On "Honor-Killing"

Not long ago, I wrote a short article about honor because I do believe there is a lack-of it in our societies. Most people in my opinion (after reading the comments left) understood what I meant. Some readers decided that the word integrity can be used instead of honor for a better effect. I can agree with that: integrity or honor, are rather similar in my mind.

Yet, there are indeed people who view honor differently. Mr. Spirit Whisperer left me a comment saying that: “Honor means different things to different people”. Sadly, I have to agree.

Last fall, a man (Mohammad Shafia) was arrested with his wife and son for killing his first wife and three daughters in the city of Montreal, Quebec. It was an act regarded as honor-killing. In a recorded call by the police, the man is heard saying: “ Even if they hoist me up to the gallows, nothing is more dear to me than my honor.” His daughters refused to abide by his strict code of behaviour so the man with the help of his second wife and son, killed them. He is also recorded as saying: “May the devil shit on their graves.”

Now, I have to wonder if the last statement is honorable even in the twisted and sick mind of Mr. Mohammad Shafia? Disrespecting dead people is honorable?! And since when has killing others become honorable? Have we not all climbed-down off the trees?

I certainly agree with Mr. Spirit Whisperer that people have different ideas about what honor is but I do not condone or excuse such thinking. Many people are illiterate and uneducated on our planet. Thus, they are easily manipulated and controlled. Religions have been doing that for thousands of years: making-up context and meaning from religious texts such as the Qu’ran or the Bible (as two great examples). So, I guess we have some imams and priests to blame for being conniving swine that lie through their teeth and instigate hatred.

I will take this opportunity then, to explain the meaning of honor. It is not that hard. I just picked-up my dictionary and turned to the word “honor” and this is what it states: “honor n. 1 respect, esteem, reverence. 2 reputation, glory, integrity ...”. What integrity or respect or even glory exists in killing someone who has not harmed You physically? Honor is something personal. Nobody can take-away my honor unless I give it up myself. The actions of others who have free-will, cannot affect my honor.

The same can be said of Mr. Safia’s daughters: in no way, could any of their actions affect his honor. Only the individual himself/herself can affect their own honor. Honor is something in the abstract and of the Spirit. If we have respect and integrity, we hold our honor. Honor is Truth. On the other hand, if we are rotten, malicious and disrespectful, we nullify our own honor: just as Mr. Safia did (between other things ...).

Why is this so difficult to understand? And do dictionaries in other languages/countries define honor as something else?

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Comments 25 comments

diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Despite this insanity, many Moslem women still continue support the idiotic laws imposed upon them. There's a lot of masochism in women. I can understand it it their own countries, but when they live in europe they are not obliged to cover their bodies, etc.

We have so many of these so called honor crimes...sick idiots.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank You for leaving me a comment Mr. Diogenes. I find that the term "honor-killing" is outrageously wrong to begin with. There is no honor in killing, period! One who kills, does so out of necessity (i.e. hunting, self-defence, etc.) and not for honor. Killing can never bring one honor. Killing has nothing to do with integrity or respect ... killing is not truth - honor is truth.

The people who talk about honor-killing as honorable, need to be shown that they could not be further from truth on this point. Education is the key, I cannot say that enough!

Thanks again for the visit, I apreciate it. All the best! : )

Barnsey profile image

Barnsey 4 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

It is indeed sad that honor is in the mind of the wielder. I have found out I didn't like someone upon discovering their lack of honor and grit. I cannot abide a man without some sort of true honor. Not the mindless sort that excuses uncivilized behavior, of course, but the sort that makes folks respect one another. The kind of honor that used to define a man. Great hub!

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Honor. Integrity. Moral character. And the invariable shades of gray that define these words. Killing in any form is dishonorable - I can't even kill an ant without feeling a sense of guilt. I mean, what if I were that ant? I'd want to live. I believe if something's alive - be it human, animal, or otherwise, it deserves respect, deserves to live and that there's a reason someone or something is alive. Thank you for calling attention to this. Peace and hugs to you.

