Friday, 13 November 2009

Islam-Watch Refuted on Honor Killings

Refutation of Syed Kamran Mirza’s Article entitled: “Honor Killing” is Absolutely Islamic!

Having already corrected other misleading work from Syed Kamran Mirza concerning Islam I have come across further work of his which requires correction. I do understand he presented much of his work about 10-15 years ago and a lot of it is still in circulation on the internet and it will be physically difficult for him to correct and retract his shoddy and misleading scholarship on Islam, nevertheless; I urge him to correct his work as it error-laden.

This particular piece of Mirza’s work (“Honor Killing” is Absolutely Islamic!), which is to be discussed, is equally shoddy and misleading.

Prior to coming across Mirza’s claims on honor killings I had already produced a small piece of writing which illustrated the fact that honor killings are not allowed in Islam. This work, God-Willing, will be appended into appendix 1 at the end of the article.

Despite the false accusation of honor killings being allowed in Islam is not as widespread amongst critics of Islam it is still a dangerous misconception which is becoming more common due to the desperation of certain critics. It does not surprise me that Mirza made this claim as he has a history of unorthodox and bizarre claims against Islam.

Before beginning, it is important to illustrate to the reader that honor killings are not allowed in Islam. The best way to highlight this is by searching Islamic Law to find any requirement for honor killings. This search clearly indicates that there is nothing in Islamic Law which allows honor killings. Therefore honor killing is not sanctioned by Islam thus highlighting the falsehood in Mirza’s claims. To be more thorough I will offer the opinion of the Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, on this issue:

“There is no such concept in Islam that is called “honor killing”. Islam holds every soul in high esteem and does not allow any transgression upon it. It does not allow people to take the law in their own hands and administer justice, because doing so will be leading to chaos and lawlessness. Therefore, based on this, Islam does not permit such killings.” [1]

So Mirza is in a pickle here and is clearly incorrect with his bold assertion; “Honor Killing is Absolutely Islamic”. OK, having established Mirza has no authority and is clearly wrong let us look at some other aspects of his article.

Mirza arrogantly claims “very often civilized people do blame Islam as the precursor of this dreadful act. Most others do not agree with this notion at all; and they try to put the blame on the tribal/cultural practice, and do not consider Islam is anyway responsible for it” [2]

Mirza suggests it is the civilised people who blame Islam for this practice; thus inferring the uncivilised do not blame Islam for the practice of honor-killings. Well Mirza ends up with egg on his face as I have clearly demonstrated (with Islamic authority) that honor killings are not Islamic therefore Mirza should correct himself by claiming it is the ignorant who blame Islam for honor killings and not the civilised whilst it is the educated ones who do not blame Islam for honor killings.

Staying on the same subject Mirza begins to attack non-Muslims who are unwilling to be as unscholarly as he is; “Most Muslim apologists and also some gullible westerners want to argue that the ‘so called “honor killing” is not Islamic and it’s a tribal/cultural vice.’ This statement is utterly untrue and only a wish full covers up”. [2]

Well, I suggest Mirza puts his campaign of propaganda aside and re-research Islam rather than attacking Islam with preconceived ideas. This way he will not look quite so biased against Islam, unscholarly and arrogant.

If Mirza’s arrogance has not shocked you, his ignorance will certainly shock you; Mirza goes on to claim “And this kind of cruel killings to save family honor had happened, still happening, and will remain to happen—only to a Muslim family. Honor killings happen only to some designated Muslim nations” [2]

Absolutely amazing! After this comment I am certain, even the most ardent supporter of Mirza (critic of Islam) will begin to doubt Mirza’s claims and reliability. Mirza only needs to read a few news articles to realise honor killings occur in Sikh, Hindu and Christian communities too. In fact it is a big issue amongst the Hindu and Sikh communities and occurs all over the planet.

However prior to Mirza’s shocking attempt to convince us that honor killings are an exclusive activity of Muslims Mirza contradicts himself by writing “Honor killing is a manifestation of global phenomenon in general and Muslim nations in particular.” [2]

Mirza further contradicts himself by claiming “However, some very rare, sporadic case of such killing might have happened in other society or people of other religion” [2]. Thus it appears Mirza was either undecided or was shoddy in editing.

Mirza proceeds to give nine distinct stories of honor killings within the Muslim community, as Mirza has a habit of being unreliable and not having enough time to painstakingly check Mirza’s information I will not comment. However, it should not be taken as a denial that honor killings occur in the Muslim community; they do occur but they are un-Islamic, i.e. not allowed in Islam therefore the Muslim committing the crime of honor killing is contravening (going against) Islamic teachings.

Mirza tries to present a further case against Islam by stating “Had it been the tribal/cultural practice, ‘honor killing’ would exist amongst the Arabs only. But honor killing does happen amongst the non-Arab Muslims also. Also Arabs belonged to all religions (Muslims, Christians, Jews, Bhai etc.) would practice honor killing with equal prevalence. Fact of the matter is—no Arab Christians, Jews or Bahai etc do practice this uncivilized act at all.” [2]

In fact Claire Murphy’s (BBC News) statement corrects and educates Mirza and shows Mirza that other cultures and religious communities have the same problem of honor killings; “It is widely agreed that the root and cause of honour killing is a complex, historical phenomenon which has no justification in Islam's holy book, the Koran, and which has also been known to occur elsewhere in the world and among other religions.” [3]

So Mirza fails with this attempt to convince the reader. Mirza finally, somewhat half-heartedly, quotes irrelevant English translations from Muslim sources (the Quran and aHadith). Mirza presents these quotes and he too seems to realise that even these quotes do not prove his ideas and in order to save face and retain a little credibility he entitles his list of quotes with; “Dictums of Quran and Hadiths which may dictate/incite honor killing”

Note the word “may”; this seems very incompatible with Mirza’s bold assertion in the title of his work, “Honor Killing is Absolutely Islamic!”

It appears as though, even Mirza’s fertile imagination could not even attempt to manipulate the quotes he presented to try and back up his assertion which wrongly claims honor killings are Islamic. The fact still remains not one of Mirza’s quotes are supporting honor killings and thus rendering his quoting irrelevant. I get the feeling Mirza knew this too, sadly he was not too quick to come forward and admit this.

To give Mirza further food for thought we can add comments from Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti:

“In Islam, there is no place for unjustifiable killing. Even in case of capital punishment, only the government can apply the law through the judicial procedures. No one has the authority to execute the law other than the officers who are in charge.” [1]

Note: “Honor” is an American spelling, the English spelling is “honour”, and I have endeavoured to use the American spelling as Mirza used the American spelling despite my preference of the English spelling.

Appendix 1

Link to a short piece indicating honour killings are forbidden in Islam:


[1] Fatwa Bank, Islamonline, Honor Killing from an Islamic Perspective. (

[2] Honor Killing” is Absolutely Islamic! By Kamran Syed Mirza, 01 Jul, 2005 (Updated 16 Jan, 2008)

[3] Jordan's dilemma over 'honour killings' By Claire Murphy, BBC News Online, Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK

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