Husbands can face whipping if accusation of ‘zina’ is unjustified

bru syari
Ak Md Khairuddin Pg Harun

A HUSBAND who accuses his wife of adultery must perform li’an, — a process by which the former accuses and the latter denies on oath before the court — a Syariah official said yesterday at a briefing.

Should the husband refuse to perform li’an, he can be liable of committing qazaf (unjustified accusation) and be caned 80 times, Head of Religious Enforcement Division Hj Hardifadhillah Hj Md Salleh said.

“If the husband is accusing his wife of committing zina (sex outside marriage), he must agree to perform li’an or he should be punished with hadd (punishment stipulated in the Quran) for committing qazaf,” said the Syariah official.

He explained that for the husband to perform li’an, he must repeat a set of oaths of five times before the court, in accordance with Hukum Syara’.

“When the husband accuses the wife of zina, he must say the first four oaths of ‘I bear witness to Allah (SWT) and I am the husband’ in court,” said Hj Hardifadhillah.

“Then, on the last oath, he must say ‘the wrath of Allah (SWT) will fall on me if I were to lie in this court’.”

He explained that if the husband refused to say these five oaths (li’an), then he will commit an offence of qazaf.

Similarly, if the wife refuses to say another set of five oaths to counter the accusation made by the husband, she will be found guilty of zina and be punished accordingly.

The repercussions of accusing a wife of adultery was among the issues raised at a Syariah briefing for the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) at its headquarters in Gadong.

Another issue raised to the panel of Syariah officials was what would be considered acceptable behaviour between male and female police officers in the work environment.

Hj Hardifadhillah said that interaction between male and female officers should be appropriately limited.

He pointed out that government officers should always behave in accordance with the national philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB).

“Males and females who are not married should not behave like they are married. There should be limits.”

A question was also raised on whether officers of the RBPF can be excused from the offence of failing to perform Friday prayers, if their duty requires longer period of investigation.

“Under section 194 (of the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013), failure to perform the Friday prayers without a reasonable excuse (can be penalised with a) fine not exceeding $200 for a first offence,” said Hj Hardifadhillah.

“Police officers can be excused from this offence because they have reasonable excuse.”

The enforcement of the first phase of the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 will be enforced on April 22.

Meanwhile, the second phase will be enforced 12 months after the Syariah Courts Criminal Procedure Code has been gazetted, and the Order will be fully enforced after 24 months of the gazette.

The Brunei Times
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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