NON-Muslims would not be punished under the Syariah Penal Code if they use words such as Assalamualaikum (greeting) as a form of courtesy or in daily conversations with Muslims, the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) stated.
In a press statement, the ministry said the use of certain words or phrases, including InsyaAllah (God willing), cannot be used by non-Muslims only when they are referring to another religion other than Islam.
Under Section 217 of the Syariah Penal Code, the state has set a total of 16 words which cannot be used by non-Muslims in certain contexts. The ministry said it would only be an offence for non-Muslims if they use the words as a belief, idea, act and in instances that do not relate to Islam, and when it is issued in publications, made in public speeches or statements and broadcasts.
Non-Muslims are not allowed to use the 16 words in the specified contexts to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion among Muslims, the ministry told members of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in a briefing last Thursday.
It added that the offence was set by the state to protect the sanctity of those words.
“The objective of every law in every country is for public interest and in this context, is to protect the interests of Muslims,” the ministry stated.
The 16 words or phrases include Alhamdulillah, La haula wala quwwata illa billahil ‘aliyil ‘azim, Allahu akbar, Masya Allah, Assalamualaikum, Rabbul ‘alamin, Astaghfirullah al ‘azim, Subhanallah, A ‘udzubillahi minasy syaitanirrajim, Tabarakallah, Bismillahirrahmanirrahim, Wa’alaikumussalam, InsyaAllah, Walillahilhamd, La ilaha illallah, and Wallaahu ‘a’ lam.
Held at the Islamic Da’wah Centre in Kg Pulaie, the briefing aimed to promote understanding of the offences punishable by hadd, qisas, diyat or arsy, as prescribed and based on the methods of proof in the Quran and hadith of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
Conducting the briefing were deputy Syarie prosecutors Mahani Hj Suhaili and Hj Zuneidy Jumat Hjh Hassanah Hj Hassan, Deputy Senior Legal Counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers Hjh Hassanah Hj Hassan, Religious officer at the Islamic Legal Unit Saadatul Nazaha Hj Saiful Ashura, Religious officer at the Islamic Da’wah Centre Ustazah Pg Norhayati Pg Hj Kasharan, and Hj MasReduan Hj Jumat, senior religious research officer at the State Mufti’s Office.
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