Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Abul Kasem, an ex-Muslim who is the author of hundreds of articles and several books on Islam including, Women in Islam. He was a contributor to the book Leaving Islam – Apostates Speak Out as well as to Beyond Jihad: Critical Views From Inside Islam. His latest contribution is in Why We Left Islam published by WND Books.
FP: Abul Kasem, welcome to Frontpage Interview. I’d like to talk to you today about the “moderate” Muslim who beheaded his wife in
Kasem: To my mind, this horrible slaughter is a case of honour killing. The killer, Muzammil Hassan, is certainly well-versed in Islamic theology and jurisprudence. He is the CEO of Bridges, the Islamic Television Station which he started to propagate the “true” image of Islam to the Western World. It is hard to believe that such an impeccably qualified person would not have been aware of what he was doing. Most likely, Muzammil Hasan had planned this all very well, and he did it according to Islamic fashion, i.e. slaughtering by beheading.
FP: Can you tell us about the legitimacy that Muslims find for honour killing in their religious theology?
Kasem: Well, you don’t need to go further than the Qur’an, which is the basis of honour killing in Islam. Let us read 4:15: Yusuf Ali:
If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.
This verse clearly tells that a disgraced woman is condemned to a solitary confinement till death. The alternative is the judgement of Allah. The Qur’an is not clear what that judgement of Allah could be. There are various interpretations on this. Therefore, it is a fish market: anyone (man) may do to his woman whatever he wishes, including ending her life.
According to Islam, if a woman disobeys her husband she is disgraced. Therefore, when Aasiya Zubair, the wife of Hassan, resorted to the Western justice system to seek protection from her menacing husband, she had certainly broken the Islamic tenet of complete surrender to the wishes of her husband. Thus, she had dishonoured her husband, his reputation and, most importantly, the Islamic code of conduct for an obedient wife. Therefore, it is not surprising that the killer had to end her life Islamically, to restore his pride, honor and religious conviction. Let us read verse 4:34: Yusuf Ali
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly (not stated in the original (our addition))); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).
Please note that in verse Allah permits a husband to punish his disobedient wife. It is worthy to observe that this verse says if the husband suspects or fears disobedience and rebellion; that the actual acts might not have taken place. This verse also says that the men are the protectors of women. Thus, Islamically, Aasiya was foolish enough to seek the protection of Canadian law. It was a clear violation of Qur’anic injunction of verse 4:34, a challenge to Islam. And, as per the Islamic law, if anyone violates the Qur’anic command the only punishment is death by beheading. Thus, we may conclude that Hassan has acted in the manner that Qur’an commands him.
FP: So in Islam, a woman is nothing more than her husband’s property
Kasem: Absolutely. There are a number of ahadith that say that a Muslim woman’s status to her husband is no more than a slave. Here are a few examples:
A woman is a sexual property, the righteous woman is the best property…(Ibn Majah, 3.1855).
Sunaan Ibn Majah, Volume 3, Number 1855: ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Verily, the world is a property and nothing of the property of the world is better than a righteous woman.
A husband is the owner of his wives’ chastity… (Ibn Majah, 3.2388).
Sunaan Ibn Majah, Volume 3, Number2388: ‘Amr b. Shu’aib (Allah be pleased with him) reported his father to have said on his grandfather’s authority that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said in a sermon he delivered, “It is not lawful for a woman (to make a donation) from her property but with the consent of her husband when he becomes the owner of her chastity (i.e. when he marries her).
Since in Islam, a woman is the property of her husband, it is imperative that the husband reserves the full right to dispose off his property in any manner he wishes.
That a woman is a servant (a sexual slave) to her husband is stipulated in Hedaya, the Hanafi Law Manual, the legal code for the Muslims of Hanafi
Woman is a servant and the husband is the person served (Hedaya, p.47).
Case of marriage on a condition of service from the husband.- …it is not lawful that a woman should be in a situation to exact the service of her husband who is a freeman, as this would amount to a reversal of their appointed stations, for one of the requisites of marriage is, that the woman be as a servant, and the man as the person served; but if the service of a husband to wife were to constitute her dower, it would follow that the husband is the servant and the wife as the served: and this being a violation of the requisites of marriage, is therefore illegal; but it is otherwise with the service stipulated to be performed by another free person, with that person’s consent, as this offers no violence to the requisites of the contract; and so also in the case of service of a slave, because the service performed by a slave to his wife is, in fact, performed to his master, by whose consent it is that he undertakes it; and the same with the case of tending flocks, because this is a service of a permanent nature, and admitted to be performed for wives, and therefore, does not violate the requisites of marriage; for the service of the husband to his wife, as a dower, is prohibited only as it may be degrading to the former; but the tending of flocks is not a degrading office
FP: What is our conclusion in terms of what the evidence points to?
Kasem: Though this murder is chilly, ghoulish, barbaric, and senseless, I would say that Hassan has acted in conformity with Islamic tenets. His wife was no more than a chattel to him. He simply got rid of this obnoxious object of his life. If he committed this honor killing in an Islamic country such as
The Holy Qur’an. The internet version of three English translations can be read at: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/reference/reference.html
Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Yazid ibn-i-Maza Al-Qazwani (with Arabic Text), Sunaan Ibn-i-Majah, Vol. III. Translated in English by Muhammad Tufail Ansari. Kitab Bhavan, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daraya Ganj, New Delhi-110002,
Hamilton, Charles. Hedaya. Translated in English in 1870 from the Persian version. Reprinted by Kitab Bhavan, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daraya Ganj,