SOME claim PAS faces an internal dilemma with the “outdated” hudud issue. I, of course, disagree with this assessment, as I believe PAS is and has always been clear on this issue. I believe it is democracy that faces a dilemma when confronted with the hudud issue. I have always wondered how a democracy would react if, in a particular state, the vast majority agrees to the implementation of the Islamic legal system, including hudud.
This was my very question to an officer of the American embassy a few years ago. As any officer of the American embassy in any part of the world would do, he scoffed at the idea. In fact, he even went so far as to question why the US should allow any Islamist government to exist, as these Islamists use democracy to destroy democracy. Islamists, according to him, would participate in the democratic process and stand for election, and when they win the election, replace the democratic system with a “tyrannical Islamic state”.
He was being presumptuous and biased when he made those statements. It is quite clear that he has no idea what an Islamic state is, and what he thinks it is is more reminiscent of a Communist dictatorship. How ironic that the very antithesis of the Islamic state — the Communist state with its disbelief in God and its total subservience to “matter and those laws governing its existence” — is seen as being its equivalent.
It seemed more like an excuse for him to side-step the question at hand, which went unanswered that evening. I believe he saw it as being exactly the dilemma faced by the US in its foreign policy towards Iran and Hamas in Palestine. These are popularly elected governments, which the US does not wish to recognise.
I had a similar experience with a non-Muslim friend who referred to Terengganu residents during PAS’s administration who would pay taxi drivers, plying their trade into Pahang, to buy Magnum four-digit numbers for them while in Barisan Nasional-controlled Pahang.
When I asked how many people he thought these taxi drivers serviced each day, he agreed it would be far short of a thousand. When I asked how many citizens there were in Terengganu, he replied, “Lots more than that.” So when I finally asked if he felt the majority of Terengganu residents should be allowed to have their kampungs and towns free of gambling if that was what they wished, he had no choice but to acquiesce.
Therefore, questions of democracy, individual freedom and the right of the majority are stacked one against the other in scenarios such as these. I personally feel that should the majority of people within a particular state willingly and freely wish to have the Islamic legal system implemented, they should be given the right. The other states can then watch and appraise, and can then decide if they want a similar system for themselves. That is what democracy is all about.
Wallahu a’lam (Allah knows best).
PAS MP for Shah Alam