Loyal Followers

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Legality of Caning Kartika

A reader has pointed out my mistake in this article. I admit the mistake. Please read The Legality of Caning Kartika - a correction.

When Minister Hishamuddin said that we are not experienced in this matter, he was stating the obvious. Firstly, no person of the female gender has been caned or sentenced to caning in Malaysia before. The reason for this will be obvious later in this article. Secondly, the authorities entrusted with carrying out the sentence of caning in Malaysia had never ever caned someone convicted of the Syariah offence of consuming alcohol in public. Questions then arise as to how, where and by whom should Kartika be caned.

While I do not wish to be embroiled in the debate on whether Islam actually prohibits the consumption of alcohol and prescribes a punishment for it, I wish to state that such issue is not as clear as it is thought to be. There is however a decision from the Pakistan Federal Syariah Court which held that there is no clear prohibition against consumption of alcohol in the Quran and that flogging for such offence is thus unIslamic. I am citing this decision not so much to support any argument on whether the prohibition exists or otherwise as much as to highlight that this issue is far from being clear.

Muslims around the world - and Malaysian Muslims aren't exempted - have lamented that Islam has been misunderstood by non-Muslims, especially in the west. Islam has been cast as a religion which propagates disharmony; as a religion which sanctions the killing and murder of the innocent, women and children; a religion which is backward, primitive, unfair and unjust.

However, to a large extent, we, the Muslims, have ourselves to blame. A case in point is the provisions of the Enakmen Pentadbiran Ugama Islam dan Adat Resam Melayu Pahang 1982. Under this enactment, a Muslim who is guilty of consuming alcohol in public may be fined RM5000 or imprisoned for 3 years or both and caned of not more than 6 lashes. Kartika was convicted and sentenced under this enactment.

My learned friend, Shaikh Abdul Saleem, in his excellent article "Soalan Kepada PGSM" , has pointed out the whole reason why Islam has been ridiculed by the west for so long. He draws comparison to the provisions of the Enakmen Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam 2005 (Pahang). Under this enactment:

  • someone who treats his wife badly and cheats her of her property is liable to be fined RM1000 or imprisonment for 6 months;
  • someone who does not comply with a Court order to live with his wife is liable to a fine of RM1000 or imprisonment for 6 months;
  • someone who does not treat his wife fairly in accordance with Syarak is liable to a fine of RM1000 or imprisonment for 6 months.

If that is not shocking enough, consider section 177 of the Enakmen Pentadbiran Ugama Islam dan Adat Resam Melayu Pahang 1982 (the enactment under which Kartika is sentenced). Under this section, a person who forces or allows his wife to prostitute herself with the intention of earning an income from such prostitution is liable to be fined RM4000 or imprisonment for 2 years or both and caning of not more than 6 lashes.

So, there we have it. RM5000 fine or imprisonment of 3 years and 6 lashes for consuming alcohol. And RM4000 or imprisonment of 2 years and 6 lashes for forcing one's wife to be a prostitute! Is there any wonder why Islam is viewed with ridicule and contempt?

We seem to have lost it. Somewhere between the Quranic verses, the hadiths and Sunnah and the various edicts by the ulamaks and muftis, we, the Muslims, have managed to reduce this great way of life called Islam into an instrument of hatred, unfairness, unjustness and ridicule. We have managed to let externalities triumph over the inner beauty and spirituality of Islam.

Under Syariah law, some consensus has been reached on the proper punishment (if at all it can be called "punishment") for consuming alcohol. Various hadiths Bukharis describe the Prophet and his followers beating the offender with palm-leaf stalks and shoes.

