We continue our study of the book, ‘The Garden of the Righteous’, available on the Islamic Circle of North America (Canada) website. In this article, we examine what this book says about honor killing, and the reiteration of Canadian Imams. We also examine contrary commentary by other Canadian Islamic organizations that decry honor killing.
On its official website ICNA Canada shares with its members, followers and supporters the book “Riyad us Saliheen” (“The Gardens of the Righteous” رياض الصالحين) compiled by Imam Zakaruya Yahya Bin Sharaf An-Nawawi, a Sunni Shafi’ite jurist and hadith scholar who lived in 13th century.
The Gardens of the Righteous (Arabic: Riyadh as-Salihin), is a compilation of verses from the Qur’an and hadith by Al-Nawawi. It contains a total of 1905 hadith divided across 372 chapters, many of which are introduced by verses of the Quran.
The book “Riyad us Saliheen” (“The Gardens of the Righteous”) which appears on ICNA Canada site adds modern commentary to the verses from the Qur’an and hadith.
The following are excerpts from the book which deal with honour killing:
“[Hadith]1628. `Uqbah bin `Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Avoid (entering a place) in which are women (uncovered or simply to mix with them in seclusion).” A man from the Ansar said, “Tell me about the brother of a woman’s husband.” He replied, “The brother of a woman’s husband is death.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].”
“Commentary: This Hadith tells us an extremely important point in respect of the veil about which the majority of Muslims are unaware or negligent. The point that it tells us that a woman must observe the veil from the real brothers, cousins etc., of her husband because their visits in her home are very frequent and there may occur several occasions when they come across each other alone. For this reason, there are greater chances of mischief with them. This explains why the husband’s male relatives have been regarded as “death”, that is from the religious point of view they are fatal.
“In other words, if they commit the mischief, it will prove fatal because in an Islamic state this crime is punishable by Rajm (stoning to death).
“This can also be fatal in another way. If the husband begins to suspect that his wife has illicit relations with someone else, he might kill her or divorce her out of his sense of honour. Even in case of divorce, her life will become desolate. Another meaning of it can be that one should be as much afraid of meeting such women in seclusion with whom any kind of contact is not permissible as one is afraid of death.”
“When a woman is required to observe the veil from the real brothers of her husband, why would it not be essential to observe the veil from the husband’s friends. Slackness in this matter is also very common nowadays. Although the dangerous consequences of this fashion come to our notice everyday through newspapers, people do not learn any lesson from them, and the fashion of non-observance of the veil is spreading fast like an epidemic. May Allah save us from this evil!”
“Protective jealousy” in Islam
The book “Fragile Vessels,” authored by Muhammad Mustafa al-Jibaly, and available and even recommended in Islamic bookstores in Toronto, serves as guide for Muslim couples to improve marital relationship in accordance to the Islamic Law (Sharia).
In his book al-Jibaly ruled that the wife must follow her husband’s naturally destined leadershipand in cases she becomes disobedient and rebellious her husband is allowed in certain conditions to use force against her. He also noted that “depending on her conduct, the wife can be a source of honor or depravity for the whole family.”
The husband must provide protection to his wife and is also obliged to have “protective jealousy” towards her. In pages 28-29 of this book al-Jibaly wrote the following:
“An Important Obligation Upon the Husband
“Security and safety are most important for a human being. One needs to feel reasonably secure in order to function normally and perform one’s regular tasks.
“The wife is usually the weaker of the two spouses and looks to her husband for protection. Thus, one of the husband’s most important obligations is providing protection for his wife. This is part of his responsibility as leader of the family:
“Men are in charge of women by (right of) what (qualities) Allah has given one over the other and what they spend (in support) from their wealth.” [An-Nisa 4:34]
“This ayah [verse] shows that Allah gave leadership (or qawamah) to the man, because of certain qualities that would normally enable him to conduct such a responsibility. A most important quality of a leader is his ability to protect his followers and provide for them an atmosphere of security and harmony.
“Protection is a general term that covers physical, emotional and other forms of well being. The husband must strive to protect his wife in all of those respects. Some details in this regard will be discussed in the subsequent sections.
“Ghayrah [or ghirah, protective jealousy]
“As a demonstration of a man’s toward his wife, he should have ghayrah for her. Ghayrah is the great concern about her well being and the zeal to protect her from anything that might harm her person, such as an evil touch, word or look.
