God's Message: Dishonour of 'Honour Killings'

An honour killing is when a family member is murdered by one or more fellow family members, when they perceive the victim to have brought dishonour upon the family. The victims are usually female but can also be male.

The Quran has a very high regard for a person's life and only accepts the taking of a life in very limited circumstances:

It is because of this that We have decreed for the Children of Israel: “Anyone who kills a person who has not committed murder, or who has not committed corruption in the land; then it is as if he has killed all of mankind! And whoever saves a life, then it is as if he has given life to all the people.”... [Part of 5:32]

And whoever kills a believer intentionally, then his reward shall be Hell, eternally abiding therein, and God will be angry with him, and curse him, and for him is prepared a great retribution. [4:93]. This verse adequately demonstrates that there is no honour in murder.

...and do not kill the soul which God has forbidden, except in justice... [Part of 6:151]

It should be noted that nowhere in the Quran is a person allowed to take the law into their own hands and act as ‘judge, jury and executioner’. "Justice" here refers to a court of law.

O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result. [4:59]

Also, the only acts punishable by death in the Quran are for murder and causing corruption in the land (such as terrorism, treason against the government).

Sometimes an honour killing is carried out due to extra-marital relationships, but the punishment for this in the Quran is not death [see 24:2]. Again, this is done before the Government or a proper court of law.

In the case of [the customary practice] of dating, there is no mandated punishment for a male or a female seeing a member of the opposite sex against the wishes of their families. Such situations should be handled with counseling, compassion and common sense. Muslim immigrants who have migrated to the West should realize that they have placed their children in an environment where there is a tremendous amount of anti-Islamic [immoral] peer pressure. This is especially true if they have placed their children, in public schools. Children should be guided to live a moral and upright life according to the teachings of God found in the sacred text of Islam.  To kill a female [or male] guilty of an offense such as dating or dressing like her [or his] peers under any circumstances is nothing short of cold-blooded murder, and no Muslim or Islamic authority may argue otherwise. [4:93]

There is no doubt extra-marital relationships has been described by God as a most heinous sin and despicable way; therefore, the faithful are not only ordered to shun it altogether but also told not even to go near it”. This means they are to stay away from all circumstances, incentives, and associations that may lead to zina - adultery and fornication.

And come not near to unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a faahishah (a great sin/lewdness) and an evil way. [17:32]

However, God teaches us in the Quran that His mercy is limitless. He calls upon the faithful saying, “O My servants who have wronged against their souls! Do not despair of God’s mercy! For God forgives all sins; for He is indeed Forgiving, Compassionate. Turn to your Lord repentant, and submit to Him, before the torment overtakes you when you shall not be helped.” [39:53-54]. Thus, anyone who is involved in such heinous sins should be encouraged to repent to God, not murdered.

Once a person has repented sincerely, he is forgiven. God says, “Save him who repents and believes, and does good works; those, God shall change their misdeeds into good works. And God is Forgiving, Compassionate.” [25: 70]

Accordingly, it is the duty upon the family to disseminate the correct Islamic upbringing within the house hold and if any member of the house hold erred s/he should be encouraged to repent to Allah and make rectification.

Honour killings/murders occurs in every nation and in every society, regardless of religion, race, culture or motive. It is committed across all status group from families of tribal backgrounds to the Monarchy, whether from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or United Kingdom. Those who rightly advocate severe punishment for such heinous crimes must take this in consideration; since none should be above the law.

These crimes must be universally condemned and punished by every society, and especially by Muslim societies, as one of the main aims of Islamic law is the protection of the sanctity of life. [4:29], [6:151], [22:66].

There is absolutely no honour in such Godless crimes:

People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware. [49:13]


See related article: Forced Marriage


For Younger Readers

God teaches in the Quran, the holy book of Muslims that:

  • Honour killing is murder

  • Murder is wrong and evil

  • Sex outside marriage is wrong and sinful.

  • People must repent or beg for forgiveness (to God) for their sins to be forgiven by God