The Sharia-Math of Honor Killing

In Pakistan alone, human rights defenders estimate that around 1,000 women are killed in the name of honor every year:-

(Codified Islamic Law is a 3 volume compilation mainly from Hanafi Law done by a team of six Islamic scholars published by Islamic Foundation Bangladesh).

I feel intellectually offended to see how scores of articles and speeches on topics such as FGM and Honor Killing often hide the Islamic dimensions of the issues under the rug. Attitude of denial never helped solving problems.

Records of Hammurabi, Assyrian, Napoleon, Roman empire etc show that honor killing goes across culture, region and religion. The attitude is simple – women’s “chastity” is property of not herself but her family.

As now it is dominant in Muslim societies we should look into how Sharia law impacts this brutal culture. Family members, mostly men, of a girl or woman may kill her for “bringing shame to the family” by love, sex, clothing, behavior, intimacy with men in Skype, Twitter, SMS in mobile etc. Even Facebook-chatting is HARAM, prohibited – declared by Sheikh Abdullah Al Mutlaq, a senior scholar of Saudi committee. [Source: New York Times]

After the sister/daughter is killed there are two sets of Sharia law to apply.

Case A

Kisas Law: - “Punishment of intentional killing is death”- Codified Islamic Law Vol 1-41 and in other Sharia books. Fair enough.

  1. Then this law follows: - “A killer cannot be put to death if one or all heirs of the victim pardon/s him or take Blood Money” - Codified Islamic Law Vol 1- 44 & 46 and other Sharia books.
  2. The killer may be ordered to pay Blood Money to the victim’s family, his own family.
  3. As the family already lost the victim, the members do not want to lose another one, the killer. So it is quite natural that one or all of the heirs of the victim pardon/s the killer and the Sharia-State remains helpless. In a separate note, politically and financially powerful killers are all around Muslim countries. They are killers and can easily force the victim’s poor helpless family to take the Blood money and “pardon” them; State cannot do anything in such cases.

Codified Islamic Law Vol 1:

Codified Islamic Law


Case B

Sharia law: - “Parents and Grandparents will not be punished for killing sons or grandsons”- Codified Islamic Law Vol 1-65B, Shafi’i law# o.1.2.4.

Codified Islamic Law Vol 1- # 65 B


It does not mention daughters or granddaughters but in essence it surely applies to them too.

This law is created based on Sahi Hadis (Prophet’s examples); see below.

Sahi Ibn Majah Vol 4- 2661, 2662:-



Sahi Tirmiji 1404, 1405 & 1406:-

These man-made Sharia laws and Hadises are the main tools of legitimizing violence in the name of Islam. This is one of the main reasons of growing global Islamophobia. We must apply our right to reject those partially and totally based on logic and human rights.

Application of these laws varies but the killers are hardly punished. This brutality is supported by some vote-seeking local politicians in Pakistan. From the Quran and Prophet we can successfully defeat all kinds of women-oppression in the name of Islam except FGM and Honor Killing. Unfortunately I did not find enough support to defeat those in Islamic sources.

We have a long way to go; education and enlightenment is the only key. West cannot achieve sustainable peace leaving Muslim world behind; we also cannot achieve sustainable peace leaving our women behind by oppressing them.



The author is founding member of MRM (Muslim Reform Movement) and was member of advisory board of World Muslim Congress, Director of Sharia law of Muslim canadian Congress and was associated with few other similar organizations.