Ramadan Day 22:
Muslims are in bondage to a religion that approves of “honor” killings.
“Maha from Egypt left Islam, became a communist…and found both void of love. When she finally read the Gospel of John, it was the loving compassion of Jesus that drew her to Him. The way He dealt with the adulterous woman was beyond anything she had ever experienced growing up in a Muslim home. Islam’s solution to sin is ruthless punishment, but Christ’s answer is tender loving grace, filled with truth and challenge. This is the distinguishing mark of the Christian.”
Maha’s testimony, told by missionary Georges Houssney in his compelling book, “Engaging Islam,” highlights the fact Muslims are in bondage to a religious system whose punishment for certain sins is inflexible, harsh, and leaves no room for repentance.
A convert from Islam, Adnan, told me that each year in Syria and Jordan, hundreds of women and girls are killed by their male relatives for disobeying their fathers or “dishonoring” Islam. In Pakistan, the practice of “honor killings” is openly approved of and accepted by the majority of the country as the appropriate penalty for a man or woman who brings shame to the prophet or to a Muslim family member. Pakistani law excuses honor killings if the victim’s family agrees not to prosecute, effectively condoning the murder of hundreds of women each year.
Human Rights Watch lists some of the murders that have taken place this month:
On June 8, 2016, Zeenat Rafiq, 18, was burned to death in Lahore by her mother for “bringing shame to the family” by marrying a man of her choice. On May 31, family members tortured and burned to death a 19-year-old school teacher in Murree, Punjab province for refusing an arranged marriage proposal. On May 5, the body of Amber, 16, was found inside a vehicle that had been set on fire in Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, after a jirga, or traditional assembly of elders, ordered her death for helping her friend marry of her own choice.
Although many denominations of Islam condemn honor killings, and (especially Western) scholars say that it is not condoned by the Qur’an, in actual practice, millions of Muslims approve of it, or turn a blind eye when it happens.
The Qur’an does say (Surah 4:15): “If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witness from amongst you against them; if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them. Or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.”
In Muslim communities in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nigeria, Uganda, and beyond, people truly believe that a woman (or man) who dishonors Allah in certain ways must be killed.
Today, we pray for Muslims around the globe to encounter the ways and words of Jesus Christ.
We pray that, like Maha, they will read the Gospel of John and see the love and forgiveness of God. We pray for Christians who engage with Muslims to be compassionate and truthful, not afraid to ask hard questions or bring up difficult issues, but also not afraid to share that with the True God, there is forgiveness and redemption from sin and shame.