Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Syariah's predicament : which way now?

The best part is when Hishamuddein Hussein, Malaysia's home minister admitted they do not have the expertise to carry out the caning. Pleeeeasee..that's about the lamest excuse I have ever heard. Is this to say that whatever written in syariah ruling is there for show? This is not a new ruling. It has been there years ago and the home ministry should have arranged for their officers to visit Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia to "study" the caning system. It is not something that comes out of the blue.

  1. It started with just a simple judgement. The Kuantan syariah court found a Muslim model guilty of consuming alchohol in public and sentenced her with RM 5,000 fine and 6 strokes of rotan.
  2. The judgement opens up intense discussion from those who agree and those who disagree with the sentence. This scribe covers it in a posting titled "Caning for alchoholic consumption : can or cannot?" You can visit the posting again, here.
  3. Then comes the poser. Where will the caning done? The model, who accepted her fate requested for a public caning. The prison says that they only carry out the caning sentence to prisoners.
  4. If she is not a prisoner, how can the prison authority carry out the caning? Dilly dally..and Kuantan syariah court decided to carry out the sentence during the first week of Ramadan al-Mubarak. Not only that, they have arrange for a van to pick the model up on Monday to be transported to Kajang prison, in anticipation of the caning sentence.
  5. Then...out of nowhere, the order came to release the model and the caning sentence has been deferred to after Ramadan. At the same time, it has received international coverage.
  6. Back home, Tun Mahathir posted a few question in his blog regarding the issue. Basically he is openly asking :-

    • whether the judge has erred since the model is a first time offender;
    • whether the punishment meted out obtained in Malaysia syariah laws;
    • whether there is mercy for first time offender;

  7. Najib, on his part stressed that there are still avenues for the model to appeal whilst a former program manager of SIS is more concerned about the Islamic image that Malaysia is projecting with regard to this issue.
  8. Some women NGOs' wanted justice for the model.
  9. Of course it is difficult to satisfy everyone. But, in aswering to all the news and views, please give a thought to the following :-

    • why is Najib commenting on the issue and indicated that there still room to appeal? The model had decided that she will not appeal and instead will go through the sentencing. It is not a matter of exhausting the avenues for appeal, it is a matter of the model determined to see the sentence carried out. So, why is Najib hinting on appeal? Is the federal government caught in a catch 22 situation?
    • Islamic image is what we made them out to be. Do we want to be seen as harsh and conservative like how the rest looks at Saudi Arabia? Or do we want others to see Islamic image as weak and indecisive? If we cannot make a unified stand on this issue, then what chance do Muslims have in facing bigger and graver issues?
    • some wanted justice for the model. What justice? Are we fiddling on justice to Western standards? Does justice mean bowing to the pressure of the so called human rights? If that is the case, are we conforming to logical laws (made by man) or are we subject to divine laws (as guided by Koran and Hadiths)? What about those who believe in Christianity, Buddhists and the rest? Are they subject to change their views and laws to satisfy the so called human rights group?
    • the question of whether the judge erred in meting out the sentence to first time offender is best answered by the judge. If he has erred, then couldn't the higher syariah court make right what is wrong? Does this means that our syariah court judges are incompetent? Are we saying that the syariah court judges inexperienced?
    • And if we pardon first time offender, will we be extending pardons to all first time offenders? will we be pardoning first time snatch thiefs, first time rapist? first time robber? first time murderer? If we pardon first time offenders, will they go for second time or third time and becomes habitual law-breakers?
    • on whether the sentence is prescribed in the Koran or not, Tun M of all people with his vast reading knowledge should know that as Muslims , we follow both the Koran and the hadiths. And surely the syariah laws are based on guidance from Koran and hadiths.

