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CASE OF THE WEEK

 

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Federal and State law - Islamic law Enactment - Constitutionality - Section 53 Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 - Requirement of tauliah as prerequisite to teach religion of Islam - Enactment of section - Whether in breach of the Federal Constitution - Heads or fields of legislation in legislative lists of Federal Constitution - Whether to be liberally interpreted - Whether to be given widest significance - Federal Constitution, art. 74(2) & Item 1, State List, Ninth Schedule

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Jurisdiction - Syariah Court - Syariah Court of Negeri Sembilan - Offence of teaching religion of Islam without a tauliah - Section 53(1) Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 - Whether constituting an order of Ulil Amri - Whether properly a matter within criminal jurisdiction of Syariah Court - Federal Constitution, art. 74(2) & Item 1, State List, Ninth Schedule

ISLAMIC LAW: Precepts of Islam - Teaching of religion - Requirement of tauliah - Teaching of religion of Islam without tauliah - Whether an offence against precepts of Islam - Whether requirement an order of Ulil Amri - Whether to prevent deviant teachings and division in society - Whether binding on Muslims - Federal Constitution, art. 74(2) & Item 1, State List, Ninth Schedule - Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992, s. 53(1) - Administration of the Religion of Islam (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 2003, s. 118

WORDS & PHRASES: "Precepts of Islam" - Item 1, State List, Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution - Whether derived from the Qur'an - Purport and meaning


FATHUL BARI MAT JAHYA & ANOR v. MAJLIS AGAMA ISLAM NEGERI SEMBILAN & ORS
FEDERAL COURT, PUTRAJAYA
ARIFIN ZAKARIA CJ, ZULKEFLI MAKINUDIN CJ (MALAYA), ABDULL HAMID EMBONG FCJ, SURIYADI HALIM OMAR FCJ, HASAN LAH FCJ
[PETITION NO: 3/2010]
30 MAY 2012
[2012] CLJ JT(2)

The first petitioner was charged in the Syariah Subordinate Court, Negeri Sembilan for an offence under s. 53(1) of the Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 ('the Enactment') for conducting a religious talk without a tauliah, while the second petitioner was charged with abetting the offence. The petitioners sought to challenge the validity and constitutionality of the said s. 53 and, having been granted leave there for, argued before the learned justices of the Federal Court herein that the section was invalid for breaching art. 74(2) and Item 1, State List, Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution ('the Constitution'), and secondly that since s. 53 did not fall within the realm of Item 1, the Syariah Court of Negeri Sembilan therefore had no jurisdiction to try an offence under the section. It was not in dispute that art. 74(2) read with Item 1 of the State List, Ninth Schedule of the Constitution conferred on the State Legislature the power to make laws with respect to the "creation and punishment of offences by persons professing the religion of Islam against precepts of that religion". The petitioners however contended that teaching the religion of Islam without a tauliah is not an offence against the pillars or precepts of Islam, and that the State Legislature therefore had exceeded its legislative authority when it enacted s. 53 and made it such an offence. The respondents inter alia retorted that the incident whereby the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) had examined Muaz bin Jabal before accrediting him with the authority to teach the religion of Islam to society implied that a tauliah was indeed required before anyone could be allowed to preach the religion. It was further argued that s. 53 of the Enactment was effectually an order of the Ulil Amri (the Government), and since it was not contrary to the Al-Quran or As-Sunnah, every Muslim was bound to abide by the order. Upon the arguments thus regurgitated by the parties, it was incumbent on the learned judges to delve into the issue of whether the requirement of a tauliah for the teaching of the religion of Islam did fall within the precepts of Islam, and if so, whether the first applicant committed an offence against the precepts of Islam and attracted thereby the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

Held (dismissing petition with no order as to costs)

Per Arifin Zakaria CJ delivering the judgment of the court:

(1) There is a clear authority premised on the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning the sending of Muaz bin Jabal to Yemen that some sort of verification is necessary before a preacher is allowed to teach the religion to others. In any event, all the experts share the common view that the teaching of Islam needs to be regulated to prevent deviant teachings. The authority must first verify whether a preacher is sufficiently qualified to teach or preach a religion and this must be done before the preacher goes around preaching. Clearly, the requirement of a tauliah is just a mechanism to achieve this purpose. (para 19)

