Implement hudud? God’s, or man’s? (3)

Posted on May 15, 2014



“Haris, could you explain what you mean by PAS’ hudud? How does God’s hudud, the implementation of which you’ve expressed support for, differ?”Invictus’s comment to my “Implement hudud? God’s, or man’s? (1)” post.

Invictus, I will try to explain, not the hudud of PAS, but that of every self-confessed Muslim who insists that, in Islam, punishment that they call hudud is an imperative.

Again, please understand that I could be wrong, and so shall be happy to be corrected.

First, though, allow me to make an observation, and then to share an experience of some 15 years ago, both of which I hope will help you to better understand where I am coming from.

My observation is that it is almost unavoidable that as we read scripture, our life experience will creep into our understanding, acceptance and application of the same.

An illustration might help me make my point.

Around 1998 or 1999, it became increasingly obvious to me that there were differences in my Islam with that of my Dad’s.

Yes, he was mainstream, whilst I increasingly had difficulty accepting some of the tenets that he held to be fundamental to the faith.

The Holy Qur’an details how when the prophet Abraham renounced his father’s faith, he broke with his father.

Would I have to do the same?

This troubled me.

The following verse put an end to those concerns.

“And We have enjoined upon man goodness to parents. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. To Me is your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do” – Surah 29 verse 8 of the Holy Qur’an.

I derived much comfort from this verse.

Now, recite this same verse to a young Muslim woman who has been systematically raped and molested by her father from young and tell her that God commands her to be good and honour her father, and how  do you think she will react?

Get ready to dodge the mouthful of saliva that’s coming your way!

The verse that comforted me may well have put the woman off her faith!

This is  what I mean when I say that we cannot separate our life experience from our reading and understanding of scripture.

Now to that experience of 15 years ago.

For a long time, since I had begun my serious study of the Holy Qur’an, the verse ( Surah 5 verse 38 ) that called for the amputation of the hand of the thief greatly troubled me.

Now. when my son was 4 years old, I was faced with having to punish him with a spanking.

This one was going to be severe because he had broken a cardinal rule at home : no lies and no rudeness.

The task completed, I locked myself in my room.

And cried.

I cannot describe the pain I felt, having just inflicted that pain on my little boy.

As I calmed down, I thought of the verse in the Holy Qur’an where God commands whipping of 100 lashes for those guilty of adultery, where we are told that no pity should be shown as the punishment is inflicted ( See Surah 24 verse 2 ) and, given what I had just experienced, wondered how anyone could carry out such an infliction of pain.

I realised then that I could not.

It then hit me.

The Holy Qur’an is replete with  verses that enjoin us to forgive the wrongdoer.

I share here two that have been defining for me.

“Tell those who have believed to forgive those who expect not the days of God so that He may recompense a people for what they used to earn.” – Surah 45 verse 14.

“And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever forgives and rehabilitates, his reward is from God. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers. If one avenges himself after he has been wronged, there is no blame on him.  Blame lies on those who oppress, and terrorise the land unjustly. Those will have a painful punishment. But he who bears with patience and forgiveness, surely complies with divine resolve.” – Surah 42 verses 40 – 43.

If you have an ounce of compassion in you, such that you could not move yourself to cut off the hand of the thief, or flog the adulteress a 100 lashes, God has paved a way for you.

Forgive them.

If, on the other hand, you are determined to enforce the law to its very letter, understand that as you judge today, so,  you, too, will be judged strictly by the law one day, without an iota of compassion.

Live by the sword today, and be prepared to die by the same.

At the hudud forum at the KL &  Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on 2nd May, my friend, MP for Sepang, Hanipah Maidin, one of the speakers that night, emphatically asserted that in Islam, punishment of the thief, male or female, was an imperative.

Cut off the hand.

That, then, is his hudud.

Possibly that of PAS, too.

The hudud of my God and my Islam?

You’ve watched Les Miserables?

Watch it again in the video below from minute 27 and 30 seconds until 36 minutes and 10 seconds.