regarding whom judgement has been issued. In short, a Fatwa is more general while a Qadhaa is specific for an individual.

Another fundamental difference between Iftaa and Qadhaa is that a Fatwa is not enforceable. That is a Mufti cannot compel the Mustafti (questioner) to practice upon his Fatwa. However, a Qaadhi (Judge appointed by the Muslim Government) has the power of Infaaz (ability to enforce practice of his Decree). If a citizen does not practice upon the decree of a Qaadhi, he could be charged on violation of a Court Judgement.

2.       In former times a Mufti was regarded to be a Mujtahid (one who deduces ruling directly from the sources of Shariah). Nowadays the term Mufti has become common to those who specialize in the field of Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh). In reality, a Mufti nowadays only makes reference to the books of our illustrious Fuqahaa (jurists) and issues rulings in their books.

This therefore, soundly refutes the claim that Muslims are to execute the commands of the Hudud by themselves without taking their issues before Islamic judges to receive punishment from an Islamic court. Muslims are never commanded to take the law into their own hands, especially when it comes to punishments were persons have to be killed.

The Biblical Origins Behind Honour Killings

Recall the verse from Leviticus:

“‘If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.” – Bible, Leviticus 21:9.

The Old Testament, under the command of the Christian God, YHWH, commands more rulings of death, to be issued by every Tom, Dick and Harry (instead of appealing to a court for cases to be tried):

“And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.” – Bible Exodus 21:17.

“For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” – Bible, Leviticus 20:9.

These are some of many verses, which clearly fit the exact definition as provided by the Answering Islam team. It is quite hilarious to note that they completely ignored the inspired teachings of YHWH’s violent laws, which were enforced by Him throughout the centuries. Here are a few more:

“Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death.” – Bible, Exodus 21:15.

This one, encourages YHWH’s servants to commit genocide of an entire town if they shame them by serving other Gods:

“that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known),  then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely,both its people and its livestock. You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt, and none of the condemned things are to be found in your hands. Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors— because you obey the Lord your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.” – Bible, Deuteronomy 13:13-19.

One of the most popular reasons for honour killings, are due to sexual gratification or due to sexual shame. Well, the Christian Old Testament, certainly isn’t a stranger to this belief:

“But if this charge is true (that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house.  Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.” – Bible, Deuteronomy  22:20-21.

The Honourable Way Out of Honour Killings

Oskar spends a considerable amount of time telling us to go to Jesus to prevent honour killings, yet that doesn’t seem to work (see link), not even for the very people who are said to be the direct descendants of Christ and his disciples. In fact, the only logical way of dealing with honour killings is to remove this culture of self justice from among a civilian populace. Authority to punish persons should not be given to all members of society, as they may not be able to exercise just rulings in light of tribal relations, relationship statuses, and even confirmation bias. Therefore it is best to have a form of a tribunal or court where cases of family disputes can be tried before relevant authorities who are trained and well educated in such fields. This prevents any unlawful killings by family members, wherein this regulates the norms and values of the society in relation to punishing a close relative for some shameful action.

In following from further reading from Oskar’s article, I’m quite a bit puzzled as to how these verses from the Bible, as presented by Oskar will help solve the problem of persons killing each other due to crimes of passion or honour:

John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

The time has come, Jesus said. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15)

Does Oskar intend to tell the man who just killed his daughter because she married a Muslim man, that a lamb is going to make him sinless? I fail to see the logic in Oskar’s argument. To me, it seems as if Answering Islam isn’t being honest with us, they are using a societal deviance to gain website views, as opposed to actually dealing with a growing problem. A problem, which, as I have demonstrated, was introduced to the world, by the laws of their vengeful and violent God.

Conclusion

Oskar’s article has been soundly refuted. His evidences were weak and his argumentation was poor. He failed at any point to establish a connection between Islam, Islamic law and the unIslamic act of honour killings. To the contrary, I’ve explicitly defined what Islamic law is, who is supposed to rule by it and how it is supposed to be practise. I have also demonstrated that Oskar’s own book, in itself is a source of literature which encourages such violent acts, which we as Muslims do wholly condemn.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s