You can’t debate Hudud


Disputing Hudud would be just like disputing the Trinity or arguing that it is illogical that Jesus was the Son of God or that Jesus died and came back to life three days later. Since when do we use logic to debate religion?


Raja Petra Kamarudin

I have noticed quite a number of good articles plus some very sensible and logical arguments as to why the Islamic Sharia law of Hudud cannot be accepted, is not suitable for implementation in Malaysia, and whatnot.

Some have labelled Hudud as barbaric, cruel, outdated, etc. That, of course, is a matter of opinion. Hanging was being practiced long before Hudud. And Malaysia is still hanging people until today. Why are we able to accept hanging, which has a longer history than Hudud, but not accept Hudud?

Hence the argument that we cannot accept Hudud because it is an ancient law is not valid. All our corporal or capital punishment laws are ancient. Hanging is even more ancient. If a Muslim fanatic walks into a church and starts shooting dead Christians in prayer, would you not want to see him hanged? Or would you say Jesus told us to hate the sin but love the sinner so we must love and forgive the shooter and turn the other cheek and let him be free so that he can shoot more people dead in another church next week?

So, you want the government to hang this mass murderer who sent 30 Christians to their graves. You do not mind the death sentence by hanging for this criminal. You do not regard hanging as ancient. But you regard Hudud as ancient, barbaric and outdated that has no place in this modern world.

Actually, murderers do not automatically get put to death under Hudud. The murderer can actually be forgiven if the family of the deceased forgives him or her.

Let us say the murderer is wealthy or at least has some money and the person he murdered was the breadwinner of the family. The deceased has left behind a widow and five children all still at school. Because of this murder, the family is now going to face a very bleak future.

The concern of the family is not about punishing the murderer. It is about how to survive the future with no breadwinner in the family. The murderer can be allowed the option to support the family and compensate the family for its loss of the breadwinner.

Hanging the murderer is not going to put food on the table. The family of the deceased gains nothing other than revenge if the murderer is hanged. What the family needs is some assurance that their future will be looked after. And since this murderer has robbed the family of its livelihood, then the murderer can be allowed the option to look after the welfare of the family, if this is what the family wants. If the family is more concerned with revenge than with food on the table, then they can insist that the murderer be put to death.

Then there are people who argue that if you cut off the hands of thieves and robbers how will they earn a living without any hands? That is exactly the point. They earn a living by using their hands to steal and rob. Hence these hands of theirs should no longer exist. Without hands they can no longer misuse their hands to rob and steal.

What about if you stole because you were hungry? Now that is an interesting question. The thief will be asked as to why he or she stole. And if he or she stole because he or she is too poor to buy food (and, in fact, is homeless and sleeps on the streets) then the authorities would be summoned to court and questioned as to why these people are not on welfare.

The court will have to pardon the thief and the authorities will be ordered to put this person on welfare. If they do not and if the thief steals a second time, then the authorities and not the thief will be punished. No one is supposed to be without the means to buy food. The state is supposed to ensure that everyone is looked after. And if there are still people who are so destitute that they are forced to steal, then the authorities need to answer for that, not the thief.

Anyway, Hudud is not just about cutting off hands. So why use just this one argument about cutting off hands as if Hudud is just about cutting off hands? There are seven crimes that come under Hudud. Robbery is just one of them. Why the fixation on the part of cutting off hands? Is that all there is to Hudud, cutting off hands?

Some argue that there is a danger Hudud might be abused. Of course there is always that possibility. Even non-Hudud laws can be abused. The death sentence of hanging can be abused as well.

If four policemen arrest you and tell the court they found drugs in your car or guns in your home, you can hang. You might argue that the drugs or guns were not yours and that you have never seen them before and that they were planted, but it is your word against four policemen. So you will hang. That is not Hudud. So non-Hudud laws, too, can be abused if they want to abuse them. Why single out Hudud for possible abuse when all laws can be equally abused?

Nevertheless, that is not the main issue here. What I raised above are just some examples on the implementation of Hudud. And it all boils down to that in the end, the implementation.

As I said, I have read some good articles and equally good arguments as to why Hudud should not be accepted for implementation in Malaysia. While these may be good articles and very sensible and logical arguments, that is not the issue here. The issue here is Hudud is not about the legal system but about religion.

If you look at Hudud as merely a legal issue then all these articles and arguments make a lot of sense. They are very logical. But then, as I said, Hudud is not about the law, it is about theology. Muslims believe that Hudud is God’s law and what God wants cannot be debated or argued. In other words, in matters of religion, common sense and logic do not apply because religion itself defies logic.

I mean, is it logical that a snake can talk to Eve? Is it logical that Noah can build a 450-foot boat made from timber in a place where there are no trees? Is it logical that Noah can house 8 million living things for an entire year in this 450-foot boat plus store the food and water required for an entire year with sanitation facilities to get rid of all their waste? Is it logical that Moses can turn a stick into a snake and part the Red Sea? Is it logical that Jesus can bring dead people back to life, walk on water, feed tens of thousands of people with just a loaf of bread, etc?

There are so many so-called miracles in Judeo-Christianity-Islamic beliefs that defy logic and common sense. Yet you believe all this when it comes to religion and argue that logic and common sense do not apply when it comes to religion. So why are you applying logic and common sense to Hudud? Logic and common sense have no place in the debate regarding Hudud. The Muslims believe this is God’s law and what God wants we must do.

So, while you look at this whole issue from the perspective of the legal system and try to sensibly and logically argue why Hudud cannot be implemented in Malaysia, the Muslims reject all these arguments and respond with the argument that this is what God commanded and what God commanded cannot be argued or debated. We just do it…period.

Disputing Hudud would be just like disputing the Trinity or arguing that it is illogical that Jesus was the Son of God or that Jesus died and came back to life three days later. Since when do we use logic to debate religion?