“O you who believe, you are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness…And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it maybe that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.” (Qur'an, 4:19)

By now the news of the pregnant Pakistani woman who was stoned (first shot at and then bricks taken from a construction site were used to bludgeon her to death), in the name of “honor killing”, is front-page news across the world. It is no surprise that even if the headlines didn't mention “Islam” or “Muslims”, in the minds of people Muslims easily replace “Pakistanis” and honor killing is automatically linked to Islam.

Statistics show that Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women to live in[i]. How's that for a country claiming to live by the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) whose last advice to men of his nation was

“Treat your women well and be kind to them”.

While Pakistan's majority population is Muslim, it is evident to anyone who has studied Islam even superficially that the culture and especially its treatment towards women is far from Islamic teachings.

Farzana Parveen, the victim, was married to a man of her own choice with whom she had been engaged for a long time. Her family had objections (money was the main motive according to the husband)  and they wanted to marry her off to someone of their choice, against her will.

While the concept of forced marriage and unnecessary objections to a daughter's choice for marriage remains a common practice in Pakistan, it is completely unacceptable in Islam.

Women & Forced Marriage

While marriages where daughters are forced to marry a man picked by the family—including in the educated families—remain common in Pakistan, Islam abolished forced marriages 1400 years ago.

The Prophet, ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “A matron shouldn't be given in marriage until she is consulted, and a virgin shouldn't be given in marriage until her permission is sought…” (Tirmidhi: 1107)

Moreover, forced marriages are annulled in Islam:

“A virgin came to the Prophet, ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and mentioned that her father had married her against her will, so the Prophet, ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), allowed her to exercise her choice. (Abu Dawud)

Woman's Right to Marry of her Own Choice

Traditionally in Pakistan, it is considered against an honorable girl's character to pick a man of her own choice or to insist on marrying someone she likes. “Good girls don't talk about their marriage” is a motto for respectable girls.

However, Islam gives the girl full right to choose her own life partner and, if needed, she has full freedom to convince her parents to allow her to marry the man she likes.

1400 years ago when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) sent Julaybib to a girl's house so he could marry her, her parents didn't like Julaybib. He was not good looking and the parents didn't consider him suitable for their daughter. However, the daughter (whose name remains unknown) took a stand and convinced her parents to allow her to marry the man Prophet had sent for her. Classical works on marriage are full of her story of bravery[ii].

When Two People Love Each Other

Keeping everything aside, Islam on the other hand encourages Muslims to allow two people to marry who are in love with each other:
“There is nothing like marriage, for two people who love one another.” (Ibn Majah: 1847)

What Happens when Male Guardians Refuse

Although in some Islamic schools of thought, a wali's permission is an essential part of a valid marriage, it is not the absolute authority of the male guardian. Even those who believe that a marriage is not valid without the permission is wali recognize that the wali's authority can be overruled when necessary:

“If it is proven that marriage has been unjustly prevented, guardianship passes to the next closest male relative (on the father's side), such as the (paternal) grandfather, then the brother, brother's son, paternal uncle and so on. If none of these relatives are present or they refuse to give the woman in marriage, then she may be given in marriage by the Muslim judge if there is one, otherwise the imam of the mosque or a Muslim of similar standing may give her in marriage.” (Islamqa.com: 174496)

In Pakistan the predominant Islamic school of thought is the Hanafi Madhab- which allows an adult woman to marry without her wali's permission if necessary. In Farzana's case, the couple had gone to the court to legalize their marriage.   As they were married in the court of a “Muslim” country, their type of marriage is recognized in every school of thought in Islam.

Honor-Killing?

The only statement that I need to make about this:
Honor killing is not a part of Islam, it doesn't originate from Islam and it has no connection to Islam.

The capital punishment of adultery, whether lashing or stoning, is not due to any “honor.” In fact, it is inflicted on both men and women, if and only if the evidence has been established through the intricate and sophisticated process of Islamic law, and the ruling has to be issued by the judge.

Under no circumstances can a family carry out capital punishment. In the event such a killing happens, it is a considered murder and the murderer needs to be punished by the judge.

Unfortunately, like many other religious issues, the issue of capital punishment has also been tainted by Pakistani culture, but elements taken from religion and mixed with cultural beliefs can never represent Islamic Laws.

Honor killing is a cultural tradition—free of any Islamic elements—that does persist in Pakistan. One of the reasons honor killing still thrives is because traditionally the so-called “honor” of the family is tied to the women, their chastity, their sexuality, and in order to control the family's honor, the family controls their women.

More importantly, the Islamic law of blood money is abused in order to maintain the male thrust of controlling women. When men feel dishonored due to the actions of any woman of their family, they take the matters into their own hands by having the woman murdered by one of the male members of the family, and later the other members of the family take the blood money or “pardon” ('efaaf) the crime, abusing the Islamic law. Ed. Note [News of Farzana's husband's admission of killing his first wife and getting off scot free using these precise laws reenforces this point.]

“In Pakistan, the right to waive qisas, or punishment, is given to family of the victim. If and when the case reaches a court of law, the victim's family may 'pardon' the murderer (who may well be one of them), or be pressured to accept diyat (financial compensation). The murderer then goes free. Courts have used provisions like this to circumvent penalties for honor killings.”[iii]

I would not be surprised if Farzana's father, too, walked away a free man in near future.  However, one point remains very clear- the barbaric treatment towards women in Pakistan has nothing to do with Islam.