In a hadith, narrated by Abu Salama, Abu Huraira said, "A man who drank wine was brought to the Prophet. The Prophet said, 'Beat him!" Abu Huraira added, "So some of us beat him with our hands, and some with their shoes, and some with their garments (by twisting it) like a lash, and then when we finished, someone said to him, 'May Allah disgrace you!' On that the Prophet said, 'Do not say so, for you are helping Satan to overpower him.' "

In another, narrated by Ali bin Abi Talib: "I would not feel sorry for one who dies because of receiving a legal punishment, except the drunk, for if he should die (when being punished), I would give blood money to his family because no fixed punishment has been ordered by Allah's Apostle for the drunk. "

And those were the "punishments" meted by the Prophet himself.

There are however narrations which say that Caliphs Umar had sentenced an offender to 80 lashes. It was pointed out by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, that that was in fact a sentence for slander as opposed to consumption of alcohol per se. If it was indeed a sentence for consuming alcohol, that begs the question, who is Caliph Umar to increase a punishment which was meted out by the Prophet himself?

Kartika has however been sentenced to receive 6 lashes.

The enormity and gravity of this sentence cannot be overlooked nor ignored. First of all, there is no procedure anywhere in Malaysia on how a sentence of this nature would be carried out in Malaysia. Is she going to be beaten up with shoes or date palm? Or with garments which are twisted like a lash? And by whom? And where?

Our authorities are well known of churning out half baked products. And one of those products is the law which our Parliamentarians or State Representatives churn out. The law says she must be caned. But there is no procedure to prescribe the execution of such caning.

Do we look at the civil law on how she should be caned? Okay. Let's us all look at the civil law then. The Criminal Procedure Code provides as follows in so far as a sentence of whipping is concerned. (Frankly, I do not know the difference, if any, between whipping and canning.)

  • Section 286 : when an accused is sentenced to whipping, the Court may direct on the place and time of execution.

We pause here to note that the Syariah Judge, as far as I know, had failed to give such direction. Furthermore, this provision does not apply to a sentence by a Syariah Court because "Court", in the Code, is defined as the Magistrate's, Sessions or High Court. We are non the wiser.

Section 287 is important. It says when a person is sentenced to imprisonment as well as whipping, such whipping shall only be done after 7 days from the date of the sentence. This section is important because of what happened sometime last week.

Kartika was sentenced to a fine of RM5000 and 6 lashes. There was no custodial or prison sentence. And to top it up, there was no direction on how she was to receive the lashes. So what did they do? Last week, it was reported that the Syariah prosecutor had applied to the Syariah Judge, and was granted, an order that Kartika be detained in remand in the prison for 7 days so that she could be caned in the prison.

With all due respect to this two officers of the law (officers of the Islamic law, if I may add), a grave error and injustice has been committed against Kartika. A person can only be charged and sentenced once for one offence. Kartika has been charged, found guilty and sentenced to RM5000 and 6 lashes. That was her sentence. Nowhere had it been stated that she was to be imprisoned for 7 days.

The learned Syariah Judge, at the instance of the Prosecutor realised that the caning cannot be done. And so they issued a new and additional sentence of 7 days in prison. If that is not an injustice, I do not know what is. If I were to be nasty, I would say that that was a victimisation! That order, with respect, is in fact unconstitutional as it is repugnant to Article 7 of the Federal Constitution which provides that a person shall not be tried twice for the same offence.

Can the sentence be carried out by the Prison authorities? Well, the Criminal Procedure Code (our civil law), in section 288, says that:

  • whipping shall be inflicted on such part of the body as the Minister charged with responsibility for public order directs. The Minister in question is of course Minister Hishamuddin. The part of the body to be whipped has been directed. It is the bare buttocks. The person who carries out this sentence is a trained personnel.
  • the rattan shall be not more than half an inch in diameter.

Let me describe how this whipping is done. The executioner would hit the bare buttock with the rattan with such ferocity that upon the rattan hitting the bare buttock, the offender would fling forward. The executioner then would expertly pull the rattan towards himself in one swift movement that the skin would cut open, as if it has been cut by a very sharp knife. At this point, blood would rush out of the open wound. The next round, the executioner would expertly hit the same area where the first blow had landed earlier. The wound would get bigger. That's how. And it is supposed to go on for 6 times, in Kartika's case.

