An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Honor Killings and Islam

An interesting article here deals with the issue of “Honor Killings” and its sanction in Islam – since these killings are almost exclusively done in Islam only. One of the verse from a Hadith that is referenced there is indeed very disturbing:

This tradition has been narrated by the game authority (Yazid b. Hurmus) through a different chain of transmitters with the following difference in the elucidation of one of the points raised by Najda in his letter to Ibn Abas: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used not to kill the children, so thou shouldst not kill them unless you could know what Khadir had known about the child he killed, or you could distinguish between a child who would grow up to he a believer (and a child who would grow up to be a non-believer), so that you killed the (prospective) non-believer and left the (prospective) believer aside. (Book 019, Number 4457)

This is absolutely sick! How can someone even think of deliberately killing a child JUST because that kid will grow up NOT BELIEVING his version of religious nonsense?? I mean that is the height of megalomania and twisted thinking. If someone tries to justify this nonsense then he/she is in the same league!

Reference Links:

1. Why it matters that honor killing has Islamic sanction

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8 Comments
  1. Anonymous says

    >> these killings are almost exclusively done in Islam only

    This is absolutely NOT TRUE!! Honor killings are not uncommon outside Islam. In fact, the “tradition” of Honor Killing pre-dates Islam by centuries.

    Honor Killings are also “popular” all over North and Eastern India, with the most recent cases being reported in Indian Punjab. I wonder which Hadith the Sikhs in rural Punjab are using to justify their honor killings.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl

    A simple Google search will give you plenty of links on honor killings in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, MP and Bihar, even in recent years. Hundreds of men and women are killed because they decide to marry or have a “relationship” with a person of another caste, village, or section of society. And this isn’t even counting the many SC’s and ST’s who are routinely killed for a lot less. Also not counted here are the numerous female infanticide and foeticide cases in Punjab and Haryana (and elsewhere in India). Mind you, none of these have got anything to do with Islam.

    Further, the greatest instance of honor killing in India is the practice of Sati. Sure, the practiced has been “legally” abolished but it is yet to be abolished completely from the minds of people. If you read Mark Tully’s book “No Full Stops in India”, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to a (relatively) recent incident – Roop Kanwar’s Sati. That is as much of an Honor Killing as anything else.

    Honor killings are also not absent among Christians. This article [http://www.thenation.com/doc/2…] describes the right-wing conservatives’ choice of death over (pre-marital) sex as “honor killing”! Another article [http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…] talks about “murder in the name of family honor” among Palestinian Catholics.

    Likewise, Honor killings are also very much prevalent in Japanese and Chinese traditions – possibly the oldest incidents of honor killings can be found from this part of the world. There’s no dearth of information about them on the internet and in documented history.

    Surely, any belief, source or tradition that tries to justify such killings should be condemned but to say that this happens ONLY or EXCLUSIVELY in Islam is ridiculous.

    Honor killing is a cultural phenomenon, not a religious one – though people MAY MISUSE religion (or caste) to justify it. It is the result of a feudal and patriarchal past – the remnants of which are still very visible all over the Middle East and Asia and to a lesser extent elsewhere in the world.

  2. Anonymous says

    >> these killings are almost exclusively done in Islam only

    This is absolutely NOT TRUE!! Honor killings are not uncommon outside Islam. In fact, the “tradition” of Honor Killing pre-dates Islam by centuries.

    Honor Killings are also “popular” all over North and Eastern India, with the most recent cases being reported in Indian Punjab. I wonder which Hadith the Sikhs in rural Punjab are using to justify their honor killings.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2000/nov/20/3

    A simple Google search will give you plenty of links on honor killings in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, MP and Bihar, even in recent years. Hundreds of men and women are killed because they decide to marry or have a “relationship” with a person of another caste, village, or section of society. And this isn’t even counting the many SC’s and ST’s who are routinely killed for a lot less. Also not counted here are the numerous female infanticide and foeticide cases in Punjab and Haryana (and elsewhere in India). Mind you, none of these have got anything to do with Islam.

