FAILURE to address criticisms on the implementation of Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 could result in catastrophic conse-quences that may affect the law implementation, the State Mufti said yesterday.
“The ‘silence’ syndrome can be interpreted as if we agree with their criticisms; that their criticisms are correct. If critics said Allah SWT’s law is inhumane, and we keep quiet, the whole world will think that we are wrong and that they (the critics) are right,” Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Hj Abdul Aziz Juned said.
He delivered a speech at a workshop aimed at managing the criticisms on the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013. The workshop was organised by Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam.
During the workshop, the reactions and criticisms on the law’s implementation were compiled. Participants used the information to understand the thinking behind each reaction and criticism while at the same time identify their respective challenges.
Criticisms on the implementation is inevitable, especially from non-Muslims and the western world, the state mufti said.
Taking swift and appropriate action is one way to deal with criticisms and address confusion, he said, as recently advised by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah.
The titah was delivered during a meeting with Brunei Islamic Religious Council members on May 5.The state mufti, in his speech, categorised the reactions to the law implementation into three groups.
The first reaction is of those who fully support and uphold the implementation of the law; the second from those who greatly oppose it (those outside Islam); and the third come from those who support some aspects of the law and are also opposed to it.
“It is incumbent that we address reactions from the critics that belong to the second and third group,” he said.
At the same time, the state mufti said that Bruneians need not worry about the opposition coming from those outside of Islam.
“There is no need for us to panic or desperately hope that they accept us. They will not stop and it is impossible for them to accept the syariah criminal law.”
However, he stressed that attention must be given to the oppositions that come from Muslims as damage to faith is one of the greatest risks that may stem from misunderstandings of Islam.
In his comment regarding reactions from those who are caught between supporting and opposing the law, the state mufti gave an example of an opinion made by a professor that said Islam in Saudi Arabia and the archipelago is not the same because of cultural differences.
The state mufti described the opinion as being a confused one.
“Islam is Islam regardless of where we are. It is up to the individual to practise it or not. Islam does not bow to culture; it is culture that must submit to Islam,” he said.
The professor’s opinion on how Brunei should not rush in implementing hudud is both misleading and distorted “ because Allah SWT’s law is not new, it has been in place for more than a thousand years”.
“Those who are implementing it are not doing it in a rush, they are in fact doing it too late as the penal law had been conveyed in Al-Quran for more than 1,000 years, while Islam only came to us (Brunei) 600 years ago,” he said.
The state mufti expressed his surprise on another academician’s opinion that the punishments for crimes under syariah were produced by Islamic scholars in the past, based on their understanding of Al-Quran and Hadith.
The same academician also described His Majesty’s titah on implementing the Syariah Penal Code Order as arrogant because of the monarch’s confession that the implementation of the law was Allah SWT’s hidayah (guidance) to him.
“Is this correct, that if people do good deeds and they confess that it was guidance from Allah that it is considered arrogance? Is this true? For me, this is not arrogance; this is tawaduk (humble and down to earth).
“Those who base (their actions) on Allah are those who always remember Allah and they are never arrogant,” he said.
The Brunei Times
Friday, May 16, 2014