In real life, not many would be standing up to receive their 5th lash. That is why a the Code provides that a medical officer must be present to certify that the offender is fit state of health to undergo the whipping. If a person is not fit to receive the full number of lashes, the whipping must stop and the remaining number may be converted into a prison sentence or remitted.

That is how whipping under our civil law is done. If we compare that to the way the Prophet was described by the hadiths to have dealt with the offender, the civil law whipping is much much more painful and harmful than that which is prescribed by the hadiths. In fact they are not comparable at all. The civil law whipping is so harsh and painful that even fearsome and hardcore gangsters have pleaded to the Court to be spared whipping. The Syariah punishment is however aimed at humiliating the offender rather than inflicting pain.

And to top it up, the Code says expressly that women shall not be subject to the sentence of whipping! And to facilitate whipping under the Code, a warrant of execution must be issued by a Judge or Maigistrate. A Syariah Judge is not a Judge under the Code.

If Kartika were to be caned under the civil law, I would venture to say that she would be punished in a manner which is not prescribed by Syariah law in the first place. That would be a travesty. And it would be an irony that a Muslim court had seen it fit to impose a punishment which is not prescribed by Syariah law.

Where does that leave Kartika?

More importantly, where does that leave Malaysia?


PrasadNayar said...

only when moderates make their opinions and feelings known can there be hope for change. thanks for leading, art. may your words encourage more to stand up and be counted.

Kris said...

As usual Art, you illuminate the confusion that reigns around us...

donplaypuks® said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donplaypuks® said...

Instead of sitting down and discussing it in a civilized manner, these recalcitrants rule by edicts not backed by statute, comon or syariah law or human compassion and sense of justice.

'The quality of mercy drops as the gentle rain from heaven. It blesses twice; him that receives and him that gives!' W.Shakespeare.

Lashings of hot tea and cream can resolve many questions of justice; lashings on the buttocks or creaming it, none!!

We are all of 1 race, the Human Race

Ihsan said...

Dear Art Harun, most of the content of your post is sensible enough. However, I cannot agree with the first two paragraphs.

The article you quoted DID NOT, as you claimed, state that "There is however a decision from the Pakistan Federal Syariah Court which held that there is no clear prohibition against consumption of alcohol in the Quran".

What the article did say was that the FSC heard "the arguments that the Holy Quran asks Muslims to stay away from liquor but does not specifically declares it Haram, or prohibited". They only heard the arguments, but they didn't decide as such. The only decision they made was that the punishment of 80 lashes was unislamic and they asked for the law to be review. Reviewed, NOT repealed, mind you, meaning that they still agreed that consumption of alcohol is haram, they only wanted to change the punishment.

Anonymous said...

What does all this indicate? It's the blind leading the deaf and the dumb.
Well, it's the sad sad story of the fools in power running this country.

art harun said...

Dear Ihsan,

Thank you for visiting and commenting. I beg to differ. The article clearly said the Court AGREED with the Petitioner.

Quote:The court agreeing with the petitioner declared the provisions of 80 lashes as un-Islamic and directed the federal government to amend the relevant laws to replace the punishment of whipping with sticks within six months by making it bailable offence.: End quote

s.s.seelan said...

"Somewhere between the Quranic verses, the hadiths and Sunnah and the various edicts by the ulamaks and muftis, we, the Muslims, have managed to reduce this great way of life called Islam into an instrument of hatred, unfairness, unjustness and ridicule."

Precisely!! I am a non-Muslim and this is exactly the kind of conduct that gives rise to an erroneous perception about Islam which I believe is a religion of Love and compsassion and more.

Anonymous said...

Taliban will have a field day in Malaysia soon. Half past six laws being introduce a when it fits them.

Ihsan said...

Since you also replied to my comment here, in reply, let me just repeat what I wrote over at MT as quietguy.

