‘The mother of all sins’

(NST) IN Islam, alcohol consumption is seen as "the mother of all sins", says Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz.


"The culture of consuming alcohol is not good for society, because being drunk causes a person to lose control and all other offences start from drunkenness."

So, when a whipping punishment is given, it is meant as a deterrent, says Wan Mohamad.

"The objective of syariah whipping is Ta'dib, that is, to correct conduct. The whipping is done to teach people (the offender as well as society) the correct form of behaviour.

"Ta'dib is to make the offender and society embarrassed in committing the offence. The punishment has impact on the person's life, because the person's good name is tarnished. This is a lesson for the offender and society. At the same time, it gives room for the offender to repent."

This whipping is not for the purpose of Ta'zib, which is to torture or inflict pain. In this sense, Ta'dib and Ta'zib are diametrically opposite concepts of punishment. One is as a corrective measure while the other is punitive in nature.

Terengganu Chief Syariah Judge Datuk Ismail Yahya concurs. "The purpose in Islam is not actually to shame the offender, but to deter. So, in order to prevent many people from committing the crime, it's better to shame just one person."

However, Ismail doubts that the punishment can be carried out on Kartika. This is because the whipping has to be meted out by a prison officer, and two prison rules make whipping the woman problematic.

"According to the prison rules, the person has to be a prisoner. And, the rules say that they cannot whip a woman," says Ismail.

Since Kartika was sentenced only to a fine and six lashes, she is not a prisoner.