Thursday, 1 May 2014

Clearing the Misconceptions on Hudud

In this work, we are motivated to clear misconceptions on Hudud laws, which are being spread by poison-pen papers like The Star, Straits Times and Malay Mail, the local English newspapers who are well known for their cheap scare-mongering attacks Islamic punishment laws, although they always claim that the views of the author, in this case Sister In Islam (The Star) and Ilyana Nadira (Malay Mail) does not reflect the position of both newspapers on the issue of Hudud. If such is the case, then these two papers should also allow sincere scholars to rebuke the writings of Sister In Islam (SIS) and Ilyana Nadira and publish them in their respective columns, on the issue of Hudud, since muslim scholars on Islamic laws are more qualified to explain the subject, not people like SIS and Ilyana.

We will only focus on SIS misconceptions on Hudud, since Ilyana’s article in the Malay Mail is a copy and paste article from SIS. Their claims on Hudud laws is questionable, and further complicated on their lack of scholarship and qualifications on Islamic laws, where they do not provide any evidences of their claims on Hudud, from the sources of Islamic laws which is the Quran and Hadith of the Prophet. We also regard the actions of these three newspapers akin to a Malay proverb “Lontar batu, sembunyikan tangan” or “throw a stone, and hide your hand”, as they do not give a chance to sincere scholars to explain and clear the misunderstandings on Hudud punishment in their own news columns. It is becoming a fact that all three newspapers such as The Star, New Straits Times and Malay Mail are becoming more and more virulent in broadcasting their hate messages against Islam, and due to this uncontrollable situation, we deem that the time has come for us to provide a response against these hate messages.

Before we elaborate further, we shall remind the readers that the current laws which govern this country and other countries in the world are founded by democracy, as being said by Abraham Lincoln that democracy is the “rule by the people, from the people and for the people”. Democracy is a method which empowers human to fabricating laws for themselves, to regulate human lives in society and country. Democracy itself was the result of Greek philosophy few hundred years BC, while Islam was revealed 600 years after the birth of Christ (Prophet Isa as.). So how could democracy, a cheap ancient philosophy to transform and advance human lives by regulating laws from the human himself, when the human mind alone is subjected to misguidance and misconceptions, then the betterment of human lives from the laws devised from humans, is indeed a fallacy.

The objectives of Nizamul Uqubat (Punishment System)
1). To punish those guilty of crimes, thereby acting as purification and reforming them.
2). To act as a deterrent for society from committing crimes.
3). As means of a deterrent for those are victims of crimes.

In spite of the above, punishment should be prevented as much as possible. Any shred of evidence which is doubtful or circumstantial will prevent the punishment being carried out. Indeed it was narrated in the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) how he would exert himself to avert the punishment when individuals asked punishment to be carried out on them. It was narrated that Muhammad (SAW): “To free a criminal mistakenly is better to punish someone innocent mistakenly”. Aishah (RA) narrated that, “Ward off punishment as much as you can. If you find any way out for a muslim, then set him free. It is better for an Imam to mistakenly granted forgiveness to a criminal than mistakenly punishing an innocent individual”.

Islam sets down punishment to protect and secure six issues for all citizens of the state, whether muslim or non-muslim: belief, honour, mind, property, life and offspring.

Belief: The Islamic belief is the pillar of the deen and like any precious jewel, it is protected. Therefore, anyone who wants to leave Islam after accepting it and being advised, is subjected to the death penalty, and there is no difference among scholars of jurisprudence (fiqh) on this. The same punishment is applicable to anyone who slanders the belief of Islam.

Honour: In Islam, women are protected of the honour from slander, harm and degrading actions. Islam protects the dignity of women and by punishing those who even backbite and slander accusations against her. Islam also protects the honour of people by punishing those who spread slanders against them. Anyone who are convicted in doing so, will punished eighty lashes.

Mind: The use of alcoholic drinks and any other substances which befog the mind are forbidden in Islam. Accordingly all social ills which are inevitable consequences of such substances on the society are removed. The punishment for the use of such substances is eighty lashes.

