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Domestic Violence Series

A Family in Severe Psycho-Spiritual Crisis- Guilty Verdict in Shafia Murders


After three months of exhaustive cross-examinations, interviews and exhibits, the high profile trial for the Shafia murders has finally come to an end. Mohammad Shafia, his son Hamed, and second wife Tooba Yayha were found guilty of committing an honor killing. They carried out the murder of the three Shafia daughters; Zainab, Sahar, Geeti and Shafia’s first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad.

The trial which gained an international following has captivated Canadians since the beginning. How is it that a family could kill their very own in the name of honor? What twisted and perverted mind would do such a thing? The Shafias held their innocence from the start and many doubted if this was in fact an honor based crime. The jury, however, had no doubts about it and delivered their verdict after mere 15 hours of deliberations.

The Judge’s final remarks to the guilty sums up the high emotions surrounding this trial:  ‘It is difficult to conceive of a more despicable, more heinous, more honorless crime’. ‘The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your twisted concept of honor, a notion of honor that is founded upon the domination and control of women, a sick notion of honor that has absolutely no place in any civilized society.’

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As the disturbing details from the trial emerged, it was evident that the Shafia family was highly dysfunctional with some serious domestic abuse issues. At the head of it was the short tempered, foul-mouthed father who ruled with an iron fist. His illegal, polygamous marriage meant having to constantly lie and portray his first wife, Rona Mohammad, as an aunt. Shafia was a rich businessman, usually away on trips, and immigrated to Canada in 2007 on the “immigrant investor” program. In his absence, his son Hamed took over his command.

The Shafia daughters were the Afghan Muslim father’s worst nightmare. As one columnist aptly described them, ‘Gorgeous Zainab’ was 19, ‘Sultry Sahar’ was 17 and ‘Rebellious Geeti’ was 13. Reveling in the beauty of their youthful bodies, the eldest daughters did not hesitate to show them off. The cellular pictures in their lingerie, in promiscuous poses and with their boyfriends are reflective of their boldness. Zainab and Sahar transformed themselves when they left for school every morning, hiking their skirts, removing the hijab, and changing into revealing tops. Even 13-year-old Geeti followed suit and was once sent home from school for wearing inappropriate clothing.

The psychological oppression at home was severe. The girls were under constant scrutiny for their behavior and conduct, with their freedoms being taken away by the day. The watchful brother eyed their secretive affairs and reported them. That their behavior was normative by Canadian standards made things more difficult. They appealed to social workers and teachers for help, even tried to run away from home to a foster house. All these incidents finally added up to their unfortunate murder.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that honor killings are a problem in the Muslim community, but the familial situation I’ve described is not uncommon. The Shafia family practiced what would be termed cultural or cafeteria Islam. This is the Islam in which immigrant parents raise their children in a relatively secular household but then expect them, the girls especially, to behave as law abiding, pious Muslims. This pick-n-choose ‘Islam’ is epitomized by double standards for girls and boys; where boys are free to gallivant late at night and the girls can dare not be seen working on a school project with a boy.

Obsession with the sexual purity of women is also one of the cornerstones of this twisted version of ‘Islam’; this belief is actually rooted in patriarchal tribal customs and unfortunately has made way into Muslim societies. These families lay no emphasis on Islamic education or on the foundational pillars of faith such as prayer and fasting; all the emphasis goes into tertiary concerns such as wearing hijab, staying away from the opposite sex and my favorite – staying away from pork (not alcohol though). If these people only realized that an understanding of the fundamental tenets of Islam encourages one to automatically take up secondary aspects of the faith, dysfunctional families like the Shafia’s would not exist.

The Muslim community has much to learn from the Shafia murders. For one it highlights the struggles undergone by numerous young Muslim girls. The lure of a secular society mixed with a poor understanding and appreciation of Islam leads to a psycho-spiritual crises for most teenagers. At home, the parents don’t understand their apparent obsession with all things haram; at school their teachers and peers don’t get the ‘draconian’ rules imposed on them. Muslim counselors that can help address the challenges faced by youth are desperately needed; projects like the Naseeha Help Line need to be generously funded by the community. The Shafia girls did appeal to social workers, but these people unfortunately did not have an understanding of the complexity and seriousness of their situation.

As much as one might try to hide, the ‘Muslimness’ of this case has been apparent from the start. Whether it be the references to ‘Allah’, ‘Koran’ and ‘hijab’ during the proceedings or the analysis of Afghan culture by experts; Islam was certainly under the spotlight. After the killing of Aqsa Pervez, the Shafia murders have given people another reason to question the link between Islam and honor killings. People hesitantly approached me to ask about my ‘position’ on honor killings and to clarify the Islamic stance – it’s sad that we have to do these things.