Some time ago, I visited Dastak[iv]-a domestic abuse shelter for women in Lahore. I had the opportunity to speak to the psychologist who treats the victims at Dastak. A third of the women present inside the shelter were not Muslims, they were Christian (1.6 % of the Pakistani population is Christian). They were no less abused, tortured and traumatized than the Muslim victims in the shelter. While the women shared different faiths, they did share one thing common, they were all victims of Pakistani misogynist culture.

In the case of Farzana and Iqbal, they had gotten married according to the Sharee'ah ordinance in their country. Their marriage was legalized through the court and they were not involved in any haram relationship (though even if they were involved in one, there is still no concept of “honor killing” in Islam). Yet her family had the audacity to kill Farzana, in daylight and in a public place, to satisfy their family pride and maintain their male control over their womenfolk.

1400 years ago, Islam gave women the rights that were unprecedented. Women became free, independent, respectable and integral part of the communities. They led, taught, and lived side-by-side men as their equal partner of the society.

Unfortunately, with time, cultures overtook faith, traditions overruled Islamic teachings, and what was once given to women from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) became secondary and that's when misogyny found its way among Muslims.

As I just said in one of my talks to a group of non-Muslim women in Doha, “If you want to look at real Islam in practice, please don't look at the so-called “Muslim countries,” for you will always find traditions overruling Islam.”

 

[i] http://www.causeofdeathwoman.com/pakistan

[ii] http://www.islamicity.com/dialogue/Q371.HTM

[iii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honour_killing_in_Pakistan

[iv] http://www.causeofdeathwoman.com/the-womens-shelter

74 Responses

  1. The Salafi Feminist

    Don’t forget also, that oddly enough, the husband strangled his first wife to death in order to marry the second one. A twisted cycle of violence that didn’t kill just one woman, but rather, two.

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  2. Rana Saadullah (@RSaadullah)

    Brilliant, brilliant article MashAllah.
    As a Pakistani, I can agree with all of the sentiments the writer mentions as echoes of the lives of 49% of Pakistan’s 180 million large population.

    Pakistanis are easily infuriated by so-called abuses of Islam, but forget that to claim ourselves as an ‘Islamic’ republic, we have obligations to follow.
    Here, only very recently have women started going to mosques, and only a select few mosques actually permit women from praying inside or reserve spaces for them.
    Above all, besides this forced marriage concept, Pakistan’s official Council of Islamic Ideology is more absorbed in legalizing child marriages and making a rape victim a culprit and liable to be stoned till death.
    Even the whole nikah procedure is very unusual. Virtually all brides are never asked directly, the right to divorce is already cut off from the document and a fat dowry replaces the mahr, which though legally bound to be stated, is either never given or is too small in comparison to the extravagant amounts of dowries families demand.

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  3. umabdullah

    Even though this is one extreme case misogyny is derp rooted in the pakistani/indian culture on all levels of society.

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  4. Arif

    I wish people of Pakistan can come out to streets and protests against this as strongly as they have done for other abuses to islam / Muslims

    Until this happens, These kinds of events are causing deep mistrust and fear in the minds of non muslims against religion of Islam as they directly link all actions of muslims with Islam.

    So, People of pakistan ! Please protest ! Please ! and makes sure that all the barbaric people involved get a strict punishment for this heinous murder

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    • Dia

      oh dear, protest? majority thinks what the family did was “right” because the woman “shamed” them…men boast “i would have done the same!”
      those who are protesting are labeled “liberal, westernized, feminists” and discredited…the judiciary is corrupt and participated in election rigging…the current govt came through rigging…the majority is ignorant and “hate” women. I have heard men say, who have no women in family except mothers, “Thank GOD i don’t have a sister so no one can curse me”

      Oh and by the way, this is not “poor” class…this is common among educated class. EVEN IN US!!! even among educated families..burden of honor and family’s respect lies on “women”. The only woman who has any power is “mother in law” and they try to take out all their revenge on women that married their sons.

      vicious cycle of oppression….sad but true!
      it will only end when women start teaching their sons how to be “men” and not just “males”. if you notice the difference between these two terms… “men” can be “male” but not all “males” are “men”

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  5. Holly

    I swear by our Lord this this is so sad and infuriating it truly is!

    May Allah guide and protect us and our deen from this and outs every effects Aameen

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  6. Mahmud

    He killed his first wife to marry the second…..if that’s the case I’ve increased iman in Jahannam at least. It was made for people who deserve it.

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  7. Shahed Amanullah (@shahed)

    Fantastic article, and glad it pulls no punches. The underlying question I have, however, is this: why after over 60 years of being a nearly 100% Muslim country do these obviously unIslamic cultural traditions continue to trump Islam? Wasn’t the creation of Pakistan supposed to reinforce civilizing Islamic societal values? A recent Pew study showed that 40% of Pakistanis believe this type of violence can sometimes be justified. Why does Islam roll off these people as if they were coated with Teflon?

    When you have over a dozen members of a family colluding to kill one of their own without questioning the action, reporting it to the authorities, or refusing to participate, it only reinforces how deeply entrenched these jahiliyyah values are. There are few countries in this world where this depth of collusion to murder your own family would be possible. And this is happening in a country where reminders of religion occur on a daily basis, mosques and religious leaders are everywhere, people are schooled in Islam through both the official school system and through other means (with the opposite viewpoint receiving no such institutional support), and so on.