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank You for keeping that high moral standard Mr. Barnsey. I think it is critical that in a world were morals have almost all gone down the drain, we talk about such issues. I find it shameful that some people pretend or even believe that there is any little bit of honor in killing others. Really shameful ...

Thank You for stopping by and commenting. Cheers!

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank You for stopping by as well Mrs. Cclitgirl.

I fully agree with You on the ant-part. If it's alive, no matter how big or small, we should show respect and love.

Thank You again for the kind words - all the best! : )

Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Mr Happy....I agree, we are all "responsible for our own honor" and it does not have anything to do with the behaviour of another human being whatsoever. Well said!

Your comment bears repeating: "What integrity or respect or even glory exists in killing someone who has not harmed You physically? Honor is something personal. Nobody can take-away my honor unless I give it up myself. The actions of others who have free-will, cannot affect my honor."

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

No one who injures another can claim to be honorable, Mr. Happy and on this note I agree with you whole-heartedly. To respond to Diogenes comment about Muslim women supporting the insane laws drawn against them, consider also the women right here in the US who support the attempted legislation currently aimed at women and their autonomy. One can only deduce they are so anxious for male approval they can't see the trees for the leaves. It is not only the Muslim extreme that makes no sense, but also the Christian extreme. In fact, all extremes. True freedom requires denounciation of all such ideologies. Thanks for the interesting read.

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank You for taking the time to read and comment Scribenet. We need to talk about this issue to better it and so, I appreciate the conversation. All the best!

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank You for stopping-by as well, Mrs. Lynda. This story upsets me not only because it is so irrational (there is no honor in killing but some people pretend there is) but also because it seems to me that "honor-killing" is also a matter of gender violence, abuse and mental illness ... yet, it is often talked about just as a matter of religious views. It really is not, in my opinion - these people are mentally ill and dangerous not only to themselves but others too.

Thank You again for your comment. All the very best!

ipen profile image

ipen 4 years ago from Bangalore

These people are abnormal. I don't understand why they call it as honor in killing someone stating silly reasons. Also they don't feel guilty for it. How shameful. Great Hub. Voted up

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Yes, I certainly think they are and they use religions to defend their insane acts ... it's a terrible mixture: religion and lunatics.

Thank You for your comment. Cheers!

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piyadasa nadadoor 4 years ago

We live in two worlds. One is the Noumenal and the other phenomenal. Kant says we can never know the noumenal world.

both religion and science believe in the opposite. The religious people hinge their world on the concept of god. According to Gautama, the Buddha, god can neither be felt through the senses nor intellectually understood. But the religious people create their own world, a world of delusion. There is no reference point here. The whole thing is so subjective. Hence honor which is respect, esteem, reverence,reputation, glory, integrity etc could mean one thing to the religious minded and something opposite to others.

Who is right, who is wrong...we will never know..

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Greetings Piyadasa Nadadoor,

I am not sure about the noumenal world and the phenomenal world ... I do know about the Spirit World and this three-dimensional world though. Indeed they are different. Yet, I am of the opinion that even in the Spirit World, one Spirit cannot affect the honor of another Spirit.

If One truly walks in the Spirit World, One will know what Honor is and that there is no Honor in killing. "Religious people" would know this if they walked with the Light.

All the best, may Wakan Tanka guide your path. Thank You for taking the time to read and comment.

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markbennis 4 years ago

Yes a very meaningful hub which really opens up an important area for understanding, I for one cannot understand why or how an honour killing is at all connected to honouring ones family or self.

I just can’t grasp its relevance within my rational mindset, just cant?

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank You for your comment Markbennis.

Some cultures have a very strict moral code and sadly they find religions to hide behind with their extreme ideas. That would not even be a problem, anyone can believe what they want (like aliens coming to take us over - thinking of your article here lol). The problem arises when those people forcefully try to impose their views on others.

All the best Amigo!

