Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil is Deputy CEO of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.
The question whether Malaysia is an Islamic or secular state has come in for continuous debate in Malaysia. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad argues that in an Islamic state like Malaysia, justice applies to all, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
For some, this position remains simply because Islam is the only religion stated in the Federal Constitution. Unlike Turkey and India where the word “secular” is clearly provided in their respective constitutions, such a provision is not found in the Federal Constitution.
Notwithstanding the above, the relevant White Paper signifies that the country was meant to be a secular state. In the early stage of the drafting of the Federal Constitution, the Reid Commission had proposed inserting a provision stating the country is a secular state. However, in the final stage, they agreed to accept a provision that made Islam the official religion of the federation, but it shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing their own religions and shall not imply that the state is not a secular state.
Furthermore, historians have suggested that Malaya was an Islamic state. Islamic laws were in practice, which included criminal and civil laws. The most common Islamic laws notably are Hukum Kanun Melaka, Undang-undang Pahang, Undang-undang Johor, Undang-undang Perak and others. However, when the British colonised Malaya, all these laws were gradually changed to English laws through courts’ judgements where English judges preferred to refer to English laws. English law also made its presence here through codified laws, such as the Contract Act, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code etc.
Ironically, when Malaya gained independence on Aug 31, 1957, the words “Islamic state” were not incorporated into the Constitution. Nor is the word “secular” found in the Federal Constitution. It was only on Sept 29, 2001, after 44 years of independence, during his tenure as the fourth prime minister, Dr Mahathir made a declaration that Malaysia was an Islamic state.
This announcement was not followed by any amendment to the Federal Constitution until today.
Article 3(1) reiterates the rights protected under Article 11(1) and also reaffirms the supremacy of Islam under the Federal Constitution. Furthermore, Islam is placed above other religions in the federation, yet in Che Omar bin Che Soh v Public Prosecutor  2 MLJ 55, the Supreme Court (now the Federal Court) held that “although there can be no doubt that Islam is not just a mere collection of dogmas and rituals, but a complete way of life covering all fields of human activities, may they be private or public, legal, political, economic, social, cultural, moral or judicial”, the provision of Article 3(1) merely provided for a ritualistic and ceremonial role of Islam.
Sheridan (a constitutional text writer) also seems to agree with the Che Omar decision. He posits that Article 3(1) does not mean anything except that it imposes an obligation on the participants in any federal ceremony to regulate any religious parts of the event according to Muslim rites.
However, according to another constitutional text writer, Abdul Aziz Bari, this case does not elaborate clearly the position of Islam as stated in the Reid’s Commission Report and the White Paper.
Thus, he argues that the Che Omar decision merely ruled that Article 3(1) should not become the basis to challenge the legality of statutes. In other words, it merely limits the operation of Islam as stated in the provision. It must also be noted that the extent and implementation of Islam in the Federal Constitution should not be assessed or interpreted solely from the context or point of view of Article 3(1).
It is also contended that the Che Omar decision merely differentiated the position of Islamic law as prescribed by Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution. It was argued by the appellant that since Islam is the religion of the federation, and since the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land, the imposition of the death penalty upon drug traffickers, not being an Islamic law per se and not in accordance with hudud or qisas laws, is contrary to Islamic injunctions and is therefore unconstitutional. The Supreme Court (now the Federal Court) rejected this argument, saying that the provision in Article 3(1) does not actually give the meaning that Malaysia is an Islamic state, where in reality Islamic law only applies to Muslims merely in matters of personal laws. And since the Constitution makes a clear distinction between private law and public law, offences like drug trafficking are under the Federal List, and therefore constitutional.
Perhaps the position taken by Shad Faruqi and Aziz Bari that categorises Malaysia somewhere between the secular state and the Islamic state could be the answer to the ambiguity of the position of Islam in Malaysia. Thus, according to Shad Faruqi, “Malaysia is neither a full-fledged Islamic state nor wholly secular”, but that “in view of the fact that Muslims constitute the majority population, and Islamisation is being vigorously enforced, Malaysia can indeed be described as an Islamic or Muslim state”.