    If nearly 70 years of being an ostensibly Muslim country have not eradicated these values (indeed, one could argue they have become even more entrenched), then what will?

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    • Mehzabeen (iMuslim)

      I can’t speak about Pakistan, but going from what I see here in the UK, amongst Asian Muslims (incl. Brit born), the extent of most individuals “Islam” is eating at halal restaurants, attending weekly Jumuah (where many miss the khutbah, which probably wasn’t very inspiring to begin with), and to some extent, a particular dress code.

      If Islam is not alive in the hearts, then self-appointed labels and outer appearances are not going to magically produce a Utopian society of angels walking on Earth.

      You don’t need to be a hafidth, or even attend madressa to know murder is wrong. It’s in our fitrah to dislike hurting other people. To commit a murder so openly, without anyone else intervening, illustrates that the fitrah has been horrifically corrupted on a mass scale. By what? I don’t know.

      Can we blame colonialism? Maybe, but only to a certain extent. As you say, it’s been 60 years plus since partition. Two or more generations have been born since.

      Sad to say, these are the final days: if anything, we should brace ourselves for things getting even worse, a’authobillah. But we should not be so complacent so as to allow evil to spread unchallenged.

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      • Brother Aarij

        That is very true. Islam and “being Muslim” has just become like a fashion statement, where people wave their “yay, we’re Muslim and we’re the best”-certificate, as if their actions are not judged by Allah because they will be forgiven ‘eventually’. A lot of Western Muslims fall into this category.

        Pakistani society is a prime example of faithless Muslims. Lack of faith results in these kind of senseless actions, where one has no fear of consequence of their actions. The individuals involved in this case are one example, and expanding that circle you will find the majority of the nation fits into this. And that’s not just with Pakistan, but with most of the Muslim countries.

        Strengthening faith, and then doing corrective (righteous) actions people can start cleansing their fitrah. But that’s only if/when they realize there is something they can improve or change, rather than pointing fingers at everything around to change and magically things will be better.

        I agree, things will get far worse before they have a chance of getting better, but people need to start looking into themselves and correcting their vices. Individuals make families, families make communities, communities make a nation. Change starts from within first, then only Allah will help.

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      • benroyston

        I know one Pakistani family quite well. What saves them from such Jahilliyah (ignorance) is faith (eeman) and knowledge.(ilm) and the courage to act on it. At one stage, they were like any other British family with Pakistani roots. Using violence to keep their women in line, being involved in protection rackets, pointing the finger at other sects of Islam and creating schisms, copying western lifestyles (especially the first generation, who grew up surrounded by and going to the same schools as their Gori (white) hosts).
        Yet this same generation chose to increase themselves in knowledge. It doesn’t make the Ghayr (honorable possessive protectiveness) any less, but it changed the way they implement it. Advice, rather than coercion, preventive steps,rather than prideful witless reaction.
        An example of this measured and knowledge informed reaction was that, when a rival family shot into the hearth home in Pak, wounding several of the family members, as a result of some prejudicial conflict, they held a shura (Formal Family Counsel Meeting) to decide what they would do in return. Many of the less knowledgeable thirsted to escalate the feud by direct action with lethal weapons, but those with knowledge prevailed. Instead, they took the case to the local legal authorities, In the end, they won territory and apology from their rivals through the exercising legal Qisas (exchanging harm for the like) and accepting the option of Qiyas (weighed compensation).
        The answer to the problems associate with protective jealousy of honour, such as deciding to perform some jahil act of protecting family honour (like honour-killing) is to embrace and apply the principles derived from Islamic knowledge and Sharia systems rather than flee to the models of the western legal systems and principles.

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      • gunal

        Shahed Amanullah, you wrote: ‘A recent Pew study showed that 40% of Pakistanis believe this type of violence can sometimes be justified.’

        I am not Pakistani. I consider myself quite knowledgeable of Qur’an and soundly educated to pick out rights from wrongs. Yet, I myself, think this type of violence can be justified in Qur’an, quite easily. Depending on whom I need to convince; whether a cold hearted murderer looking for his/her next kill, or a person whose pride is hurt and wants some justification for his/her revenge. Qur’an is written out as such that whatever is in your heart you are tested until you purify your heart. Mezhabeen, you wrote: ‘It’s in our fitrah to dislike hurting other people’. It is most probably true, however, you must not forget the fact that we are always questioning our fitrah. And unfortunately most of the time we question it against what others think of it…somewhat ‘justifications’ we seek on whether we are right or wrong. This is also in our ‘fitrah’ –seeking justification from our society we live in. Therefore Brother Aarij, although it is logical to start changing within (individually), it is difficult to practice it within a misguided society.

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      • benroyston

        If you base your knowledge of the Qur’an on selected excerpts, you might find justification in partial readings of selected texts to justify anything your ignorant heart desires. However, Islamic Shariah and informed action does not rely on such partial readings, but on the balance whole of Qur’an and Sunnah. Local custom comes distant third in deciding what is the right and the wrong way in any society that claims to base its constitution entirely on Islamic Sharia.(and which, if any, modern country does that)?
        The only way forward in present circumstances is to reform from within (make Tawbah) at individual, family, tribal, national and international levels. Wherever one starts to do this, inevitably the other elements will fall into line slowly or rapidly according to circumstances. As Arj correctly states, Allah will not change your state until you start to change yourself. On the other hand, if you take a step towards Him, He strides towards you, and if you go walking, He will come running. So nothing is impossible if the intention is right, If one reforms oneself, or a system tries to sincerely reform it’s custom based legal machinery to the Sharia model, the rest will follow naturally despite the doubts people have that it will in “the modern context”..