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

'Honor Killing'-What a farse! I agree with you that honor is ours and no one can affect my honor unless I let them. The thinking here is back a-- wards and very toxic. This dude was sick, angry and immoral and honor had nothing to do with killing innocent people. He killed not because of honor, but because of Ego, insecurity and narcissism. I recently watched a show on '48 hours murder mystery' and it was about a dad that killed his daughter because she wasn't doing exactly what he wanted her to do. She was not alright with her dad's plan on arranging a marriage to a man she didn't know or like. She was too westernized in his mind and because of that he felt it hurt his families honor. What sick thinking. Thanks for the great informative hub. I think you can see that this topic really burns me.

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Yes, I agree with You Minnetonka Twin: this topic really burns me too. I am all for anyone doing whatever they wish, as long as it does not hurt others. When people start being forceful/violent with other people just to enforce their own opinion, that lets off a switch for me and the nasty wolf comes-out.

I think we all need to talk about such things a little more and perhaps help those in need of help: mental and/or physical.

Thank You for your comment.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Whitewolf - It is a great and terrible tragedy that in some cultures and religions Honor is not based on one's own actions, but on the actions of someone else in the immediate family. What a terrible way to live and what a gross misunderstanding and misinterpretation of what the term actually means.

I am generally in favor of respecting other people's cultural and religious beliefs, but certainly not when they lead to the abuse and murder of innocent people. To look the other way or tolerate such behavior would be to participate in the barbaric and criminal act.

Thank you for addressing this important issue. Theresa

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

These people must be shown Truth, Mrs. Theresa. They lack everything from reason to logic and everything else in between. They are lost and in their confusion, they hurt others as well (not only themselves). That perhaps is the most tragic part of this story ...

Thank You for taking the time to read and comment. Have a wonderful weekend (same to the furry friends too!). Cheers!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

The furry friends thank you exceedingly. :) Although, it looks to be warmer this weekend (low eighties) we have just had two weeks of really wonderful cool and windy weather. Very invigorating, very bracing.

When I come home each afternoon and pull into the driveway at least two of them are rolling around on their backs and the other two are frolicking about in the grass like they are kittens, not the sedate middle aged (and elderly) cats that they really are. :) In Georgia we (mostly, I) really try to enjoy the cool weather because we have virtually five months of summer heat and humidity.

May - getting pretty darn hot

June - hot and very humid

July - very hot and terribly, unrelentingly humid

August - humanity may perish HOT and ferociously humid

Sept - very hot, will this ever end, is this THE END??

As you can see I obsess over and fear the heat and humidity. They are not my friends and my birthday is in August! The dog days of summer, no less! OK, I have got to get a grip on myself if I am going to survive the summer. :) Thanks for remembering the kitties. :)

donabhatt profile image

donabhatt 4 years ago from Hyderabad

Great write up..actually honor killing is a serious offence not restricted to particular religions. It is sad that in India ( especially in the northern part) there are cases where the same happens even if the caste and religion matches, but even if it is a matter of a single small criteria. Actually , those people are so biased to their ego and status that they neglect the love for their child and gives more importance to their ego.......In my opinion all such people should be punished to set example so that they shoukd think twice before thinking about committing such crime. They should understand they are no body to judge and decide.

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Greetings Mrs. Donabhatt,

thank You for visiting and leaving a comment. I have heard about honor killings taking place in India too ... I am not sure from where such people learn their values and morals. Achieving righteousness through killing is a non-starter, if You ask me ... especially when it is not a case of self defence or something of that sort. There is no honor in killing someone who has done no actual harm. That's at least how I look at this topic.

Thank You for the conversation. All the best!

Random Integer 4 years ago

Well, these murderers never understand how much they have harmed others. Instead, they only cared about how other (females) in their family does "harm" to them and how murder is the only way to get rid of these things. No one has the right to kill, and if you claim otherwise and do these killings, you will be subjected to the punishment for murder.

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

I agree with You Random Integer, those who murder innocent people certainly lack understanding, to say the least. I see such people as sick people and sadly there is not much significant help for mentally unstable people ... Thus, we all end-up suffering in the end when such people lose their cool.

Thank You for your comment.

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