Media coverage of the trial was generally fair in my estimation. By that, I mean there wasn’t a general deliberate attempt to pin the blame on the religion of the accused; if anything, it was patriarchal aspects of Afghan culture that took the hit mostly. Not all media outlets were generous though; Michael Coren interviewed Islamophobe Robert Spencer who tried to assure viewers that Islam did in fact allow honor killings. Barbara Kay also wrote an article trying to establish a link between Muslims and the barbaric custom. Writers across the anti-Muslim blogosphere shed crocodile tears to mark this tragic event; the Shafia girls will become their poster children for years to come.

One of the positive outcomes of this media attention was the ‘Call to Eradicate Domestic Violence’ issued by CAIR-CAN and was endorsed by over a hundred Muslim organizations. This statement denounced domestic violence, honor killings in particular, and vowed to address the issue at mosques across the country. This resulted in Imams across the nation jointly tackling domestic violence in their sermons on December 9th 2011. What is more surprising is the widespread media coverage this received, with almost every major news source reporting it in Canada; the National Post went as far as publishing Imam Sikandar Hashmi’s sermon – an unnatural, but appreciated, gesture from the right-wing newspaper.

Much will be said about this saga in the days to come. Some will criticize multiculturalism, some will pin the blame on religion while others will say the ‘system’ failed them. For me, it is the non-existence of a firm understanding of Islam that leads to all this. This understanding would have taught the murderers to fear God more than society and it would have allowed the daughters to see their faith as something more than a set of dry rules. Let’s hope that this will be last time we will hear of such a heinous crime being committed by a coreligionist.



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Waleed Ahmed writes on current affairs, politics and religion for MuslimMatters. His work focuses on Muslim minorities, human rights, culture and international conflicts. Currently based out of Montreal, he holds a Ph.D. in particle physics from McGill University. Waleed also has a keen interest in studying Arabic and French. He spends his spare time reading, playing basketball and praying for Jon Stewart to run in the next presidential election. contact: waleed dot ahmed at



  1. Umm Ousama

    January 31, 2012 at 4:17 AM

    People emphasize on dawah in the West and they forget the dawah in Muslim lands. They behave like that because this is what they know. Have they ever been shown true Islam? Just as it is shocking what the men have done, just as it is shocking what the girls have done. This happened in four years of being in Canada? A’udhu billah min ash-Shaytaan ar-Rajeem.

    The solution? Practice Islam the best you can, teach your family Islam, make du’a to Allah and have tawakkul in Allah. May Allah protect us and protect our children and make du’a that Allah doesn’t test you through your children. Remember the lessons of Surah al-Kahf, one of them being that there is no guarantee our children will turn out good.

  2. Ali

    January 31, 2012 at 4:50 AM

    I remember speaking about the distinction between boys and girls by the proponents on honor killing with 1 such propnent himself, and all eh kept saying was “girls are “izzat” of the home”

    When asked whether boys are not the izzat as well, he said something in the line of when boys do it, they are doing the crime themselves outside and the ‘honor’ of the family is not affected but when girls do it , it affects the entire family’s honor , hence no honor killing for boys.

    You cant argue with that line of thinking

    • Umm Sulaim

      January 31, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      I think you can. If girls are the ‘izzah’ of the home, why are women in such families treated worse than the furniture.

      A symbol of Izzah if there is one is cherished, nurtured and preserved, not treated as if she has brain damage.

      Umm Sulaim

    • Umm Sulaim

      January 31, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      That reminds me of the practice in pre-Islamic times among Arabs where ‘izzah’ was also defined in terms of a girl; her very existence was a violation of the father’s ‘honour’ and led to her being buried alive.

      AlHamduliLlah Islam prohibited such a practice and Arabs are no longer known for such, only for the practice to shift further east.

      Umm Sulaim

  3. Umm Sulaim

    January 31, 2012 at 5:50 AM

    Absolutely fabulous words.

    The only duty some parents observe over their daughters is forced everything and if that fails, they promptly recall they have the right I don’t know who gave them to murder their daughter.

    Umm Sulaim

  4. amad

    January 31, 2012 at 6:04 AM

    While it is clear, as highlighted in this solid article, the motivations were hardly Islamic, of course, as expected, the usual culprits are trying to make hay out of this tragic event. The Islamophobes and the Muslim Islamophobes like Tarek Fatah, a person who hates Islam so much that one wonders why he calls himself a Muslim at all…–were-shafia-murders-honour-killings-or-domestic-violence

    It is also incredible how much press these extremely marginal figures like Tarek Fatah, his friend Zuhdi Jasser, get… it is like every article related even remotely to Muslims has to have a sound byte from these sorry figures.