(2) The term "precepts of Islam" which covers the three main domains of aqidah, syariah and akhlak (creed, law and morality) must be accorded a wide and liberal meaning. This is in line with the authorities on the interpretation of heads or fields of the legislation as appearing in the legislative lists of the Federal Constitution. Each entry in each legislative list must therefore be given its widest significance and its scope cannot be curtailed save to the extent necessary to give effect to other legislative entries. (Sulaiman bin Takrib v. Kerajaan Negeri Terengganu (Kerajaan Malaysia, intervener) & Other Applications, foll), Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Alam Sekitar & Anor v. Kajing Tubek & Ors and Other Appeals, foll) (paras 12 & 20)

(3) The requirement of a tauliah for the purpose of protecting the public interest falls within the concept of Siyasah Syari'yah. Such order or direction is made not merely to prevent deviant teachings, but also to maintain order and prevent division in the community. Clearly, no one could suggest that the requirement of a tauliah as stipulated in s. 53 of the Enactment is a maksiat (vice). On the contrary, it is necessary in this day and age for the authority to regulate the teachings or preaching of the religion in order to control, if not eliminate, deviant teachings. The integrity of the religion needs to be safeguarded at all cost. That is what s. 53 purports to do. This being the case, the contention that the Syariah Court in Negeri Sembilan does not have the jurisdiction to try an offence under s. 53 of the Enactment is devoid of any merit. (paras 26 & 27)

(4) The purpose of s. 53 of the Enactment is clear in that it seeks to protect the integrity of the aqidah, syariah and akhlak which constitutes the precepts of Islam. The requirement is necessary to ensure that only a person who is qualified to teach the religion is allowed to do so. This is a measure to stop the spread of deviant teachings among Muslims which is an offence under s. 52 of the Enactment. It is commonly accepted that deviant teachings among Muslims is an offence against the precepts of Islam. It follows that there is merit in the respondent's contention that, by necessary implication, the teaching of Islam without a tauliah could be construed as an offence against the precepts of Islam. Likewise, it follows that the State Legislative Assembly of Negeri Sembilan had acted within its legislative power in enacting s. 53 of the Enactment. (para 24)

(5) Section 53 of the Enactment is enacted pursuant to s. 2 of the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, a federal legislation conferring criminal jurisdiction to the Syariah Courts in respect of offences against the precepts of the religion of Islam by persons professing that religion. It follows further therefore that the Syariah Court of Negeri Sembilan is conferred with the necessary jurisdiction to try such an offence. (para 28)

(6) This court is in complete agreement with the view of the Mufti of Negeri Sembilan that s. 53 of the Enactment is an order or direction made by Ulil Amri or the Government and for as long as the order or direction is not contrary to Al-Quran or As-sunnah and is not an order or direction to engage in maksiat, it is obligatory upon Muslims to abide by such order or direction. Obedience to such order or direction constitutes a precept of Islam. (para 25)

Bahasa Malaysia Translation Of Headnotes

Pempetisyen pertama telah dituduh di Mahkamah Rendah Syariah, Negeri Sembilan dengan kesalahan di bawah s. 53(1) Enakmen Jenayah Syariah (Negeri Sembilan) 1992 ('Enakmen') kerana mengadakan ceramah agama tanpa tauliah, sementara pempetisyen kedua dituduh bersubahat dengan pempetisyen pertama. Kedua-dua pempetisyen berhasrat untuk mencabar kesahan dan keperlembagaan s. 53 tersebut dan, setelah memperoleh kebenaran untuknya, berhujah di hadapan yang arif hakim-hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan di sini bahawa s. 53 adalah tak sah kerana melanggar peruntukan fasal 74(2) dan Perkara 1, Senarai Negeri, Jadual Kesembilan, Perlembagaan Persekutuan ('Perlembagaan'), dan keduanya, oleh kerana s. 53 tidak termasuk ke dalam skop Perkara 1, maka Mahkamah Syariah Negeri Sembilan adalah tidak berbidangkuasa untuk mendengar dan memutuskan kesalahan di bawah seksyen tersebut. Tidak dinafikan bahawa fasal 74(2), dibaca bersama Perkara 1, Senarai Negeri, Jadual Kesembilan Perlembagaan, memberi kuasa kepada Badan Perundangan Negeri untuk membuat undang-undang berhubung dengan "pewujudan dan penghukuman kesalahan yang dilakukan oleh orang-orang yang menganut agama Islam terhadap perintah agama itu". Pempetisyen-pempetisyen bagaimanapun berhujah bahawa mengajar agama Islam tanpa tauliah bukanlah satu kesalahan terhadap perintah atau ajaran agama Islam, dan bahawa Badan Perundangan Negeri dengan itu telah melangkaui kuasa perundangannya apabila menggubal s. 53 dan menjadikan perbuatan tersebut suatu kesalahan. Responden-responden menghujah balas antara lain bahawa peristiwa di mana Nabi (selawat dan salam ke atasnya) telah menyoal-selidik Muaz bin Jabal sebelum mengizinkannya mengajar agama Islam kepada masyarakat secara tidak langsung menunjukkan bahawa suatu tauliah adalah diperlukan sebelum seseorang boleh dibenarkan untuk mengajar agama. Dihujahkan selanjutnya bahawa s. 53 secara berkesannya adalah suatu perintah Ulil Amri, dan oleh kerana ianya tidak bercanggah dengan Al-Qur'an ataupun As-Sunnah, maka setiap Muslim wajib mematuhinya. Berdasarkan kepada hujah-hujah yang dibangkitkan oleh pihak-pihak, menjadi kewajipan kepada yang arif hakim-hakim untuk mentelaah persoalan sama ada keperluan mendapatkan tauliah untuk mengajar agama Islam termasuk ke dalam perintah agama Islam, dan jika begitu sama ada pemohon pertama telah melakukan kesalahan terhadap perintah tersebut sekaligus menjadikannya satu kesalahan yang berada di bawah bidangkuasa Mahkamah Syariah.

