Syariah officials clear air on offences

Thursday, March 13, 2014

IN a Syariah briefing hosted by the Ministry of Education yesterday, one of the concerns raised was over causing physical harm or injury to another person while engaged in sports activities and if this was subject to a penalty under the Syariah Law.

According to Syariah Law, Qisas is the penalty for physical injury inflicted upon human life, such as killing and injuring others, explained Religious Officer Saadatul Nazaha Hj Saiful Ashur of the Islamic Legal Unit to an audience of 523 Primary School teachers and staff.

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The question was in regard to injuries inflicted upon another person while participating in sports activities and if this would be subject to the qisas penalty.

The religious officer stressed that simply taking part in extreme sports activities where injuries are possible, a person will not be penalised under the Islamic Law.

“It all comes to intention,” said the Religious Officer. “If there is no sufficient intention to inflict injuries towards other players in sports, the person is not liable. It is the responsibility of each player to understand the consequences inflicted upon taking part in the sport.”

By simply being involved in sports activities like football and boxing, and a player causes injury towards another player, this does not fall under the definition of qisas.

However, if you intended to inflict others and cause bodily harm in any sports activities, and this intention is very clear that you want to harm someone, then this will be subject to qisas, said the Religious Officer.

“In a scenario where you have intention to harm someone and there are witnesses around you who witness your action. Then you can be brought to Religious officers where further investigations will be conducted,” reiterated Saadatul Nazaha.

The perpetrator of this act is liable for punishment under the Syariah Law which can be in a form of financial compensation, said the religious officer.

“Victims whose eyes get damaged in extreme sports activities could claim compensation against the accused,” she said. “The compensations will then be evaluated and estimated by the Syariah Court, depending on the gravity of the injuries being inflicted.”

Another subject of concern raised by a member of the audience was about not performing Friday prayers. The question was whether or not a child below the age of 15 who is already considered baligh (reached puberty) is liable for prosecution under the Syariah Law if he does not perform Friday prayers.

The Senior Religious Research Officer from the State Mufti’s Department answered that it is wajib (mandatory) for any mukallaf (a person who has attained the age of 15 years and of sound mind) to perform the Friday prayer.

Underlining the importance of the Friday prayer, Hj Mas Reduan Hj Jumat pointed that not only is it an offence for a mukallaf to neglect the Friday prayer, it is also a sin.

The audience also picked up on clothing etiquette as one member asked , “Is wearing ‘bikini’ in a swimming pool subject to the Syariah Penal Code?”

“This issue is not clear cut,” said Ustazah Pg Norhayati Pg Hj Kasharan. However, you can be penalised for wear inappropriate clothing which is considered an indecent act, said Pg Norhayati.

Subject to section 197 of the Syariah Penal Code, a person can be punished for indecent act. To be punishable under this section, the person must meet these four categories, namely 1) whether the act harms the image of islam; 2) whether the act damages the person’s character; 3) whether the act brings bad influence to others; and 4) whether the action could cause anger for those who witnessed the indecent act.

“Therefore, if wearing ‘bikini’ falls under the four categories mentioned above, the person can be punishable under section 197,” told the Religious Officer of Islamic Da’wah Centre.

Depending on the evidence and guidelines for certain parties, the person can be fined up to $2,000 or 6 months in jail or both.

The Brunei Times

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