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      • gunal

        You said the words; “Using violence to keep their women in line…”(in response to Brother Aarji’s comment above) ? Is this what Sharia Model tries to achieve –”tries to keep women in line”? In my opinion it does, and this is the whole point to my argument. Whether these people treated this particular matter in cahiliye manner, or not, it does not matter. If you insist that the world needs to take measures ‘to keep their women in line’ then I would say the power that you think God has given to you had really gone to your head.

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      • benroyston

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • My two cents.

        As a female who runs a tech company, I find your ignorance regarding the capablity of my entire gender to ‘provide for my family’ both misogynist and insulting. I’m hardly a banner-waving feminist and I am, in fact, happily married with a child. My husband also works in the tech industry, but I make more money than he does; it would make no sense for me to give up my job to rear our child exclusively, nor, as you so eloquently put it– to act as a maid by cooking meals and wiping after him. Our child is still a toddler, but I can damn well tell you now that he won’t be ‘respecting’ his father more than he does me when he’s old enough to understand those concepts. Gender and race equality are fundamental building blocks in my household, and any theist– Muslim, Christian, or otherwise– can take whatever misogynist mindsets they’re perpetuating elsewhere.

        I am an educated and skilled member of society, and to say that ANYONE is supposed to ‘protect and maintain’ me is an insult. I took a class on marksmanship when I was at university– my husband has never fired a gun in his life. If a robber comes into our home at night, I can honestly tell you that I’m going to be holding the gun and not him.

        The only thing I require from my partner is the same thing that he expects from me– love and respect. When I was pregnant, I didn’t stop working. I made do with the morning sickness and the nausea and soldiered on. My husband took on more chores around the house, just the same as I do whenever he’s sick. Marriage is give and take, and it doesn’t matter who cooks and cleans as long as it gets done.

        To argue that to change the traditional male-female dynamic is to go against nature is to imply that humanity is stagnant. We aren’t simple minded animals. Humanity’s greatest strength is that we’re constantly evolving, constantly progressing. Technology and innovation is the way to the future, regardless of whether it springs from the minds of man, woman, or child. To banish half the population into a role that basically distills their purpose for being into cooking, cleaning, and serving as safeguard of their husband’s household is to do our entire race a disservice.

        Lastly, to any woman reading this: Never let anyone– man or woman– tell you what your place is. Your place is what you MAKE it. Educate yourself, find a profession, and never let anyone get you down. Take it upon yourselves to make the world better for your children, and let your voices be heard!

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      • Mothers are NOT maids

        As Salamu Alaikum,

        To Ben Roysten:

        I appreciate your attempt to defend the need to follow the Sharia. I agree with you.

        But please note that concepts of the mother being ‘a maid’ is not Islamic, nor is it ‘human nature.’

        Rather, such concepts are cultural. And yes, sadly older kids do pick up on such concepts. Younger kids, on the other hand, view mothers as absolutely central to their lives. They clearly love and need their mothers more than their fathers – they don’t know or care that the father is ‘the breadwinner.’ Many children refuse to leave their mothers on the first day of school (as old as 5 or 6!) – but if dad leaves for a while on a business trip or whatever, they hardly notice.

        The fact that women are viewed as maids today is actually a sign of the Day of Judgement.

        According to a holistic view of Islam: Men maybe Qawwam, but heaven is under the feet of mothers!

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      • Au ayoub

        Why do children notice when mummy is missing but tolerate the absence of daddy? And do you have any idea why heaven is at the feet of the mothers?

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      • DrAnam

        @Mahzabeen why are you saying that colonialism is partially to blame?Yes colonialism was inherently an institution of exploitation , but way less evil that the muslim empire and its decadence.If you have studied Indo Pak history(by reputable scholars ,not the 1 they teach you at schools)you’ll realize that those greedy princes practically sold off big chunks of their land to brits in their conflicts with other partisans to throne (often their half brothers).Not only British gov provided indo pak with a viable political identity ,they also gave us our education and health system.But the segment of population benefitting the most from their arrival were women.They were the first who took actual steps to eradicate sati, which most muslim emperors ignored, except Akbar (ironically not considered muslims by most).They made convents and even schools for Muslim girls, another completely unprecedented thing in a muslim society , where previously no need had been felt for organized instruction and education of muslim females, and you know what up until 1940s and 50s Muslim ulema were at the forefront of opposition to female schools and colleges.But fortunately they were not leading the movement for the creation of Pakistan, our founder Muhammad ALI Jinnah was a westernized liberal muslim and Pakistani law from its inception made gave man and woman equal rights( another unheard of thing in most muslim countries especially the arab world) Here the law requires man to seek permission before taking another wife, women are given access to education in all state run education facilities (some all women other coeducation institures),allowed love marriage , have always had right to cast their votes and stand in election.Legally we are way better off than muslim sisters of arab countries.Yes some of these laws are abused but the thing to ponder is that even though religious sects dont actively promote these flaggerations of rights , yet they are always silent when the abuse takes place and in many instances such as adultery or honour killing they often secretly condone it. Infact they are against coverage of rape victims .Head of the largest Islamic political party Jamat Islami is on record on tv saying that if woman does not have 4 witnesses then she should not file complaint of rape , as these Maulvis dont think that Dna evidence should be used in court.Another irony, all anti women legislatures were approved during Zia ulHaq dictatorship , a man who pushed for hudood laws in the country that put the women in prison if she files against rape without having 4 witness(and yes that has happened. Secular political parties in Pakistan are always at the forefront for pushing female empowering legislatures while religious political parties are at the forefront of blocking such efforts(not a generalization, i can walk you through most such legislations from 80s till now. For my country i’ve seen secular values giving respect and power to women while religion is more often used against them, be it their rights in marriage ,child custody battles , or as above their right to marry the man of their choice.Yes you can say that this is cultural but thats not what i hear when you confront the brother or father involved in the murder.The line of reasoning is that the girl had relations with a gher mehrum, “laying eyes on him zina of eyes, talking to him zina of mouth….etc etc. Its not just in Pakistan often happen to arab woman(though they are better at hushing it up)there too religion is used to justify it ,not culture