“But ghayrah should not reach the point of distrusting and suspecting her without reason, not should it be for the purpose of finding possible mistakes. Jabir Bin ‘Atik reported that Allah’s Messenger said:
“Indeed, there is a form of ghayrah that Allah loves, and a form that Allah hates. Ghayrah that Allah loves is that which is based on (valid) suspicion. And ghayrah that Allah hates is that which is without (valid) suspicion.
“A person without ghayrah is called dayyuth [ديوث]. A dayyuth is a person who has no sense of protection or honor regarding his wife. As we discussed in the second book of this series a dayyuth will not enter Jannah [paradise].”
Canadian Islamic perspective of the Ghayrah [or ghirah, protective jealousy]
Canadian Imam Said Rageah (الشيخ سعيد راجح) addressed in one his lectures at Abu Huraira Center (270 Yorkland Blvd Toronto, Ontario M2J 5C9) the challenges Muslims couples face in their marital relationship and the meaning of the ghayrah [or ghirah protective jealousy] in Islam. The following are excerpts of his lecture (17:07-22:26):
“Also something that we are not doing it is [that] we no longer have the ghirah [protective jealousy] that is needed. There is no ghirah [protective jealousy] in us, my brothers to faith (اخوتي في الله) nowadays. There is no jealousy.
“Meaning (يعني) you don’t have that ghirah [protective jealousy], that manhood. Glorious is God [سبحان الله]. And when a man looks at your sister or your wife and her brother passes by what should you [her brother] do? Knocking him out. Right? But, he [reacts by saying]: O well, how are you? She is my sister. He is Dayyuth (هذا ديوث). That is not acceptable. You know, you should introduce your sister, no, no, no, no, no, no. Unacceptable, O my brothers to faith (اخوتي في الله).
“I told you the story of the [Quranic] verse [اية] and the ruling [حكم] of a man finding another man with his wife. What is the ruling initially? The ruling was: go and get four witnesses. Sa’ad bin Muaz (سعد بن معاذ) said [فقال], Sa’ad bin Ubaada [سعد بن عبادة], i’m sorry, and you know Sa’ad bin Ubaada, may Allah be pleased with him [رضي الله عنه].
“Sa’ad bin Ubaada was the man [who] got married and the family delivered the wife on a horse, and as soon as she got off the horse, what did he do? He took his dagger and killed the horse… He said: no, no man will sit where my wife sat. That’s how his jealousy was. No, no, no. Let him live, let the horse live. No. [لا]. In the path of Allah it is a halal sacrifice [في سبيل الله حلال ذبيحة] on the spot. No. Meaning [يعني] Just the thought [that] five years later man sat [sic] in the same spot. He wouldn’t sleep with that thought and he killed the horse.
“And Allah said in the Quran: go and find four witnesses if you find a man with your wife. And Sa’ad said… you want me to find a man with my wife and I’ll say: Hey guys, stay where you are and I’ll bring four witnesses God Willing [ان شاء الله]. Don’t go anywhere. He said: O Messenger of Allah, [يا رسول الله] by the time I bring my witnesses they were done. It’s over. The business is over. In that kind of business what do you expect?
“He said: I swear by Allah, O the Messenger of Allah [والله يا رسول الله], I swear by Allah [والله] I will kill them both with the back of my sword. Meaning [يعنى] he [didn’t] come with the edge of his sword, [but] the back, so they’d die slowly. That’s how he wants to kill them. So [Muhammad’s] companions [صحابة] [said]: How could you say that Messenger of Allah peace and blessing be upon him. The Messenger of Allah [Prophet Muhammad] said: Are you concerned about Sa’ad’s jealousy? I swear by Allah that I’m more jealous than Sa’ad and Allah is more jealous than I.
“Al-Arari, a Bedouin, he was walking with his wife and his wife looked at another man, and he saw that, and he said: go back to your family [الحقي باهلك] She said: What? It was just a look. And he said this poem to her: إِذَا وَقَعَ الذُّبَابُ عَلَى طَعَامٍ رَفَعْتُ يَدِي وَنَفْسِي تَشْتَهِيهِ وَتَجْتَنِبُ الْأُسُودُ وُرُودَ مَاءٍ إِذَا كَانَ الْكِلاَبُ وَلَغْنَ فِيهِ. Listen to this. He said: If a fly lands on my food when I’m eating, and I’m still need to eat that food, I would withdraw my hand from the food, because a fly landed on my food.
