By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
09 April 2019
The Islamic country Brunei has implemented Sharia Laws. The Brunei government claims that the laws are based on Islamic jurisprudence. But they have not mentioned the source of their interpretation of the laws that have been implemented. According to the reports in the press, the new Sharia Laws provide for amputation of the hands of the thieves ;stoning to death of the gays, lesbians and adulterers and fine or jail for failing to attend Friday prayers.
Brunei had already Sharia Laws in force but it has introduced new Sharia Laws which are harsher. Brunei had implemented the first stage of Sharia Laws. In this year, the Brunei government has gone ahead with the next stage of the Sharia Laws. Earlier, the punishment for homosexuality was ten years in jail. Now the punishment for homosexuality and Lesbianism is death sentence.
The new Sharia Laws of Brunei are influenced by extremist interpretations of the injunctions of the Quran. In some cases the new laws are not in accordance of the injunctions of the Quran but on age old practices and traditions. For example, the punishment of adultery between a man and woman is not stoning to death or Rajam according to the Quran. On adultery, the Quran says:
“Adulterer man and woman should be lashed a hundred times” (Al Nur:2)
For homosexuality the Quran prescribes physical punishment and not death:
“If two men among you commit sexual offence, give them physical punishment, then if they repent and become pious, leave them” (Al Nisa: 16)
O Muslims, if women among you commit sexual offence, bring four witnesses against them and imprison them.” (Al Nisa: 15)
For theft, the Quran has prescribed amputation of hands but the new Sharia Laws of Brunei have provided for amputation of leg on second offence. This is also not in accordance of the laws of the Quran.
Missing prayer or Friday prayer or not fasting in the month of Ramazan are not crimes but sins against God. Islam declares sins against the society or members of the society crimes. Sins against God (not praying, not fasting or not giving alms or not feeding the poor) are not considered crimes. But the government of Brunei does not distinguish between sins against God and sins against society and people.
Now the government will imprison people for not attending Friday prayers or not fasting in the month of Ramadhan. During the so called Khilafat of ISIS, two teenagers eating something in the marketplace in Ramadhan were executed. This was in violation of Islamic Shariah as Islam does not prescribe death for not fasting in Ramadhan. Also Taliban regularly stone to death people alleged to have indulged in sex out of wedlock though the rajam verses have been replaced by lashing verse.
On punishment for theft, in modern society theft has taken new dimensions. Theft has taken the shape of corruption. Powerful officials of the government steal money meant for the public by unscrupulous means. This also comes under theft but here the ‘thief’ does not use his hands. Instead, he uses the loopholes in the system generally in connivance with a number of people involved in the process. Has the Brunei government brought all such people (government officials, Ministers and bureaucrats) under the purview of theft laws or will it only catch poor hungry boys and old people stealing some coins or breads or food grain to feed himself or their starving family members? If yes, then it should follow the example set by Hadhrat Umar who had suspended the punishment for theft during drought because drought would force hungry people to steal food grains. Before implementing punishment for theft, the governments in Brunei and elsewhere should make sure that people are sufficiently provided with food and necessary items of daily use.
Unfortunately, the first victims of implementation of Sharia Laws are adulterers and poor thieves because it gives these so-called Islamic governments to demonstrate that they have implemented Sharia Laws by cutting hands of poor people.
The ISIS too had implemented ‘Sharia Laws’ soon after announcing the establishment of Caliphate by amputating the hands of thieves though during the turbulent period people were starving and children were dying without food; anarchy had ruled everywhere.
S. Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com
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