Property: Islam protects the wealth of all citizens by securing a strict punishment to offenders, such as cutting the hands of thief, which are subjected to all conditions which apply here such as the value of goods, the place of theft, and the types of goods.

Life: Muhammad (SAW) said that: “The blood of a muslim is worth more than the Kaabah and all its surroundings”. The punishment of murder is death, with the right of the family of the deceased to forgive and demand blood money.

Offspring: Islam secures and guarantees the correct lineage of people and their children, and ensures that no child is wrongfully attributed to anyone other than their own parentage. This is primarily achieved by forbidding and punishing illicit sexual relations.

Only those who are responsible for their actions are subjected to punishment. Muhammad (SAW) said, “The pen (responsibility) is lifted from three: the insane until he becomes sane, the child until he becomes mature, and a sleeping person until he awakes.

The Types of Punishments
Hudud is not the only punishment system. There are altogether four categories of punishments laws that criminals can be subjected to. These are:

1). Hudud
a). Fornication and adultery: The punishment of 100 lashes for fornication (pre-marital sex) when the person is unmarried, and stoning to death for adultery when the criminal is already married. Rape does not constitute hudud punishment, because rape is different from fornication or adultery. Fornication and adultery is illicit sex through the consent of both partners, but rape constitutes the violation of the victim.  
b). False accusations (qadzaf): Where a false charge f adultery is insinuated against a man or a woman, the punishment is 80 lashes.
c). Theft (sariqa): Where theft is the crime, the punishment is cutting off the hnd of the criminal, provided seven conditions are fulfilled concerning the circumstances of the crime.
d). Consumptions of intoxicants (khamr): Punishment of 80 lashes.
e). Rebellion against the state (bugwah): Individuals or groups rebel against the state with the motivation of disunity and division of the ummat, the punishment is death.
f). Apostasy (irtadad): Where a Muslim changes his or her belief, and refuses to return after advice is given, the punishment is death.
g). Highway robbery (hiraba): Where robbers attack passers-by on open highways, the punishment is cutting off the hand and foot on opposite sides, or death of the crime led to death of the victim.
In these issues, if someone is proven guilty of the crime and all the conditions for the punishment are fulfilled, there is no leniency or pardon for the perpetrator. Muhammad (SAW) said, “By Allah (swear by the name of Allah), if Fatimah my own daughter stole, I would cut her hand”.

2). Jinayaat (Qisas)
This concerns crimes against the rights of an individual where the victim has the option to demand punishment or forgive the criminal and demand blood money (diyat). It concerns mainly the issues of killing and bodily harm, whether unlawful or accidental. For example, if someone deliberately committed murder, the family of the victim could demand that the perpetrator be killed, or they could forgive them and demand blood money. The value of the blood money varies depending on the nature of the crime.

Blood money from the one who kills unintentionally i.e. manslaughter, is the equivalent of 100 camels. Blood money from the one who kills with intention is 100 camels, 40 of which must be pregnant, or the equivalent monetary values.

It was narrated by al-Nisaai and Darimi that Abu Bakar (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) wrote to the inhabitants of Yemen and there was in his letter: “Whosoever kills a believer unjustly will suffer retaliation for what his hand has done unless the relatives of the murdered man consent otherwise. And therein it was: A man shall be killed for the uder of a woman. And therein it was: For the murder of a life, there is bloodwit of 100 camels…”

Another HAdith narrated by Imam Nisaai mentions that every part of the body has blood money, for example, the blood money for the eyes is equivalent to 50 camels.

3). Ta’zir
This is considered the right of the community. It covers those issues which are not part of Qisas or Hudud, but which affect the right of the community such as shouting in the streets, cheating in the marketplace etc. The judge presiding over the case will study the severity and nature of the crime and prescribe a punishment to match it from his own ijtihad (a study from the Islamic texts). The punishments may range from everywhere between a warning to death. One famous example happened in the time of Umar al-Khattab (ra), where he punished a scholar who gave false testimony. Rape is covered in this category, and not in hudud.