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    • Monica

      Pakistanis unfortunately have become very much corrupted like their government. They swindle people w money. Marry girls for green card etc. Insurance and welfare fraud. You name it. They r doing it. I’m Muslim and I have been cheated more by Pakistani than anyone else. They don’t even spare you in the masjid. Always gossiping. It’s their culture now. Never to change

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      • Dia

        sister Monica, Im a Pakistani too…and I understand where you are coming from. I felt the same way but inshaAllah make an effort to not generalize. Its shaytan’s trick and trust me I have had my issues with Pakistani community. There was a time, I stopped going to masjid to avoid Pakistanis/aunties/gossip/hawking..

        make dua…May Allah guide them.

        here is a good point about Pakistanis
        1. Pakistanis have populated our masajids…if not for them…there won’t be many people in masjids :-D

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      • Hyde

        Yes yes! I have to agree. The vast majority of Pakistanis are nice folks, but there is still a considerable minority who are just..insane, especially when it comes to women. They treat them like something they bought at a the local store. Most majids, and centers where that small minority becomes a majority can make others feel very unwelcome.

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  8. Hyde

    Salaam and welcome back sister reem…and I’m not a bit surprised of this rooted Asian misogyny but let’s not forget the that the idle aunties, dadies and other wome who stood and probably aided the predicament.

    (It’s Pakistan…things like this should be a surprise)

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    • Hyde

      Grrr NOT be a surprise. Things like this should not be a surprise.

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  9. June

    Assalamu alaykum,
    This also brings to mind the issue of the woman in Sudan. I’ve been wondering is MM will write anything about it.
    As for the topic at hand, I simply can’t think of anything to say that hasn’t been said already. In the time of the prophet (saws) if people wanted to know about Islam they could look at the Muslims. Nowadays we have to keep telling people if you want to learn about Islam DON’T look at the Muslims! May Allah guide us and protect us from such ignorance.

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  10. NJ

    Assalamu alaikum. Thank you so much for writing this eloquent piece. You’ve beautiful worded everything running through our heads right now. Masha Allah.

    That said, I’d like to share my unpopular opinion. While incidents like these have to do with deep-rooted misogynist culture, misinterpretation of Islamic texts, in this case Shariah punishments, is also a causative favor for violence against women. We really must acknowledge this. It is the duty of the educated, more aware sections of Muslim society to be reaching out to uninformed people of the lower socioeconomic classes. Instead of engaging in pointless fears mongering and spreading hatred against the ‘enemies’, mosques in Pakistan (and other Muslim majority countries with history of misogyny) should be hosting sermons educating the masses about how it is HARAM to engage in ‘honour- killing’. Mosques in Asia regularly host one hour sermons about why televisionand movies are haram, but barely touch upon topics like dowry and forced marriages that are so prevalent in our culture. Instead of us promptly blaming culture every time such stories make headlines, we should be out there, reaching out to the lesser informed Muslims, emphasising how the Prophet (SAW) treated women with utmost kindness and urged people around him to do the same. Because as painful as it is for acknowledge, the people involved in such heinous acts do identify with being Muslim. And as Muslims, they do feel they are entitled to do what they do. The dynamics of that is extremely disturbing and we really should pray for the Ummah.

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    • gunal

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Au ayoub

        Nonsense. If you open the door to western systems of justice you will undermine Islam. However you and others are correct that mixing some concepts of Islamic Sharia into local cultural practices completely nullifies the Islamic jurisprudence.
        One part of this miscarriage of justice people have forgotten to mention is that the woman was carrying making this a double homicide – the murder of a child as well as a woman. Those who were involved look forward to a painful punishment in the hereafter.

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      • Any System of Law can be Abused

        I think we should be extremely careful in throwing out laws that come from God. After all, God created us and knows us far, far better than we know ourselves.

        Sharia law of course can, and is, being abused. But Western systems of law can also be abused, and in fact, they are being abused. In the US, its no secret that race plays a major role – African Americans receive much harsher sentences, are much more likely to be sent to solitary confinement, and death row for than White Americans, for the same crime.

