Understanding Act 355 and Hudud in Malaysia

This piece is written by Siti Kasim, a lawyer in Malaysia and a lady that is passionate about helping the less fortunate. This was written after the Shariah Act Forum that she attended. Am sharing it here because at the end of the day, no matter how the authorities try to convince us, this does affect the non-muslim in the country as well. 

I wanted to point out that the PAS speaker was misleading the audience in terms of the law. He failed to mention the real hierarchy of laws in our country. The speakers from PAS and UMNO insisted it is not a HUDUD bill. Of course it is not a HUDUD Bill but it has everything to do with HUDUD. Without this amendment to the limit of punishment in the Syariah Courts, they wouldn't be able to mete out the punishment already stated in their HUDUD ENACTMENT.

As pointed out by the rep from MCA, in which it was conveniently not answered, that JAKIM's intention in a proposal by them was to implement HUDUD to the whole country and they are going to start with the amendment to Act 355. So, there it is... their first round of plan is in operation.

I think most of the audience and the Malays do not understand the significance of this Act 355. The Bill seeks to introduce a new Section 2A into the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or Act 355 to increase the Shariah Court’s power to pass sentences. The proposed Section 2A removes the restriction on punishment for offences against the precepts of Islam that the Shariah Courts can currently impose: imprisonment not exceeding a term of three years, a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit, whipping not exceeding six strokes, or any combination of these punishments (which has come to be known as the “3-6-5 provisions”). No sentence of death can be imposed under the new Section 2A, but the amendment would appear to confer Shariah Courts with unlimited power to impose all other hudud punishments. Hudud offences include offences like zina (adultery), qazaf (false accusation of committing zina), syrub (alcohol consumption) and irtidad or riddah (apostasy) and according to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (II) (1993) 2015 Enactment, punishment for these is whipping, ranging from 40 to 100 lashes. The Bill also seeks to substitute the existing Section 2 in Act 355 with a new section that appears to widen the scope of the Shariah Court’s existing criminal jurisdiction, which is currently limited to offences by Muslims against Islam.

Now, the Islamists will ask why am I opposing this because it is Allah's will!! NO! NO! NO! It is not Allah's Will nor is it God's laws!! We, as Malays must be allowed to openly discuss these so call punishment set out by this Mullahs. Are they really God's punishment? I will share an example of the real God's punishment in theft compare to these Mullah's law later. That is why, I refuse to be governed by these man-made laws under the pretext of Islam. These people are selling Islam. We have been duped for so long.

I know these hardliners are not easy to convince due to the complete brainwashing from their Ostards and Mullahs and most of all our system. Therefore, as a Malaysian Citizen in which my rights are protected under the Constitution and to respect the rights of those who believe they must adhere to their Ostards and Mullahs, I propose we are given the choice to either be governed under the Secular Laws or the Religious Laws. They keep saying why do we want to stop them from practising their belief, so we must not stop them. Those Malays who do not want to be governed under these man-made religious laws, should be allowed to opt out. I will never submit to these man-made laws guise under the cloak of Islam.

If our government of the day, can accommodate this, I promise you, I will never, never interfere with the running of your Islam. I will mind my own business.

My battle all these while was not because of being courageous and brave but because I AM IN FEAR. I am fearful that these Mullahs are taking me away from the true Islam. The Islam that I know as beautiful and full of compassion.

To all that have smeared my name, I forgive you and I hope you will find the true Islam in your lifetime. God has been kind to me by giving me a strong constitution to not be affected by the name-calling and even to the extent in calling me an apostate.

Read the Quran in the language you understand and seek to understand it from people who have no personal agenda.

I want to show you comparison of what is man-made and God's punishment. It is a bit heavy but it's quite easy to understand.


To cut off the thief's hands.


The punishment enforced in some Islamic countries for the crime of theft is based on the wrong interpretation of the following verse:

[5:38] The male thief, and the female thief, you shall ‘eqta’u’ (cut) their hands as a penalty for what they have committed, and to serve as a deterrent from God. God is Dignified, Wise.

According to the incorrect interpretation of 5:38, the law in these Islamic countries deems the punishment of severing the hand of anyone caught stealing. But is this the correct interpretation of God's words in 5:38?

To determine the correct meaning of 5:38 we must analyse the key word in this verse which is the Arabic word "eqta’u".

The word ‘eqta’u’ (which is the command from of the word ‘qata’aa’) has been wrongly interpreted by the traditional scholars to mean ‘to sever’. But the word for sever in Arabic is ‘batara’ and not ‘qata’aa’.

