PAS is a political party, yes. It keeps on articulating the fact that the party is struggling for Islam. But at times the masses only see a stretch of vengeance, more of settling scores, rusticity and fierce anger when some of its party leaders narrate their speeches to the grassroots and their political adversaries. Apparently these baser instincts of human beings have subverted the minds of these leaders.
In spirit, this deportment or demeanour of some PAS leaders is truly unIslamic. This may not echo a good image of Islam (which means Peace); if at all they represent Islam. What more, if PAS wants to help entice non-Muslims to embrace the beauty of Islam.
Regrettably, some PAS leaders are making Islam to be seen as a very out-dated and “constricted” religion or way of life that only centres on the trifling aspect of life that revolves around retributions, punishments, castigations, and nothing more than this. The consequence of it is PAS ending up facing a daunting task to impress the minds of the thinking assemblies in our society.
Nevertheless, it pays for a political party like PAS that harps on religion to accomplish its goal – that is to seek political power. Its mawkish approach to Islam with all its facades and codes of indoctrination can easily convince the naive-minded Muslim populace, just like any other religion that espouses the same modus operandi of preaching to their followers but this only ends up making religion no more a solemn entity but a cult-like tool for some to seek and remain in power. They do indeed thrive by controlling the minds and thoughts of many innocent and guiltless folks out there and this is enough to make them feel gratified.
The bigger picture of Islam
But why must PAS narrow down its political melee just by converging on the issue of hudud (from the singular form of the word hadd – the literal meaning of which is limit, or restriction), but less on the bigger picture of Islam as “rahmatan lil ‘alamin” (Islam yang membawa rahmat dan kesejahteraan bagi semua seluruh alam semesta)?
Confining to just an inconsequential aspect of Islam, they are sinking into the seas of mucky sentiments and irrational thinking. They are in truth seeking a quick solution to achieve their jaundiced approach to politics by using religion as a tool, without realising that they are tarnishing the image of Islam by doing so.
Going through the Quran, the term hadd is mentioned at least 14 times and none of it in the verses specifically mention “punishment” in its rigid form – the way Pas leaders and some Muslim clerics have defined the term to be. Some clerics have indeed resorted to some fuzzy extra-Quranic elements to extrapolate the term to give it a harsh and rigid interpretation.
The word hadd denotes restriction or there’s a limit to whatever we do as human being. In other words, as God-fearing cohorts we should not transgress this limit. Literally, this makes the Quranic verses in which the word hadd is found depict that in our actions in life we should not sidle or slink beyond what has been designed or ordained for us so as to not cause disorders, snags and hitches or harms when transgressed. This can be tolerable to those who cherish laws and orders in society.
The Quranic verses have been revealed in a very stretchy manner for mankind to use their intuition or discretion when imposing any form of admonishments or punishments on the transgressors, but the principal motive is for preventive purposes and if there has to be admonishments they should be done with care and compassion.
Hudud is often interpolated with nuances by some clerics to signify stoning to death or cutting off the hands for thievery but these are rarely applied in many of the Muslim countries today. To this mode of admonishments, many scholars have called for a moratorium, as there are still reservations among them as to their applicability in the present world.
Moreover, hudud offenses must be overturned by the slightest of doubts (alshshukuk). Besides hudud, the sharia’ also have other forms of admonishments – Qisas (retributive justice) and Tazir (a reprimand left to an Islamic judge’s discretion) which are also annealed with fairness and mercy.
Tempered with compassion
Islam as a religion is always mitigated with mercy and compassion that which seldom have we heard in sermons and discourses by some fixated politicians who claim to represent the religion.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“And My mercy encompasses every thing.” [Quran 7:156]
“We have not sent you except as a mercy to the world.” (Quran 21:107)
“Then he was among those who believed and advised one another to patience and advised one another to mercy.” (Quran 90:17)
These verses, among the many more found in the Quran, elucidate the set of circumstances that mercifulness is of fundamental concern in Islam. As for the admonishments for any forms of transgressions the faithful are mandated like in all societies to maintain law and order but this must always be done with impartiality and mercy.
Unfortunately here comes a gulf of interpretations on the forms of admonishments that should be meted out to the transgressors. The Muslim world sees no uniformity on this – the zealous among them emphasising on the extreme and the moderates among them adopting leniency. Often this non-uniformity if not mitigated with rational thinking leads to conflicts and confusion and to an extent affects the image and fabric of the Muslim society.
PAS has failed
This is what the perception is now towards PAS under its present leadership. PAS has failed to see that the implementation of the Syaria’ laws have never been the same, consistent and uniform across the Muslim countries. Yet, some enthusiasts in PAS are all out to make a mountain out of a mole hill by giving too much prominence to RUU 355 (The proposed changes to Syaria’ Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) that seeks to enhance the Syaria’ Court punishment to 30 years imprisonment and RM100, 000 fine – the figures of which are not found in the Quran or in any Islamic legal literature or precedence).
These politicians have long been in a state of confusion and misperception, as Islam in real is revealed to mankind with this basic but vital message: rahmatan lil ‘alamin – Islam as a religion of peace and mercy to all mankind and creations.
Instead of giving prominence to humanity and the general welfare of the ummah (the people) some PAS leaders are giving too much importance to punishments to sway the minds of the general public to accept PAS as a political party. This has, without a shred of doubt, failed PAS.
PAS has thus faded out from the Malaysian political landscape and is fast becoming irrelevant to the Muslims and all Malaysians in general.