Date :Sunday, March 22nd, 2015 | Time : 10:35 |ID: 8023 | Print

PAS’s hudud law not divine, open to criticism, says Muslim activist Farouk Musa

SHAFAQNA – The hudud law that PAS is bent on enforcing in Kelantan is not divine and should not be treated as such, an academic and progressive Muslim thinker said today, even as proponents of the Islamic criminal law continue to use religion to justify its implementation.Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, the founder of the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), said that the problem with PAS’s hudud bill was that it was being presented as mandated by the will of God, making it immune to criticism.

“We hear time and time again PAS leaders saying ‘you have no right to question hudud’, that it is a set of laws ordained by God,” said Farouk during a roundtable titled “The Future of Religious Freedom”, held at the University of Nottingham Teaching Centre in Kuala Lumpur today.

“This makes such laws immune to any criticism, when in actual fact, they were merely the product of some literal interpretation of a certain group of scholars that failed to see the maqasid, or higher intention, of such laws in attaining the ideals of justice.

“To me, what is important is to ensure there is justice. That is the whole idea of Islamic law. Justice is one of the most paramount tenets in Islam. If you cannot do justice, then there is no point in putting an Islamic label to it. It defeats the purpose.”

Farouk said PAS’s hudud bill could not be infallible as it included provisions that were still debated among scholars, such as the punishment of stoning to death for married adulterers.

He said the punishment did not exist in the Al-Quran and was only inferred from a hadith (prophetic traditions), adding that people still argued about it.

Maria Chin Abdullah, the chairperson of electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0, said that PAS was promoting the wrong kind of Islam by presenting a hudud law, which was not open to discussion.

“You cannot use the tagline ‘PAS for all’, yet you cheat the citizens who voted for you by presenting the hudud law that no one can discuss. That isn’t the kind of Islam we should be promoting,” she said during the roundtable.

“If you think it is about justice, equality, your faith, there has to be certain ways by which you can promote that.”

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is seeking to table a private members’ bill in Parliament during the current sitting ending April 9, which would allow the Kelantan government to enforce hudud in the state.

The bill is to amend the Shariah Courts Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965, which limits the power of the Shariah courts to a maximum penalty of RM3,000 in fine, five years’ jail and six strokes of the rotan.

An amendment is required in this law to enable Kelantan to carry out hudud law, after the state assembly on Thursday unanimously passed the Shariah Criminal Code II Enactment 1993 (Amendment 2015). – March 22, 2015.

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