Can Maqasid Syariah be a national agenda? Why? How?
The cause of implementing Syariah Criminal Law (wrongly dubbed as Hudud law) has always been portrayed as a Muslim and Muslim-only agenda which must be supported by all Muslims and from which all non-Muslims must stay out.
Underlying this Muslim-agenda discourse is the myth that such law affects only the Muslims. Not only non-Muslims are affected if they fell prey to Muslim thieves or robbers, the intention of implementing Syariah Criminal is to change the nature of the nation-state by creating a Muslim core-nation. This is in fact a water-downed version of Daulah Islamiyah (Islamic State) politics, which aims to erase the legacies of colonial rule and replace the post-colonial secular nation-states with theocratic governance or even a single Caliphate.
Many Islamic scholars and politicians however questioned such a formalistic and legalistic view of Syariah. For them, Syariah is more than laws. Instead of implementing specific Syariah laws, what should have been pursued is maqasid syariah. The classical concept of maqasid syariah listed the preservation of faith, life, reason, wealth and lineage. Latter and contemporary scholars like Qaradawi added to the list freedom, justice, human dignity, welfare, etc.
In sharp contrast with the agenda of Syariah cirminal law or Daulah Islamyiah which naturally divide Muslims and non-Muslims, the pursuit of maqasid syariah is not divisive. First, it is not dogmatic and obsessed with forms to erase colonial and plural legacies. Second and most of all, it is not a nationalist agenda to place Muslims above others or segregate them from others.
This forum hopes to enlighten Malaysians especially the non-Muslim/non-Islamist constituency about this refreshing discourse and its potentials. Our panelists (all Muslim male) are expected to explain what maqasid syariah is and how its possible implementation may benefit all Malaysians, while our discussants (two of whom are non-Muslim and female) are expected to examine the former’s proposal and raise their queries from their own concerns and causes.
*Forum will be conducted in Malay & English.
Date: 18/11/2015 (Wed)
Venue: Auditorium of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall