Hudud Debate Grips Malaysia

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CAIRO – Hudud has come to the forefront in Malaysia once again after a member of the ruling coalition has criticized plans by the country’s main Islamic party to apply Islamic penalties in the Muslim-majority nation.

“Hudud will not only apply to Muslims, but to non-Muslims as well,” Lim Choon, member of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), told the New Straits Times on Monday, October 22.

Hudud application dominated the party’s 59th annual general assembly, where delegated rejected plans by PAS Islamic party to apply the penalties.

“Our president had mentioned in the past that if you start stoning criminals or chopping off their hands, such acts would deal a severe blow to our country’s economy and damage our country’s social norms,” delegate Khoo Ai Laa said.

PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang said in May that he would seek to amend the constitution to apply hudud if the party won the election.

But his proposal has met strong opposition from his coalition partners, including the secular Democratic Action Party (DAP).

The debate comes amid a changing political landscape in the Muslim-majority country as polls have shown that Malaysians were willing to apply Islamic Shari`ah.

A recent survey of Malaysian Muslim youth showed that nearly three-quarters back the idea for the Qur’an to replace the Federal Constitution as the country’s highest law.

The poll by independent pollster Merdeka Center showed that about 72 percent of Muslims aged 15 to 25 support the Muslim holy book as the highest law while 25 percent disagree.

Political Games

MCA members accused the Islamic party of using hudud as a political weapon to win over voters.

“As the general election looms closer, PAS starts talking about hudud, but they do not address the law’s practicality nor confidently assure non-Muslims that it would not affect them,” said Khoo, who is a representative from MCA Bandar Tun Razak division.

“PAS’ push for hudud is political in nature.”

Richard Yong Sin Onn, a delegate from MCA Pandan division, opines that PAS’ allies in the opposition People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) should include hudud in its election manifesto.

“This is so that the public will know that there is a possibility that hudud will be implemented if they vote for Pakatan,” he said.

“I believe that voters would abhor such a move (implementing hudud) as they do not want to be governed by religion.”

With an estimated 800,000 members, PAS is the main rival of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s United Malays National Organization.

Hudud are part of PAS’ political agenda and has been one of the pillars of its policies.

A few years ago, PAS enacted the hudud laws in its stronghold in Kelantan to be imposed only on Muslims, who represent about 90 percent of the state’s 1.5 million population.

The laws introduced hudud for theft, robbery, adultery, liquor consumption and apostasy.

Malaysia’s parliamentary elections are due in 2013, but expectations are high that the polls could be called much earlier.

Muslim Malays form about 60 percent of Malaysia’s 26-million population, while Christians make up around 9.1 percent.

Buddhists constitute 19.2 percent, Hindu 6.3 while other traditional Chinese religions make up the rest of the population.

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4 thoughts on “Hudud Debate Grips Malaysia

    Abdullah said:
    October 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Isn’t it a contradiction of terms to “vote” on Hudud, when democracy is the man-made concept? Maybe people should be more concerned with whether or not to abolish democracy.

      HifzanShafiee said:
      October 23, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      Regarding voting can be quote from the stories of prophet Yunus a.s in “He (agreed to) cast lots…” (translation 37/141). Another verse is about cast lot in choosing Mary guardian in “when they cast lots with their pens as to which of them should be charged with the care of Maryam (Mary)” (translation 3/44). This is what I understand, you may disagree on it.

      As one of principle Rasul (Yunus a.s and Zakaria a.s) is maksum (being protected from sin), “cast lot” for solving problem is not a sin, cast lot for gambling is sin and haram. From my understanding voting is acceptable.

      This is more on playing with political game as election is near. As Muslim we need to educate people so they can understand and accept with open heart the hudud law. I can not blame non-Muslim because they have their own agenda, but we must tell them the correct info.

      To abolish democracy? Can? Easy? Is it democracy is totally non-Islamic or it was a part of it is not Islamic. Can we cleanse non-Islamic and adapt the principle with Quran and Sunnah.
      What is our own (Muslim) proposal of social system? Going back to khalifah? What is the meaning of Khalifah?
      Or going back to king and queen system? Are that Islamic, is it being teach by our prophets?

      Are we going to chop off people who are disagree with us? Or Is it our committee ready to adapt it and understand it properly. How about “the foxes” that wearing sheep clothing, that waiting to say ” Hahhh, See, I told you already Sharia can not works”.