In addition, Shad Faruqi adds that “in a secular constitution, there is no prescribed official religion and no state aid is given to any religion or for any religious activities, but the word religion does occur at least 24 times in the Federal Constitution”.
Despite the fact that the Federal Constitution does not provide a clear provision to advocate that Malaysia is an Islamic state, there are significant provisions such as Articles 3(1) and 12(2) in the Constitution that signify the religion of Islam is given a special position in the Federation. One may conclude that Malaysia is not a secular state, nor is it a truly theocratic state.
Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil is associate professor and deputy chief executive officer, International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.
Published in: New Straits Times, Friday 28 December 2018
The right to life is one of the fundamental aspects of human rights.
Without this right, people risk losing other rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech and opinion, freedom of movement, property ownership rights, and many more.
Protecting the right to life is foundational to the building of a civilisation, without it, it is impossible to sustain a civilised culture and achieve technological advancement.
Hence, jurists and philosophers are unanimous in considering this right to be inalienable and non-negotiable.
While the Syariah recognises the right to life of each and every human, it also posits that humankind is the prize of God’s creation.
Because humans were created by God, a human’s right to life ultimately belongs to God. For God gives life, and He is the one who takes it back. Therefore, human lives are sacred according to the Syariah, and it is a crime to take another human’s life without just cause. In this regard, Syariah has prescribed retaliation (qisas) that prescribes the death penalty for intentional murder.
The right to life is also ranked as one of the most important objectives of the Syariah (Maqasid Syariah). While some Muslim scholars have contended that preservation of life should come after the preservation of religion, there are many who argued that preservation of life should be prioritised foremost. This is based on the argument that without life, man cannot live and preserve the religion in the first place. The prohibition of suicide and murder are clearly enshrined in the Quran: “... and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction” (Q2:195) and “…whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment” (Q4:93).
However, Syariah does allow the taking of one’s life through the appropriate legal processes in pursuit of justice, like in the case of murder. Even so, the next-of-kin of the victim is given the option to forgive the murderer by taking a diyat (blood money) for the Right of Man (haq al-adami) part, yet the authorities may still punish the offender for violation of the Right of God (haq Allah) or the community’s right. Other Syariah offences that warranted the death penalty include adultery committed by married persons (zina muhsan), and hirabah (highway robbery and terrorism).
However, over the last two decades, public opinion on the application of the death penalty has shifted. The United Nations (UN) through its Human Rights Council, for instance, has called for the abolition of the death penalty. Consequently, many countries have abolished the death penalty. Until the end of 2017, 142 countries have abolished the death penalty in their general laws, while 106 countries have abolished laws prescribing death sentences for all criminal offences.
This shows that the world trend is to eliminate the death penalty.
Even in countries that still uphold the death penalty like Iran and Malaysia, there has been a declining trend in its execution.
For example, Malaysia has taken a positive step by amending the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 in 2017 which could lower the mandatory death sentence to life imprisonment.
This abolitionist trend, however, poses a challenge to Islamic criminal law due to the latter’s prescription of death sentences for certain crimes.
For Muslims, there is a moral obligation to remain faithful to the injunctions provided by Islamic law.
A Muslim judge cannot simply replace the prescribed punishment with another without a strong justification.
However, a judge is allowed to refuse to take up a case, or under certain circumstances impose a lighter sentence by means of discretionary laws (ta’zir).
Not all death sentences in Islamic law are fixed and irreversible. Punishments in Islamic criminal law can be divided into two categories:
(i) the right of God, where the crime is committed against God, in which the punishment cannot be negotiated; and,
(ii) the right of human beings, where the crime is committed against another fellow human being.