  10. It shall be noted that it was the Kuantan syariah court that sentenced the model. Bear in mind that Kuantan is in Pahang and Najib hails from Pahang. In short, it is Najib's state that passed the judgement.
  11. It shall also be interesting to see the what if situation. What if the sentence was passed by one of the states controlled by PR? Will BN jump in claiming that the states are going ultra-conservatives? I am sure BN leaders, including Zahid Hamidi will pounce on the issue and blame PR for wrecking havoc.
  12. Do all the Malay states (those with Sultans as the head of Religion) has the same syariah rule? If yes, why this case happens only in Kuantan, Pahang? Are the other states religous department sleeping and not doing their job arresting Muslims consuming alchohol in public?
  13. The best part is when Hishamuddein Hussein, Malaysia's home minister admitted they do not have the expertise to carry out the caning. Pleeeeasee..that's about the lamest excuse I have ever heard. Is this to say that whatever written in syariah ruling is there for show? This is not a new ruling. It has been there years ago and the home ministry should have arranged for their officers to visit Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia to "study" the caning system. It is not something that comes out of the blue.
  14. Hishamuddein's statement demonstrate the federal government's insincerity of syariah rule implementation. Is caning included in the sentence for show? Something to be looked at as a prized item? Even if the home ministry do not have the expertise, I am sure there are many Islamic scholars from both BN and PR who has seen caning before. Why not sought their views? Is this that difficult?
  15. And whilst we are at it, it is frighteningly sad that this issue has been blown out of proportion. Although this scribe is happy that professional Muslims come out to air their stands, the same cannot be said in cases of apostacy. What is SIS's stand on this? What is Mahathir's views? What is Najib's advise?
  16. Isn't apostacy a bigger issue? Why dwells on tit-bits when there are bigger issues at hand?
  17. Back to the model, this scribe feels that the trauma that she is facing is sufficiently enough as a lesson to her. She has been publicly identified and has been put in the spotlights for days which is already sufficient to act as a deterrent to others. But, I have to admit that I am not a syariah practisioner and as such I have no standing in this issue.
  18. Islam is a compassionate religion. And even in starting to recite the Koranic verses, Muslims read "In the name of Allah, the most merciful and the most benevolent". With that, this scribe lets the readers to form their own opinion in this issue.
  19. Before signing off, there are other related matters that need to be cleared up. Why the model? Why a woman? Isn't Pahang religous department men enough to arrest male Muslims consuming alchohol in public? Is the department implying that Muslim males do not consume alchohol in Pahang? Is the department sending a message to say that Malaysian-based Muslims do not cosume alchohol in public?
  20. By the way, the religous department enforcers can surfed the net and they will find artistes openly drinking (or are they acting) alchohol in public places. And if they do not know where to begin, try as a starting point.
  21. As a footnote, this scribe believe that the caning sentence should be carried out. And for those who think that the caning is brutal, please note that in Islam, the person who carry out the caning must not expose his armpit (or if he were to place a book between his armpit and the hand, the book will not fall when caning is done). What does that mean? It means the Islamic caning is not as savage as civil caning and the primary role of Islamic caning is to deter and to serve as reminder in stopping repeat offenders.
p.s. For those who need to know more on Islamic views on alchohol, its implications and sentencing (as carried out during prophet Mohamad pbuh and his companions, pls go here.

p.s.s. For those who wants to know how the Pahang syariah laws say on the caning method for offenders, please refer here.

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...


Anonymous said...

There are many issues you raise in this article.

I only want to refer to your Point No 9.

I only want to make 2 points :-

1) Its up to Muslims to determine what laws and punishments they want to impose on themselves. If you want to whip women for drinking beer , so be it.

2) I think when you go on about justice in the caning, the issue here is why a woman. When all and sundry knows Malay men is drinking even worse.

How many men have been caught and caned for drinking alcohol in Malaysia?

Is this justice?

ini a nutshell its something like the MACC lah.

RM 15 billion PKFZ, rm 27 million mansions, rm 10 million donations semuanya okay. But when it comes to RM 112 commission and RM 2000 flag buying, investigate the shit out of those jokers.

How to call it justice when the prosecution is so selective is the issue here.

Anonymous said...

For your Point 20, no need to talk abt artists.

If you surf the net hard enough u can even find the PM's own son drinking alcohol.

Btw, Nazri's son also caught on film drinking like mad.

So, why no prosecution like u said?

PM punya anak!!!!!

nightcaller said...

Anon 10:58

Point 9? Well on ur first point, it has been recorded in Islamic texts that caning is carried out for alchoholic drinkers. (Of course the caning is more than 6 ). It is enforced to both men and women. As for the terms, u call it whipping, I call it caning. Pls refer to my point 21 on the method of Islamic caning. There are also certain provisions such that the cane is not too soft nor too hard and the caning is done not too soft nor too hard.

On ur 2nd point, I have raised the issue in point 19 which I have openly asked why the religous authority did not arrest any Muslim male alchoholic drinkers. And I agree with you that there are plenty Muslim male drinkers out there including Tan Sri's, Datuks' and what nots...

Pls bear in mind that the offence was committed in 2002 and it takes them 7 years to hand down the sentence. Maybe there are bigger "fish" waiting to be sentenced in Pahang? We will have to be patient and wait...

Anon 11:09

Point 20? is just an example. I think I have seen the so-claimed pictures of VVIP's sons drinking and socialising. But I failed to recall the link and address. That's why I did not mention it here. Further, I reserved the comments because I am not sure whether they are who the caption mentioned. Are tehy really the sons of VVIPs'?

And if I recalled it correctly, the pictures were taken overseas and not in Pahang. So they may be outside the limit of Pahang syariah court's jurisdiction...:) Maybe one day they will be caught drinking in Pahang and we will see what the sentence or charges be, then...

On ur

looes74 said...

Hehehe! Kartika case grabbed hole the attention of Secular France. Just watch the video clip at Nikhassanazmi.
Remind me of the case why France ban tudung at school. Citing such action against secularism in France
Again, I still believe in awareness campaign & public education

nightcaller said...


Seen the video but barely understand what they are talking about as the French voice over drowns the rest :(.

Yes, it is awareness campaign and public education. That is is line with the syariah sentence which is to educate and not to punish and scar the offender.

Anonymous said...

Do not ridicule your religion by practicing selective prosecution. See the link for yourself.

nightcaller said...

Anon 10:27

Let me put it straight to you - for sure I do not condone selective persecution and I hope that those entrusted with the responisibility will not do selective persecution.

However, along the same line please understand that for the religous authorities have to arrest the offenders red-handed before they could prosecute them. That is my understanding on the syariah laws.

Yes, I have seen those photos before and I doa that those who were in the pictures consuming alchohol has repented for their sins and has "taubat nasuha". Hopefully, the one God accept their taubat...wallahualam...