Monday, February 22, 2010

Islam stresses education, not punishment: ex-mufti

Former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said Islam lays more stress on educating its adherents than punishment as such.

NONETherefore, said the religious scholar, if those found guilty of such sins as zina (extra-marital sexual intercourse) or consuming alcohol could be led to repent and avoid punishment, this should be the preferred course of action.

“There are many examples in which Prophet Muhammad avoided taking action in cases of zina and gave various reasons for the perpetrator not be punished. The Prophet always emphasised repentance for misdeeds rather than punishment,” said Mohd Asri in a statement.

The Penang-born Mohd Asri was responding to reports that three Muslim women had been caned under Syariah laws for engaging in extramarital sex.

Officials said the three women were caned on February 9 at a women's prison outside Kuala Lumpur. The women and four men were caned following a December decision in the religious courts.

While one woman has been released from prison, the other two would be freed by this June.

This followed an earlier controversial decision by the Islamic authorities to sentence former part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno to six strokes of the cane for drinking beer.

NONEUntil the February 9 caning, Kartika was to have been the first woman to be caned under Islamic law in Malaysia. Her case is currently under review, with human rights groups urging the religious authorities to reverse the sentence.

Kartika, meanwhile, has urged that the authorities get the punishment over with.

In his statement, Mohd Asri said punishments must not only be fair but seen to be fair. Punishments will continue to be seen in a negative light by the public as long as they are meted out only to the 'small fish' while the' big ones' are let off scot free, he said.

If punishments were to be carried out equitably, it is not only those Muslims caught consuming alcoholic beverages who should be brought to book but those Muslims as well who sold, distributed and owned any shares in the alcoholic beverages companies.

“Those in the religious departments and agencies must be truthful and courageous enough to bring even those Muslims who own shares (in such companies) to justice, notwithstanding the 'immunity' they enjoy,” said Mohd Asri.

Unlike civil courts' punishment

Mohd Asri also noted that the Islamic spirit behind punishment by caning, far from injuring the individual concerned, is to educate.

“(Caning according to Islam) does not inflict extreme pain as it occurs in the civil courts' application of (corporal) punishment.

“In fact, Prophet Muhammad explained that in some cases, even a cloth or the bare hand is to be used (to punish). If this is the type of caning to be used by the authorities, then it does not hurt, and this is how it is seen within the Islamic perspective,” said Mohd Asri.

“Such punishment is better than imprisoning them for months or years,” he added.

Mohd Asri also said that Malaysia needs to rectify the perception that its Islamic authorities punish only women. Punishment of men should also be reported by the local media, he said.

Mohd Asri noted that the public commission of sins is punishable by punishment of the guilty party in a public place.

The act by religious authorities of 'spying' on Muslims in order to catch them in a sinful act and bring them to book is itself against Islam.

“There is a lot of literature that has been published and on the Internet on this subject. I have also written extensively on the matter.

“Only those caught in the open can be punished in the open,” he stressed.

Questioning Islamic laws vs their application

The former mufti warned, however, against those quarters that were against Islamic punishments in principle.

Muslims, in particular, must be clear as to the differences between objecting to how Islamic laws are carried out, and the Islamic laws themselves.

“If they question Islamic law and punishment, it would have implications on the validity of their aqidah (beliefs).”

Muslims should not question the Islamic laws as these have been ordained in the Quran and the practices of the Prophet, while non-Muslims should not question what has been established as being prescribed by Islam for Muslim as this would affect communal harmony in the country, said Mohd Asri.

news courtesy of Malaysiakini


Anonymous said...

People used to think it was necessary to "spank" adult members of the community, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered sexual battery if a person over the age of 18 is "spanked", but only if over the age of 18.

For one thing, because the buttocks are so close to the genitals and so multiply linked to sexual nerve centers, slapping them can trigger powerful and involuntary sexual stimulation in some people. There are numerous physiological ways in which it can be sexually abusive, but I won't list them all here. One can use the resources I've posted if they want to learn more.

Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

Child buttock-battering (euphemistically labeled "spanking","swatting","switching","smacking", "paddling",or other cute-sounding names) for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

I think the reason why television shows like "Supernanny" and "Dr. Phil" are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

Plain Talk About Spanking
by Jordan Riak,

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
by Tom Johnson,

by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit the website of Parents and Teachers Against Violence In Education at

Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea:

American Academy of Pediatrics,
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
American Psychological Association,
Center For Effective Discipline,
Churches' Network For Non-Violence,
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
Parenting In Jesus' Footsteps,
Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Sahitau said...

Investment in education for girls increases the economic & social returns of development investments in all other sectors. Educating girls contributes to creating wealth through its impact on economic development.