by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani Sahib
Sa’saa’ bin Najiya radhiallahu ta’ala ‘anh was a Companion of Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam). He was a famous poet and the grandfather of the renowned apprentice of Hazrat ‘Ali (radhiallahu ta'ala 'anhu), “Farzdaq”. He recounted to Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam) that while in the days of Ignorance he had had the privilege of saving the lives of 360 girls. When ever he got news that some man had had a baby daughter whom he wanted to bury alive, he would save the child by giving him two fertile she-camels and a male camel in return for her life. He then asked Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam) whether such conduct (done as a non-believer) was of any use to him.
Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam) replied, “Sa’saa’ is it not enough that Allah caused you to accept Islam?” Is it little return for your goodness that you were given the light of Imaan to brighten your breast?
There was another servant of Nabi-e-Rahmat sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam, Qays bin ‘Asim Tamimi (radhiallahu ta'ala 'anhu). Most of his life was spent as a mushrik and he only had the honor of becoming the Companion of Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam) in his later years. Once in the presence of Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam) he was forced to confess, “I have strangled eight baby girls with my own hands.” Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam) ordered him, “Free eight slaves in expiation for each girl.” He said that he did not have slaves but he did possess camels. Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam) ordered to give eight camels away as compensation.
Kabirah bint Abu Sufyan was a mother…….a mother who buried alive her four daughters. Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam) ordered her to free four slaves.
Not only Kabirah bint Abu Sufyan but other mothers too were guilty of this heart rending sin. Hazrat Ibn-e-’Abbas (radhiallahu ta'ala 'anhu) narrates, “In the says of Ignorance, whenever a mother was about to give birth, she used to sit beside a hole (in the ground). If the newborn was a girl she was buried in it there and then.”
The Quran describes the scene in a strange and compelling way…. When they were informed of receiving a daughter their faces grew black with the thought of their ill-luck and misfortune, their hearts burst with sorrow, they tried to avoid people for the shame they had gained by becoming the fathers of daughters. At that moment they would plan ways to bury alive the small, innocent little baby girls. The Quran underlines the cruelty extended to daughters in the days of Ignorance,
“And when the girl buried alive will be asked which sin was the reason of her murder?”
Had she been a nuisance to someone? Had she been the cause of misery? Had she murdered someone? What crime had she been guilty of that she was thus disposed of? This question will not only be asked of those callous, idol-worshipping, hard-hearted parents of the days of Ignorance, but this question will be asked too of the innocent sisters and daughters, who are crucified on the cross of “Karo kari” by heartless and cruel brothers, fathers, and husbands of these days of “Enlightenment”.
Some of our readers might possibly find these words a bit strong for they have it in their minds that “karo kari” means the adulterer and the adulteress who justify being stoned to death. All our readers are not aware of the secret atrocities that take place under cover of “karo kari’ in rural and tribal communities……it may be personal revenge, usurping inheritances, blackmailing for the hand of innocent daughters or sisters.
It is to foil such foul designs that Islam has not allowed the execution of Islamic Law on an individual basis, either by a person or group, even though they are highly respectable and honorable. An Islamic government of an Islamic state holds the right to mete out Islamic Laws and then only after thorough investigation of the case and looking into the social and moral character of the witnesses. If there is any doubt at any point, the Islamic ruling will not be implemented.
In our country the opposite is true. A single person makes himself the claimant, the judge, the jury, and the executer all rolled in one. No witnesses, no investigation, no questioning or cross-examination, no probabilities, no waiting. The Islamic Law annuls the punishment due to scarcity of evidence or any doubt; here, it becomes obligatory to punish on a glimmer of doubt…………breaking the Shari'ah at every step, treading the Islamic Laws under their feet.
Consider: Hazrat Halal bin Umayyah is a Companion of Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam). He comes to him and says, “Ya Rasoolullah! I have seen my wife with another man with my own eyes.”
But what does Nabi-e-Kareem say? Not to go and cut the virtueless woman’s head off! What does he say but this, “O Halal! Either present four witnesses to your claim or you will be punished for slander.”
Halal bin Umayyah says, “I swear by Him who has sent you with right! I am true in what I say and I am hopeful that Allah Ta’ala will send some command that will absolve my back of the punishment”
This conversation is going on when Jibraeel Ameen descends with the verses of “Li’aan”. (The details of Li’aan can be seen in books of jurisprudence.) When the verses for Li’aan arrived, that stipulated four witnesses for the evidence of the crime, Sa’ad bin ‘Ubadah from the Helpers (Ansaar) exclaimed, “Ya Rasoolullah! I swear by Allah that if I see my wife with a man I will cut her head off instead of gathering four witnesses.” Hearing him Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam) turned to the rest of the Companions present and said, “Do you wonder at Sa’ad’s honor, when I am more honorable than him, and Allah more so than me.”
He sallallahu ‘alaihe wassallam meant that honor does not mean to take the law in your own hands, but honor means to bow your head to the commands of Allah Ta’ala for this will protect your honor. Without doubt none of His commands lack wisdom. If “Honor killing” had been allowed, God knows how many “dishonorable killings” there might have been, covered up as the former. This can be clearly illustrated in this custom of karo kari. The countless “honorables” who have illicit relationships with more than one whore at a time and whose drawing rooms are dance floors for mujras, keep their sisters and daughters unmarried for fear of dividing the inheritance.
Some “marry” them with the Quran, some are tied in the chains of “watto satta”, (marrying a brother and sister to another pair of siblings). The amazing thing is the very people who are the authors of cruelty in their villages and tribes are the very ones who give stirring speeches on women’s rights in cities, assemblies, and conferences and put the blame of oppression and repression of women at the door of Islam and the Islamic Laws. I am a personal witness of this hypocrisy and dual policy.
Many of my close relatives live in rural Sindh. I often visited them in my student days. Near their village was another village belonging to the famous “Shah Khandan” which my relatives frequented. They told me that the sisters of the Shah’s were getting past their prime with no future marriage prospects either. The reason being that marriages were traditionally done as “watto satta”, but their brothers had obtained foreign wives and so no one in the family was ready to take the sisters in marriage.
These silent middle aged sisters were now suffering from various illnesses but unable to communicate their distress to anyone. I know as a fact that even today there are representatives of the same family in the Sindh Assembly who is in the forefront of marketing women’s rights, but there is a thick veil of politics and status covering the cruelty being carried out in their own homes on their own sisters.
This is not the story of one family, no, there are hundreds of such families who are not what they seem to be. They are guilty of cruelty themselves while raging in their speeches against it, they give new blood to this custom of karo kari while proclaiming themselves the biggest challengers of such cruelty. There is no dearth either, of people who speak against karo kari but with it disparage Islamic Laws too and demand their termination or at least some “suitable” changes.
As if they think that the Islamic Laws are some man invented tribal tradition like karo kari that can be pressed into termination or changed according to whim. They should keep in mind, whatever the circumstances or desires; Islamic Laws can neither be annulled nor changed in the slightest degree. If insistence on institution and execution of outrageous tribal customs is cruelty, then demanding to change or invalidating Islamic Law is also cruelty……….a cruelty that is a cut above the rest!!