Fatwa on Honor Killings

The fatwa is a unanimous decision by forty Muslim muftis, affiliated with the Sunni Ittehad Council in Pakistan, declaring honor killing of women as “un-Islamic” or heresy (kuffur) and an “unpardonable sin” (gunah-e-qabir). The decree explicitly states that burning a woman alive, in the name of honor, for marrying a person of their choosing, is heresy and against the commands of Islam. The fatwa quotes a Quranic verse, verse number 232 of Surat al-Baqarah: [translated from the Urdu translation of the verse – as used in the fatwa – into English] “Oh woman’s family, do not say no to women for wanting to marry the husband [of their choice] if the two of them have consented to the marriage.” The fatwa states that Islam is the true guardian of rights of women and that it is imperative upon the leaders of an Islamic nation/government (hukumat) to ensure protection of women’s rights. For that purpose, the government should pass and implement laws that make burning and killing of women an unpardonable crime. The oppression and torture unleashed upon women has no relation to Islam. The fatwa then refers to an example (sunna) of the Prophet Muhammad, as narrated in Sahih-Bukhari: The Prophet (s.a.w.) terminated the marriage contract (nikkah) of a woman who complained to him (s.a.w.) that she did not like the man her father had married her off to. The fatwa condemns the act of burning alive or killing one’s child for marrying someone of their choice and then “appeals” to the parents to focus on the ethical education and upbringing of their children in line with the teachings of Islam; and that the upcoming month of Ramadan will be devoted to raise awareness about women’s rights. Finally, the fatwa states that those who burn women and girls alive should be hanged to death.


The particular newspaper reporting (in Roznama Dunya) on this fatwa includes the names of twenty four clerics who signed the fatwa (the total number of clerics who joined in issuing the fatwa were forty but the newspaper article explicitly mentions just twenty four names).

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