Diputuskan (menolak petisyen tanpa perintah mengenai kos)

Oleh Arifin Zakaria KHN menyampaikan penghakiman mahkamah:

(1) Terdapat autoriti jelas berasaskan Hadith Nabi (selawat dan salam ke atasnya) berhubung dengan penghantaran Muaz bin Jabal ke Yaman bahawa suatu bentuk pentauliahan adalah perlu sebelum seseorang boleh dibenarkan mengajar agama kepada orang lain. Apapun, ulamak-ulamak sependapat bahawa pengajaran agama Islam perlu dikawalselia bagi menghalang ajaran sesat. Pihak berkuasa harus terlebih dahulu menentukan sama ada seseorang pengajar itu berkelayakan secukupnya untuk mengajar dan mengembangkan agama dan ini harus dibuat sebelum si pengajar keluar ke dalam masyarakat untuk mengajar. Adalah jelas bahawa syarat mengenai tauliah hanyalah mekanisma untuk mencapai maksud ini.

(2) Terma "perintah agama Islam" yang merangkumi persoalan pokok aqidah, syariah dan akhlak harus diberikan pentafsiran yang liberal. Ini selaras dengan autoriti-autoriti berkaitan dengan tajuk-tajuk atau bidang-bidang perundangan seperti yang terdapat di dalam senarai-senarai perundangan Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Oleh itu, setiap butiran dalam setiap senarai perundangan hendaklah diberikan kepentingannya yang seluas mungkin, dan skopnya tidak harus diperkecilkan kecuali setakat yang perlu untuk memberi kesan kepada butiran-butiran perundangan lain. (Sulaiman bin Takrib v. Kerajaan Negeri Terengganu (Kerajaan Malaysia, Intervener) & Other Applications (diikuti), Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Alam Sekitar & Anor v. Kajing Tubek & Ors and Other Appeals, (diikuti)).

(3) Keperluan tauliah bagi maksud melindungi kepentingan awam adalah termasuk di bawah konsep Siyasah Syari'yah. Perintah atau arahan sedemikian bukan hanya dibuat bagi membendung ajaran sesat, tetapi juga untuk menjaga keamanan awam dan menghalang perpecahan dalam masyarakat. Jelasnya, tiada seorang pun boleh mendakwa bahawa keperluan tauliah seperti yang ditetapkan oleh s. 53 Enakmen adalah satu maksiat. Sebaliknya, dalam keadaan sekarang, adalah perlu untuk pihak berkuasa menyelia penyebaran dan pengajaran agama Islam bagi mengawal, jikapun tidak membanteras, ajaran sesat. Inilah yang hendak dibuat oleh s. 53, dan berdasarkan kedudukan ini, hujah bahawa Mahkamah Syariah di Negeri Sembilan tidak berbidangkuasa untuk mendengar kesalahan di bawah s. 53 Enakmen adalah tidak bermerit.

