Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Is Malaysia An Islamic State?

I have been given a quite interesting assignment for MTC research paper. MTC is basically something like Malaysian Studies+Law. My group, consists of myself and 3 others decided to choose the topic of: Is Malaysia An Islamic State?

For the time being, we haven't started any research in group yet. But I have personally read few books and articles relating to the issue. I found an article written by Abu 'Ali Hussini, which had actually made me think twice, if I were to declare Malaysia is an Islamic state. I quote his article:

Seseorang yang bukan Islam, misalnya Ah Chong atau Ramasamy atau Putong A/L Ambok yang sembahyang lima waktu dan puasa dalam bulan Ramadan tidak menjadikan beliau seorang Muslim kerana beliau tidak mengucap dua kalimah syahadah yang bertunjangkan kepada kesedaran tauhid. Begitu jugalah jika sesebuah negara yang membina bank Islam atau sekolah Islam atau masjid untuk orang Islam masih belum boleh dianggap sebagai sebuah negara Islam jika negara tersebut tidak “mengucap dua kalimah syahadah” iaitu meletakkan dasar bahawa tiada ilah melainkan Allah dan Muhammad itu Pesuruh Allah. Ringkasnya maksud kalimah syahadah ini menafikan adanya Tuhan, peraturan, kuasa, manusia, kebendaan atau perasaan serta nafsu yang lebih besar atau lebih mulia dari Allah SWT dan undang-undang serta peraturan yang telah ditetapkan oleh Allah di dalam al-Qur’an dan apa jua yang disampaikan oleh Rasulullah saw. (Someone not a muslim, for example Ah Chong or Ramasamy, or Putong A/L Ambok who pray 5 times a day, and fast during Ramadhan, does not make them a Muslim because they are not beleivers. They do not comply the syahadah, which is the root of the Muslims's beleif (Tauhid). The same thing apply to a country which imports the system of islamic banking, builds islamic schools and mosques for the muslims. The country is not yet 'a Muslim' if the country does not comply the syahadah, which is to declare that there is no God other than Allah, and Muhammad is His messanger. In conclusion, syahadah means: to deny the existence of God, rules, powers, humans, materials, or whatever it is.. which is greater or superior than Allah SWT and His laws and rules which have been stated in the holy book of Quran or in His messages to Rasulullah saw.)

This statement basically denies statements by various parties who claims that Malaysia is an Islamic state due to the existence of alot of islamic systems, especially in the banking industry, education (we have islamic schools and Islamic Universities such as IIUM), and also taxes (where we have zakat). Muslims from other countries admires the islamic components which have been applied in Malaysia. However the clause goes: So long as the country's supreme constitution does not comply with syahadah, the country is not yet an islamic state.

In the Federal Constitution

Article 3(1)
Islam is the relegion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.
According to an ex Cheif Justice of the Federal Court, Tun Muhammad Sufian Hashim, the main reason why Islam was addressed as the federal religion is only for festival purposes and nothing else. So that, in official ceremonies there would be recitation of prayers or so. While according to Prof. L.A Sheridan and Harry E. Groves, Article 3(1) does not have any legal effect.

Article 4(1)
This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
According to Prof. Madya Hj. Salleh Buang, this article have actually restricted the applications of Islamic laws in Malaysia. This article in other word declare that the Federal constitution is the supreme law. It is superior over any other laws, including the islamic laws itself. Therefore, an Islamic law may come into effect only if it does not contravene with the federal constitution which is mainly imported from the English and Indian legal system. This article demands that the divine law being altered so that it complies with human made law.

That is why, we see there are decisions made by the court which clearly contravene the divine law, as in Ainan lwn Abu Bakar. In this case, it was decided that a child which was born only 2 months after the parent's marriage is considered valid to be the lineage of the father.

Despite the harshness of the Federal Constitution to the Islamic Law, there are still certain decided cases which clearly recognize Islamic law. This may be seen in cases of Rahmah lwn Laton, The Offical Administration F.M.S lwn Mohihiko and Fatimah binti Haris lwn Haji Ismail bin Tamin. In Rahmah's case for example, the court of appeal stated that Islamic law is no foreign to the country, instead it is the law of the local, and the country's law. The court should take into account these Islamic laws in the judiciary, and declare the validity of these laws.

Basically what my group is planning to research for this topic are:

1. Breif history how Islam came to Malaysia

2. Politic system during Rasulullah's and Khulafa's time

3. Economic system during Rasulullah's and khulafa's time

4. Current politic system practiced in Malaysia

5. Economic system practiced in Malaysia

6. Islamic laws that governs Malaysia
i.e- Islam in Federal Constitution
- Syariah Court
- Several examples of decided cases
- Islam Hadhari

7. Examples practices of other Islamic country, i.e- Saudi, Pakistan, Iran, etc..

8. Quran vers related to Islamic state.


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