Can the Kelantan syariah authorities compel counselling?

Posted on September 27, 2017


many-colours-one-dream923089_576322912401152_1069880995_nI’ve been having a bad bout of rhinitis this last week. Yesterday morning, another visit to the ENT and another course of medication. On the way back, decided to stop off at a shopping mall in Section 14, PJ.

In a pair of shorts!

Ok, a pair of bermudas actually.

A Chinese lady stopped and said, “Eh, you are Haris Abu, ah. You cannot wear shorts in public, you know. Nanti imam saman you”, and grinned.

An obvious reference to the plight of young Wan Khairul Hayyee Wali, aged 30, caught by Islamic religious authorities in Kota Baru and now summoned to attend counselling, failing which he may be hauled to court and faces being fined.

The offence?

Summons for wearing shorts

Pakai Seluar pendek.

He was wearing shorts, on the way to play futsal, and stopped off at a burger stall, and got down from his car to get his wife some food. You can get the report of this at Staronline at

Back to the mall in PJ yesterday, laughing, I replied to the lady, “Mine bermudas, lah, not shorts”.

Her reply was short. “Don’t know lah. Your religion, mah. Maybe all  same”.

Point well taken, I thought. What would constitute ‘shorts’ and as such, inappropriate for the authorities?

Got my answer in the Staronline report.

Wan Khairul is quoted as saying that the “religious department enforcement officer gave me a notice saying I have flouted the Syariah Criminal Enactment for exposing my knees”.

Yikes! My bermudas exposed my knees!

I was about to say I am glad I don’t stay in Kota Baru, but with the way things are deteriorating in the country, and as Wan Khairul asked, no doubt in utter bewilderment, Muslims all over the country may soon have to wear a sarung when they play futsal next!

Really, Muslims in this country must take a long hard look at this case and ask themselves if this is what they want for their children and their children’s offspring for generations to come?


Time to be heard, then.

I want to touch on the law relating to this matter.

Look at the summons. At the top right, there is mentioned “KAUNSELING”.

At the bottom of the summons appears an order to Wan Khairul to appear in the Mahkamah Rendah Syariah on 15/10/2017.

Confusing, no?

Counselling or appear in court?

In the Staronline report, its reported that a Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department officer clarified that Wan Khairul would not have to pay any fines if he attended the counseling session.

Here’s the thing.

In early 2005, the KL Islamic religious authority, JAWI, raided Zouk and detained several Muslim patrons. Most were issued summonses requiring them to attend counselling, failing which they would have to attend court on a date stated in the summons.

A situation somewhat similar to that faced by our Kelantanese friend.

I went on record to inform JAWI that I represented two of those summoned.

I wrote to JAWI to inform them that I had gone through the various syariah enactments applicable to KL and found no provision that authorised JAWI to summon my clients to counselling. I asked JAWI to reply my letter and cite the relevant written law that enabled them to do so, if there indeed was such a law. I asked that they disclose this to me in writing within 72 hours of the date of receipt of my letter, failing which I would commence proceedings in the civil High Court for an order to quash the summons, thus rendering it null and void.

No written reply.

A telephone call was made to JAWI. I spoke to the officer concerned. He confirmed that there was no written law authorising JAWI to compel attendance to counselling. I wanted a written letter to that effect. He said that might be difficult. He asked  if I would accept confirmation over the phone that their summonses had been cancelled. I said I would accept his confirmation but would nonetheless issue a letter to confirm this.

My letter went out the same day confirming that there was no written law to allow JAWI to compel attendance to counselling and further confirming that the summonses to my clients had been cancelled by JAWI.

My clients did not attend any counselling nor did they attend court.

The matter was at an end.

I cannot say if the same applies to the Islamic religious authority in Kelantan.