4). Al-mukhalafat
This covers the areas of the rights of the state. Here the crime is committed when a person or group contravenes a law which the state has enacted, such a sbreaking the speed limit or parking in no-parking areas. The punishment is at the discretion of the judge, based on his own ijtihad or the adoption of the state.

Laws of Evidences
There are various ways in which the perpetration of a crime can be proved in court, but these are restricted only to what which can ascertain definite guilt. For example, circumstantial evidence like fingerprints on a murder weapon are not in themselves sufficient to give 100% certainty of the guilt of the owner of the fingerprints. Therefore, this kind of evidences alone is unacceptable in the Islamic court. There are two types of testimony which can confer definite proof:
1). Eye witness tertimony. The testimony of some who has actually seen a crime occurring is a valid evidence. However, this is only applicable in the cases where the trustworthiness of the witness is proven. There is a special court whose purpose is to verify the character, memory, intelligence etc. of any witness who brought forward.

An example of this is in the case of adultery (zina) where the testimonies of four eye witnesses are required to prove the crime. Allah (SWT) says,
“As for those of your women who are guilty of lewdness, call to witness four of you against them”. [TMQ 4:15]

If any of the witness fails to bring corroborating testimony, or someone who accuses the crime cannot provide four witness, then they will be subjected to punishment of qadzaf (false accusation).

2). Confessions (iqrar)
T is agreed that the criminal’s confession is sufficient for the establishment of guilt and that, on the basis of this or her confessions, the appropriate punishment can be inflicted.

Abu Daud narrated that: “A woman of Ghamdi came to the Prophet (SAW) and said: “I have committed a punishable sexual act”. He (SAW) replied, “Go back”. She then returned and on the next day came to him again and said, “Perhaps you want to send me back as you did to Ma’az ibn Malik. I swear by Allah that I am pregnant”. He (SAW) said to her, “Go back”. She returned to him the next day. He (SAW) said, “Go back until you give birth to the child”. She left. When she gave birth to the child she brought the child to him, and said, “Here he is. I have given birth”. He said (SAW), “Go back and suckle him until you wean him”. When she had weaned him, she brought the boy to him with something in his hand which he was eating. The boy was then given to a certain man of the muslims and the Prophet (SAW) commanded regarding her. So a pit was dug, and he gave orders about her and she was stoned to death”.

If however the confessor were to withdraw his or her confession, then the punishment would be stopped immediately, as guilt could no longer be definitely substantiated. This would also be the case if, for example during the punishment the confessor ran away or began to protest.

Punishment as the last resort
It must be noted that the punishment administered by the Islamic state are the last resort in the process of curbing and preventing crime. Islam, comes as a deen (way of life) where ALL the systems must in harmony, making an integrated and perfectly complementary whole.

Thus, the Economic system will ensure all citizens of the State will have their needs adequately fulfilled such that no-one need resort to crime to sustain themselves. As well, the Education system will teach the people the mentality of rejecting any crime, all of which are forbidden in Islam, in favour of obedience to Allah (SWT). And the Social system will inculcate within the people the mentality of respect and dignity towards the opposite sex, and the segregation between men and women in their dailt life will minimise the possibility of crimes in this area.

In the Islamic state, the prevention of crime works on three levels:
1). The fear of Allah (taqwa) of the believer.
The muslim has conviction in the rational creed of Islam, which is built upon the study of reality and use of them mind. This gives them the definite foundation for their belief in Islam and motivates them to be subservient to the One and Only True God, Allah (SWT).

Crime is the disobedience to Allah (SWT). The muslim’s longng for the Paradise and their fear of the punishment of Hell wil prevent them from committing crime.

2). Public opinion.
It is one of the mutual rights and duties of the muslims that they always look out for and take care the affairs of each other. Thus there will be a constant motivation and encouragement from all sides for people to observe the Islamic conduct.