Dear Art, yes, that's exactly what I said. The court agreed with the petitioner with regards to the punishment but nowhere in the article does it say the court agreed that consumption of alcohol is not haram.

There were two questions there:
1) Is alcohol haram? The petitioner said no, but the court did not agree
2) Is the punishment islamic? The petiotioner said no, and the court agreed and asked for the law to be review on this point.

art harun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
art harun said...

Dear Ihsan,

The article reported a case where the Petitioner challenged the provisions in Prohibition Order (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979, where consumption of alcohol is classified as Hadd and thus is liable to be punished with 80 lashes.
The Petitioner argued that "the punishment of 80 whips was neither provided by the Holy Quran nor Sunnah, hence the offence should not be termed as Hadd."
He further argued that "Islam had declared some specific offences as Hadd which are heinous, but the offence of drinking is not a heinous crime."
The court agreeing with the petitioner declared the provisions of 80 lashes as un-Islamic and directed the federal government to amend the relevant laws to replace the punishment of whipping with sticks within six months by making it bailable offence.
So, to me the Court agreed with his argument that alcohol consumption is not Hadd and therefore the hudud punishment of 80 lashes does not apply.
That is as far as I understand the article.
I am not trying to twist the meaning of the article or mislead anybody. That is my understanding of that article.
I resent your earlier comment at MT En Ihsan. Please do not attack my character just because I have a different opinion or understanding.


27 August 2009 17:42

Anonymous said...

Art, your writing has always been an enjoyment to read.

However I have a feeling that they are not reaching the audience that they could make the most impact on - the Malays with a poor grasp of English. I have a suspicion that they are more ignorant or close-minded because the bulk of reading materials in Malay are thick in propaganda. Meanwhile the bulk of enlightening articles and concepts that I've read are all written in English.

Without access to such material there is no way that they could be be exposed to liberating ideas.

It would be great if you could sometimes blog in Malay too. (It'll be hard to quote the lawbook... but I bet you'll find a way haha). Just my 2 cents. In any case, keep writing! :)

paul penders said...

The article seems very well written but, to me, misses the hard clue leaving one with no more answers as already are there. Sweetly, neatly and I am sure all correctly written while many people already understand the stupidity involved in this poor matter. Where do we see the REAL spirit of compassion that the Prophet Mohammad was showing to us? I became a moslim some 10 years ago but since 9/11 I wonder what moslim culture really seems all about and where or when spirituality comes in? Is this truly a religion of forgiving and love?

Now, to me, this lady deserves the greatest credit as she is a true warrior, a true moslim of the first order; far more than any of these armchair prophets who know all.

Please people in Islam - for once and all, why not try compassion and love? Don't talk compassion but true passion. This lady who drink a beer and took true responsibility.... Kartika is my example of a true hero.

Let more true believers finally stand up and speak by action as this is what the Prophet would have wanted.

Love for God.
Not for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Syariah law does provide the procedure for caning - Mohd Hafiz Hassan (Taken from The Malaysian Insider)

AUG 27 – I agree with Dina Zaman (“Kartika’s legacy to Malaysia”) that there is a marked difference between caning under Syariah law and our Civil law.

I also agree with the statement attributed to Azhar Harun (aka the columnist-blogger Art Harun) that under “civil law, women cannot be subjected caning as a punishment for any offence.” Section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) expressly provides that no female shall be punishable with whipping.

However, I beg to differ that there is no procedural guideline as to how caning is to be carried out under Syariah law. On the contrary law, Syariah law in Malaysia makes provision for the carrying out of the sentence of whipping.

The law is to be found in the state enactments on Syariah Criminal Procedure.

I shall refer to section 125 of the Syariah Criminal Procedure (Federal Territories) Act 1997. Similar provisions are to be found in the state enactments.

Subsection 2 provides that the whipping rod, excluding its holder, shall be of the same type and made either from rattan or small branch of a tree without segment or joint and its length not more than 1.22 metres and its thickness not more than 1.25 centimetres.

