Siti Kassim and Secularism

  Siti Kassim displayed her prowess in her recent comment on Hudud. She encouraged others to discuss, debate and share views on the matter...



Siti Kassim displayed her prowess in her recent comment on Hudud. She encouraged others to discuss, debate and share views on the matter. The thing is, the last time she went to a discussion she wanted to give a speech while being a member of the audience.

Her antics at a forum organised by Karangkraf in Shah Alam gave her fame. She became famous for showing her middle finger to the crowd. A few days ago there was another forum held on Act 355, but she was absent. There have been many discussions pertaining Act 355 as of late. Maybe she could not attend enough of these sessions and hence her opinion to have more discussion.

Many of these forums do not favour her views and opinions. Let’s see some of her points in an article published by FreeMalaysiaToday titled “Siti Kasim: Fear driving Muslims from questioning hudud”. According to Siti many are afraid to voice out their views on Islam.

Here is the catch, there is a difference between views and questions. Questions can be asked by anyone at all. From scholars to laymen, everyone has the right to ask questions. Questions are asked to clarify matters that need further understanding. So yes, Siti has all the rights in the world to be asking questions about issues that she does not know or wishes to comprehend.

However when presenting views, one has to be knowledgeable in the field. You cannot give views if you have not been educated in a particular field. Asking laymen to give views on Syariah is like asking a plumber to perform brain surgery(I have nothing against plumbers, this is just an example). For the sake of argument, if the plumber made it to the operating theatre, we can all guess the results.

You can give views, just like a plumber can stray into an operating theatre and perform surgery. The views would be meaningless and with disastrous results. Likewise Siti has been known to cause a stir in the society with her “views”. Views with respect to a topic should be given by those who are well read.

Siti referred to PAS and various religious bodies as “Islamofascists”. It is interesting to note that, public display of anger, rejecting opposing views and demeaning others does contain hints of fascism in itself. Accusing others of fascism while doing it yourself does not seem right. I have to say that I do not agree that PAS and other religious bodies practice this ideology.

Siti also said that one can’t claim Hudud to be God’s law. Well here is the verse concerning Hudud from the Qur’an,

And judge, [O Muhammad], between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations and beware of them, lest they tempt you away from some of what Allah has revealed to you. And if they turn away – then know that Allah only intends to afflict them with some of their [own] sins. And indeed, many among the people are defiantly disobedient.
Qur’an 5:49

Let’s move on to some of her other claims. She says secular laws are more Islamic than the Hudud. One has to ask Siti on the definition of Islamic. Because she does not want to accept the punishments prescribed in the Qur’an and/or hadith but claims secular laws to be more Islamic. This is an oxymoron, how can something that is intended to keep religion away be more religious.

Secular in basic words means, to separate between state and religion. How can something that separates religion be more religious than religion itself? And yes, I do not understand what she means either. Siti also chose to comment on a Qur’anic verse.

Due to the presence of appeal to emotion fallacy we shall not entertain that statement of hers. Hopefully all of us can strive to gain more knowledge before giving out views. It is far better to seek answers by question, rather than giving out half baked views.

Seeking knowledge has been made obligatory in Islam. It is for all those who claim to be Muslims to follow this commandment. We pray that we are guided to the right path by Him and if we stray He puts us back on track. May our lives here be blessed for the sake of a better one in the hereafter.

Rehan Ahmad Bin Jamaluddin Ahmad
Research Fellow, Institut Kajian Strategik Islam Malaysia (IKSIM)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of, and should not be attributed to, Isma or Ismaweb.

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