For example, under the law of qisas, the next-of-kin can either opt for the death sentence or substitute it with diyat (blood money). Additionally, while the Islamic laws are considered divine, Syariah does allow withholding its injunctions in the case of drought or other extreme exigencies.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the death penalty in Islamic criminal law cannot be repealed except in the case of qisas where it can be replaced with diyat payment. Despite international pressure to repeal death sentences under the Syariah criminal law, it can still be practised provided that it does not violate the international law and in accordance with Article 6 of the ICCPR 1966 which excludes serious cases.
For hudud crimes involving serious offences such as hirabah (highway robbery and terrorism) the application of the death penalty can still be justified. In the case of adultery committed between married persons (zina muhsan), the Quran prescribes four eye witnesses for proof, which is almost impossible to provide.
Hence, the punishment of zina in almost all cases is reduced to ta’zir, which the sentencing judge can determine and quantify.
The only punishment that the Quran provides is 100 lashes of the whip for all proven cases of zina. The death punishment for zina is not mentioned in the Quran but only found in the tradition (Sunnah).
Abolishing death sentences as provided in the Second Optional Protocol and other international laws may be realised in the case of ta’zir (discretionary) sentences that prescribe capital punishment.
Abolishing the death penalty for ta’zir offence will not raise any question on the issue of right to life from an Islamic perspective.
The writer is associate professor and deputy chief executive officer of International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.
Published in: New Straits Times, Friday 2 November 2018
As our beloved Malaysia just celebrated its 61st independence on Aug 31, let us remember the journey we have travelled so far.
Before the British left this country 61 years ago, the journey towards independence had gone through different patches and challenges. The Malays, who were deeply loyal to the sultans, rose against the British. Datuk Maharaja Lela, Datuk Bahaman, Dol Said and Mat Kilau were among the Malay warriors who were willing to bear arms against the British.
Many of these acts of resistance ended in bloodshed. For instance, Maharaja Lela was hanged to death for killing J.W.W. Birch, a British Resident in Perak, in protest over the intervention by the British in the affairs of the state.
In an armed offensive launched by the British, together with the then Pahang authorities against Bahaman and his followers, renewed hatred against the British hindered their hostile operation and eventually caused it to fail.
Fast forward to about a decade before independence, the Malays rose against the British intervention which sought to reduce the power of the sultans by introducing the Malayan Union on April 1, 1946. Consequently, the brazen British intervention in the local political framework raised the spirit of Malay unity against the British. The Malays succeeded in convincing the Malay rulers to boycott the proclamation of Malayan Union. Eventually, the British’s plan failed, and it was replaced by the Federation of Malaya in 1948.
The struggle against the British did not end there. Looking at the success of Indonesians, who managed to “expel” the Dutch from their homeland, the Malays were inspired to end the British influence for good and free Malaya.
The quest for independence culminated when the Alliance Party (later Barisan Nasional) which consisted of Umno, MCA, and MIC— with full support from the nation — managed to negotiate with the British in London to pave the way for independence. The negotiations ended in favour of the Malayans, which saw Malaya gain her independence on Aug 31, 1957.
A commission — the Reid Commission — was set up by the British to draft a written constitution for the Merdeka Malaya. The Malay rulers were accorded a major role in assisting the commission to prepare their task.
In total, the commission held 118 meetings and received 131 memoranda from all parties, including from the Malay rulers.
On the surface, the Constitution seemed to be biased with special provisions given to the:
POSITION of Islam in (Article 3);
MALAY privileges, (and later in 1963, the natives of Sabah and Sarawak) in Article 153; and,
POSITION of the Malay rulers in Article 38.
However, many have forgotten that the Constitution we inherited today is a product achieved by stakeholders and parties from different ethnicities and religious groups, and is famous for its balanced provisions.
This agreement to give and take for the sake of unity and achieving a common goal is commonly known as the “social contract” — a contract that the three major political parties of the Alliance, representing the three major ethnicities, understood and ultimately acknowledged throughout their coalition.
In return for the special Malay provisions, non-Malay minorities were given citizenship, freedom of religion, cultural rights, educational and economic rights.
Throughout the decades, the three major ethnic groups have worked side by side in political coalitions and in government. In fact, this inter-ethnic cooperation can also be observed in the new Pakatan Harapan government.