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      • gunal

        Yes, any court of law can be abused but at least in the Westernised one seems to have room to improve according to changes within the dynamics of the societies. People with more power will always try to avert justice, whatever the faith, whatever the religion…but, power is more and more evenly distributed these days that, for example, if any authority is found to be guilty of discrimination, they can be put to right by another authority. Systems can be put in place to give voice to the discriminated. We have new discrimination laws in place, more and more people being made aware of their rights to accommodate the ever changing society.
        On the other hand, if anyone finds injustice and discrimination within an Islamic law, it becomes like an authority from God. No one is able to challenge it. The current practices of so called Islamic laws are for sure discriminative against women. How much you or I say ‘no it isn’t’ or we say ‘it is cultural not religious’ as it is claimed in this case,… this is happened because a group of people executed what it seems like for honour! A woman been unfaithful! The leaders within this woman’s little society have endorsed the Islamic punishment. And they all contributed to the execution of that law. Carried out unjustly? Maybe so, but who could she have gone to make her case, explain. Other women? What authority do they have? None! All because women have no voice within fundamentalist Muslim societies. Most Muslim men treat their woman (with injustice, with discrimination, like lower class)!
        I have seen many Muslim men who commit adultery. Many lost their honour so many times that loosing the only one life they have could not bring their honour back. What is your Islamic/Sharia law on men loosing honour? I have never heard any man been punished for honour. I see almost all Muslim men disregarding their marriage and being with any wo(men/man) who don’t value honour. Are they not responsible for the honour of those women? …Perhaps God knew men will not have any honour to loose in the first place that He didn’t bother prescribing any punishment for it?
        It feels Islamic laws are carried out like asking police to police themselves. It is ridiculous. How can a doctor treat himself? Better still; it is like asking a criminal to punish himself! It is not done and cannot be done.
        At least within western laws everyone is an individual and everyone has a voice.

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      • Any System of Law can be Abused

        As Salamu Alaikum,

        But is the problem really God’s law, or is it the system/circumstances under which the law is being implemented?

        Islamic does not call for ruthless dictatorships in which only the rich and powerful (men) have a voice. Rather, the Prophet (s) regularly practiced shura (consultation) as a means of governance/decision making. Just governance is also part of God’s law.

        One can’t just implement fragments of God’s law (punishments) and say that justice has been done.

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  11. marwa

    Asalam Alaikum,

    I feel very sorry for how people burden themselves with culture ,so much that islam is next to nothing ,Islam has never been biased toward women ,we have our rights but its a hardly acknowledged even by women themselves they have accepted this way of life.
    According to me other than not being islamically educated,it boils down to this that mistakes done by men are forsaken ,but if a girl happens to fall short she gets a piece of hell ,Therefore men can cheat on their wife ,no problem but if the same is commited by the wife ,don’t ask what happens next its pretty obvious;here i’m not trying to see that punishment is wrong ,but i’m mean that justice should be there for all.
    Lastly,I would like to make a dua ,May Allah remove this sickness from our hearts ,purifies us from bias and pride .May Allah show the righ path to these kind of people whether from pakistan or elsewhere.Ameen

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  12. Mudassar

    I feel extreme pain on any killing whether in the name of religion or in the name of so called honour. Shameful for me to keep my lips closed on these incidents in the country. I wonder how can we call ourselves humans if we do not possess moral and ethics so much deemed necessary in the Holy book which almost 100 percent of the country claim to follow
    .

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  13. Orphan In Needs » Lastest Pakistan News

    […] Stoning of Pregnant Pakistani Woman -Killing the Honor in Islam While Pakistan's majority population is Muslim, it is evident to anyone who has studied Islam even superficially that the culture and especially its treatment towards women is far from Islamic teachings. Farzana Parveen, the victim, was married to a … Read more on MuslimMatters […]

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  14. ALLAH IS WATCHING

    Islam is divine religion and the sole and the only true religion remains on earth. Muslims should known that Allah is One and we don’t have two prophets. prophet Muhammad S.A.W is the only one sent to us and there should be nor prophet neither a messenger behind him. whatever he (s.a.w) says is divine said. he (s.a.w) is the only one who Allah asks us to follow. whoever says contrary to what He (s.a.w) says, he saying should be rejected. those who are extremely engaged in adulterating the divine messages should ought to know that Islam is pure religion and does not entertain any act of barbarism. Killing human being is generally objected until in some certain exceptional manner, consented by Allah SWA and His Messenger SAW along. Nor shirk neither a leader has prerogatives to kill or to direct killing.

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  15. Jawad Mahmood

    I am a Pakistani living in Lahore and i tell you, things are different. We lived with hindus for 600 years and unfortunately we have inherited some practices from them which will take time to go away. Pakistan is not that bad at all, this is one case and bcoz of media its everywhere but before there use to be hundred cases and there was no media to report it.