    • Carlos

      January 31, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      Good to see you again, Amad. I hope you are well.

      Regarding your comment, I will repeat something I posted recently under a different MM article, on the Nigerian crisis. That Nigerian article and some of its comments seemed to be carefully trying to shift blame from religion to tribalism. My comment under that Nigerian article appears to be relevant to this Canadian article, your comment and some of the other comments I am seeing under this article. This Canadian article and some of its comments seem to be carefully shifting blame from religion to Afghan culture or even Canadian culture. Withou further ado, here is my comment from the Nigerian article, which is just as applicable here:

      Once again, religion is given a free pass; given credit for everything good; blamed for nothing.

      • Umm Sulaim

        January 31, 2012 at 7:55 PM

        Here is a challenge to you and any other person, Muslim or not who doubt that religion (Islam) has nothing to do with this and similar murders: PROVE YOUR POSITION.

        Umm Sulaim

      • Teaching Kids the Holy Quran

        January 31, 2012 at 9:50 PM

        Here are a few facts about Honour Killing (relating to Canada), particularly with respect to religion.

        To put things into perspective, more people will die on the streets of Toronto than honour killing victims in the whole country in the last ten years.

        – Mezba

        • Chenxi Wu

          February 15, 2012 at 3:06 PM

          IMHO honour killing might just be the surface of problem. How many African Americans were actually lynched by KKK? The really disturbing effect of these violent incidents might be the production of an atmosphere of intimidation, i.e. parents in some communities can tell their daughters “if you dare to disobey us we will make sure that you die as horribly as the neighbor’s kid”.

      • yusuf kazeem

        February 1, 2012 at 2:05 AM

        Carlos, things are not always what they seem to be,its easy 4 u to sit down in the US watching tv and being fed propaganda. i’m a nigerian living in nigeria, boko haram has evolved over the years from a movement angry with the position of things in the north “economical, political” to a splinter of groups fighting for different agendas, some do not want the traditional rulers of the north there again, some want total sharia across the muslim north(not everywhere in the is muslim e.g plateau,benue,nasarawa e.t.c, some want compensation for their memebers,while some don’t want other ethnic groups, its a dangerous problem, but its a common phenomenon in the north 4 non-indigenes to be attacked no matter their unconnectedness to the issue. Even yoruba muslims are killed and any other religious cleric that opposes their view in the north,all are blown or shot dead

    • Waleed Ahmed

      January 31, 2012 at 11:04 PM

      Thanks Amad. I’ve thought about why Tarek Fatah (and company) gets all this press attention; frequently being quoted on all issues Muslim. I concluded that it’s partly because some media outlets want to promote his agenda; but I think it’s mainly because he is been active in an area that orthodox Muslims have largely neglected. Media and journalism are spaces largely dominated by Tarek Fatah and Irshad Manji types. They’ve published a large number of works on Islam and hence are called to comment on Islam when things happen.

      I’ve noticed that mainstream Muslims get similar attention when they go through the same routes. Haroon Siddqui, Sheema Khan, Zarqa Nawaz , Reza Aslan, our own YQ are good examples of this. Just today the Toronto Star published a full article by Imam Sikander Hashmi. How many Imams frequently write to papers? When I started to write, even I was able to get letters published in national papers (one was openly crticial of the MCC)…and I am a nobody. In order to get media attention, we need to participate in it. All the ‘women’s rights’ activists that were interviewed relating to these honour killings were hard-core anti-Shariah advocates…Homa Arjomand, Raheel Raza and the likes. I think if women from our mainstream community become as outspoken as they are, they would have an equal chance at getting attention from media outlets too.

      So I’ve concluded that if we want Tarek Fatah to stop talking for us, then we need to speak for ourselves. Not many are doing this at the moment; but alhamddulliah I think this is changing.–there-is-no-honour-in-domestic-violence

  5. Ayesha

    January 31, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    I went to high school in Canada with lots of girls who had to change their outfits before they went back home out of fear of their parents, all the while their brothers are going out to clubs. Our communities need to have an open and frank discussion about gender issues facing our youth. It’s these same problems that drive our kids away from their own deen. I just hope this doesn’t become a trend, violence like this is not the norm in Canadian societies, but these rare incidents make it seem like it is.

  6. Umm Abdullah

    January 31, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Very well written article. Touches on a lot of points that came to my mind as well when reading all about the case.