Despite the diversity of culture, language, the way of life, political ideologies, economic status, and even marriage laws, Malaysians have proven that they can live peacefully and harmoniously, side by side.
Indeed, the pluralistic society of Malaysia is a huge asset to the country, and what makes it a beautiful and unique nation. Instead of a melting pot, Malaysia is a rich cultural mosaic. The various races, religions, cultures, and regions are like a rainbow which of consists of different colours, but stay together under the same arc.
However, some parties, often among the younger generation, due to a lack of understanding of the history behind the Constitution, have arbitrarily denied the existence of the “social contract”. One of their arguments is that it does not exist in the Constitution.
As a retort, the Constitution also does not contain terms such as “democracy”, “the rules of laws”, “separation of powers” and “independence of the judiciary”.
Even if the Constitution does not expressly contain a certain term or concept, it does not necessarily render them false or unacceptable. It turns out that the Constitution has many implied provisions, including, non-textualised ideas.
The denial of the existence of a social contract, in fact, has denied the historic ethnic cooperation and consultation which were encapsulated in the memorandum by the Alliance, articulated and conveyed to the Reid Commission.
There are also some who argue that the social contract is a legacy that is no longer in line with the demands of the present society. Thus, they demand amendments to the existing Constitution to suit current needs. While it is true that amendments should be made to fulfil contemporary needs, many have been integrated in the numerous amendments made to the Constitution from time to time.
Yet, the essential foundations of the Constitution must be preserved to safeguard the current social balance and avoid any racial conflict. The wisdom behind the social contract and the compromises that have been practised by all parties since independence must also be understood and respected.
A call to amend provisions such as the position of Islam, the privilege of the Malays, the Malay language and the position of the Malay rulers is against the spirit of unity prescribed by the Constitution.
The Constitution is a document that balances between the demands of the various groups of society. Remedies include the practice of “give and take” between ethnic groups, and to be free from extremities in action and ideology.
For that matter, it was the intention of our forefathers and the Reid Commission in drafting the Merdeka Constitution for all Malaysians to enjoy a good and peaceful life.
The document is an embodiment of the unity within diversity among the multicultural society of Malaysia.
The high spirit of tolerance and acceptance propagated in the social contract by both the majorities and minorities are the fruits of a balanced approach framed in the Constitution.
Any readings on the Constitution must be done in a holistic manner. Thus, demanding equality in reference to Article 8 of the Constitution must not ignore other provisions in the Constitution which were included as part of the social contract.
Since the Constitution is the supreme law in Malaysia as per Article 4 (1), this living document is a prime source of unity for Malaysians.
As such, it is our obligation to uphold the constitutional objectives for all Malaysians to live in peace and harmony, despite their different backgrounds, ethnicity and religions.
The writer is associate professor and deputy chief executive officer of International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.
Published in: New Straits Times, Wednesday 5 September 2018
The issue of unilateral conversion of minors has once again drawn mixed reactions from non-governmental organisations, lawyers and political parties in Malaysia when the Federal Court unanimously decided in the case of M. Indira Ghandi on Jan 29 that both the parents’ consent was required when determining the faith of minors.
In Malaysia, Article 12 (4) of the Federal Constitution provides: “For the purposes of Clause (3), the religion of a person under the age of 18 years is designated by his or her parent or guardian”.
In this case, the Federal Court has decided that the word “parent” must be understood in the plural form, denoting both “parents”, as interpreted in Schedule Eleven of the Federal Constitution and sections 5 and 11 of the Guardianship Act 1961. This decision marked a departure from the previous Federal Court judgment in Subashini (2007) in which it defined “parent” as one of the parents. Moreover, the Federal Court in the recent Indira Ghandi case also rejected the argument put forth by some parties that the court decision in the case of Susie Teoh (1990), who voluntarily converted at age 16, had anything to do with the interpretation of the word “parent” as singular or plural.
