Written by Theresa Corbin
In my previous post I wrote about how ridiculous is it to claim that “honor” killings are Islamic (Part I here) when they are in fact murder. The whole time I was writing I kept thinking: talk about the victims, tell their stories and speak out for their justice. I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t challenge the perpetrators of their murders. I wonder if the lives of these women could have been saved if their families really knew what Islam dictated, instead of their culture.
Would they be alive and happy today if only their families knew?
Forced into marriage
Would Shafilea Ahmed’s parents still have murdered her “because she failed to conform to their wishes for an arranged marriage and she allegedly ‘brought shame’ on the family” if they had known that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: “A woman without a husband (or divorced or a widow) must not be married until she is consulted”? (Sahih Muslim)
Would she be alive today if her parents had only read the Quran 4:19 “O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will […]”
Or would it not have made any difference to their egos?
Choosing her own husband
Would Saba Maqsood still have been shot for marrying a man she loved if her family had been reminded that a woman has the right to choose her husband, as Khadija choose Muhammad (pbuh) and as many other female companions of the Prophet (pbuh) chose their husband?
Would the family of Saba still feel justified in their crimes against her if they had heard the hadith about a woman who “came to the Prophet, (pbuh), and mentioned that her father had married her against her will, so the Prophet, (pbuh), allowed her to exercise her choice.” ? (Abu Dawud)
Or would they have still allowed cultural dictates to cloud their judgement?
Accused without evidence
Would Ayah Ibrahim, still be with us if her uncle who imagined an inappropriate relationship between her and her fiance would have known that accusing women without evidence is a huge sin?
Would Ayah be married to her betrothed today if her suspicious uncle had read this verse of the Quran: “Indeed, those who [falsely] accuse chaste, unaware and believing women are cursed in this world and the Hereafter; and they will have a great punishment” 24:23?
Would her uncle have even cared?
Getting a divorce
Would Mona Mahajneh‘s brother still have shot her if he had known divorce is perfectly acceptable, if he had read one word about divorce in the Quran, if he had known the Prophet himself legitimized divorces between couples and even married a woman name Zaynab bint Jahsh who was divorced?
Would Mona still have been shot in front of her son if her brother wasn’t only concerned about cultural mores that only value a woman based on her virginity?
Would the unnamed 10 year old Afghani rape victim still have to fear being killed by her family if they weren’t so horrifyingly ignorant, if they knew that it is the rapist that should suffer the death penalty and not the victim?
Would she have had a chance to heal from her attack if her culture was able to see her as a whole human being and not just a hymen?
I wonder if her father had been the one raped, would he find himself guilty of being impure and call for his own murder?
Having an inappropriate relationship
And would all the women who have been murdered for having a relationship with a man before marriage (real or imagined by family members), would they still be alive if their families had known that flirting, kissing, and even fornicating are not actions punishable by death? Would these women still be alive if their fathers, brothers, uncles were educated even a little bit in Islam and not so much in culture?
Would knowing the following hadith have changed their minds?: When a man approached the Prophet after having kissed a woman, seeking forgiveness and guidance. God revealed to the Prophet the following verse: “‘And perform the prayers, between the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night. Verily, the good deeds efface the evil deeds,’ (11:114). The man asked the Messenger of God ﷺ if the revelation of this verse applied only to his situation. The Messenger of God responded, ‘It applies to all my ummah [nation of Muslims around the world, male and female].’” (Bukhari)
Or would they still have clung to a false and paranoid idea of “honor”?
Would any of these women be victims today had their family members truly known what Islam dictates? Or would cruel and irrational cultural practices have won out in the end anyway? Islam came to free us from these backwards, ignorant and evil practices, but still we find that many cling to culture over Islam, and still more claim their culture is Islam. In this willful ignorance women suffer, are murdered and are living in fear for no reason other than power plays, appearances, and egotism.
No more! It is time we educate ourselves and our families. It is time we pry culture away from Islam and know the difference, and know those who wish to abuse power falsely in it’s name. It is time we stop hiding behind culture and admit when wrong is wrong. It is time to expose the truth, save lives, and end these ignorant and detrimental practices. It is well past time to #TakeBackIslam
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