    Anyways, I have started project on building islamic schools and home schooling across pakistan esp in remote areas to educated people. We will inshAllah eradicate this culture and teach them the real islam. Suggestions and ideas are very much welcome at jawadg18atgmailcom

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    • DrAnam

      I fail to understand what poor hindus had to do with our own misogynist notions of the family’s honour tied to woman’s chastity.Its time to own up our perverted mindsets and acknowledge our biases and the fact that religion lies at the center of them.I’ve never seen the dozen or so religious political parties pushing for progressive women rights legislature , PPP and other political parties of secular mindse are the only friend a woman has in legislature. The only time religious parties are mention women, it is either to accuse a rape victim for being an agent of USA/INDIA/Israel for daring to bring such ideas in public light or to use similar remarks against veena malick or Malala Yousafzai. 2ndly if you dont mind my asking why home schooling? My understanding is that most victims of abuse are economically dependent stay at home wives, daughters. For true understanding of one’s rights and responsibilities, its imperative that they step out get PROPER education and become economically independent.

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    • Zaheer

      We’ve heard the whole ‘ban sharia law’ argument before – it stinks. I think the commenter “Any System of Law can be Abused” said it best: “I think we should be extremely careful in throwing out laws that come from God. After all, God created us and knows us far, far better than we know ourselves.”

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      • gunal

        Oh! It stinks does it? Is that why you won’t go anywhere near it to contribute with a wortwhile argument? Rather, just say “it stinks”? You can cover the stink but it will still stink.

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  16. Stoning??

    Can Muslim Matters write a clear article on how stoning came to be a part of Islamic Law? I am very confused by this, as the Quran explicitly mentions a punishment for zina (illegal sexual intercourse) which is 100 lashes. It does not mention stoning as punishment.

    I know there are clear hadiths regarding stoning, but it seems to me that here, the Quran and hadith are in conflict. Isnt it the case that if the Quran and hadith are in conflict, the Quran wins out?

    People have mentioned that the ayats in Sura Nur, which establish the punishment as 100 lashes, refer to zina committed by unmarried couples. But it seems to me that Sura Nur actually does not explicitly differentiate between married and unmarried couples at all. If read in context, it actually refers to married couples (ie, the incident being referred to is Aisha (RA) being accused of zina, who of course was married to the Prophet (s) at that time. It also mentions what to do if a husband accuses his wife of zina but has no other witnesses).

    Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

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    • Mahmud

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      The consensus of the Ummah is that stoning is for married adulterers and the consensus is not wrong. Rasulullah (SAW) informed us that this Ummah would not unite upon error. There were those among the Sahaba RA stoned for adultery.

      Allah aza wa jal commanded us to obey Him and His Messenger. From our Messenger we have been commanded to lash the fornicator and stone the adulterer. This is the law and it cannot be changed until yawm al Qiyamah.

      If I remember correctly, there is a narration about lashing the fornicator and exiling him for a year, lashing the adulterer and then stoning him. But likely that ruling was later abrogated to just lashes for the fornicator and just stoning for the adulterer. Do consult a reliable scholar.

      For more information, please go to qtafsir.com.

      As for the Quran and hadith being in conflict, they are not AT ALL in conflict. Just because the ayah says to lash them does NOT mean we don’t also stone them as well as lash them. Because Allah commanded us to obey Him and His Messenger. There is NO contradiction whatsoever.

      Please do know that there are a group f disbelievers known as Quranists who say it’s acceptable to be a Muslim and follow “the Quran only.” The reality is that they disbelieve the Quran and that they are disbelievers not believers.

      Do understand this. JazzakAllahu khair

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    • archerofmusings

      No there is no such principle that when hadeeth and Qur’an clash the Qur’an wins out. There are different principles apllied depending on the verse. In this case , the verse was speaking about non-married (technically termed as ghayr – Muhsan). The hadeeth speaks about married memebers of society committing the crime. These types of discussions are found in the books of Usool (principles of jurisprudence)

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      • Zaheer

        Strictly speaking, the principle does exist – it’s used as one of many measures in the usool-al-hadith to determine the grade of a hadith (hasan, sahih, da’eef, etc.). So a hadith in clear contradiction of a Qur’anic verse is automatically rejected. But, generally speaking, these kinds of hadith would not even appear in Bukhari, Muslim, and the other (4) major Hadith books, because they would have been rejected before.

        However, that is not the case for these hadiths, because, as you (archerofmusings) point out, the verse in question (24:2 – http://quran.com/24/2) is usually interpreted to refer to umarried men and women.

        And Allah knows best.

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      • archerofmusings

        Jazakallahu khayran brother, however the principle you refer to is slightly different to what my discussion entails. The brother attempted to give the Qur’anic Verse PRESIDENCE over a saheeh hadeeth in a general manner, not in the spectrum of abrogation (naskh) or any other . The principle you refer to is not relevant in giving one thing presidence (tarjeeh) over the other. It is in fact a principle of naqd hadeeth (critical analysis of a hadeeth), where after a scholar researches a chain of Narrators, he will then move on to see if the actual text (matn) is erroneous to a defect. From amongst the defects, one particular is when a hadeeth openly contradicts a verse. However it should be noted that the point of rejecting this hadeeth is not mainly down to the actual text itself, as nearly all the narrations of this type contain narrators who are either weak or controversial. That is why, as you correctly said, you will not find these types of narrations in the six fundamental sources of hadeeth and other saheeh compilations of hadeeth by hadeeth scholars.

        I hope this academic discussion was of benefit to you.
        Request for Du’as

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  17. Habiba

    Salam. May the Almighty God help us clear the grey areas for a better understanding. May he protect and preserve his beautiful religion.