On the carrying out of the sentence, subsection 3 makes it mandatory that:

(a) before execution of the sentence, the offender shall be examined by a Government Medical Officer to certify that the offender is in a fit state of health to undergo the sentence;

(b) if the offender is pregnant, the execution shall be postponed until the end of two months after delivery or miscarriage, as the case may be;

(c) the sentence shall be executed before a Government Medical Officer in such place as the Court may direct or in a place fixed by the Government for the purpose;

(d) the person appointed to execute the sentence shall be an “adil” and mature person;

(e) the person shall use the whipping rod with average force without lifting his hand over his head so that the offender’s skin is not cut;

(f) after inflicting a stroke, he shall lift the rod upward and not pull it;

(g) whipping may be inflicted on all parts of the body except the face, head, stomach, chest or private parts;

(h) the offender shall wear clothes according to Hukum Syarak;

(i) if the offender is a male, the whipping shall be inflicted in a standing position, and if a female, a sitting position;

(j) during the execution of the whipping the Government Medical Officer certifies that the offender can no longer receive the strokes, the whipping shell be postponed until the Medical Officer certifies that the offender is fit to undergo the balance of the sentence.

So, it is erroneous to say that “when Kartika was sentenced to be caned, she had to be caned in accordance with our civil law.”

On another issue of controversy, that is, the so-called remand order for a week in prison to facilitate the caning, I refer to subsection 4 of the same provision.

It provides that in the case where the offender is sentenced to whipping only, then he shall be dealt with as if he is sentenced to imprisonment until the sentence is executed.

It appears therefore that the warrant to detain Kartika, which the state Syariah prosecutors have clarified to be the nature of the order, is lawful.

Be that as it may, the legality of the whipping sentence on Kartika perhaps lies in its inconsistency with section 289 of the CPC. This provision is not only “civil’ law but a federal law.

On the other hand, the law under which Kartika was convicted and sentenced is state law.

Article 75 of the Federal Constitution provides that if any state law is inconsistent with a federal law, the federal law shall prevail and the state law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

It is arguable, therefore, that a sentence passed under a state law cannot be inconsistent with provisions of a federal law.

* Mohamad Hafiz Hassan is a reader of The Malaysian Insider.

Antares said...

Thanks again, Art, for doing what I would myself do - were I a practising Muslim familiar with the law :-) Any idea how that 1982 enactment came about? Initially I thought it may have been a typo and that this malevolent (or should I say "maleviolent"?) piece of legislation actually dated from 1892, another relic of the Victorian era - like the laws against anal and oral sex.

Anonymous said...

mungkin kekeliruan terjawap dgn jawapan dari zaharuddin


Mike said...

Everyone knows that Muslims are not allowed to drink wine in virtue of the prohibition found in the Qur'an sura 2.219; yet many would no doubt be surprised to read in the Qur'an at sura 16.67, " And among fruits you have the palm and the vine, from which you get wine and healthful nutriments: in this, truly, are signs for those who reflect". Translators, Dawood has "intoxicants" and Pickthall, "strong drink," and Sale,has "inebriating liquor" in place of "wine." Yusuf Ali pretends that the Arabic word concerned, "sakar," means "wholesome drink," and in a footnote insists that nonalcoholic drinks are being refered to; but then, at the last moment, he concedes that if "sakar must be taken in the sense of fermented wine, it refers to the time before intoxicants were prohibited: this is a Meccan sura and the prohibition came in Medina."
Some 500 verses in the Qur'an have been abrogated. It is more that likely that the verse at sura 2.219 might have been abrogated. Please I seek your enlightenment, sir.

Anonymous said...

while i agree that her imprisonment was unfair, i must point out that kartika's whipping will not be equivalent to those handed out to rapists and drug offenders as you described. u seem like a smart guy, read up on it.

BareSheen said...

This is so sad.

Isn't there far worse crime to wring our hands about?

