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How do you do the hudud that you do?

Salam everyone, today’s post title was inspired by That Effing Show episode with a similar title. Sorry guys I just couldn’t resist the temptation.

Anyway there has been much ado about hudud this past month, thanks to politicking by PAS and UMNO. A lot has been said, so I might as well chip in. Plus it’s been 5 months since my last post, so time to clean out the cobwebs.

Some if not most people have this perception that hudud is cruel. If you are like me, you probably recall images from Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, where the hero is languishing in a prison waiting for his hand to be cut off. His tormentors are of Arabic descent, you can tell by the towels they have wrapped around their heads, obviously haha.

But is that the whole truth about Hudud? On a more serious note, Hudud is known by many as central to Islamic criminal law. I dare say that some people think that that is all to it. However there’s more to Islamic criminal law than just Hudud. I’m not a religious scholar so I don’t have the authority to explain in detail but I can refer you to this article on Wikipedia. It states that Hudud is one class of punishment for offences against Allah s.w.t. There are also Ta’zir (discretion of the judge), Qisas (retribution) and Diyya (compensation). So Islamic criminal law is more than just chopping off people’s hand or stoning them to death.

This is a video that I think gives a good explanation on the implementation of Hudud. It’s in Malay though but basically it explains that Hudud reserved for those who are truly irreverent. I mean visualize some psychopath, whilst wandering around in public, suddenly starts raping someone or robbing a bank, all nonchalant like, in plain sight. I don’t know about you but to me that is BAD ASS! Maybe just maybe he deserves to be punished according to Hudud. But in reality these things hardly ever happen. In most cases, the authorities will be hard pressed to get one credible eyewitness, let alone four.

So is Hudud impractical? The heavy burden of proof makes it very difficult but that is why there is still Ta’zir, Qisas and Diyya. To implement Islamic criminal law we can’t just implement Hudud, we have to implement the entire system otherwise there would be too many loopholes. In my opinion the current system in place already fulfills the precepts of Islamic criminal law. Like the Islamic criminal system, a lot of the work rests on the shoulders of the judge. It is up to the judge to hear witnesses’ testimonies, go through the evidence and then after thinking it through come to a decision. The judge is assisted by case law and the Penal Code which also contains the principles of Ta’zir, Qisas and Diyya. Ultimately it lies on the judges – who will rely on their own wisdom in interpreting the law or in the Islamic system, the Quran and the hadith.

There is still a lot to discuss on the topic but basically what I want to say is that most people are unclear on what Hudud really is and that they should understand that Hudud is just a part of Islam that if read independently may cause misunderstanding and cause this perception that Hudud is a cruel, flawed, anti-human rights law, when in reality Islam as a whole is not.



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