Criticism of Syariah law due to blurred vision
Azlan Othman

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said yesterday that the newly-launched Syariah Penal Code has attracted negative responses due to the critics’ blurred vision of Islam.

In a titah at the 3rd Hafl Al-Takharruj (Convocation) of Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) at the International Convention Centre in Berakas, His Majesty, who is also the Chancellor of UNISSA said, “After we launched the Syariah Penal Code, many negative responses have reached us. These responses definitely come from their (critics’) blurred vision of Islam”.

His Majesty said that UNISSA should act as a mechanism to tackle the criticism of Allah the Almighty’s laws by those who do not understand the laws.

“This (criticism of Syariah Penal Code) did not baffle us as the Al-Quran and Al-Hadith since over 1,400 years ago have told us about this matter. Hence, we should not waste time to wait or to hope for such blurred vision to become bright.

“It is not necessary as it would not happen.

“What is important is that we have received praise from the people in this country indicating that their understanding (of the Syariah law) is high.

“We have also received praise from some outsiders. All these praises, may Allah the Almighty give (them) rewards.

“There are people who talk about our human rights, supposedly our efforts to uphold the laws of Allah the Almighty are seen as a step backwards and outdated. This does not surprise us as we and they (critics) have different views on this matter. Their perspective is only from the heart, while our perspective is based on the laws of Allah the Almighty.”

Also present were His Royal Highness Prince (Dr) Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, as the Pro-Chancellor of UNISSA, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna and YAM Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar.

His Majesty said with the graduation of more students, the number of knowledgeable persons has increased and will become a shield against the challenges brought about by globalisation such as global crime and Internet Ulama (scholars) who spread teachings against the Al-Quran.

“The more determined we are to empower Islamic teachings, the more we are disturbed,” the monarch said, citing the Syariah Penal Code as an example.

His Majesty said UNISSA should strive to produce experts or scholars who will become the nation’s source of strength. The quality of human resource should be measured in line with its motto, ‘True Islam’ and the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) philosophy. “We did not let UNISSA choose another basis besides Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. This is crucial in our effort to add value to UNISSA.”

On the development of UNISSA, His Majesty was pleased to note that UNISSA was planning several courses besides law programmes that would assist in implementing the Syariah Penal Code.

UNISSA is not only seen as a platform to deepen knowledge of the law but also acts as a mechanism to jointly tackle the criticism of Allah the Almighty’s laws by those who did not understand the laws.

On infrastructure development, His Majesty said, “I am inclined if the permanent campus of UNISSA is located in Temburong which would become a landmark in the development of Temburong. Temburong would automatically become the centre of Islamic civilisation and we certainly imagine Temburong would develop rapidly and become more attractive in the future.

“Imagine with the construction of the bridge linking the (Brunei) capital and Temburong, it would shorten the journey (between the two areas).

His Majesty expressed his thanks and deep appreciation to UNISSA’s administration, workforce and parents of the graduates who attended yesterday’s convocation. “May Allah the Almighty bless our efforts for UNISSA.”

His Majesty then awarded the degrees to 148 graduates. Out of the total, one received a doctorate’s degree, 20 received master’s degrees, 10 received post-graduate diplomas, 110 received their first degree and seven obtained diplomas. - Borneo Bulletin (3 November 2013)