Who is really insulting hudud?

By Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
Mar 24, 2015

COMMENT Over the past few days, the mainstream media has highlighted the case of a “penghina hudud” (hudud insulter) from radio station BFM who subsequently received death and rape threats. Most of the news failed to put the concept of “insulting hudud” or “insulting Islam” in the proper perspective.

In this comment piece, I would like to ask who is actually insulting hudud by analysing the content of four YouTube videos – that of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Nur Jazlan Mohamad, Ahmad Farouk Musa and BFM’s Kupas clip.

The first video I would like to “kupas” (analyse) is the video of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir. This video is an excerpt from an Astro Awani news clip where Mahathir was quizzed on PAS’ hudud.

He said PAS’ hudud was not fair because if a Muslim steals, his hand will be cut off, but if a non-Muslim steals he will only be jailed for two months. He add that “in the future all Muslims will have no hands.”

Now let us ask ourselves, is Mahathir an insulter of hudud? An ustaz from PAS, in the same video, argued that Mahathir has indeed insulted hudud. I am of the view that Mahathir did not.

Mahathir was commenting on hudud as interpreted by PAS, and not the concept of hudud overall. But some may ask why was Mahathir being sarcastic by saying “in the future all Muslims will have no hands”?

Did he mean to insult or chaff at PAS’ hudud, or was he really worried about the implementation of punishment which he believes to be extremely cruel and can destroy this country’s Muslims?

In another video, he stressed that he does not question Islam’s hudud, but rejects hudud as interpreted by a PAS ustaz because it contains his own political views.

He stressed time and again that the Quran states that the spirit of hudud and punishment in the Quran is based on justice, and the chopping of a Muslim’s hand as opposed to jailing a non-Muslim for two months was not just.

What is your opinion dear readers, is Mahathir a “penghina hudud”?

Can hudud be implemented?

The second video is that of Nur Jazlan, who is one of two Umno members whom I truly respect due to the firmest and clarity of his thoughts.

When asked by journalists about the implementation of hudud in Kelantan, he said firstly, hudud could disrupt our multiracial country, and secondly, that it was not yet time to implement hudud.

Is he a “penghina hudud”? A shallow-minded person might think that Nur Jazlan (right) had belittled the concept of hudud for thinking that it is not a complete law because it can disrupt a multiracial country.

Secondly, at what point in time can hudud be implemented? Is it possible that there will never be an appropriate time to implement hudud, even till Judgement Day?

It is my opinion that Nur Jazlan did not insult hudud or PAS’ hudud. He only described how he was uneasy with the way it is being implemented, and the political and economic context of when hudud can be implemented.

Ahmad Farouk Musa, director of the Islamic Rennaisance Front, in another video, rejected PAS’ interpretation of hudud by suggesting that PAS is politicking when saying that hudud is a divine law, or a law from Allah, and those who oppose it are clearly “kafirs” (disbelievers).

He then said, “Is it really divine? I say no it is not.” He followed this up with academic arguments to support his statement.

Is he a “penghina hudud”? I am of the opinion that he did not insulting hudud, because it is possible he shared the same thoughts as Islamic scholars who describe some of Quranic verses on hudud are historical in context, and not eternal.

For example, the law where two women must be witnesses (in place of one man) might be due to the lack of women doing business at the time.

Interesting satire

Lastly, let us look at BFM’s Kupas video. In that video, what is clear is that it does not question PAS’ hudud as was the case with Mahathir and Farouk Musa. The video is more in the vein of Nur Jazlan’s questioning the timing and economic context of PAS’ hudud implementation.

So how can this video be accused of insulting hudud as published in newspapers and other mainstream media? It could be that many do not like the way the video is presented and view it as insulting, even if the content is clearly not.

This is because many who view it, including mainstream journalists, did not see the real meaning of BFM’s Kupas programme, whose original presenter was Edri.

Edri is a thinker who is both brave and firm, and he conveys political messages by writing his own scripts and produce interesting satires to get young Malays to be more politically aware.

Aisyah Tajuddin is merely standing in for Edri by acting on a script written by two other writers.

Kupas is presented with its own style, which has not been seen by many Malays. Kupas has been running for more than a year, but it doesn’t get a lot of hits, even though the presenter, in my opinion, is hilarious and the videos are filled with constructive messages.

Can this style be interpreted as insulting hudud or Islam? It is nevertheless one of the many mediums of communication and education. There will be those who love it, and those who hate it. But isn’t that personal taste?

Now, in the four videos that were analysed, who really is “penghina hudud”? Mahathir? Nur Jazlan? Farouk Musa? Or Aisyah Tajuddin? For me, none of these videos insulted hudud, but they questioned the rationale and political intentions of PAS.

More recently, Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari said he will reject PAS’ hudud in Parliament. Is he a “penghina hudud”? In another news item, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that her party’s parliamentarians will reject PAS hudud. Should both be declared “kafirs” and insulters of hudud?

Let us really reflect on this before accusing anyone of being a “penghina hudud”.

MOHAMAD TAJUDDIN MOHAMAD RASDI is Aisyah’s father and former architecture lecturer at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. The original article is in Bahasa Malaysia.

  1. #1 by good coolie on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 - 12:50 pm

    The writer has covered some aspects of the rationale of law, e.g. why a particular witness must be male. Religionists are skeptical of “rationalism” where the question sometimes is “why does a particular law exist?” This indicates that the moral legitimacy of the law depends on whether it now serves the function it was originally intended to serve. Of course conservative Muslims would consider such rationalism abhorrent. Would not some Christians be alarmed at abortion, divorce, homo-sexual conduct, and single-gender marriages, which is condoned in some Christian Churches?

    Practically, the debate on hudud should revolve around its benefit to modern society, with due consideration given to the alternative purposes of punishment. Hudud stresses the deterrent motive” (to prevent people from committing crime). Other purposes such as “retribution” (society pay- back) for crime and “rehabilitation” of the criminal could be achieved with less drastic/serious punishment.

You must be logged in to post a comment.