In 108:3 we read the word ‘abtar” which speaks of he who whose progeny has been cut off/severed.

In 5:38 God did not use the word ‘batara’ but used the word ‘eqta’u’.

The Arabic word ‘qata’aa’, and how it is used, is not any different from the use of the same word (cut) in English.

The word ‘cut’ can mean sever/cut off and can also mean to cause a cut or wound.

Example: You may be working in the kitchen one day and you accidently make a small cut in your hand with the knife, then you would tell your wife “I have cut my hand”! Does this mean you have completely severed your hand? Obviously not, it only means you have made a cut in your hand or marked it.


The Quran gives us confirmation that the correct meaning of the word ‘iqta’oo’ (command form of qatta’a) in 5:38 is to cause a cut/mark and not to sever.

When we read the story of the Prophet Joseph in Sura 12 we read another instance where the word ‘qatta’a’ is used. In 12:31 we read how the women guests of the lady of the house upon seeing how handsome Joseph was, their impulsive reaction was to ‘qattaana’ (plural femine of qatta’a) their hands with the knives given to them. The question here is: Did these women completely sever their hands? Obviously not, they only made a cut/mark in their hands.

We note that the exact word ‘qatta’a’ is used in 5:38 and also in 12:31.

God gives a clear sign that the same word ‘qatta’a’ in both verses has the same meaning. God confirms that every word and every verse in the Quran has been perfected and thus there are is nothing coincidental in the Quran:

[11:1] A.L.R. This is a book whose verses have been perfected.

Consequently, part of the punishment for theft according to the Most Merciful is to mark or make a visible cut in the hand of the offender so as to shame him in front of the people. This social humiliation is part of the deterrent.


But this is not all! If causing a cut in the hand of the thief were the only punishment then it would not in many cases not be sufficient deterrent to stop the thief from re-offending.

The second course of action decreed in the Quran for the one who commits theft is based on the law of equivalence:

[5:45] And We decreed for them in it that a life for a life, an eye an the eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth and equivalence regarding wounds. If one forfeits what is due to him as a charity, it will atone for his sins. Those who do not rule by what God has brought down are the unjust.

By virtue of the law set out by God for equivalence in 5:45, a thief who robs another person should be made to compensate the victim by working for him till the victim is fully paid for all damage incurred.

Simply going to prison will not compensate the victim in any way!

So for example, the thief who is convicted of stealing a thousand dollars from you must work for you until you are fully paid for the thousand dollars you lost, plus any other damage and inconvenience the theft may have caused you.

This Quranic solution maintains justice for all, the thief's innocent wife and children are not deprived of their man or the income he brings home to the family. Moreover, the expensive prison system in this case is eliminated.


God, the Most Merciful, does not cause any person to be punished for the sins of another (6:164). Severing the hand of the thief would permanently deprive him of his livelihood and as a result, his family and dependants would experience hardship for no fault of theirs!

God’s law is fair and God’s wisdom is unequalled.

Applying the correct punishment for theft would give the offender the opportunity to repent and reform after the full punishment is completed and the victim has been compensated.


Severing the hand of the thief constitutes a life-long punishment that cannot be reversed should the offender genuinely wish to repent and reform.

In all the Quran, there are no life-long punishments! Even the punishment of adultery, which is considered one of the greatest sins, is not a life-long punishment.

The reason that there are no life-long punishments in the Quran is simply because God being the Most Merciful accepts the repentance of all who repent sincerely and reform. A life-long punishment would violate the concept of someone being forgiven. A forgiven person has no further punishment, but a man with a severed hand is punished for the rest of his life, even if he repents and reforms!

God gives us in the very next verse (5:39) further conclusive evidence for the correct meaning of the punishment for theft.

[5:39] Then whoever repents after his transgression, and reforms, God redeems him. God is Forgiver, Merciful.

In 5:39 God says that He will ‘yatoob’ (redeem) all those who repent and reform. The verse ends with the words God is Forgiver, Merciful. When God ‘yatoob’ (redeems) any person, forgives him (Forgiver) and grants him His mercy (Merciful), this means that this person is no longer punished.

Needless to say, a person with a severed arm will have a life-long punishment that cannot be reversed and thus can never be free of his punishment!

Those who insist on claiming that the punishment of theft is to sever the hand of the thief are therefore those who reject God’s infinite mercy.

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.


  1. Wonderful words! I get a totally different picture of Islam from Siti's words. The religion has been hijacked after the Prophet's demise, by religious apparatchiks. Now we have to wait for the oil to finish.




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