“Meaning, that’s it. I don’t want to put myself to the point that I would eat something that a fly landed on it. When a fly lands on a food [إِذَا وَقَعَ الذُّبَابُ عَلَى طَعَامٍ رَفَعْتُ] I still want to eat that food [رَفَعْتُ يَدِي وَنَفْسِي تَشْتَهِيهِ], I love you. I still love you, but I cannot live with the thought that you looked at someone else. I cannot do this. Though I love you, I will go against my heart. He said: lions don’t drink what the dogs drank from [وَتَجْتَنِبُ الْأُسُودُ وُرُودَ مَاءٍ]. The lions don’t drink from the same spot the dogs drunk from. I can’t. And this is what is needed.
“But [with regard to] us we said: it’s ok, she is working with the man in the room, Oh come on, this is life brother Saeed. Why are you guys Wahabis?… Come on. Don’t be too rigid. I trust my wife. If you tell me that I should feel jealous, that’s means that I don’t trust her. Glorious be Allah [سبحان الله].
“What would you do with such a brother, my brothers to faith [اخوتي في الله]. You’re taking for a walk and you come back alone and leaving her, God Willing [ان شاء الله], because he does not deserve to live as a descent person. So, this is not the case for a believer [مؤمن] o my brothers to faith [اخوتي في الله].
Cases of alleged honour killing in Canada
In 2007, Aqsa Parvez, a Muslim of Pakistani origin, was strangled to death by her father and brother when she chose not to wear a hijab and traditional Pakistani clothing. Her murder sent shock waves prompting heated debate on the hijab ad integration for newcomers. Muhammad Parvez and Waqas Parvez pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Aqsa Parvez and were sentenced to life imprisonment, with no eligibility for parole until 2028.
In 2012, Afghan-born Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Yahya and their son Hamed were each handed an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years for “honour killing” Mohammad’s three daughters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, as well as Rona Mohammad Amir, 50, Mohammad’s other wife in a polygamous marriage. According to evidence heard in court, the daughters were murdered because they wanted to wear western clothes and resisted pressure from their parents and eldest brother to wear the hijab.
Canadian Muslim leaders: honour killing does not exist in Islam
Canadian Muslim organizations and advocates vehemently and repeatedly deny any connection between Islam and honour killing.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a grassroots advocacy founded in 2000 and formerly known as CAIR-CAN, issued (May 1, 2014) a press release bearing the headline: “Don’t Separate ‘honour Crimes’ From Other Violence Against Women.” The following is an excerpt of NCCM’s press release”
“The documentary [Honour Diaries] claims to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents us from addressing the human rights disaster that is honour-based violence… It is true that some forms of honour-based violence are more prevalent in certain Muslim majority countries, however, it is widely accepted that these practices have no basis in religion… Islam, the religion to which much of these heinous acts are attributed in the Honour Diaries, strongly condemns all these practices.”
The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), the Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA) and the Islamic Society of Toronto condemned the the murder by her father of Aqsa Parvez, a 17 year old teen who refused to wear the hijab regarding it an incident of “domestic violence” with no relation to Islam.
“There should be zero tolerance for violence of any kind against women or girls,” said ISSA President Shahina Siddiqui. “The strangulation death of Ms. Parvez was the result of domestic violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to colour or creed.”
“Muslims and Canadians of all faiths need to reflect on the realities of domestic abuse and take concrete steps to eliminate violence against women,” said CAIR-CAN Board Member Selma Djukic.
In another press release (January 30, 2012) referring to Shafia verdict (father, son and second wife were convicted of killing the first wife and three daughters) CAIR-CAN emphasized that “Canadian Muslims unequivocally condemn the notion of ‘honour killing’ or other gender-based violence as un-Islamic and un-Canadian.”
In an op-ed titled “Stop harassing Afghans and Muslims for crimes of the Shafia family” (February 1, 2012)Haroon Siddiqui argued that “honour killings — like violence against women — know no religious or cultural bounds, even in Canada.”
Sheema Khan, columnist with the Globe and Mail and former chair of CAIR-CAN, wrote (April 16, 2014) in her op-ed titled “We Can End Honour Killings, But Not With Films by Anti-Muslim Zealots” the following: “Religion is an ally against ‘honour’ killings. Islamic scholars (both Sunni and Shia) have condemned this practice. Their voices need to be amplified, in order to remove any doubts about the immoral nature of this crime. They carry far more legitimacy than anti-Muslim propagandists [referring the documentary Honour Diaries].