Beer drinking, for goodness sakes. Who exactly has been harmed by this??

This is turning Islam into a big joke and these narrow minded Muslims have themselves to blame. Don't blame the West for not understanding.

I see zero compassion and love in this.

Anonymous said...

RM5000 fine or imprisonment of 3 years and 6 lashes for consuming alcohol.

And RM4000 or imprisonment of 2 years and 6 lashes for forcing one's wife to be a prostitute!

The government can also employ more religious officials since this seem to be a very profitable business. For example, arrest beer drinkers receive RM5000 and pay the arresting officer say RM2000 per month. In case the officer can arrest say 4 people than the net profit would be RM18,000. PM is talking about new economy, and this is one possible solution in the coming budget.

Saleem said...

Art, I take issue with your compliment you gave to the article that I wrote. Its has been deemed complete tosh written by a Sisters in Islam sympathizer, liberal, uneducated self hating anti Islam Muslim. Actually very similar to a lot of the 'compliments' handed to you by the guardians of the faith. Haha..BTW, thanks for the well reasoned piece above.

I reproduce below my comments which was sent to MI on 2 postings that appeared on MI's comments section to this article....

"I agree with Hafidz that the Enakmen does prescribe how the sentence is to be meted out. However, whilst the State Syariah’s prosecutor my be correct that the order is lawful, I believe the implementation of the same could be arguably flawed. Section 125(1) of Enakmen Tatacara Jenayah Syariah 2002 provides that,

(1) Peruntukan seksyen ini dan seksyen 126 hendaklah terpakai apabila tertuduh dihukum sebat.

The same section, at 126(4) it states,

(4) Dalam hal pesalah itu dihukum sebat sahaja, maka dia hendaklah diperlakukan seolah-olah dia dihukum dengan hukuman pemenjaraan sehingga hukuman itu dilaksanakan.

Section 126(2) provides that,

(2) Sebatan itu hendaklah dikenakan dengan seberapa segera yang praktik dan dalam hal suatu rayuan, dengan seberapa segera yang praktik selepas penerimaan perintah Mahkamah Rayuan yang berkenaan yang mengesahkan hukuman itu.

Therefore, based on the 2 sub-sections, it is arguable that she was already deemed to be imprisoned as soon as the sentence was meted out. The question is that why was she released and allowed to do all the TV specials when she was supposed to be in prison whilst awaiting for her sentence?

With regards to the comment by Soondar quoting PGSM’s deputy president’s press statement. In my honest opinion PGSM has lost credibility in this episode. Instead of taking a stand to educate or shock horror, to critisize the inconsistencies in the sentencing by syariah judges in this country, they have resorted to a siege mentality, ie calling every critic anti-islam. Very intelligent indeed. I guess when your practising license is issued by the administration you cant really critisize can you?

It would also be brilliant for PGSM to come up with statistics on the sentences meted out for this offence. The caning penalty was imposed in 1987. Since then, how many people have been sentenced with caning for this offence? I am sure even if appealed, the appeal process would have been exhausted by now? Rather than to blame everybody else show us the figures. Explain why Kartika’s husband was not charged and also how many men in the past have been charged with this offence and sentenced in this manner. Since alcohol consumption is such a big issue, I am sure there must be more than one person since 1987 to be charged and convicted of this offence?

PGSM also had implied (in its anti islam rhetoric) that there was less of an uproar when the civil Sessions Court Judge tried to become the cartoon character Judge Dredd by being a judge and executioner all at once when he himself wanted to cane the accused. But PGSM forgets, when that happened, unlike PGSM, the body of civil lawyers, who have been entrusted to uphold justice without fear or favour, immediately chastised the Judge concerned. I wonder what is the role of the body of syariah lawyers? To be a spoke person for the administration or is there a role somewhere to uphold justice?"