  7. anon

    January 31, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    These horrific honour killings are such a frequent occurence, and sadly we know this won’t be the last. Aisha Khan could possibly have lost her life this way, had her family been as vicious.

  8. um aneesa

    January 31, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    As a Western Muslim, this case greatly saddened me. No honour in this man’s kind of hypocritical leadership.

  9. Mansoor Ansari

    January 31, 2012 at 10:25 AM


    Murder is never the solution.

    But as a father of two daughters myself, reading how these girls were behaving shocks me. Being from the east & now living in the west… I don’t even know how one would control their kids when they behave in such manner as they will threaten to report u to authorities, leave home now or when they are 18. Back home, parents can impose strict rules without being abusive. Very strict curfews, no contact with friends for a while, no pocket money, etc are ways parents sometimes punish their kids. My father never laid a finger on me but when I crossed limits set by him there were severe consequences in forms I mentioned earlier. Running away from home is not a option as one just can’t live as easily alone back home as one can do so here by flipping burgers. What can one do here to control such behavior which can also be witnessed in families who are not practicing cultural Islam but the religion Islam?

    And when it comes to boys being treated differently than girls, this is not the case for only Muslim families or families from the East. Western families are no different… if a son has multiple girlfriends & daughter has multiple boyfriends… we know if one even liberal non-muslim western families would disapprove of! Even the peers look differently on such ppl… boys with multiple girlfriends are called players & girls who would indulge similar behavior are called vile names, even in the west. Whether we like to admit or not.. when it comes to honor/izzah/status muslims/non-muslims, conservative/liberals, eastern/western… all of them treat boys & girls differently.

    • Mustafa

      January 31, 2012 at 10:00 PM

      You know I couldn’t agree more with you brother, b/c boys here in this culture can overcome their past in any society, whereas girl has a huge difficulty getting rid of what she has done in the Islam is not at fault here, its just the way it is,

      Islam is just a reason to blame this man’s behavior, society always needs a reason to blame someone for why not the religion?

    • Hena Zuberi

      January 31, 2012 at 10:47 PM

      Brother Mansoor,
      The answer to your question deserves a post of its own. You are absolutely right in your observations.

      We need to know that kids are hitting puberty earlier but we do not let them become adults til much later in life- Psychologists tell us that the reward centers of the adolescent brain are much more active than those of either children or adults. Think about the incomparable intensity of first love, the never-to-be-recaptured glory of the high-school basketball championship.

      I really think parenting is giving in to their harmless pleasures, saying yes to to the little things, so when you do say no to things that are absolutely unacceptable, they trust that you are not trying to control them but are ‘raising’ them. That we remember that we were their age once and that they grow up so fast.

      That they are testing their limits and our boundaries and that sometimes they are just trying to get our attention.

      One thing parents often do is treat children like they are their possessions and children feel it. We need to take care of our babies not because they are ours because they really don’t belong to us they belong to their Creator but because they are a Gift from the One we LOVE. When we change the way we look at them then we find changes in the way we parent them, with less pressure.

      When they reach a certain age they will make mistakes, it is inevitable. That is the time we need to let go. We can just give them the message in a loving but firm way but after a certain age it is their choice if they want to make the decision to follow the Sirat al mustaqeem or not we can not force them, hidayah come from Allah.

      One thing that really helps me is thinking about the fact that we will all be the same age in Jannah, (iA) that their souls are just as old as ours! When we look at it from this perspective then it is easier to control our anger and focus on the issue at hand. We can do things like ie cut off their spending money, take away their gadgets, no one is going to call CPS on you for those things.

      Communication communication communication- girls especially need fathers who constantly make them feel like they are a part of each others’ lives, fathers tend to back off after girls become a certain age they start feeling ‘uncomfortable’ around their girls. If girls get that positive male attention at home, if they feel like they can tell their father if they find a boy attractive without having their father blast them for being ‘out of control’, then they will not go seeking this attention elsewhere.

      Very few teens go out of control if are given set boundaries which don’t keep changing every few weeks or months and parents are constantly talking to them about everything without huge gaps in communication.

      Also get other adults involved in your kids lives, have them check in on them. This really helps you parent when the kids know that they is someone aside from the parents who is keeping tabs on them ie
      what aunts and uncles and neighbors used to do in the East. Kids here often grow up just seeing their mothers all day long. They need other adults involved in their lives that they can trust.

      Don’t wait til the situation goes so wrong to control it-be involved in their lives everyday ie know who their friends are, who their friends parents are- not to control your children but to really take an interest in their lives.

      Take them to slums, go feed the homeless where they will see with their own eyes how people who run away from home live.