It may be useful to refer, in this connection, to some points discussed in two policy papers of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia, entitled “Conversion in Malaysia: Issues and Reform Proposals”, led by renowned Muslim scholar, Professor Mohammad Hashim Kamali, in 2012 and a Malay-language version entitled “Penukaran Agama Kanak-Kanak— Isu dan Cadangan” (2016 & 2017), by the present writer and Ahmad Badri Abdullah which updated and enhanced the previous versions.
Muslim jurists have held that when both parents convert to Islam, their underage children automatically become Muslims. Problems arise if one of the parties has converted to Islam and the other remains a non-Muslim, leading to an interesting jurisprudential debate. The jurists have held different opinions. The majority views in the Hanafi, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools on this is largely based on whether the convert was the mother or the father. Things are more straightforward in the Maliki school, which stipulates that the child’s religion follows his father’s, and thus, if the father converts, so will the child. The argument behind this Maliki ruling is that the identity and lineage of descent is through the father. Even so, there seems to be no final and authoritative view on this matter, especially since there are no clear-cut Quran verses addressing it.
Nor have the jurists reached any consensus on whether a child can embrace any religion, including Islam.
Many are of the view that children can embrace Islam, based on the precedents of many close companions of the Prophet Muhammad who converted to Islam during their childhood. Among them were Ali Abi Talib, Zubayr al-Awwam, Abdullah ibn Umar and Asma’ Abu Bakar.
Imam Abu Hanifah and his disciple, Muhammad ibn Hassan al-Syaibani considered that children who have attained mumayyiz (prudence) can legitimately convert to Islam— or, for that matter, to opt for apostasy. However, Abu Yusuf views that the child’s decision is legitimate only when converting to Islam, and invalid in the case of apostasy. Zufar ibn Hudhayl, another disciple of Imam Abu Hanifah, views that a child can neither convert to Islam nor leave Islam if he has not reached puberty.
Based on the popular hadith that “Every child is born in fitrah (natural state), his parents are the ones who will determine whether the child is a Jew or Christian until he is able to accept or reject it”, there are several important points. First, it is implied that a child cannot determine his religion. Second, a child’s disposition is clear of sin and cannot be held responsible for his religious status or other religious requirements. Additionally, this hadith also mentions “parents” in the plural.
What is important in all this is that the welfare of the child should come above all else. What is happening now is that there are cases where a father or mother embraces Islam and later converts the child to Islam even before the custody decision was made by the court.
This will undoubtedly lead to further problems. Similarly, an automatic decision to keep the child in his original religion following his non-Muslim parent will also lead to future problems. For instance, when the Muslim parent gains custody and wishes to enrol the child for Islamic religious education — it is better that the determination of a child’s religion takes into account the custodianship of the child. Solving this predicament would require cooperation by all parties, especially parents, guardians and the authority to prioritise the welfare of the child.
This can be done through a mediation process which involves a third party that will facilitate both parents towards reaching a compromise regarding the religious status of their child, for the sake of the children’s welfare.
For that reason, IAIS Malaysia, in its position papers mentioned above, proposed several policy reforms relating to conversions in interfaith marriages. Among the recommendations are:
FIRST , to ensure that the issue of conversion does not come in the way of ensuring the child’s welfare and the ensuing custodial responsibilities by the disputing parents;
SECOND , to establish a special branch of judiciary with mixed jurisdiction where both Syariah and civil law judges can sit and adjudicate cases of conversion and religious identity of the child; and,
THIRD, set up a judicial committee of the Conference of Malay Rulers with a mixed composition of Muslims and non-Muslims. The former can be in the majority and female members shall be included.
The writer is associate professor and deputy chief executive officer of International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.
Published in: New Straits Times, Friday 16 February 2018
Setiap kali pilihan raya umum (PRU), antara isu yang menjadi tumpuan ialah berapa ramai wanita akan dipilih sebagai calon parti politik untuk bertanding.
