Sunday, January 26, 2020

Malaysia - Shariah law

Although Malaysia is mainly a secular constitutional government, there are some Shari'ah aspects that are implemented in relation to Muslim affairs. There is a dual legal system in the country, with a Shari'ah court system which is separate from the main court system. If a case that should be under the control of Shari'ah is brought to the traditional courts, they will usually refer it to them. Most of what it handles would be considered family law: marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. It also has some coverage on apostasy, khalwat (close proximity of male and female who are not married or related), zina related offences, alcohol consumption, etc. Shari'ah law is implemented state by state, while many of the provisions would be similar between one state and another. Punishments are not the full Hadd punishments from the Quran and Sunnah. They are often fines, jail time, or a smaller number of strokes. One state in the north, Kelantan, has traditionally been pushing hard to implement more Shari'ah and even Hudud punishments. The topic of Hudud has been brought up many times recently, typically by the PAS party (religious political party which controls Kelantan). It is a political tool that is very divisive in this country, especially among the non-muslims. Shari'ah courts can also be a divisive topic in cases of muslim and non muslim family law, where one spouse converts and child custody and religious status of children becomes an issue. Side note: the religious departments of each state have an official conversion process and record system (including convert ID cards), to help ensure a convert's status as a Muslim.

References: [Comprehensive site with a lot of details, links to state's enactments and amendments, list of crimes and punishments, and family law]

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