Monday, February 22, 2010

Remember we have Our own Shariah Laws?

Many people seem to forget that Malaysia has syariah laws in place in every state. I say “forget” because every time the relevant syariah enforcement officers act according to the Syariah enactments in the respective states, quite a number of people raise an alarm and cry “That cannot be done!” But the officers are only acting within the powers given to them by the respective syariah enactments.

Whenever the syariah courts sentence someone according to the provisions of the respective State Syariah laws, even more people protest and start saying that cannot be done. But the syariah courts are only exercising the powers given to them by the respective syariah enactments.

When Hishamuddin Hussein Onn announced that 3 women were caned, some quarters raised an alarm. When Kartika voluntarily subjected herself to the existing syariah law and the presiding Judge sentenced her according to the existing syariah law, many protested.

If it was just the ordinary citizen, then it is understandable. They do not what laws has been passed as “syariah” and when.

What is mind boggling is that the sounds of protest come from those who are in the government, even Minister. It is ironical that Ministers do know or forget that there are Syriah laws in place.

I was shocked long time ago when Tun Dr Mahathir, being Prime Minster then voiced his displeasure when three girls who took part in a beauty pageant was arrested. What? He is the Prime Minister. Why didn’t he start a reform of the syariah laws if he felt strongly about it? He didn’t, therefore it must mean that the Barisan Nasional Government is very happy with the existing syariah laws.

Let me point out some basic facts:

1. Every State has its own Syariah Laws – meaning one offence in one state may not be an offence in another state. Punishments for the same offence may be different.
2. These Syariah laws are passed by the State Assembly of each State – that means the credit for all these laws must go to the Barisan Nasional State Assemblymen because they were mostly in power since merdeka until now.
3. Each ruler of each state is the head of the religion of Islam in the respective State and they must give their assent to the laws passed.
4. Each ruler has advisers on Islam who advise them.
5. Non-Muslims are not subjected to these laws. Muslims, therefore are privileged to be subjected to two laws – the “civil law” and the “syariah laws”.
6. Generally, the Syariah laws regulate how the Muslims in this country must practice their religion. If you are a Muslim citizen, you are bound by it.
I have spoken about the impact, legality, content and importance of the Syariah laws to various MPs, including Ministers over the past 10 years. The impression that I was left with is: they do not understand the true impact of it in the long run. In fact, they do not really want to know as they have the mindset (seems to me), that it is best left to the “experts”. They “fear to touch the subject”. Politics again.

I do not know whether the time will come when concerned Muslims who take their belief seriously will also want to take active part in evaluating the syariah laws to determine if it is consistent with the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah. After all, Muslims believe that each of us will be solely responsible for our own deeds in the hereafter.

In the meantime, Barisan Nasional MPs and State Assemblymen should not complain about the implementation of the syariah laws that they helped to pass and exist.

Peace !

3 comments:

PahNur said...

"I do not know whether the time will come when concerned Muslims who take their belief seriously will also want to take active part in evaluating the syariah laws to determine if it is consistent with the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah. After all, Muslims believe that each of us will be solely responsible for our own deeds in the hereafter."

For some, like me, I think it's just not "the time will come", rather, it's high time that we take a look at those syariah laws again, whether it be consistent with the laws of God, because frankly even if it is a law, it has shown to be man made.

As for Article 3 in the Malaysian Constitution states, " Islam is the religion of Malaysia.....". It does not at any time mean that Malaysia is an Islamic country, and therefore since constitutional law is the prime law of all Malaysians, therefore,caning for women in syariah law should not overrule the constitutional law, of which states that women cannot be caned. (common sense shows that legally, they should not have been caned. Then again, i'm not a lawyer.)

What if stoning to death be the sentence of adultery for Malaysian syariah law. Will we as Muslims stand by not contesting the ridiculous syariah law? Human laws are meant to be amended to suit modern life's demands. Only God's law persist. The funny thing is, God's law needs no amendment as it can be suited through time. Humans have agendas and agendas changes through time...:)

rejal said...

Well said brother. Very pertinent indeed. The problem is we the ordinary Muslims, the assemblymen included - except perhaps the Ulamas and those who have studied Islamic jurisprudence - would not really know nor would want to comment since the ulamas have always pontificated that we the ordinary mortal Muslims cannot comment about such things as they are ‘beyond our comprehension’.

Our problem is the practice of the religion is a state matter and the federal government do not want to be seen as transgressing into that.
The states are also very protective of the last few vestiges of rights that they still enjoy since most of other matters have already been surrendered to the Federal government when we attained merdeka.

Your are also right about Tun Dr Mahathir. What he should have done was to call on all BN MBs and assemblymen telling them of the obvious weaknesses and flaws in the various state enactments pertaining to the Syariah.

The least that could be done was to have a common set of enactments. As it is it looks as if there is no consistency in the laws being promulgated and enforced in each state with each state have its own set and only allowed to enforce them within its own jurisdiction. Thus a delinquent and irresponsible father can just move states if he do not want to pay maintenance to his ex wife or children.

Hakim J said...

Either none of our lawmakers has the guts to call for a reevalutation of Syariah law and risk to get a bad name, or, all of them simply believe that whatever Syariah laws we have in place is doing justice to our society.

Or just like Tun Dr Mahathir (who did not start a reform back then), they would try not to touch on these subjects in order to maintain peace and harmony.

Who's running the country?