Why Muslims In Malaysia Are Also Rejecting The ‘Hudud’ – OpEd


Recently, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that the country’s Muslim population should support a plan by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party to adopt hudud, or the Islamic Shariah law system that metes out punishment as set up by the Quran. Azly Rahman writes on this development.

I wrote these sentences on my Facebook status page some time ago:


seriously speaking … i have a few questions:

you kidnap innocent girls and sell them, in the name of religion

you shoot girls in the face — those who only wish to go to schools

you rape women and put them on trial for immodest behaviour

you spew hatred towards people of other faiths and race

you ask those who disagree with you to leave the country

you do all these — in the name of protecting religion?

and now you wish to implement the hudud and force us to agree or you wage war against us?

what cult do you actually belong to? – ar

Malaysia is undergoing a rupture out of this growing complex debate on the Sharia law and the hudud. The Muslims are deeply divided on this issue, depending on how each understands the religion, judgments of who is more Muslim than others aside.

All Muslims are not created equal these days; each one is a complex construction of the history, culture, and politics of Islam. Even of the metaphysics of Islam. Most importantly education and socialization are the twin pillars of this idea of “to have or not to have hudud” or “to what extent must the Sharia law govern the lives of Muslims”

Is a Muslim educated in Yemen, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or even Indonesia, or even Kelantan created as equal as those educated in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, Singapore, or even in Johor?

Which Muslim educated in which country and state has the right to impose the ideas of Sharia law and hudud more than those in other places?

Boko Haram Muslims in Malaysia?

Who has the right to say the “liberal Islam” is less Islam than Boko Haram type of Islam? Why would Malays of the Islamic faith be kow-towing to the dictates of those other Malay-Muslim who not only are happy to be ignorant of Western foundational ideas but also think that because they are educated in Arab-speaking countries and louder in their chants for an Islamic state they have the right to speak about Islam and become guardians of the “morality of the ummah”?

What makes those calling for the implementation of a comprehensive Sharia, the hudud, en route to an “Islamic state’ think that all Muslims must also agree?

What makes them believe that these Malay-Muslims are not already fed-up and even nauseated by the call for this or that type of “Islamic-ness” which includes waging war on other races and religion in multicultural Malaysia — instead of waging peace and ensuring that Malaysia will not see the rise of Boko Haram’s type of Muslims?

Aren’t peace-loving Muslims in Malaysia more interested in having their children learn about diverse ideas to become world-wise citizens able to live is a complex and globalizing world, rather than follow the calls warning Muslims against “liberal ideas” these Boko-Haram-inspired Muslims” thinks only mean Western ideas that will turn human beings in lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, and transgenders? How obsessed with the libidinal and the sexual can these groups be?

Is that how much these Muslims understood what knowledge is about? Should we even care? Should progressive Muslims care when, in order to succeed in many “Western and infidel nations of liberal institutions of the advanced nations” the foundational courses are all about “liberal ideas”?

Do you think these progressive Muslims are going to care about those “liberal-bashing” Boko-Haram-inspired Muslims to discourage their children to even explore what “liberalism” means?

And these “enemies of liberal ideas” got their college/university degrees, did they not? Did they not learn about western and liberal ideas and pass their exams and at least learn a bit of good things about it?

This is a similar situation of the hypocrisy we see demonstrated in the case of those who oppose the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English. Many are distinguished professors who wrote their dissertations in English yet intoxicated they are by a strange out-of-whack nationalistic sentimentality, chose to produce hypocritical and damaging statements denying especially the Malay-Muslim children and youth of the importance of exploring liberal ideas and other languages including the English Language; the lingua franca many of the Boko-Haram-type of Muslims would call “language of the infidels/kaffirs”

Who need these kinds of Muslims and their call for an “Islamic state” when the stench of hypocrisy has filled the Malaysian air — like the poisoning of the sky through the Kuala Lumpur haze?

Think about it? — What actually is this hudud debate about? Who is benefiting from this?

Teach them well

Leave the fruitless debate on hudud and the Islamic state behind. They are not going to happen most probably. Spend time and energy on good nation-building. Teach our children to make friends from people across cultures, religious beliefs, and the children of the wealthy having empathy over those working hard to get out of poverty.

Focus on getting our university students to create multicultural clubs and have loads of fun playing sports, playing music together, or simply have frequent teh tarik sessions together, and of course studying together and sharing and creating new knowledge together

If I were the Minister of Education, these are the things I would work on and hold on to as top priority and not some “ranking” of this or that or building more one-superior-race schools. I’d work on collaboration, cooperation, co-creation in everything — from the philosophy of education right till college teaching and learning and beyond.

We see time wasted on entertaining groups out to destroy each other in a Malaysia we all care for. We ought to be teaching each other to see life as a gift and to create a “state of peace” in ourselves, our family, communities, and nation — rather than be obsessed in creating this of that “religious state”, in the process crafting a “we versus them” enmity.

And some of you politicians have been the biggest culprits in nation-destroying rather than nation-building.

Aren’t we tired of all these?

So — where do we go from here? Where is this Islamic state debate taking Malaysia? Shouldn’t Malaysians be talking about the hypocrisy of the quasi-Islamic governments in destroying the environment, cutting down trees, speeding up floods, and bullying the indigenous people or the Orang Asli and Asal out of their ancestral lands?

Dr. Azly Rahman

Dr. Azly Rahman is an academician, educator, international columnist, and author of nine books He holds a Columbia University (New York City) doctorate in international education development and Master's degrees in six areas: education, international affairs, peace studies, communication, fiction, and non-fiction writing. He is a member of the Columbia University chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. Twitter @azlyrahman. More writings here. His latest book, a memoir, is published by Penguin Books is available here.

9 thoughts on “Why Muslims In Malaysia Are Also Rejecting The ‘Hudud’ – OpEd

  • December 11, 2016 at 3:34 am

    Do Bono Haram in Malaysia take up arms and massacre civilians as a false analogy?

  • December 11, 2016 at 4:44 am

    That’s the problem when understanding of what is Islam is shallow.. what they hear they they want to obey whence most likely blindly. Where is pondering, thinking, discourse rational, maqasid and waqiq.

  • December 11, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    After failing in the department of meritocracy, Umno is now using the religious weapon on believers and infidels alike, a kind of fear tactics used to stay in power while greed and corruption goes unabated. Well done Umno.

  • December 11, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    One must first understand the philosophy of the BOKO HARAM and its anti-western educational paradigm in order to understand where liberal and secular countries such as Malaysia is heading.

  • December 12, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    an excellent article for those muslims who are not sure of Hudud.

  • December 13, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Good governance of the country must be for all its citizens, not just one group. Laws must be acceptable to the majority of the community and be based on practical issues or turmoil will follow.

  • January 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Very thought provoking article. Hope we can come out of the mess and confusion one day.

  • January 3, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Racism, Muslim fanaticism and corruption are moving Malaysia toward the direction to becoming a failed-state.


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