Why Did Khidr Kill A Child?

27 March, 2017
Q Was Khidr's killing the child as mentioned in the Quran a form of honor killing?


Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Dr. Shabir Ally addresses this question in the video below:


Aisha Khaja: Dr. Shabir, the question that we have is: does the story of Khidr approve of honor killing?

Dr. Shabir Ally: The questioner is referring obviously to a story in the eighteenth chapter of the Quran. The story that we know to be the story of Khidr.

There his name is not mentioned as Khidr, which means something like green. But there is a description of some supernatural being who comes and interacts with the prophet Moses.

Moses had asked God to guide him to somebody who’s more knowledgeable. So, he meets this more knowledgable individual, and he agrees to travel with this individual on condition that he [Moses] will not question anything this person does.

And they come to a boy and Khidr kills the boy and then Moses protests: why’d you kill the innocent boy? He said remember you’re not to ask me about what I do until I volunteer to explain it to you.

Eventually he explains that this boy belonged to a righteous, well was a child of righteous parents. And we feared that he will turn out to be aggressive against his parents and we intended to replace him with one that would be better towards the parents.

So, there was a wisdom behind this activity obviously guided by divine inspiration and not by human knowledge.

And this is where the difference lies between the action of Khidr and somebody else who, a human being, who may take the life of a child, as they describe it, for the purpose of “honor killing”.

To us this is dishonorable murder. It is wrong. We don’t have God’s knowledge to guide us to factually and absolutely [know] what is the best course of action in the situation.

But we have his instructions telling us not to take human life. So, God can send His angels or other inspired beings to do what He commands them to do. As in this case the taking of the life of a child.

But we human beings do not have that prerogative.

We cannot do that. We cannot take the life of someone else except by specific decree from God. As for example, when someone understands capital punishment to be a literal application of certain passages of divine scripture.

Then they’re [authorities of a state] are taking life, but based on God’s command. But “honor killing” has never been sanctioned in the Quran. And Muslims would be wrong to practice this.

I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

3 Major Goals of Islamic Shariah

Moses and Al-Khidr: Model of Resolution

The Courageous 5: Prophet Moses. Part 1