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Family Killings

Reader comment on item: Islam's Surprising Impact on Daily Life

Submitted by D Cripps (United Kingdom), Dec 2, 2021 at 15:35

The following may be of relevance to the phenomenon of "family killings", taken from the Shafi'i manual of Islamic jurisprudence "Reliance of the Traveller", in Book O on "Justice", section o1.0 "Who Is Subject to Retaliation for Injurious Crimes"...

Defining killing without/with right, according to this manual:
"...The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: 'The blood of a Muslim man who testifies that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah is not lawful to shed unless he be one of three: a married adulterer, someone killed in retaliation for killing another, or someone who abandons his religion and the Muslim community.'
...Allah Most High says: '...and not to slay the soul that Allah has forbidden, except with right' (Koran 6:151)..."
(The above-quoted hadith is specific about the sex of the individual whose blood is "lawful to shed". However, the Shafi'i ruling on apostasy applies to women also.)

Subsection o1.1 "Retaliation is obligatory (if the person entitled wishes to take it) against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right. ('Intentionally' is a first restriction and excludes killing someone through an honest mistake, while 'purely' excludes a mistake made in a deliberate injury, and 'without right' excludes cases of justifiable homicide such as lawful retaliation.)"

Subsection o1.2 "The following are not subject to retaliation:
(1) a child or insane person, under any circumstances (whether Muslim or non-Muslim. The ruling for a person intermittently insane is that he is considered a sane person when in his right mind, and as if someone continuously insane when in an interval of insanity. If someone against whom retaliation is obligatory subsequently becomes insane, the full penalty is nevertheless exacted. A homicide committed by someone who is drunk is (considered the same as that of a sane person,) like his pronouncing divorce);
(2) a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim;
(3) a Jewish or Christian subject of the Islamic state for killing an apostate from Islam (because a subject of the state is under its protection, while killing an apostate from Islam is without consequences);
(4) a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring;
(5) nor is retaliation permissible to a descendant for (his ancestor's) killing someone whose death would otherwise entitle the descendant to retaliate, such as when his father kills his mother."
(Not being subject to "retaliation" does not necessarily mean not being subject to paying compensation, though this may be waived by the victim's family.)

From the above, the blood of an apostate is "lawful to shed", so becoming 'too westernised' might be perceived as apostasy (ibid o8.1 "When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatises from Islam, he deserves to be killed." However, as I understand it, even if apostasy is not suspected, o1.2 (4) more or less grants immunity; in cases where someone other than parent or grandparent commits the murder, if it is done with their approval, then they can waive retribution and compensation.

Though these sorts of rulings do not amount to incitement toward 'honour killing'/'family killing', they might provide an easy climate for it.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Good point.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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