(4) Tujuan s. 53 Enakmen adalah jelas iaitu untuk melindungi keunggulan aqidah, syariah dan akhlak yang merupakan ajaran agama Islam. Seksyen 53 adalah perlu untuk mempastikan bahawa hanya mereka yang layak sahaja dibenar mengajar agama Islam. Ini adalah langkah untuk membendung penyebaran ajaran sesat di kalangan orang Islam yang merupakan satu kesalahan di bawah s. 52 Enakmen. Sudah diterima ramai bahawa menyebar ajaran sesat di kalangan orang Islam adalah suatu kesalahan terhadap ajaran Islam. Ianya mengikut bahawa terdapat merit pada hujah responden-responden bahawa, secara implikasi, mengajar agama Islam tanpa tauliah boleh ditafsir sebagai satu kesalahan terhadap ajaran Islam. Ianya juga mengikut bahawa Dewan Undangan Negeri Sembilan bertindak dalam kuasa perundangannya apabila menggubal s. 53 Enakmen.

(5) Seksyen 53 Enakmen digubal di bawah s. 2 Akta Mahkamah Syariah (Bidangkuasa Jenayah) 1965, satu undang-undang persekutuan yang memberi bidangkuasa jenayah kepada Mahkamah Syariah berhubung kesalahan-kesalahan terhadap ajaran agama Islam oleh penganut-penganut agama tersebut. Ianya dengan itu mengikut selanjutnya bahawa Mahkamah Syariah Negeri Sembilan adalah berbidangkuasa untuk mendengar kes yang sedemikian.

(6) Mahkamah bersetuju sepenuhnya dengan pandangan Mufti Negeri Sembilan bahawa s. 53 Enakmen adalah merupakan perintah atau arahan yang dibuat oleh Ulil Amri atau Kerajaan dan selagi perintah atau arahan tersebut tidak bercanggahan dengan Al-Qur'an atau As-Sunnah dan bukan merupakan perintah atau arahan untuk berkecimpung dalam maksiat, maka adalah wajib untuk orang-orang Islam mematuhi perintah atau arahan tersebut. Pematuhan kepada perintah atau arahan sedemikian adalah sebahagian dari ajaran Islam.

Case(s) referred to:

Ah Thian v. Government of Malaysia [1976] 1 LNS 3 FC (refd)

Diamond Sugar Mills v. State of UP AIR (48) 1961 Supreme Court 652 (refd)

Dorairajan v. State of Madras (FB) AIR (38) 1951 Madras 120 [CN 14] (refd)

Harakchand Ratanchand Banthia v. Union of India AIR 1970 Supreme Court 1453 (refd)

In re CP Motor Spirit Act AIR 1939 Federal Court 1 (refd)

Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Alam Sekitar & Anor v. Kajing Tubek & Ors and Other Appeals [1997] 4 CLJ 253 CA (foll)

Mamat Daud & Ors v. The Government of Malaysia [1986] 2 CLJ 118; [1986] CLJ (Rep) 190 SC (refd)

Subramaniam v. Muthuswami AIR 1941 FC 47 (refd)

Sulaiman Takrib v. Kerajaan Negeri Terengganu; Kerajaan Malaysia (Intervener) & Other Cases [2009] 2 CLJ 54 FC (foll)

Punjab D Industries v. IT Commr AIR (52) 1965 Supreme Court 1862 (refd)

Union of India v. Shri Harbhajan Singh Dhillon [1971] 2 SCC 779 (refd)

United Provinces v. Mt. Atiqa Begum and Other AIR 1941 Federal Court 16 (refd)

Legislation referred to:

Administration of the Religion of Islam (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 2003, s. 118

Federal Constitution, arts. 4(4), 74(2), 128(1)(a)

Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, s. 2

Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992, s. 53(1)

For the petitioners - Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin (Hasnal Rezua Merican & Lim Kon Keen with him); M/s The Chambers of Kamarul Hisham & Hasnal Rezua

For the 1st respondent - Hanif Hassan; M/s Hanif Hassan & Co

For the 2nd respondent (State Government of Negeri Sembilan) - Dato' Ishak Sahari; State Legal Advisor of Negeri Sembilan

For the 3rd respondent (Government of Malaysia) - Datin Hjh Azizah Hj Nawawi (Suzana Atan & Arik Sanusi Yeop Johari with her) SFCs

Reported by Wan Sharif Ahmad

 
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