Criminal penalties prescribed by hudud law such as chopping off hands and stoning to death are needed to safeguard Islamic principles and way of life, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) said today.
In its weekly Friday sermon, Jais listed down the five basic tenets of Islamic principles — guarding one’s faith, life, mind, dignity/lineage and property, saying such forms of punishment were just in defence of Islam.
“Every thing that destroys our religion, faith or apostasy comes in many forms which have to be dealt with.
“There are many schools of thought which can deviate us from our faith such as secularism, pluralism, liberalism and many other deviant teachings which can destroy the Muslim faith,” said the sermon, also available on the Jais website.
The sermon also stressed the importance of maintaining clarity and to avoid consuming alcohol or taking drugs, and supported punishments in the form of whipping, saying that it is necessary to steer Muslims away from sin.
“In the case of adultery, the punishment in the form of stoning and whipping is meant to preserve (a person’s) dignity and to ensure any child born will not be illegitimate.
“Activities which go against Islamic principles such as adultery, rape, sodomy, casual sex… have to be avoided or else it will bring about the destruction of society,” Jais added.
The sermon also prescribed amputating the hands of any individual found guilty of stealing, saying it will serve as an effective deterrent.
“Muslims have to be confident that Islamic law is the best way,” Jais said.
The issue of hudud law in Malaysia has been a contentious one, with Islamist opposition party PAS being its staunchest proponent.
Last May, PAS said it would delay tabling two private members’ bills needed to pave way for the enforcement of hudud in Kelantan, to allow a proposed bi-partisan committee to study the implementation of the Islamic criminal justice system.
One of the parliamentary bills seeks approval for punishments including whipping, stoning and amputation, while the other seeks to empower Shariah courts to mete out the sentences.
The Islamist party’s decision to postpone tabling the bills came as Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin — also the Umno deputy president — said his party would push for a national-level committee on hudud.
Muhyiddin had said both local and foreign experts on hudud would sit in the proposed committee. The specifics of the committee are not yet known.
However, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed reiterated his opposition to hudud laws today, saying it would wreak havoc on Malaysia’s multi-religious, multiracial society.
“In not applying hudud laws in Malaysia we are truly adhering to the teachings of Islam. Our claim to be an Islamic country is therefore valid,” he said in his latest blog entry.
“There is no inconsistency in the claim that Malaysia is an Islamic state. It may not say so in the constitution or in its name. But in its beliefs and practices it is Islamic,” the 88-year-old added.
He also said Malaysia has never declared itself to be a secular state in its constitution or anywhere else as it respects all religions and their believers.