Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lina Joy

Lina Joy's application to have the name Islam removed from her Identity Card was turned down. This is the correct decision given the laws that pertain to Muslims as well as those who wish to renounce Islam because in this particular matter referral to the Syariah Court is required. And the Syariah Court is no less inferior to the Civil Court:

Federal Constitution 121 [Judicial Power of the Federation] (1) There shall be two High Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction and status, namely * (a) one in the States of Malaya, which shall be known as the High Court in Malaya, and shall have its principal registry in Kuala Lumpur; and (b) one in the States of Sabah and Sarawak, which shall be known as the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak and shall have its principal registry at such place in the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may determine;(c) repealed ; and such inferior courts as may be provided by federal law; and the High Courts and inferior courts shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under federal law. (1A) The courts referred to in Clause (1) shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Shari'ah courts.

Article 11 (of the Federal Constitution) [Freedom of Religion] "(1) Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.(2) No person shall be compelled to pay and tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.(3) Every religious group has the right (a) to manage its own religious affairs;(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and (c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.(4) State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.(5) This Article does not authorise any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality."

Since Lina Joy was a Muslim before she renounced Islam, she would still be subject to the law of the Syariah because in Syariah Law, there is provision for cases involving apostasy. One must respect the rule of law and go through the due process of law in any given situation. Had this not been the case, lawlessness would prevail. The argument that says the Syariah does apply in her case because she renouced Islam and therefore no longer is she subject to the Syariah Law is similar to an individual getting tangled up with the law suddenly announces that he or she has renounced the citizenship of Malaysia and therefore is no longer subject to the Law of the country because she no longer believes in Malaysia. Or a more appropriate comparison would be someone born in Malaysia and is automatically bound by the laws of the land without choice. You did not choose to be born in Malaysia you might argue, but this argument is futile. This is similar to a Muslim as regards to the Syariah Law, so she is still bound by Syariah Law.

I however feel that we should not keep Muslims who wish to leave the flock. Their leaving Islam will not weaken the Muslim community, on the contrary, it will strengthen it. Why would the Muslim community wish to keep those who no longer want to remain in the community. Indeed we should councel them because there are many attempts by missionaries to influence Muslims to convert to other religions (because this region and the Malays are said to be the last frontier of missionary activities). But in the event in which after councelling has been given, if they wish to leave (for whatever reason), it is best to let them go because a weak Muslim will render the Muslim weaker. It is better to have Muslims who are strong than Muslim who are weak and non-believing. For every 1 Muslim who wish to leave Islam, there are 10 non-Muslims who wish to enter into Islam. This is a natural process of weeding out what is unwanted and seedling new and stronger seeds.

109:1-6 Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.

2:256 There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.


Anonymous said...

When the whole world becomes Muslim, then there will be peace, just like IRAQ. Perhaps, Malaysia should import more Shia to make the balance.

Anonymous said...

We as Muslims must do our most to guide her back to Islam...We should never give up and simply say that (i quote you): "we should not keep Muslims who leave the religion". Come on, would Rasulullah S.A.W practically give up on Muslims's who murtad? I wouldnt think so..Cos till Rasulullah's last breath, he kept repeating, "Umatku..umatku..."...I believe we should not give up on Muslims who are murtad..They are misguided...It is our role to guide them back to the right path (dengan izin Allah)

Anonymous said...

Asrul, it is not a question of which court is superior. It is a question of which court has jurisdiction.

Ask yourself, where does it say that the Shariah Courts have jurisdiction over matters pertaining to those leaving Islam? It is the Federal Constitution that confers jurisdiction to all our courts, whether Civil or Shariah. The FC is effectively silent on jurisdiction when it comes to this matter.

It is for Parliament to confer jurisdiction and until then it is only right for the Federal Court to adjudicate on these matters.

It is not the place of the Federal Court to widen the jurisdiction of the Shariah courts. That is for Parliament to attend to by amending the Constitution.

So the Federal Court's decision cannot be correct. It is in legal parlance, 'ultra vires'.

Anonymous said...

then I would say the whole judiciary system should be revamped, segregating the muslims and non muslims.

Mr Benny.

Farouk A. Peru said...

Asrul: This is a natural process of weeding out what is unwanted and seedling new and stronger seeds.

Farouk : This organic metaphor is exactly what I had in mind when I considered the porousness of the believing commuity which the Quran propounds. Why have people in a community who hate the deen and will plot against it? Tak masuk akai betui!

Keith said...

Using that very same argument, it's like saying to Malaysians, once you're born in Malaysia you can no longer leave. So anyone wishing to leave Malaysia will be FORCED into camps where they are made to recite the Rukun Negara, sing Negaraku and wave the Jalur Gemilang. If I still insist on leaving Malaysia then I would be threatened with death.

The underlying fact is, I did not choose which country I was BORN in, but I have the RIGHT to choose which country I want to LIVE in. Same goes for Lina Joy, she did not choose which religion she was born into but has a right to choose which religion she wants to practice.

Malaysian law cannot make it illegal to leave Malaysia, in the same way Islamic Law cannot make it illegal to leave Islam.

I agree that allowing Muslims to leave Islam will not harm it in any way. There is absolutely no proof that the number of apostates in this country is anywhere near a significant number, some people might say thousands or hundreds of thousands but nobody has ANY proof. All we have is a handful of people wishing to change their religion , is it really all that bad to allow them to do so?