THE sermon yesterday clarified offences that fall under the ta’zir system of the Syariah law.
Punishments for ta’zir are administered under the discretion of the judge because the they are not mentioned in Al-Quran or As-Sunnah.
An offence under ta’zir covers a wide range of offences that does not fall under qisas (retaliation or similar penalty) or hadd (punishment stipulated in the Quran).
Some of the offences include not carrying out duties that one has been entrusted with; making false accusations; corruption; and gambling.
Punishments for these type of offences are not stated in the Qur’an, thus categorised as ta’zir on which the judge will be given the discretion to decide on the appropriate punishments according to crime commited, said the imams.
Offences that are not mentioned in the Qur’an and As-Sunnah are still punishable under ta’zir as they are crimes that arose with current times that are against general welfare and interest of the public, for example road traffic offences and drug misuse.
Punishments can come in the form of detainment or imprisonment, fines, whipping, freezing of bank accounts, foreclosure on property and many more.
The imams mentioned a number of offences listed under the first phase of the Syariah Penal Code Order such as individuals above 15 years old failing to perform Friday prayers, disrespecting the month of Ramadhan and khalwat (close proximity).
There are people who think that offences such as adultery, qazaf (when someone makes a statement against another person accusing him or her of fornication), theft and other crimes should just be punished under ta’zir.
The punishments for these offences are already mentioned in the Quran and As-Sunnah thus punishable under hadd and qisas, not ta’zir. “As humble servants of Allah SWT we have no choice but to obey this order,” the imams said.
He reiterated that the public must understand that offences punishable under hadd are such as adultery, rape, liwat (sodomy), qazaf, theft, consuming alcohol and murtad (apostasy).
The hadd punishment is wajib (compulsory) when required evidence is fulfilled. However, if requirement falls short then it is punishable under ta’zir.
Meanwhile, qisas crimes include murder (premeditated and non-premeditated), premeditated offences against human life, and murder by error. Hadd and qisas punishments are to be enforced in phase two and three of the Syariah Penal Code Order.
Crimes that fall in the first phase is still punishable under existing Acts and Brunei Islamic Religious Council Acts and the Qadi Courts Act Section 77, depending whether the Acts mentioned are found under Civil or Syariah Law.
Sentencing individuals on trial at the Syariah courts requires heavy deliberation, said the imams. Judges or qadi must be able to comprehend each of the cases; not be hasty in making or when sentencing; and remain calm during the proceedings.
The Syariah judge will not sentence anyone in anger as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has forbidden it to be carried out in such manner. They will also discuss with and be aided by advisors who are knowledgeable in Islamic law.
“After scrutinising the strong ethics of the judges, it is clear that Syariah law is just and thorough; it is not cruel as what has been said by those that do not understand the concept of Islamic law,” the imams said.
The Brunei Times
Fri, 17 May 2014