This was a question posed by Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, a Sudanese Islamic scholar from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
In an interview arranged by the G25 this morning at a hotel here, Professor Abdullahi said that there is no verse in the Quran that forces one to accept hudud.
“It is merely speculation. If hudud is derived from the Quran, please show me this text.
“The nature of the state that we live in today is a nation state, in which all citizens are equal. Therefore, the state should enforce a single law, to all citizens equally.
“That law should be passed by Parliament, through a democratic process, in a secular state.
“This way, it can be changed if it doesn’t work,” he said.
He added that a “crime” is entirely different from a “sin”, and that punishments are not the same.
Professor Abdullahi also argued that an “act” should not be simply labelled a crime on the grounds that religion prohibited the said act.
Hudud came under the spotlight last week when a Private Members’ Bill by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) 2016 was unexpectedly brought forward for debate in the Dewan Rakyat.
The amendments seek to allow the Kelantan Government to impose all hudud punishments, save the death sentence, on those convicted under shariah laws.
The Bill was originally listed as the last item to be debated in the Dewan Rakyat last week.
However, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said proposed for the Bill to jump queue, and Deputy Works Minister Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin seconded it.
Though the motion was passed, Hadi requested that the debate on the Bill be postponed till the next Dewan Rakyat sitting to allow MPs to have more time to prepare and debate on it.