PETALING JAYA: There is no obligation for Muslims to support hudud as it is not mentioned in the Quran, opines a law professor.
Professor Abdullahi A. An-Naâ€™im from Emory University in the United States said the term hudud is a â€œmisnomerâ€ and the Quran did not mention it in relation to any crime.
â€œSo describing these crimes as hudud crimes is the way of jurists, it is not in the Quran, it is not in the Sunnah. That is why I say that there is no relation,â€ he told a press conference here yesterday.
The Sudan-born law professor said more than 40 United Nations member countries with predominantly Muslim majority populations have not implemented hudud as their legal system.
â€œWhere is the hudud among all these Muslims? Why is it a priority in this country (Malaysia) when it has not been a priority in the vast Muslim majority countries?â€ he questioned.
Giving the example of sariqah (theft), Prof Abdullahi said the punishment for theft under hudud law is an â€œextremely severe and totally irreversible punishmentâ€.
Should hudud be implemented, he said, the state must ensure several aspects be fulfilled.
â€œOne is that you have to make sure that no person would have the need to steal and that everybodyâ€™s needs are satisfied by the state.
â€œSecond, you need every possible safeguard against miscarriage of justice and false convictions,â€ he added.
Prof Abdullahi said the definition of sariqah under syariah was â€œextremely ambiguous and in fact indefensibleâ€ as it would allow a public official to steal millions of dollars from the public treasury without being convicted, because it is public property.
â€œWhereas to steal a minute amount from a private person in a locked, safe place, that becomes a sariqah. So there are fundamental contradictions in the jurisprudence of the so-called fiqh (understanding) of hudud.
â€œAll of that has to be brought out and debated and then people can vote,â€ he said.
Prof Abdullahi also said that Muslims should fight for a secular state as the neutrality of the state meant there would be no advantage or disadvantage to any religious beliefs, system or tradition.
The separation of the state from politics and religion, he said, was â€œnecessaryâ€ for Muslims to believe with conviction and honesty.
â€œSo it is not a question about pursuing a secular state as a western or international objective of discourse. It is for the sake of integrity of my religious experience as a Muslim that I need my state to be secular,â€ he said.
According to Prof Abdullahi, there has never been an â€˜Islamic stateâ€™ in the history of Islam.
â€œThe term does not appear in the Quran a single time or in the Hadith. The term â€˜Islamic stateâ€™ does not exist in the languages of Muslim society before the 20th century.
â€œIt only started in the 1930s in connection with the move for Pakistan to break away from India and to create a state for Muslims, or an Islamic state,â€ he added.