Pada PRU-13 lima tahun lalu, ada 168 calon wanita bertanding merebut 56 kerusi Parlimen dan 112 kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), meningkat sebanyak 40 peratus berbanding 120 calon untuk kedua-dua kerusi Parlimen dan DUN pada PRU-12 lima tahun sebelumnya.
Semakin masa beredar, nampaknya kesedaran lebih wanita diberi peluang menjadi calon PRU terus meningkat. Dijangka jumlah calon wanita untuk PRU-14 akan meningkat berbanding PRU-13.
Dari pandangan Islam, apakah kedudukan wanita dalam sistem pemilihan demokrasi dan sama ada mereka dibenar menjadi pemimpin serta wakil rakyat? Sebenarnya, suara supaya wanita diberi hak kesaksamaan dalam kepemimpinan bukan perkara baharu.
Dari segi sejarah, wanita bukan sahaja ditindas di negara Arab, malah di Barat. Contohnya pada abad ke-16 hingga ke-18 Masihi, wanita di England dinafikan hak mengundi, jauh sekali bertanding sebagai calon pilihan raya.
Pada zaman Arab Jahiliah, kanak-kanak perempuan ditanam hidup-hidup kerana kepercayaan kolot bahawa wanita membawa nasib malang kepada keluarga. Wanita juga dinafikan hak dalam pewarisan, perceraian, pekerjaan dan jauh sama sekali memegang jawatan tinggi dalam kerajaan.
Perspektif ini secara jelas bercanggah dengan ajaran dalam al-Quran dengan firman Allah SWT yang bermaksud: "Wahai umat manusia! Sesungguhnya Kami telah menciptakan kamu dari lelaki dan perempuan dan Kami telah menjadikan kamu berbagai bangsa dan bersuku puak, supaya kamu berkenal-kenalan (dan beramah mesra antara satu dengan yang lain).
Sesungguhnya semulia-mulia kamu di sisi Allah ialah orang yang lebih takwanya di antara kamu (bukan yang lebih keturunan atau bangsanya). Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Mengetahui lagi Maha Mendalam Pengetahuan-Nya (keadaan dan amalan kamu)." (al-Hujurat:13)
Malangnya, walaupun Islam mengiktiraf kedudukan dan hak wanita, sesetengah pihak tetap mendiskriminasi golongan itu dengan menggunakan tiket agama, sedangkan hakikatnya, ia sekadar adat dan amalan yang tidak berlandaskan agama.
Sejak abad ketiga Hijrah, banyak perbincangan mengenai kepemimpinan diperkatakan, namun ia berkisar mengenai kepemimpinan lelaki sahaja.
Hak asasi golongan Hawa
Kepemimpinan wanita disentuh sepintas lalu kerana ada ayat al-Quran yang bermaksud: "Kaum lelaki itu adalah pemimpin ke atas kaum wanita". (al-Nisa 4:34)
Tambahan pula terdapat hadis yang mengatakan wanita itu kurang pada akal, agama dan ketetapan syarak dan kewajipan wanita adalah berhijab.
Realitinya, kurang pada akal bukan bermaksud kecerdikan wanita itu rendah dan lemah berbanding lelaki yang akalnya lebih mantap, matang dan berdaya fikir, tetapi sebenarnya ketetapan syarak yang menentukan nisbah bilangan kesaksian dua wanita menyamai satu lelaki.
Kurang pada agama pula bukan bermaksud tiada wanita mukminah, solehah, warak dan bertakwa kepada Allah SWT, tetapi mempunyai makna di sebaliknya, iaitu wanita terpaksa meninggalkan solat dan puasa ketika haid dan nifas.
Prinsip hak asasi wanita adalah antara agenda utama yang diperuntukkan dalam 'Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women 1979' (CEDAW). Konvensyen ini menuntut menyahkan sebarang bentuk diskriminasi ke atas wanita, terutama dalam isu penindasan hak. Malaysia tidak menerima pakai semua peruntukan CEDAW kerana tertakluk kepada hukum syarak dan norma masyarakat Timur.
