KUALA LUMPUR: US-based Turkish scholar Mustafa Akyol today said there is a difference between crime and sin in the Quran, saying punishments under the shariah only covered actions that hurt a third party.
“In the Quran, there are five hudud: theft, murder, adultery, false accusation of adultery and slander,” he told a forum organised by the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) here.
Akyol said the Quran makes no mention of punishments on those who consume alcohol or Muslims who miss the obligatory prayer.
“Muslim societies need to differentiate between crime and sin, where sin is when it is only between you and God.
“I believe as a Muslim, that sins should not be matters of the state. You can and should advise Muslims who commit sins but you should not punish them.”
Akyol also criticised Muslim countries who impose laws based on a particular interpretation of Islam.
“There are many different interpretations of the Islamic tradition and no one can claim ‘I am the truth’,” he said.
“Sunnis should be allowed to live as Sunnis in Iran and Shiites should be allowed to live as Shiites,” he said, believed to be referring to allegations of Muslim governments persecuting Muslims from minority sects.