Amazingkan? Since 1987 canning was introduced. The first one to be sentenced is a woman whose husband was let off without any reason. If there were others, then they were either acquitted or had their canning sentence removed by the Court of Appeal. If that is so, then what was the basis of this Judge imposing the canning sentence? Alternatively, all the other cases are still pending appeal since 1987. This should be a bigger issue for PGSM as the accused will still be in prison awaiting the appeal!!

Anonymous said...

I have always had a negative view of Islam due to its implementation (not counting the negative impression gleaned from the countless many who do not walk the talk).

You made me realised that Hisham, Najib, Hassan Ali certainly do not represent what is in the Quran. And the islamic laws of the land may not necessarily represent what is stated in the Quran


Anonymous said...

Too many Half baked Religious Officers will not doubt create problems for the Religion.
Religion itself is good but that
alone will not put bread on the table. Cut that debate as there are more crucial matters that the country is facing.

Anonymous said...

It's not easy when liberal and progressive minded Muslims refuse to engage in open debate and wait for the non-Muslims to speak out. Its a good thing that only Muslims have been barred from the Black Eyed Peas concert. This should be the case in future for all "unIslamic" shows and products. Maybe only then would the Muslims speak out against the extremities of their own kind.

Anonymous said...

It was many years ago in the 80s that I attended several tazkirah maghribs by ulamaks at the Damansara Utama Mosque.

My memory is somewhat failing me now these days but I can still remember some controversial decrees uttered by an ulamak at the tazkirahs.

One of which was that you can't apply "logic" in Islam.

Now what I find most disconcerting is the manner in which it was uttered: flippant and bereft of its proper context, to the point of being an over-simplification. As if Islam in its entirety is lacking in "logic", which was what he seemed to be implying. In that scenario, he could easily be misunderstood just about by anyone.

Full forward now to the present times, and we click on to some local islamic blogs and you could still find, once in a while, the same decree being regurgitated, albeit suffering from the same lack of context as I had experienced before.

Without a proper context for the non use of "logic" in Islam, won't it then imply, to someone who professes logical thinking, that the Muslims' very own existence now becomes untenable: it is as if they're on this earth for no apparent reason at all. This absurdity is surely running contrarily to their own Aqidah.

Doesn't this also mean that, for all intents and purposes, that decree has reduced Islam to just being a ritual-religious act, sans its practical dimension, in the daily lives of its adherents? This scenario does look familiar to me.

If the ulamaks/islamic blogs feel that "logic" has its unislamic greek-judeo-christian connotations, by all means replace it with an arabic-islamic-malay (may not be the best but nearest to the psyche of the Malays) equivalent of "waras", and we would nevertheless still arrive at the same destination of the confused as before.

I can only hope that the islamic "kinks" you've mentioned in your article are not brought about as a result of failing islamic scholarship at the apices of the Muslim world.

mat royan

Jayden said...

The Syariah Law will cause many Muslims to denounce Islam for its hypocritical Islamic authorities. Malaysia will go towards extremism, because many good Muslims are not bringing their Islamic leaders accountable for their injustice. And when a Muslim denounce Islam for its hypocritical leaders, these leaders will punish them more, hence causing more injustice.

The Syariah Law is formed to be opposite of the Civil Law, because Civil laws are based on Christian principles. Where civil laws are viewed largely as the common law (except in Malaysia, it is UMNO law), Syariah Law and syariah judges are under the payroll of UMNO.

Why are the majority of Muslims silent and not causing a demonstration?

Even Hassan Ali of PAS, pretends to be anti-ISA, detention without charge and without trial, but fully intend to implement arrests WITHOUT WARRANTS of all Islam offenders. If the authorities cannot get a court warrant, means there's not a shread of evidence to arrest the Muslim. Another hypocrite.

Don't live in denial.

The Syariah law IS the opposite of Common Law.

Anonymous said...

If consuming alcohol is haram, why is it that smoking is not? Both are equally harmful to the body. Alcohol is intoxicating and bad for the liver whilst cigarette could make one high and cause damage to the lungs/heart.

art harun said...