    Further, the greatest instance of honor killing in India is the practice of Sati. Sure, the practiced has been “legally” abolished but it is yet to be abolished completely from the minds of people. If you read Mark Tully’s book “No Full Stops in India”, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to a (relatively) recent incident – Roop Kanwar’s Sati. That is as much of an Honor Killing as anything else.

    Honor killings are also not absent among Christians. This article [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050530/pollitt] describes the right-wing conservatives’ choice of death over (pre-marital) sex as “honor killing”! Another article [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jun/23/israel] talks about “murder in the name of family honor” among Palestinian Catholics.

    Likewise, Honor killings are also very much prevalent in Japanese and Chinese traditions – possibly the oldest incidents of honor killings can be found from this part of the world. There’s no dearth of information about them on the internet and in documented history.

    Surely, any belief, source or tradition that tries to justify such killings should be condemned but to say that this happens ONLY or EXCLUSIVELY in Islam is ridiculous.

    Honor killing is a cultural phenomenon, not a religious one – though people MAY MISUSE religion (or caste) to justify it. It is the result of a feudal and patriarchal past – the remnants of which are still very visible all over the Middle East and Asia and to a lesser extent elsewhere in the world.

  3. Desh says

    Ok, but it has the religious sanction in Islam. No other religion or scripture gives that. The Hadith verse referenced above is quite unequivocal.

  4. Desh says

    Ok, but it has the religious sanction in Islam. No other religion or scripture gives that. The Hadith verse referenced above is quite unequivocal.

  5. Anonymous says

    So what exactly is a “religious sanction”? Hadiths are oral traditions from the times of prophet Mohammad that were first written at least a century after his death. So first of all, to take any specific phrase in the Hadiths literally is naive. Hadiths do not represent the Ten Commandments.

    “the term hadith refers to reports about the statements or actions of Muhammad, or about his tacit approval of something said or done in his presence.”

    So…if hadiths were written to describe the times of Rama, the fact that he sent Sita away because she was kidnapped by Ravana would have definitely been a verse. And if some Hindu fundamentalist used this verse to justify doing the same in today’s context, would you say he has “religious sanction” for the same? Likewise, if hadiths were written to describe the times of Yudhistir, betting (and losing) your (and your younger brothers’) wife in a gamble would have had “religious sanction”…? Oh, and 5 brothers sharing one wife would have a “religious sanction” too…?

    My point is still the same… Some Muslim fundamentalists MISUSE Hadiths (and Quran) to promote terrorism, honor killings, suicide bombings etc etc. This does not mean Islam is inherently wrong or that it “sanctions” killing children or that every “true” Muslim must be a terrorist.

  6. Anonymous says

    So what exactly is a “religious sanction”? Hadiths are oral traditions from the times of prophet Mohammad that were first written at least a century after his death. So first of all, to take any specific phrase in the Hadiths literally is naive. Hadiths do not represent the Ten Commandments.

    “the term hadith refers to reports about the statements or actions of Muhammad, or about his tacit approval of something said or done in his presence.”

    So…if hadiths were written to describe the times of Rama, the fact that he sent Sita away because she was kidnapped by Ravana would have definitely been a verse. And if some Hindu fundamentalist used this verse to justify doing the same in today’s context, would you say he has “religious sanction” for the same? Likewise, if hadiths were written to describe the times of Yudhistir, betting (and losing) your (and your younger brothers’) wife in a gamble would have had “religious sanction”…? Oh, and 5 brothers sharing one wife would have a “religious sanction” too…?

    My point is still the same… Some Muslim fundamentalists MISUSE Hadiths (and Quran) to promote terrorism, honor killings, suicide bombings etc etc. This does not mean Islam is inherently wrong or that it “sanctions” killing children or that every “true” Muslim must be a terrorist.

  7. Desh says

    Ok, nice try at obfuscation, but lets get things cleared up a bit here.

