May 31, 2014
On Hudud: Honour Our Constitution (Article 4)
Dato’ Noor Farida Ariffin
In light of Muhammad’s strict injunction to Muslims to honour the treaties that they have entered into, let me urge UMNO members to search their conscience and state whether they would be prepared to abandon the fundamental provisions of the Federal Constitution in favour of PAS’ hudud law, in clear violation of the Constitutional Agreement and the teachings of Islam.–Dato’ Noor Farida
MUCH has been said on hudud and Pas’ latest attempt to foist hudud law on Muslims in Malaysia. PAS, as usual, is using moral and religious blackmail to convince gullible Muslims with a shallow understanding of Islam, including some in UMNO, that support of hudud is the sacred duty of believers.
When the Kelantan State Assembly passed the Hudud Bill on Nov 25, 1993, the Deputy Mentri Besar, in answer to the question whether people had accepted the state Government’s plan to implement the hudud laws, made the incredible announcement that the question did not arise as Muslims in the State who rejected the laws would be considered murtad (apostate)!
And all this while we Muslims have been taught to believe that only Allah has the prerogative to determine who is a believer and who is not! This is a blatant example of a political party distorting religion to suit its political agenda.
As a believing, practising Muslim, after studying the writings of respected Muslim scholars on this subject, I am of the view that Muslims should reject PAS’ hudud law without fearing that they are going against Islamic teachings. Hashim Kamali, a professor of law at the International Islamic University, has published a detailed analysis of the PAS Hudud Bill from the perspective of the Quran, the Hadith (traditions of Muhammad) and the opinions of the Companions of the Prophet.
The professor has concluded that “the Hudud Bill of Kelantan has failed to be reflective either of the balanced outlook of the Quran or of the social conditions and realities of contemporary Malaysian society”.
A case in point, which has given rise to concerns among women’s groups, is that the PAS Hudud Bill is totally silent over the problem of rape. While the Bill addressed the subject of zina (illicit sex), it did not mention rape at all.
To prove zina, the rape victim must produce four male witnesses. If she fails to provide the necessary proof, then she herself would be liable to the punishment of qadhf (slanderous accusation of zina). Obviously, this will result in victims of rape being punished and perpetrators being let off scot-free!
Notwithstanding the fact that this clause in the Hudud Bill has been the focus of public criticism and debate, Pas has stubbornly refused to amend it.
What is even more alarming is the much-criticised provision that “circumstantial evidence, though relevant, shall not be a valid method of proving a hudud offence”. Therefore, material and scientific evidence, like semen stains, vaginal swabs, blood samples, scratch marks, genetic fingerprinting, DNA samples, etc, are not admissible methods of proof in zina. This will clearly result in injustice to rape victims.
The reason for this inexplicable rejection of scientific, medical evidence may be that they were not available during the time of the Prophet. Yet Prophet Muhammad himself urged Muslims to seek knowledge “even if they have to travel to China to acquire knowledge”. Yet Pas rejects medical and scientific advances which human civilisation has achieved since the ninth century.
Many prominent Muslim scholars have opined that the application of hudud as an isolated case without providing the necessary context and environment is not only unrealistic but is more likely to produce the opposite results and frustrate, rather than satisfy the Islamic vision of justice and fair play.
In addition, they emphasise that the Hadith which is also a legal maxim, provides that hudud must be suspended in doubtful situations.
For those UMNO members who have allowed themselves to be duped by PAS’ threat of apostasy, let me remind them of the Treaty of Hudaibiya which was contracted between the Muslims of Medina led by Prophet Muhammad and the non-Muslims of Mecca.
The last clause of the treaty was not in favour of the Muslims. Even before the treaty was signed, the Muslims wanted to breach this clause. The Prophet forbade them to do so because to him it was important to honour the terms of the treaty which they had agreed to, even though the treaty, as in this case, had a negative impact on the Muslims. This illustrates the importance the Prophet placed on honouring one’s word and, in particular, the terms of a treaty to which a Muslim is a party.
The Federal Constitution was agreed to by the Conference of Rulers, the Government of the Federation of Malaya comprising UMNO, the MCA and the MIC, and the British Government in 1957.
Article 4 of the Constitution provides that the Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with the Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
Therefore, should UMNO and PAS attempt to amend the Constitution to change its secular character to make way for the implementation of hudud, it will be in clear violation of the agreement reached between the members of the Alliance party.
In light of Muhammad’s strict injunction to Muslims to honour the treaties that they have entered into, let me urge UMNO members to search their conscience and state whether they would be prepared to abandon the fundamental provisions of the Federal Constitution in favour of PAS’ hudud law, in clear violation of the Constitutional Agreement and the teachings of Islam.