2i. Honour killings in Islam

Honour killings are acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by male family members against usually female family members, who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family.

If Jews, Christians and Muslims are living together in a town and one of their daughters commit adultery Jews or Christians will not kill their daughter but Muslims will. It is the same if one of their children apostatises from (abandons) their religion. Jews or Christians will not kill their child but Muslims will. Apostasy doesn’t only happen if a person leaves Islam but it also happens if a Muslim deserts the pillars of Islam and does things that go against the teachings of Qur’an. These can include; not praying, not fasting, not paying zakat, making fun of Islam/Muhammad, not covering the head, wearing short shirts, having a boyfriend or marrying a non-Muslim.

Qur’an 6:151 – Say: “Come let me recite to you what your Lord has forbidden for you: that you should not set up anything with Him; and be kind to your parents; and do not kill your unborn children for fear of poverty, We provide for you and for them; and do not come near lewdness, what is plain of it or subtle; and do not kill the soul which God has forbidden, except in justice. That is what He enjoined you that you may comprehend.”

Qur’an 17:33 – And do not kill anyone which Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause. And whoever is killed (intentionally with hostility and oppression and not by mistake), We have given his heir the authority ((to demand Qisas, Law of Equality in punishment or to forgive, or to take Diya (blood money)). But let him not exceed limits in the matter of taking life (i.e he should not kill except the killer only). Verily, he is helped (by the Islamic law).

-Corruption could mean anything that goes against the Qur’an.
Qur’an 5:33 – Indeed, the punishment of those who fight Allah and His Messenger and who go around corrupting the land is to be killed, crucified, have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or to be banished from the land. That is a disgrace for them in this life, and in the life to come theirs will be a terrible punishment.

Sahih Bukhari – Book 9, Hadith 17
“Narrated Abdullah: Allah’s Messenger said, “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Messenger, cannot be shed except in three cases: in Qisas (equality in punishment) for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (Apostate) and leaves the Muslims.”

Sahih Muslim – Book 16, Hadith 4152
Abdullah (b. Mas’ūd) reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: It is not permissible to take the life of a Muslim who bears testimony (to the fact) that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah, but in one of the three cases: the married adulterer, a life for a life, and the deserter of his Din (Islam), abandoning the community.

Sunan Abu Dawud – Book 39, Hadith 4339
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: The Messenger of Allah said: The blood of a Muslim man who testifies that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle should not lawfully be shed except only for one of three reasons: a man who committed fornication after marriage, in which case he should be stoned; one who goes forth to fight with Allah and His Apostle, in which case he should be killed or crucified or exiled from the land; or one who commits murder for which he is killed.

Jami’ at-Tirmidhi – Book 14, Hadith 1402
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud: that the Messenger of Allah said: “The blood of a Muslim man, who testifies that none has the right to be worshipped Allah, is not lawful except for one of three cases: The (previously married or) married adulterer, a life for a life, and the one who leaves the religion and parts from the Jama’ah (the community of Muslims.)

Sunan an-Nasa’i – Book 37, Hadith 4023
It was narrated that ‘Amr bin Ghalib said: “Aishah said: ‘O ‘Ammar! Do you not know that it is not permissible to shed the blood of a Muslim except in three cases: a life for a life, a man who commits adultery after being married.'”

Honor killings are further reinforced by the fact that if a father kills his children he doesn’t receive any punishment.

Jami` at-Tirmidhi – Book 14, Hadith 1399
Narrated Suraqah bin Malik bin [Ju’shum]: “The Messenger of Allah judged that the son is to suffer retaliation for [killing] his father, but the father is not to suffer retaliation for [killing] his son.”

Jami` at-Tirmidhi – Book 14, Hadith 1400
Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: that the Messenger of Allah said: “The father does not suffer retaliation for [killing] the son.”

Sunan Ibn Majah – Book 21, Hadith 2661 & 2662
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said: “A father should not be killed for his son.”

Ahmad bin Hanbal – Volume 1, Page 102, Hadith 148 & 147
‘Umar bin al-Khattab said: I heard the the Messenger of Allah say: “No father is to be killed in retaliatory punishment for killing his son.” Comments: [A hasan hadeeth]

Ahmad bin Hanbal – Volume 1, Page 202-203, Hadith 346
It was narrated from ‘Amr bin Shu’aib from his father that his grandfather said: A man killed his (own) son deliberately and the case was referred to ‘Umar bin al-Khattab who ruled that the murderer should pay one hundred camels [as diyah]: thirty three year old she-camels, thirty four year old she-camels and forty five year old she-camels. He said: And the killer does not inherit anything. Were it not that I heard the Messenger of Allah say, “No father is to be killed in retaliation for his son,” I would have executed you. Comments: [A hasan hadeeth]

Main Jurisprudence schools

Shafi school is of the view that father is not to be killed for killing his son.
Hanbali school is of the view that father is not to be killed for killing his son.
Hanafi school is of the view that father is not to be killed for killing his son.
Maliki school is of the view that father should only be killed if intentionally killing his son.

Finally, in Islam a father can kill his children if they commit murder, adultery and apostasy. Apostasy has a wider meaning in Islam. It covers anything that goes against the teachings of Qur’an.

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