      They will stray but they can just as easily come back- these people never gave these girls a chance to make taubah, to repent, to come back to Allah. One girl in our community married a Hindu boy and our imam gave the community members such beautiful advice- he said do not attend the wedding as it is not a marriage in Islam but do keep the doors of your homes open to her, keep giving her da’wah because you never know when she may comeback to Allah, bringing him with her.

      It is hard work to parent. I say what I say after working as a youth group leader for years.

      Don’t think that your child can never do wrong- it is those parents that lose their kids- cannot tell you how many parents I have spoken to who children are changing in front of my eyes and instead of taking sincere advice and gently curbing the children while they in their early teens, the parents will get upset and stop bringing the children to the masjid activities/sunday school.

      Even if you have ‘good kids’ dont just assume that your kid is ‘good’ my mother in law used to surprise visit my husband even in college- she would just show up without letting him know.

      But do not be the haram police for them too- constantly spying on them and thinking that they are going to do something haram- then they start thinking I must be bad that is why they (my parents) think I am bad so let me act out on it.

      • Emma Apple

        February 6, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        MashaAllah brilliant advice sister Hena! May Allah help us to raise strong, confident and pious muslimeen and may Allah help us to guide them with wisdom, mercy and clarity amin.

    • BintKhalil

      January 31, 2012 at 10:58 PM

      Walaikum salam wa rahmatullah

      This fantastic lecture by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, may Allah reward him – – deals with raising Muslim kids in the West. In a nutshell, talk to your children when they are kids, so they will want to talk to you when they are teens.

      • Mansoor Ansari

        February 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        Jazak’Allah khair Sr. Hena for ur advice. What you say makes perfect sense, may Allah make it easy for all of us to practice it.

        Sr. Bint Khalil jazak’Allah kahir for the link.

  10. Marie

    January 31, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Thank you! I enjoyed reading your perspective. “Obsession with the sexual purity of women is also one of the cornerstones of this twisted version of ‘Islam’” … this seems to me a ubiquitous problem among muslim patriarchs. As though a young girl’s only purpose in life is to be a virgin at the time of her marriage. There are greater ideals in Islam that parents fail to instill in their children.

    • Malaika

      February 1, 2012 at 4:53 AM

      “As though a young girl’s only purpose in life is to be a virgin at the time of her marriage.” Exactly this. And to extrapolate even further, as if a young girl’s only value lies in her hymen.

      At one time, I believed my virginity was my value as a woman. It caused me to remain in an unhealthy marriage for much longer than a rational person would have. What a tragedy. And for what? A piece of skin. Men are disgusting.

      • Muhammad_Maryam

        January 1, 2013 at 2:59 AM

        May Salam {Shalom in hebrew, Allah’s Peace} be upon him or her who follows His Guidance
        Marie1 / 31 / 2012 12:29 PM
        Thank you! I enjoyed reading your perspective. “Obsession with the sexual purity of women is also one of the cornerstones of this twisted version of ‘Islam’” … this seems to me a ubiquitous problem among muslim patriarchs. As though a young girl’s only purpose in life is to be a virgin at the time of her marriage. There are greater ideals in Islam that parents fail to instill in their children.
        0 0
        Malaika2 / 1 / 2012 4:53 AM
        “As though a young girl’s only purpose in life is to be a virgin at the time of her marriage.” Exactly this. And to extrapolate even further, as if a young girl’s only value lies in her hymen.
        At one time, I believed my virginity was my value as a woman. It caused me to remain in an unhealthy marriage for much longer than a rational person would have. What a tragedy. And for what? A piece of skin. Men are disgusting. Why Muslims in west hate men and virginity? Is it the influence of dajjal or jewish antichrist feminism/liberalism? Malaika and Maryam are names which connote purity of angels and the greatest woman-saint of all times and the leader of women in Paradise. She will marry Last Nabi Muhammad sall Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam in Jannah, and dajjalic anti-traditonalism hates the Greatest Couple among the Entire Noblest Creation. May Allah make hijrah away from dar al kufr easy for true Muslims.

  11. muslim woman

    January 31, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    yes i m totally agree with the points highlighted in this articles. when i read it in Uk newspaper i was called to write comment about it but it not publish.
    what i point out is, based on what i read of the wife said, we opt for not make them wear traditional scarf and ok for them to wear make up, and not letting them date or marry until they get their diploma..
    my argument is if u can ok on what Allah instruction then how you can expect your wife and daughters to obey your rules?
    i think if the parents dont said no for dating but if you are serious marriage is ok as long you continue your study, these young girls will not be going against it.
    and i also see how male in most islam family didnt knew how to play they rules as a leader in the family.they dont knew that women in their charge also have feeling and needs that might not in accord to their preferences.
    most men forgot about what make a man to be the best as said by prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
    what we can do now is to learn Islam start from beginning and counter check our knowledge, practicing it then make da’wah to our fellow muslim community. it will not work to convince the non muslim by words but this kind of tragedy occur in a so called muslim family.the damage too huge. wallahu alam.