Crime will be shunned and rejected by the society at large. Criminals and cheats will not be accepted, nor will wealth or any perceived benefits gained illicitly be respected. This pressure from the dominant values in the society will prevent those who are tempted to commit crime from doing so.

3) The punishments.
The last resort is the fear of the consequences of the criminal actions in terms of the punishment. It is for these reasons that so few incidences of implementation of hudud and other retributions by the judiciary were necessary in the history of the Khilafah.

A rebuttal of the claims of SIS on hudud laws: Claim on rape punishments
Rape does not constitute punishment of the Hudud law. Although punishment of rape by hudud law was being gazetted by the Brunei government from the “Syari’ah Penal Code Order 2013”, this has no basis from the Quran and the Hadits of the Prophet (SAW). With regards to crimes of illicit sexual relations, with the consent of both or more than two parties involved, only fornication and adultery constitutes hudud punishment. Whereas rape, which represents the violation of one party and the victimization of the other, does not constitute punishment through hudud laws.

Claims that the implementation of hudud will decrease economic productivity
They claim that once the hand of thief is being cut-off, the offenders will lose their ability to work and cannot sustain himself and his family. This claim is baseless, due to the fact that of the offender is indeed poor and needy, and steals out of hunger and desperation, there is no cutting off the hands, since it does not fulfils the conditions of the punishment. On the other hand, the man-made democratic laws are the source of discontent and economic hardship. How can economic productivity increase when most people are too afraid to stay working late at night, out of the fear being robbed and rape? How to increase economic productivity when petrol stations are sealed off from the public late at night out of the fear being robbed, and the only way to purchase item is through the small security counter? Although Saudi Arabia does not reflect the true scale implementation of the Islamic punishment systems, take a trip to Mecca and Madinah, where Islamic punishment law is implemented and watch how gold and jewellery merchants sell gold, jewellery and precious item over the counter unguarded and without fear, day and night. Such the case is not present here, even with CCTV, armed guards, gold and jewellery premises still get robbed, over and over again. And truly in this country a huge amount of money must be allocated for the instalment of the CCTV security system, the salaries of armed security guards etc, and all these are costly and decrease economic productivity.
Artikel Sumbangan Prof. Wan Jeffrey


  1. "Belief: The Islamic belief is the pillar of the deen and like any precious jewel, it is protected. Therefore, anyone who wants to leave Islam after accepting it and being advised, is subjected to the death penalty, and there is no difference among scholars of jurisprudence (fiqh) on this. The same punishment is applicable to anyone who slanders the belief of Islam."

    So you are saying that hudud is applicable to non muslim as well.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. When muslims under the Caliphate open various lands, they establish a complete system of governance, where all citizens were subjected to the laws of Islam. And these complete system prevailed in vast centres of civilization such as Andalucia (Iberian peninsular), Persia, Turkey, North Africa, when the Europeans were still living in their dark ages. The whole ruling system of Islam lasted for 1300 years until it was destroyed in 1924. When the colonialist invaded the lands, they replaced once Islamic systems: the economic systems, punishment systems, social systems, education systems with the systems of their own. This was the beginning of human suffering and decline, in all aspects of life, social, education, economic (inflation, unemployment). In any country, whether Capitalist or Socialist/Communist, there are no separate laws which governed society, i.e. one set of laws for a group of people and another set of laws for the other. Similarly in a Khilafah State, there can be no separate laws for a group of people and another set of laws for a different group. When the British colonialized Egypt and Iraq, they replaced the existing systems to their own laws, and did not apply different laws to the muslims or Christians populations.
      A Jewish Rabbi on the future of Islam:

      Rabbi admits that Islam is the religion of truth with English subtitles

  2. The reality during the Malacca sultanate, the Islamic punishment system were implemented although not entirely. But when the European colonialist came and occupied this land, especially the British, replaced Islamic laws with their own common law and their implementation did not distinguish between non-muslims and muslims. Similarly, the implementation of Islamic laws does not distinguish between muslims and non-muslims.