    First: Are Hadiths relevant and credible Islamic text or NOT? Don’t bring in Ram or Krishna or Jesus here in to your discussion. We are talking about Mohammad and Hadith is a CRITICAL piece of the entire puzzle for a Muslim which explains “HOW to live”. So, decide THAT first!

    Second: Is this VERSE which I mentioned IN there or not? If its IN there, then it WONT HELP if you call it “Misuse” or taking literally! Having a beard, doing wuzoo.. how to wash.. how to eat.. etc are ALL taken literally by the Muslims. Besides, how does one “interpret” a call to differentiate between a kid of a believer and non-believer while getting the whim to kill him/her?? Go ahead.. I am listening…. and waiting… try your hand at explaining this verse to me in a “non-naive” manner WITHOUT any Spin!!

    Third:

    “Some Muslim fundamentalists MISUSE Hadiths (and Quran) to promote terrorism, honor killings, suicide bombings etc etc. This does not mean Islam is inherently wrong or that it “sanctions” killing children or that every “true” Muslim must be a terrorist.”

    This is the most beautiful effort at nonsense that I have seen! Here is a verse that decidedly is exhorting someone to kill based on his/her assessment whether a kid will grow up to be a believer or non-believer. THAT sentiment in itself is SICK!

    First you tell me Hadiths are a bunch of baloney… then you tell me I have interpreted this piece “baloney” naively…

    and then you tell me that some Muslims are “Misusing” this baloney anyways.

    If Hadith is a piece of baloney.. lets get that cleared. if its not, and it is as critical a part of overall Islamic jurisprudence and theology then lets understand what specific things mean.

    And, please DONT cite another verse telling how Mohammad loved the kids.. even one verse like this one is enough to show the mentality of the writer. If this is NOT what the protagonist really was all about and its somehow added to the Hadith by some miscreant..

    …how about starting a campaign to EXPUNGE it from the relevant Hadith. I will help you with framing the petition… how about that?

  8. Desh says

    Ok, nice try at obfuscation, but lets get things cleared up a bit here.

    First: Are Hadiths relevant and credible Islamic text or NOT? Don’t bring in Ram or Krishna or Jesus here in to your discussion. We are talking about Mohammad and Hadith is a CRITICAL piece of the entire puzzle for a Muslim which explains “HOW to live”. So, decide THAT first!

    Second: Is this VERSE which I mentioned IN there or not? If its IN there, then it WONT HELP if you call it “Misuse” or taking literally! Having a beard, doing wuzoo.. how to wash.. how to eat.. etc are ALL taken literally by the Muslims. Besides, how does one “interpret” a call to differentiate between a kid of a believer and non-believer while getting the whim to kill him/her?? Go ahead.. I am listening…. and waiting… try your hand at explaining this verse to me in a “non-naive” manner WITHOUT any Spin!!

    Third:

    “Some Muslim fundamentalists MISUSE Hadiths (and Quran) to promote terrorism, honor killings, suicide bombings etc etc. This does not mean Islam is inherently wrong or that it “sanctions” killing children or that every “true” Muslim must be a terrorist.”

    This is the most beautiful effort at nonsense that I have seen! Here is a verse that decidedly is exhorting someone to kill based on his/her assessment whether a kid will grow up to be a believer or non-believer. THAT sentiment in itself is SICK!

    First you tell me Hadiths are a bunch of baloney… then you tell me I have interpreted this piece “baloney” naively…

    and then you tell me that some Muslims are “Misusing” this baloney anyways.

    If Hadith is a piece of baloney.. lets get that cleared. if its not, and it is as critical a part of overall Islamic jurisprudence and theology then lets understand what specific things mean.

    And, please DONT cite another verse telling how Mohammad loved the kids.. even one verse like this one is enough to show the mentality of the writer. If this is NOT what the protagonist really was all about and its somehow added to the Hadith by some miscreant..

    …how about starting a campaign to EXPUNGE it from the relevant Hadith. I will help you with framing the petition… how about that?

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