The Book of Prof Shad.docx

Apostasy out of islam is not just a simple issue of

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officials to take corpses away for “proper” burial and to keep wailing and angry relatives in check. Apostasy out of Islam is not just a simple issue of freedom of conscience. In the special context of Malaysia it is complicated by political, social, economic, historical and constitutional dimensions. Political dimension: To the Malays of this country, there is an inseparable link between race and religion. 62 Under Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution as well as in popular perception, Islam is the defining feature of a Malay’s ethnic identity. Exodus of Malays from Islam would reduce the numbers of Malays and thereby weaken Malay political power. In recent years, rumours have circulated that despite the Federal Constitution’s Article 11(4) that prohibits unauthorised preaching to Muslims, many internationally funded proselytisers are trying to lure Muslims away from the Islamic faith. How widespread is the problem of apostasy amongst Muslims is the subject of wild speculation. The government must supply statistics to put rumours to rest. What is certain is that despite the international campaign of vilification against Islam, more converts are entering Islam’s fold than leaving it. 60 Saravanan a/l Thangathoray v Subashini [2007] 2 MLJ 705; Shamala Sathiyaseelan v Dr Jeyaganesh [2004] 2 MLJ 648 61 See Priyathaseny v Pegawai Penguatkuasa Agama [2003] 2 CLJ 221 62 In neighbouring Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim state, the inseparable connection between race and religion is not made. 62
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Socio-economic and personal law dimension: A Muslim apostate will lose his ‘Malay’ status. His marriage will be dissolved. He will not be eligible for inheritance under Islamic law. Questions of custody and guardianship of his children, if any, will arise. If the apostate is the holder of a Malay reserve title, his title may have to be revoked or compulsory acquisition of land may have to be resorted to. Religious dimension: The Holy Qur’an is replete with passages condemning apostasy. In 20 or so passages it states that becoming a renegade is a sin and will be punished severely in the hereafter. “How shall God guide those who reject Faith after they accepted it…?” asks Surah 3:86. 63 In several passages it is stated that the wrath of God shall visit the apostates. “On them (rests) the curse of God, of His angels and of all mankind” (Surah 3:87). “… For the wrongdoers We have prepared a Fire whose smoke and flames like the walls and roof of a tent will hem them in…” (Surah 18:29). However, nowhere is there a requirement of a worldly punishment unless the apostate wages war or indulges in defamation. Surahs 4:89 and 4:91 are often cited as evidence of the divine commandment to “seize them and slay them”. Actually both verses are qualified by a call to peace with the non-belligerent convert. Surah 4:89’s command to seize them and slay them is immediately qualified by the words of Surah 4:90: “Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty of peace or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you”. In Surah 4:91 the command to seize
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