  12. Carlos

    January 31, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    The article and most of the comments here are fair. Having said that, here are my two cents. I do not think this family would have been better off if it had “more Islam.” For the girls, that goes double.

    • Umm Sulaim

      January 31, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      That explains why you have a problem with religion, especially Islam; you are clearly unable to understand the influence of religion in an individual’s life.

      Umm Sulaim

      • Hana

        February 1, 2012 at 9:37 AM

        And Carlos, you shouldn’t be making sweeping statements as this without really practicing Islam.

    • Chenxi Wu

      February 15, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      Maybe if they are “more Islam” the wifes and daughters will accept their fate as subhuman beings and everyone else will be happy. And the amount of victim blaming on this thread is utterly disgusting, which further shows how such vile behavior can be justified in certain communities.

      • One

        May 30, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        I think the point of the article was to emphasize that Islam, first and foremost, teaches us to be good people. Don’t lie, don’t cheat people, smile, don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, treat people like you want to be treated, support and proclaim justice.
        The problem is that there are 1-2 billion muslims in the world, most of whom do not know what the religion teaches, and adhere to what they’re told by their elders. Most of that information is incorrect.

        For example, culture dictates that boys do no housework. Islam encourages and orders us to help around the house, and to treat girls and boys equally. So who’s at fault? Not islam. Culture. Ignorance.

  13. AbdulQ

    January 31, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    One of the risks of moving to secular, western country is the Deen of our youngsters. Personally, I have done things that took me outside the fold of islam while in high school and the start of university, astaghfirullah. It’s correct of course that if my parents (may Allah swt have mercy on them) presented a more “Islamically enriched way of life” I may not have fallen into such things. BUT that being said, one must deeply consider the practical limitations of such a notion. Not only do we youth need more Islam, but a more culturally understandable depiction of Islam as well. The simple parroting of our grandparents IS NOT ENOUGH. At the core of this tragic situation is the clash of cultures. It’s a problem we must address, but how to do so remains the question.

  14. Mohammed

    February 1, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    Salam all,

    Forgive me for being blunt, but I really need to be frank on this matter, because it is sickening when scumbags such as those murderers, go and do these things thinking they are justified in their actions. Now this may be a bit off tangent from the topic above, but I believe this points to a bigger issue. All this honor killing crap stems from disgusting cultural customs that immigrant Muslims need to seriously realize are not a part of this beautiful deen, Islam. It seems as though whenever immigrant Muslims decide to practice a custom or tradition from their native culture that purely contradicts Islam, it is interpreted by the media to be an “Islamic” practice. I am the son of Bangladeshi immigrant Muslims so I know exactly how damaging cultural crap can seriously affect a person’s practice of Islam in addition to the above. It doesn’t have to be something so apparently heinous as an “honor” killing. What comes to my mind is how many Hindu customs have permeated certain aspects of the practice of Bangladeshi Muslims. My father passed away a few years ago (may Allah have mercy on him) and my mother wasn’t allowed by her sisters to even have a conversation with a non-mahram man(amongst a group) for 40 days! in addition she was told she had to wear white!!!. Gold is forbidden for men to wear in Islam, but for some strange reason, at most Muslim Bengali weddings, a man is still given a gold ring. We are the children of Muslim immigrants and the only way we can sustain our deen, develop our communities, and simultaneously give non-Muslims dawah (lead by example) is when we abandon the disgusting anti-islamic cultural customs that our parents brought over on the boat. Immigrant Muslims and the children of immigrant Muslims need to wake up and sift through their respective cultures, keep the islamically compliant customs, and abandon the unislamic customs.

  15. Ashraf

    February 1, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    We Muslims need to do some serious rethinking and get back to the basics of our religion. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) brought a religion whose impact on the rights of women was nothing short of revolutionary. However, soon after his death, male chauvinists and misogynists among his followers started rolling back the freedoms that women had gained during the Prophet’s lifetime.

    For example, women who were allowed to pray in mosques by the Prophet were forbidden to do so after his death. In one case, Prophet Muhammad allowed a girl, who had been married off against her will, to divorce her husband. This is something that would be considered scandalous if not unthinkable in most Muslim countries.

