KUALA LUMPUR: An expert in the field of prophetic traditions has urged PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang to justify his proposal to increase the severity of punishments for shariah crimes.
Rozaimi Ramle, who has a doctorate in hadith studies and teaches at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, issued the challenge at a forum on Hadi’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 .
He was referring to the proposal to raise the maximum penalties to 30 years’ imprisonment, a fine of RM100,000 and 100 strokes of the cane.
He said neither the Quran nor any hadith prescribed 30 years’ jail or such a heavy fine.
“So is it fair to label me anti-hudud if I ask for justifications behind the jail time and fines? I don’t think so,” he said.
Referring to the proposal for caning, he noted that the bill does not specify the number of lashes for specific crimes.
“Under hudud it is very clear that you get 100 strokes if you commit zina (fornication), 80 for qazaf (false witnessing) and 40 lashes if you drink alcohol, but this bill has left it open.
“Therefore this is not divine law and you cannot label those who are against the bill as kafir.”
Rozaimi suggested that Hadi revise his proposals to make them more specific.
“Proponents of this bill argue that if you can’t implement all of God’s laws that does not excuse you from implementing what you can. Fair enough, but you can’t get all Muslims to agree on Hadi’s bill.
“Using that same argument, if you were to specify 100 strokes for zina, 80 for qazaf and 40 for drinking, then I believe Muslims can agree to this, making it more likely for the bill to be passed.”
Ex-syarie judge Ismail Yahya also spoke at the forum. He denounced Muslims who would call other Muslims kafir (infidels).
“The Prophet Muhammad forbade Muslims from calling each other kafir, saying you could become one yourself if you did,” he said.
“Even the great imams of the four Sunni mazhabs (schools of jurisprudence) disagreed with one another on certain things, yet they did not resort to calling one another kafir. It is truly sad how far we’ve strayed from the path of those we aspire to emulate.”