PETALING JAYA: There is no such thing as an Islamic state and no obligation to create one, according to Law Professor Abdullah Ahmed An-Na’im from Emory University, Atlanta, United States.
Speaking at a lecture entitled “Islam and the Secular State” at the Sunway University here today, Ahmed said that the term “Islamic state” was not mentioned in the Quran or the sunnah (sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad), nor was it known in any of the languages until the 20th century.
“We do not have this obligation in the Quran or sunnah,” he said. “Islam does not have a prescribed order for a political state.”
In fact, he added, an Islamic state was an “impossibility” as there was no criteria to measure what an Islamic state was.
There were differing views in classic Islamic knowledge on jurisprudence and there was no independent authority that could verify an Islamic state.
“Arabia and Iran both claim to be Islamic states, but to each of them they are heretics,” he quipped.
When asked to comment on Malaysia’s Shariah Index, Ahmed bluntly said that there was no such thing as a Shariah Index.
“Ask them where does it come from and who designed it. There is no Shariah Index.”
(The Shariah Index was set up by various bourses to cater to the ever increasing number of Islamic investors in businesses across the world. The aim is to enable the Islamic financial world to invest in shariah-friendly businesses across the world.)
On hudud, Ahmed said that the term “hudud” was also never mentioned in the Quran or Hadith.
“The Quran and the Hadith provide for crime and punishments, but the definition of the crime is not mentioned in the Quran and is instead created by jurists.
“For example, the Quran says that the punishment for theft is to cut off the hands but it never defines what theft is.
“The definitions are created by the jurists and sometimes they are problematic.
“Some jurists say that stealing public property is not theft as all have a claim to public property.
“But that means that you can siphon millions of public funds into your bank account, but if you take 10 ringgit from someone’s pocket, then you’ll have your hands cut off.”