Dear Ihsan and others,

I had just read Mohammad Hashim Kamali's article on the NST appearing yesterday (1st Sept 2009). It is here:


It appears that he somewhat agrees with the decision of the Pakistani Court in that alcohol consumption is not a hadd (an offence with prescribed punishment in the Quran).

Just thought you might want to check it out.

Anonymous said...

This is right time for His Majesty the Sultan of Pahang to FORGIVE Kartika in the Holy month of Ramadhan and since Kartika has shown remorse and repentance. Why is High Highness keeping quiet?

Anonymous said...

I'm a non-Muslim European living in Malaysia. I think one thing about this sentence that really gives many non-Malaysians pause is the utter arbitrariness of it.

Drive the roads of tony Bukit Tunku on any Sunday morning and you'll see cases of empty wine and champagne bottles left out for trash pick-up. And these are not all ex-pat or Chinese households; in fact many of them are those of Malay politicians and businesspeople.

If the Powers That Be are so determined to rid Malaysian Muslim society of the scourge of alcohol, if they really want to identify individuals to make an example of, why not send the religious police over to Kenny Hills to raid the houses of these people on a Saturday night?

The bottom line is that there is one Shariah law for that segment of Malay society, and another for 'the rest of them'. The way that Islam is used by many of those in power in this country screams of hypocrisy.

When I heard about this sentence I didn't feel negatively about Islam in general. But it did reinforce my dim view of the extent to which the current govt is so intent on retaining power that it will bow to the wishes of the faith's most radical (and ridiculous, and hypocritical) Malaysian Muslim elements.

The fact that the govt plows ahead with the sentence despite the uproar (from many Malays, even) is just one more example of how they close their ears to the wishes of the people they govern. Change in the forseeable future? I doubt it.

Too bad for Malaysia, a country and a populace with such incredible potential.

Anonymous said...

One thing that I do not understand is while I was in Jaya Jusco Taman Maluri, I noticed there was a manned booth to collect zakat. Although I am not a Muslim, I thought it would be noble on my part to contribute a donation to the poor. The first question psed to me is that "Are you a Muslim" of which I answered that I am not. Then I was told that I cannot donate because the collection of zakat is only meant for Muslims during the holy month of Rahmanan. I insisted that it is alright with me if he does not perform a handshake and say a doa. I was told again politely that my donation cannot be accepted because I am not a Muslim. I tried to convince him that I only want to make a donation and a receipt for the payment would be good enough for me. Again I was told that I cannot donate since I am not a Muslim.
Is it really true that my money is not good enough to help some poor Muslim?

Anonymous said...

Is smoking lesser haram than drinking? How is a glass of beer compared to smoking 2 packs a cigarettes a day?

art harun said...

Dear Anonymous @ 3/10 at 23:29,

The Muslims used to impose a tax called Jizyah on the non-Muslims (Christians and Jews who were called Ahlu-l Dhumma or "Dhimmi") during the Umayyads and Abbassids as well as the first 4 Caliphs days). This tax is almost similar to the "zakat" that Muslims themselves had to pay the state.
I see no reason why non-Muslim's donation ought not to be accepted by the Muslims especially when the clear intention is to help the poor.
However, if it is clear that the donation comes from illegal (haram) money such as stolen money, perhaps such donation ought not to be accepted.
I have no authority for saying all these except for my own thoughts.

I applaud you for being selfless and thoughtful of the poor. It is sad that your donation was not accepted. I hope you did not feel insulted.

I know of a place which would accept your donation with a smile. The Rumah Nursalam in Chow Kit, which is run by a friend of mine, would gladly accept whatever donation, both in terms of cash and in kind. It is a home for street kids in Chow Kit and KL in general. It provides home and food for those children whose parents are drug addicts and sex workers. Each day some 70-80 children go there for food and some activities before they get back to the street. The home has hundreds of "registered" unfortunate kids.

You may read about them at http://www.chowkids.org/ckids/