Dari sudut pandangan Islam, adalah disepakati oleh seluruh ulama bahawa dalam melaksanakan solat, wanita tidak boleh menjadi imam bagi lelaki. Ini telah diterima wanita Islam kecuali dalam satu kes terpencil yang mana Aminah Wadud mengetuai solat Jumaat di Amerika Syarikat.
Adapun hukum bagi seseorang wanita menjadi ketua negara, terdapat dua pendapat dalam kalangan ulama. Majoriti berpendapat bahawa wanita tidak boleh menjadi pemimpin negara berdasarkan ayat 34 dalam surah al-Nisa, manakala minoriti percaya bahawa wanita boleh menjadi pemimpin sesebuah negara.
Sebabnya ialah ayat 34 surah al-Nisa tidak boleh difahami secara literal seperti ada yang berpendapat bahawa ayat berkenaan hanya bermaksud 'suami perlu menjaga isteri mereka'.
Wanita sebagai pemimpin
Justeru, wanita diharus bertanding pada pilihan raya untuk diangkat sebagai pemimpin negara.
Jika melihat peruntukan dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang menjadi undang-undang tertinggi negara, tidak ada satu pun peruntukan melarang wanita dilantik sebagai menteri dan timbalan menteri, malah untuk jawatan Perdana Menteri sekalipun.
Hak ini termaktub dalam Perkara 8(1) yang memberi kesaksamaan dari segi undang-undang dan Perkara 8(2) bahawa tiada diskriminasi ke atas seseorang itu atas nama agama, bangsa, keturunan, tempat lahir atau jantina.
Oleh kerana wanita adalah majoriti dalam masyarakat di Malaysia, kehadiran mereka hendaklah bergerak pantas mengikut arus perdana. Terdapat lebih 70 peratus pelajar di universiti dan lebih 60 peratus pekerja di negara ini dalam kalangan wanita. Perspektif Islam mengambil pendapat harus melantik wanita sebagai pemimpin negara, selain menerusi ketetapan dalam Perkara 8 (1) dan 8 (2) Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Jika ada peningkatan jumlah wanita dicalonkan bertanding pada PRU-14 pada 9 Mei ini, ia akan menambah jumlah kerusi golongan berkenaan di Dewan Rakyat dan meningkatkan jumlah wanita dalam Kabinet kerajaan.
Penambahan ini selari dengan dasar Kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) yang mahu melihat 30 peratus wanita memegang jawatan tinggi dalam sektor penting negara.
Berita Harian : Rabu, 25 April 2018
The successful career of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a political leader, aside from his primary role as a spiritual guide, is yet to receive widespread attention from religious leaders, let alone the general public. In conjunction with the current political atmosphere and the impending 14th General Election, this article will highlight several key characteristics of the politics in Islam based on the syariah.
Politics is not just a matter of governing, but also a vital tool for education, spiritual, awareness, human understanding and the dissemination of values and principles.
Islam teaches us to achieve this through various peaceful means, including through sincere advice, providing role models, rational persuasion, exemplary leadership, and others.
Politics in Islam aims to guide people towards good and abstain from evil. Integrity, honesty, and trust are key Islamic values that also apply to politics. These values are underpinned by the firm
conviction that the ultimate reward lies not in this world, but in the hereafter and admission to paradise.
These are among the ethical principles of taught and practised by Prophet Muhammad. Another exemplary leadership trait of his, as the leader of the city state of Madinah, includes open consultation (shura), where different views and constructive criticisms are welcomed, and input from the Companions were taken into consideration, and sometimes acted upon.
The Prophet also practised delegation of power. This can be seen in the appointment of Muaz bin Jabal as a governor to Yemen.
This was done to the extent that the Prophet allowed Muaz to practise his independent reasoning (ijtihad) in matters on which no clear text was found in the Quran and Sunnah.
The Prophet’s leadership also emphasises persuasion as opposed to coercion. Winning the people’s hearts has always been the Prophet’s primary approach.
