Feed thy tummy first

It is also crystal clear that hudud is not the most demanding issue that ought to be bulldozed and carried out in Malaysia, what more in a country that only comprise of about 60 per cent Muslims.

By Muaz Omar, The Malaysian Insider

As we countdown to a new year, 2009, emotionally charged debates are tearing the social fabric of this nation.

The hot debate on the relevance and position of hudud within the legal maxim of a multiracial country like ours is being overplayed in the media.

Muslims are confused whether hudud should be implemented and non-Muslims are afraid if they are to be subjected to the hudud in Malaysia.

The longer the debate goes on, more and more Muslims are increasingly viewing the hudud not from a religious point of view.

The hudud debate has been over politicised to the extent that it has lost all divine values in it.

Pas who initially espoused the need to implement hudud at their height of administering Kelantan and Terengganu, seemed trapped by their own self-righteous and rigid stand on the hudud.

They are having great difficulty to balance between their so-called struggle to implement hudud and at the same time trying to honour the trust that were given by many non-Muslims who supported their candidates in the March 8 General Election.

Meanwhile, Umno seemed to be having the upper hand on this issue as it managed to corner Pas into blurting out their long standing position on the hudud which has never changed in the first place.

However, Umno itself has a rather ambiguous stand on the hudud but at the same time trying to call the kettle black on PAS — to the Muslims, Pas is soft on hudud because of their Pakatan colleagues’ resistance and to the non-Muslims, Pas is dangerous because they are bent on implementing the hudud laws.

Many of these hard-line and extreme elements within both Pas and Umno believe that hudud must be implemented at all costs because it is a divine law from Allah Almighty.

However, contentious issues in Islam can be answered not just in black or white but there is a grey area that demands more sophisticated and rational justifications.

Renowned Muslim scholar, Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi coined the concept Fiqh al-Awliyat which in means placing the priority on the most pressing need and requirement at the time.

Hence, one question comes to mind — is hudud the most pressing issue at this current moment?

Most sensible Muslims would agree that there are definitely more pressing issues — the status of the economy — rather than the hudud law being implemented in this country.

It is also worth revisiting many of the hadith (collections of Prophet Muhammad’s traditions — words and actions — and accounts of his daily practice) that places importance on avoiding and tackling abject poverty.

One of the Prophet’s hadith has even forewarned man that poverty may lead oneself to atheistic nature or blasphemy against Allah Almighty.

No sane Muslim would deny that hudud is part of the Syariah (Islamic law).

However, it is also crystal clear that hudud is not the most demanding issue that ought to be bulldozed and carried out in Malaysia, what more in a country that only comprise of about 60 per cent Muslims.

In the face of global financial crisis, it is imperative that the leaders do all they can to ensure that the country will not slide into recession.

If this happen, many businesses and industries will close down, which will definitely push many of the population under the poverty line.

Resources, time and energy wasted on the never ending hudud debate is better channelled to planning and implementing projects to stimulate the nation’s economy.

Leakages from corruption, lack of accountability and low transparency levels in corporate governance need to be tightened to ensure that there are more funds available to elevate the welfare of the people.

If Muslims leaders are able to formulate strategies and carry out plan of actions that will bring prosperity to the people regardless of faith, creed and culture the image of the religion will almost definitely be elevated.

This will also be able to dilute the phenomenon of Islamophobia affecting the world of late.

Islam is not just about stoning adulterers or amputating robbers; it places more priority in ensuring that the people’s welfare is protected.

The article above represents the personal opinion of the writer.