Stop ‘name-and-shame’ to instil Islamic morality, says SIS

court-gavel--sis-shariahPETALING JAYA: Islamic authorities should stop using the name and shame method as a way of instilling Islamic morality, Muslim women’s rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS) said today.

It said this in response to a recent call by Perak’s Sultan Nazrin Shah that proceedings in shariah courts should refrain from exposing details that could harm a person’s dignity and honour.

SIS said persons in positions of authority use the name and shame method as a way of instilling Islamic morality.

“For example, relating to khalwat, children out of wedlock issues, marriage of children to persons who have committed sexual crimes against them, marriage of children to cover the shame of parents’ dignity and particularly in relation to women’s dressing and public space such as in criticising a woman’s dressing and behaviour as a wife, mother, leader and so on.”

The group said Prophet Muhammad had warned against such a method.

“Do not harm Muslims, and do not revile them, nor pursue their imperfections,” it said quoting a hadith.

It said the Muslim community should adopt a more tolerant attitude towards what is considered ‘moral misdeeds’ under the religion, adding that state involvement must be for the sake of defending the marginalised.

On Jan 4, Sultan Nazrin said shariah court proceedings especially those involving family and personal issues must protect the good name of family members, parents and children.

“Noble values, with the focus on rationality, wisdom, good manners and order enjoined by the religion, should always be portrayed through actions taken in the name of Islam,” the ruler said.

SIS said it shared the concerns raised by Sultan Nazrin, as they were issues championed by the group.

Meanwhile, SIS also called for fairer distribution of wealth in keeping with the spirit of Islamic laws.

“The situation is much changed from the days of our Prophet. Women in today’s Malaysia are not necessarily supported by the men in their lives. They need to have a job, pay the bills, support their children and very often their parents.

“And yet their claims in assets are not recognised on par with their responsibilities,” it added.

SIS said many Muslim countries had amended or added flexibilities in laws on distribution of assets.

“There is a flaw in understanding the laws on property and inheritance, compounded with bureaucratic red tapes by the government appointed endowment agencies, resulting in assets of Muslims being frozen for a long periods of time.

“We need a systemic transformation to facilitate assets claims and withdrawal and ensure that they are distributed swiftly and justly to family members,” the group said.

Don’t smear anyone’s name, Sultan Nazrin tells shariah courts