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Ex-CJ: Laws that are against Quran and Sunnah are void

 | March 25, 2017

Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim says Islamic law is the second most supreme legislation in Malaysia.


KUALA LUMPUR: A former chief justice is interpreting the Federal Constitution in a manner that makes Islamic law the second most supreme legislation in Malaysia.

This being the case, Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim said, just like laws that contradicted the Federal Constitution would be void, those that went against Islamic laws’ main sources – the Al-Quran and Sunnah – would also be void

Explaining his interpretation, Ahmad Fairuz who was the chief justice from 2003 to 2007, cited a Privy Council judgement on a case in Singapore, where it said for a law to be valid, it must conform to the fundamental rules laid down by English Common Law.

“This view seems to be accepted in Malaysia too. But as Islam is the religion of the federation, surely the fundamental principles of the law should be based not only on English Common Law, but (also) on the shariah law.

“I want to stress the aspect of judiciary in the definition of Islam where the Quran and Sunnah are the main sources of Islamic laws.

“Article 4 of the Federal Constitution states that laws which are against the Federal Constitution are void, on the part of the contradicting provisions. And hence, laws that are against the Quran and Sunnah will also be void.”

He was giving a lecture on “Islam as the Law of the Land” held at the Majestic Hotel here today.

Going deeper, Ahmad Fairuz said the British, during its colonisation of Malaya, had limited the Federal Constitution’s interpretation.

But, he said, he had provided a broader interpretation of it through the judgement over the case of Lina Joy.

“The word ‘Islam’ in the context of Article 3 of the Federal Constitution means actions related to Islamic rituals and ceremonies.”

Article 3 talks about Islam being the religion of the federation.

“In the case of Lina Joy, when I was the chief justice, I said Islam was also a complete way of life that included all aspects of human activities, including judiciary, politics, and economy among others,” he added.

Hence, Ahmad Fairuz, reading Article 3 and 4 together, interpreted the Federal Constitution as making Islamic law the second most supreme legislation.

In the case of Lina Joy, Lina, a Malay-Muslim, wanted to embrace Christianity to marry her boyfriend, but the National Registration Department (NRD) insisted she produce a certificate from the shariah court, which she did not possess.

Her lawyers had argued that the NRD only needed to consider the baptism certificate from the church to facilitate the change in name and religion.

In a majority verdict, the Federal Court in 2007 rejected her appeal and ruled that “a person who wanted to renounce his/her religion must do so according to existing laws or practices of the particular religion”.


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