Hudud in Kelantan: One Christian Response

Hand with stone

Perhaps Christians are embarrassed that the Bible also urges stoning. 


Much has been said in recent days about Kelantan’s Hudud law initiative. Christians who are, according to the Qur’an, one of the peoples of the book, have been relatively silent. Perhaps Christians are embarrassed that the Bible also urges stoning.

Hudud means enacting “maximum punishments” such as amputations, hundred lashes and stoning-to-death for seven offences including adultery, highway robbery and theft.

The Islamic political party, PAS, wants to implement Hudud. The Malay-rights political party, Umno, says it doesn’t object to Hudud, but won’t implement Hudud “until we are ready.”

Per Aliran, the Kelantan and Terengganu enactments do much more than enact maximum punishments: the enactments mandate the maximum punishments.

Professor Hashim Kamali, an eminent legal expert who helms the International Institute of Advanced Studies (IAIS) in Malaysia, and who opposes Kelantan’s Hudud laws, says the Kelantan law prescribes this:

Zina [unlawful sexual intercourse] is punishable upon conviction by stoning (with stones of medium size) to death for a married person (i.e. muhsan) . . . ” (page 205).

“Stoning” tantalizes me: What types of stones are allowed (Granite? Laterite? Limestone? Stones from Saudi Arabia?). Does “medium size” mean the size of a ping pong ball, a tennis ball or a sepak takraw ball? What should be the weight of each stone?

“Stoning” tantalizes me: How far away from the victim will the stoners (is that the right word?) stand? Who will be required to be stoners? How many stoners will be required for each stoning? Will the victim be gagged and blindfolded? Will the stoning be in public?

“Stoning” tantalizes me: Will it be possible to ask “Who threw the first stone” or will all the stoners throw stones together, e.g. when a whistle is blown? Will there be practices at stoning ranges, so the throwers will not miss their targets? Will stoners be certified?