      This is the question that we should ask ourselves as Muslim. The first revelation in Quran is “Iqra” can be understand as Read it, further details is “understand it”. Even prayer, zakat coming quite later and hudud come much more later. In prohibition of alcohol come in three stage; (1) a warning (2) prohibit during prayer, (2) total prohibition.

      The message that we to emphasize is “Understand It” first and commitment come progressively.

        Abdullah said:
        October 24, 2012 at 12:50 AM

        Haha, MashaAllah. Now we see that it’s not clear from any angle. Surely it’s not a sin to cast lots to make a choice, but I still don’t see why it is acceptable to choose leaders based on this.
        Umar (RA) said that if he were to deviate from the Straight Way that people should correct him with their swords if need be, And he was please with this answer. Look how far the Ummah has degraded itself that we are allowing random people to control the Muslims. Who says that one leader or another is capable of leading an Ummah? And will we be willing to use our swords to correct such a leader? So far, most Muslim-majority nations lick the shoes of their democratically-elected leaders and give little attention to the Islamic manners and example set by the leader.
        Our Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) slept on a simple palm mat, but our leaders live in lavish castles. Umar (RA) knew that he was responsible for every single need of the Ummah to the point that he came to the aid of a single mother that was cooking rocks (as a meal).
        Brother, I realize that our leaders are not Nabi or Sahaba, but why are we settling for people who refuse to even grow beards or abolish the sale of alcohol?
        What will happen to the beer factories in Malaysia if Hudud becomes the Law? How will the leaders profit from alcohol as they demand that I am caned for touching it? (I don’t drink alcohol, but I think you understand what I mean.)

        Malaysia will keep its current political structure as a Parliament, even if it embraces Hudud. This is all they know. I don’t mind if there is a Parliament filled with Muslims who keep each other in check. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Malaysia is rather diverse: A King, Sultans, and a Parliament. We have it all! 😉

        I really don’t know how anyone will integrate Hudud when Malaysia refuses to clean up the prostitutes in Chow Kit. Maybe they will phase out Haraam things slowly as people adjust and grant clemency to offenders for a number of years. As best I can tell, each question only branches out into more questions. The last established Caliphate was the Ottoman Empire and it was very successful without democracy. 🙂 I will be happy to have any leader that encourages us to own swords. How cool would that be? hehe

    HifzanShafiee said:
    October 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    In Usul (Fundamental) Fiqh, Concept of “All thing in this world is halal and (harus) acceptable, except thing that being indicate as haram” as indicated in:

    “It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth” (translation 2:29) and “And He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth – all from Him.” (translation 45:13)

    To reject democracy based on “This is from non-Muslim” is childish thinking. Then we also should reject cars, computers, IT as all come from non-Muslim.

    Let say one of Liberal concept : Freedom of Speech. We also have “freedom of speech” indicated in Quran but we don’t give a total freedom and we have limit such:
    1) Talk/debate a good thing/manners,
    2) The talk must have benefit to society;
    3) To implement justice, so on.
    Of course, we don’t agree in many of Liberal thing, but certain concept can be adopt in our society.

    When the leader is corrupted, we should blame ourselves (or may be past society). If the society keep breeding unproductive/ unethical people. And from that society will born unethical leader.
    Can we blame that leader for all the mess happen? If we chop off the leader head, are we confident that we can get a better leader?
    The cure is not the leader, it was society itself.

    Integration of Hudud?
    That why any Rasul in Islamic stories, don’t come to world and preach “Do Hudud, you will save” or “chop off leader head”. Islam is rational religion as indicate:

    “But when Moses came to them with Our signs as clear evidences” (translation 28:36)

    If we understand clearly, Pharaoh is the most evil guy in history of mankind; still we need to deliver a message/sign to him. Our current Muslim “sign” is not clear enough and too much shadow. Too much stupid thing.
    How to convince people especially non-Muslim that we do what we preach? So the priority is to educate society.

    I against any violence among Muslim because we still have many other peaceful option such:
    1) Buy all alcohol factory and convert to normal beverage;
    2) Buy the grape farm and convert to raisin production.
    3) Buy brothel house, convert to hotel, etc.
    4) Want to change leadership, convey a good people to enter election and fight for it.

    We have many others option, if our mind set at negative option (such by sword, etc). To solve problem is only making it worse.

    The politic issue is under Fiqh Siasah, Fiqh Sirah, Fiqh Priorities, and many others fiqh and it was not easy.

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