    Muslims have not quite stooped down to the level of the Indians and Chinese (who have aborted 50 million female fetuses in the last 50 years). However, they are picking up un-Islamic cultural practices fast. For example, in India, the traditional Hindu custom of marriage dowry being paid by the bride’s family, is becoming popular among Muslims also, specially in the last 20 years (despite the fact that Islam requires the GROOM to pay a dowry to the bride).

    • Penelope

      February 17, 2012 at 12:28 AM

      Thank you for saying ”
      We Muslims need to do some serious rethinking and get back to the basics of our religion. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) brought a religion whose impact on the rights of women was nothing short of revolutionary. However, soon after his death, male chauvinists and misogynists among his followers started rolling back the freedoms that women had gained during the Prophet’s lifetime.” Many Muslims forget this, Prophet Mohammad (saw) was a feminist in his time, an Islamic feminist. Cultural mumbojumbo gets mixed in way too much! 

    • Muhammad_Maryam

      January 1, 2013 at 3:16 AM

      ASA, Our Mother Ayesha radhuiAllahu ‘anha said:Had Allah’s Rasul sall Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam seen the reprehensible new ways of women, He would have prohibited them from Masjid the way women of Bani Israel {Children of Nabi Ya’qoob ‘alayh-is-salam} were prohibited before. She used to weep when she went out of her home to demand the qisas of murderers of ‘Uthman radhuiAllahu ‘anhu when she recited Qarna fee buyootikunna {Stay at your homes}. The daughters of Mothers of Believers should follow the uswah of mothers rather than egyptian women seducers who seduced Nabi Yoosuf ‘alayh-is-salam. Allah’s Rasul (s) said : Had there been a nabi after me, that would be ‘Umar(r). Those who are not following his ijtihad are seeing the destruction of zina and hayalessness through non-segregated masajid in dar ul kufr. He is said to have personally flogged a man for violating distance from gathering of women at hajj.

    • Muhammad_Maryam

      January 1, 2013 at 3:25 AM

      ‘However, soon after his death, male chauvinists and misogynists among his followers started rolling back the freedoms that women had gained during the Prophet’s lifetime.’ He(s) had said:The latter part of my ummah will verbally abuse the righteous predecessors of ummah. Was Our Mother Ayesha (r) a ‘misogynist’? May Allah protect our tongues from blasphemies and guide us.. Was ‘Umar (r) a ‘male chauvinist’ who would would bring her queen to help in the child-birth of an ordinary subject? May Allah protect our tongues from blasphemies and guide us. I would prefer ‘misogyny’ and ‘male chauvinism’ that would lead to Jannah that dajjalic jewish antichrist feminism which leads Muslim families to nar of jahannam. May Allah make hijrah away from dar al kufr easy for true Muslims.

  16. Umm Nabil

    February 1, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Asalam Alleikum
    it is a sad thing these honor killings, but what is sadder even. Its that they blame it on religion. Islam has been oft considered a religion of violence, suicide bombers, honor killings enslaving wives and women folk and an array of other things. But all these is because there is no like drawn between culture and religion. I am very new to islam and i know its about love , peace, respect, obedience. Forgivenes and encouraging each other. I have lived in the east where though facilities exist to raise children in deen people want to westernise. Hijab is cultural, abaya is cultural. Kids as young as 13 running around with blackberry phones chatting and gettin involved in one night stands.
    If we as an umma take time to teach them the right ways. We will be in fear of Allah. And the kids will know how to pray, remember Allah, read quran. I know when anyone draws themselves closer to Allah, they are not easily tempted and dont fall into sin easily because of fear of Allah’s wrath, respect and love of deen and parents and our prophet (saw), and for the hope of Jannah

  17. Abu Yusuf

    February 13, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    The Shafia sisters have passed away. Are we still to parade their pictures without their hijabs on? This article could’ve been written without the pictures of the sisters, especially without their hijabs on.

    • Amal

      February 14, 2012 at 10:43 AM

       Are you kidding? They didn’t wear scarves, didn’t want to, which is part of the reason they were MURDERED. They spent their brief lives being tormented about hijab (among many other things) and now, even in death, fools like you continue to place their appearance above all else. You are a sick individual, as are so many Muslims today, when these girls have been MURDERED and all you care about is what they wear in their photos. SHAME on you, may Allah guide you to Islam and away from the arrogance that makes you believe you have the right to judge other Muslims, even after they have died.

      • Good Boy

        June 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        I totally agree with Abu Yusuf. Why are their pictures in the article. So that men can look at them (while Allah orders us to lower our gaze) and earn sin, which will also go in the girls’ account.

