Friday, March 13, 2015

It is not easy to implement hudud laws unless we are truly ready to do so.

At last, after taking a long break, precisely more than a year, it is time to pen my thoughts. There are many interesting topics to be said or write. Altantuya, Najib Tun Razak, 1MDB and hudud are the most popular subjects. For a start, I would like to discuss hudud since the Kelantan Sharia Criminal Code Enactment II 1993 attracted much media attention, traditional and social.

In the present borderless world coupled with the advancement of information technology, the hudud debate attracted comments from both Muslims and non-Muslims. Islamic scholars and politicians from both sides of the divide, voiced their interpretations of hudud, correctly or otherwise. Some gave general statement while others touched on specifics.

Less we forget, the Islam that has to be lived and implemented is a religion of three basic elements:- the Islamic Creed or aqeedahRituals and Practices and Jurisprudence or ibadah or more known as fiqh  and thirdly Noble Character and Etiquette or akhlaq.

Each one have their own elaborations,  importance  and priorities that cannot be neglected. Therefore, when we talk about implementing Sharia in its general and wide term or in simple language implementing Islam as a way of life,  we must first secure the true aqeedah, the just and correct jurisprudence and noble characters. When we talk about implementing the Sharia in its specific interpretation meaning fiqh or jurisprudence such as hudud laws, we cannot ignore the other two elements of securing the Islamic creed and inculcate the akhlaq or noble characters. It is important to note that the Islamic creed has to be the basis for implementing the laws and should be congruent with observing high standards of moral. Therefore, it does not suffice for a Muslim to have faith and proclaim his Islam, but not to observe the laws and the moral standards.

In the context of Islamic Criminal Laws, hudud means all offenses committed not on humans and carry specific punishment. Criminal offences which do not carry specific punishment are called  ta'zeer such as vandalism. Offences with specific punishment and inflicted upon human life itself such as murder  and injuring others is called qisas. 

Hudud, Qisas and Ta'zeer form the Islamic Laws of Jinayat or Crimes.

One need to understand the aspects of how to provide evidence, execute the punishment, the rationale behind the laws and the wisdom of these laws in order to understand hudud offenses comprehensively in order to avoid misunderstanding of the Devine laws. For example, it is common for people to criticize the amputating of hands for stealing without first understanding what is the definition of stealing, when does stealing carry such a punishment.  What is the philosophical dimension to such a ruling? As if if someone steals two ringgit, his hands will be cut off.

To implement hudud is not that easy. It can only be done after preparing the proper infrastructure such as having a trained group of people and an effective judiciary system. The community must be ready to accept such laws as part of their lives because the Islamic way of life is not built upon laws only, but aqeedah and imaan (faith). 

Hudud is just part of the many obligations that we, Muslims, have to fulfill. We have to prioritize our obligations, which one need to be fulfilled first. If we are unable to implement hudud, it does not mean that our Islam is of a lesser quality. Remember, we are required to strive within our own limitations.

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