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  18. Iftikhar Ahmad

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  19. Ahmed Naim

    Assalamualikum Umm Reem. Well written article. It’s also an appropriate one for me to have read today because I stumbled upon the following hadith today:

    Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Take my advice with regard to women: Act kindly towards women, for they were created from a rib, and the most crooked part of a rib is its uppermost. If you attempt to straighten it; you will break it, and if you leave it alone it will remain crooked; so act kindly toward women”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

    When I read something like this and look at the way our Umma is in error today and how it is so widely dispersed both physicscally and ideologically, I’m not surprised. This brings a beautiful aya to mind, which translates to: “Allah will not change the state of a people until they change what is within them”. I ask Allah to show us the truth and aid us in following it and to show us the false and to aid us in avoiding it. Ameen.

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  20. gopithomas

    one can say Islam is not this or Islam is not that , that good Muslims dont do this or do that..
    The fact is that Muslims are the most backward and violent preople today…of course not generalizing; but a small percentage of bad apples is screwing up all others.

    there has to be a reformation – who will bell the cat

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  21. niyaz

    first pakistani scholar should teach islam to their own people what a foolish thing n muslim are waiting to tarnish the image of islam so we have to be careful they pickup
    this kind of blackship n portray as good muslim

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  22. archerofmusings

    The cause of revelation you mentioned is incorrect. The verse under discussion is a general legislative order from Allah. The verse following it was either revealed in the light of an event surrounding Abu marthad as reported by abu dawud,Tir’midhi and others or was revealed due to the story mentioned by an-nasai in his book of hadeeth. The story pertaining to Aisha is a completely different verse. This particular verse has no cause of revelation therfore cannot be used as evidence to prove your unmitigated opinion in this matter.

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  23. BinFar

    Quote from the writeup “She has full freedom to convince her parents to allow her to marry the man she likes.”

    just wondering if its permissible to elope and marry the man of her choice??? What about the involvement of her wakeel?

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    • benroyston

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • BinFar

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  24. Fuad

    Islam, A simple way of life which takes human nature into account, made so complicated by us ignorant people. We call ourselves Muslims without really understanding what it is to be a Muslim. We are disunited, divided, indoctrinated and controlled by numerous external forces because of ignorance. We Muslims need to do a lot of instrospection

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  25. Ebila

    I am not a Muslim,but a Christian and i have always believed Islam isn’t a religion of violence or wickedness (even though lots of Muslims give the world a different impression with their actions).I have come to realize that the issues we have (Christians and Muslims) are wrong interpretation of our Holy books.Some scholar interpret these books for their own selfish interests,and because majority of the person they interact with are either too lazy or not learned enough,they infect them with their wrong doctrines.That being said,you should realize now that the problem is not with Islam or Christianity,the real problem is Humans.Humans are desperately wicked and it is this nature that has infected our religions.So,what i think we should do as a people is to always counter the wrong doctrines of our various religions and we should do so earnestly and with urgency.The human race is being threatened,and sadly,by humans themselves and it is religion that is helping to hold it together.God bless us all!

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  26. zodiac master

    Has anyone here seen the face of that stoned woman covered in blood laying dead in the dust? Has anyone here imagined the gruesome last thirty minutes of her life during which her skull was slowly broken to pieces until life finally came out of her helpless body? Has anyone thought about her unborn baby being murdered inside her?
    I am not a Muslim, but if I were one I wouldn’t even mention religion in regards to these atrocities so often taking place in that part of the world. Dragging religion in this subhuman behavior is not a service to Islam. It’s a disgrace.
    The world was literally stoned guys at the sight of that woman. There is no place for philosophical conversation, but for real action to make sure it never happens again.

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    • MidnightBlue

      Agreed. The above commenters seeking to justify the action or at minimum, liken murder to eloping, quite literally turn my stomach.

      Even if you are against letting this young woman wed the man she choses because of your personal beliefs, the punishment was inhumane and cruel. It in no way fit the crime, and to liken the two is a dangerously slippery slope to condoning murder.

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  27. Halima

    my understanding is no one is condoning murder here…indeed that was gruesome and disgusting…unfortunately the whole world is equating this to “islam” hence the need to defend that this is a crime against humanity,disgusting and vile and not islam.

    I am a muslim and disturbed by this story of the poor woman, may Allaah SWT give her jannah(heaven) and rejoin her with her child. Education of the masses in pakistan is a practical solution as well as soul cleansing or purification of people such they think twice before hurting others…

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  28. zodiac master

    Coincidentally, they did think at least twice before they killed Farzana – once in her lawyer‘s office, a few weeks before, and then on their way to the court.
    Halima, the world feels sheer rage and deep shame for being part of the same species as those two-footed despicable creatures who committed this murder, the countless bystanders and anyone who tries to justify it. The stones that killed Farzana were thrown at all of us. That’s how the whole world feels and this is serious stuff; it’s not something we discuss as ordinary news.

    The world wants to see someone defending and protecting the women living in those Islamic countries, rather than Islam itself. Those criminals use Islam and Sharia to justify their crimes, so it’s natural to think that Islam has something to do with it. It’s absolutely useless to try to convince the world that that’s not the case as long as the murderers and their laws continue to say otherwise.
    And yes, if anyone considers that eloping or not seeking parents’ permission for loving whoever you want constitutes a crime, they are indeed on a slippery slope to justifying this horrible murder.

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  29. Nag

    Two school of thoughts says force marriage is permissible. Now how do you explain this?

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