        • anonymous

          June 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM

          If you were lowering your gaze in the proper manner, you would go past the photos and read the article. Let’s not lose sight of the real issue here, these young sisters of ours were murdered!

        • ayeshagul

          July 17, 2012 at 9:39 AM

          so dont look , u men should be ashamed of yourselves!

    • Muhammad_Maryam

      January 1, 2013 at 3:28 AM

      ASA. Their souls should not be burdened by eyes of non-mahrams after their death.

  18. Gaffar Gailani

    February 13, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    I believe our imams have to read this story and tell us about it in Jumua instead of wasting our time in nonsense talks. This is a big lesson for each one. We need to 

    • Shiney

      February 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      The purpose of a Khutbah, brother, is to remind the Muslims about Allah and their duty as Muslims, etc. People don’t come to the Khutbah to listen to news that they can read somewhere online- they come to Jummah to increase their Iman and to learn how to become better Muslims. As Sheikh Abdul-Nasir Jangda said, “Many people live from Jummah-to-Jummah, looking for something to connect them with Allah.”

      and what do you mean “non-sense” talks? I understand that some masajid have the not-so-amazing-heart-wrenching Khutbahs that we want but that doesn’t mean you can degrade the status of a Khutbah and call it nonsense, no matter who the Khateeb is and what he’s talking about. In his Khutbah giving advice, Shaykh Kamal al-Mekki said that when the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) would give Khutbahs, his face would become stern, his voice would become louder and he would admonish the people as well as give them advice and solutions on how to increase their Iman. A Khutbah is supposed to be a reminder about Allah and the Hereafter, not a news discussion time, where we discuss worldly affairs.

      I understand that there are some issues that need to be discussed and well-analyzed but the Khutbah is not the place for it, and if a Khateeb is discussing Muslim events in a Khutbah, it should just be to teach Muslims a lesson and relate it to how they can improve their Iman through it. Shaykh Yaser Birjas has a recent article related to Khutbahs on Syria.

      • Hena Zuberi

        February 14, 2012 at 9:22 PM

        Brother Gaffar,
        Assalam ‘aliakum,
        It is easy to say Imam should be giving khutbahs etc, why not be proactive? Here is a sample khutbah please forward it to the local imam or khateeb in your area and ask him to give a sermon on this topic- this will address the spiritual needs as well as make it relevant to their daily lives. May allah make it easy for you and accept it from you.

        JazakAllah khayr

        Salams Shiney,
        Great points MashaAllah but I can understand where the brother is coming from- sometimes despite the sanctity if the masjid and the khutbahs some of the ‘talks’ given at masajid during Juma’h salah are just that- especially in places where there are no qualified khateebs and just about anyone is invited to the podium to speak.

      • One

        May 30, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        The purpose of the Khutbah is to teach us how to be better muslims. If issues like honor killing were addressed and condemned unequivocally by the Imam at whatever masjid Mr. Shafia went to every Friday, this situation could have been avoided. I’m so tired of muslims listening to lectures to ‘increase their Iman and that’s it. The true believer is one who forbids injustice. Who brings peace to the land. Through whom other people derive benefit, whether as a doctor or scientist or social worker or mother or WHATEVER.

        It frustrates me that we spend so much time on our own personal Iman that we forget that our purpose here is not to be angels and have perfect Iman. It is to bring justice to the land. Happiness to the people around us.

        If the Prophet (S) saw us now, as just Talkers, and no Action..he’d be so disappointed.

  19. Gaffar Gailani

    February 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    continue, we need to learn more and separate culture from Islam. The issue is too long to be  discussed here but it should be well analyzed.

  20. Marty

    February 22, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    “One of the positive outcomes of this media attention was the ‘Call to Eradicate Domestic Violence”
     Could you explain how a call to eradicate domestic violence can prevent a father from murdering one of his wives and three of his daughters?
     I am asking this because domestic violence, crimes of passion I believe can be defused given the right intervention at the right time.
    However cold blooded murder is exactly what it sounds like. Cold blooded murder.
    Is it not the expression of complete hate toward someone else? 

    • One

      May 30, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      By teaching them that Islam does not allow, under any circumstances, the murder of an innocent. That’s how.

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  22. One

    May 30, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    There is more to Islam than the hijab, brother. Focus on that, let everyone take care of themselves.

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  25. Mindy

    October 31, 2022 at 3:03 AM

    In islam a muslim should not be murdering another muslim especially if that’s his own family. The fact that people worry about hijab when 4 ladies killed – 3 teens and their mom. It seems to me the life of a women is cheap and disposable to some Muslims.

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