It is through his high spirit, inspiring leadership, a keen understanding of societal reality, and humanitarian values that the Prophet successfully transformed his people from the state of ignorance (jahiliyyah) and idol-worshipping, to worshipping Allah, the one and only Creator.
Aside from transforming his society, the Prophet was also known to engage with major personalities and train them into new generations of future leaders.
Notable instances included the second caliph, Umar Khattab, a once famous drunkard and a fierce opponent of Islam, who became one of the bravest companions in the history of the Khulafa al-Rashidin, and the first Muslim leader to vastly expand the Islamic territories.
Gaining power has not always been the Prophet’s goal. The ultimate objective of leadership lies in his message to invite humans to the ways of Islam. The Prophet was not hostile to non-Muslims, but invited them in a peaceful and felicitous manner. In a famous narration, the Prophet said: “The best among you are those who have the best manner and character.” (Bukhari)
If however, they refused to do accept Islam peacefully, they were will then be protected by the state under the “zimmi” agreement.
The zimmi agreement was in fact ahead of its time in the era of tribal warfare, and far from intending to treat non-Muslims as second-class citizens.
The so-called Machiavellian attitude of “the end justifies the means” is not at all compatible with Islam and must be vigorously opposed and discouraged. Islamic principles dictate that both the means and the ends conform to the teachings of Islam. Mere imbuing of Islamic-sounding names or terminology in political activities do not make them Islamic.
Such instances of abuse include cases where religious vocabulary is used to mislead innocent and uninformed folks for political gain.
Also not in line with the Prophet’s teaching is the practice of uncovering or scrutinising the personal and private shortcomings of political rivals and disclose them in public to gain support.
This contradicts the Prophetic teaching of concealing the faults of others, so that Allah do the same for us in the hereafter.
This, however, does not include matters of public interest.
Aside from the many Prophetic principles and values above, the practice of tolerance and understanding are essential to preserve peace and harmony in a multicultural society.
The single pursuit to gain votes and acquire power, at any cost, is not only against the precepts of Islam and the way of the Prophet, but would only lead to chaos and abuse in society.
In conclusion, the four most
noble characters of Prophet Muhammad SAW (pbuh) were: trustworthiness (siddiq), integrity (amanah); communicative (tabligh), and intelligence (fathonah).
These are also the prime traits that leaders of political parties can emulate. Such characters have a high potential to bring about transparency, tolerance, cooperation and unity among the people.
All leaders should exemplify the positive values of the Prophet (pbuh), and fulfil their responsibility to serve the people, and not seek power for personal gains.
The writer, an associate professor, is Deputy CEO of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.
Published in: New Straits Times, Friday 27 April 2018
The Dangerous Drug Act 1952 has been amended twice. In 1975, Section 39B was inserted, introducing the death penalty, life imprisonment and flogging as punishments. A further amendment in 1983 made death penalty mandatory for drug trafficking. There is, however, an ongoing global debate on whether drug-related offences should carry capital punishment. To date, the worldwide trend is towards abolishing the death penalty for such offences.........................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
Rang undang-undang bagi pindaan Akta Pembaharuan (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 atau dikenali sebagai Akta 164 yang diluluskan baru-baru ini adalah pendekatan yang telah diambil dalam menangani isu penukaran agama kepada Islam oleh salah seorang pasangan yang berkahwin secara sivil......................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
The question as to whether it is Islamically permissible to invest in Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB)/Amanah Saham Nasional (ASN) continues to receive polarised responses in Malaysia. It came up again recently at the Selangor Fatwa Committee meeting (April 27), when a fatwa was issued declaring ASB/ASN investments to be permissible for Muslims........................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
Historically, discrimination against women is not peculiar. It happened globally and in almost all civilisations. Women were often treated as their husbands’ properties. They were denied the right to own property or to exercise any civil or public positions. There are many examples of such deprivation across Europe and Asia. For instance, during the 16th to 18th centuries, women in England were denied the right to cast their votes in elections, let alone to contest a seat in Parliament or representative councils.......................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)