Poll 27: the caning issue

September 8, 2009


[polldaddy poll=1964977]


It’s really difficult to make segregated laws for different religions in one community. Issues on unfairness and differences will arise, influencing people’s minds. One day you will believe in a law, the next you will be swayed in the other direction after someone points out a flaw. And vice versa.

Having read law in uni, I can tell you this much; no law is perfect, there will be objections and soon after will be amended to include exceptions.

Everybody knows the news of Kartika getting caned because she was found drinking alcohol in a hotel in Pahang.

Some support it “in the name of Islam” and some condemn it in the name of “human rights.”

The supporters usually go for the following arguments:

  • stated in quran that drinking is forbidden. The situation in our country is such that drinking is done so openly and some Muslims admit they drink with pride. It’s getting out of hand, and we need a heavy punishment to stop Muslims from drinking.
  • Even if the drinker repents, punishment still has to be done for deterrence purposes
  • Caning in Islamic law doesn’t mean the same as caning in civil law (it’s less harsh?)
  • Caning is stated in the hadith, a supplement to the Quran. So it is not a man-made law.

The opposers say this:

  • breaches her human rights to be protected from degrading treatment
  • there are other sins much worse than drinking alcohol
  • Why only her?
  • Are they kidding themselves? If they want to catch people drinking, the first place that should come to mind is to raid nightclubs.
  • Quran doesn’t state form of punishment, it just states that drinking alcohol is wrong (but hadith states caning)
  • Laws should be revised according to our times
  • Is it our place as human beings to punish other human beings? Shouldn\’92t that be up to God?

I’m a Muslim and I know that our guidance in life is the Quran. As Muslims, we should try to emulate the ideal Muslim portrayed in the Quran, and should respect God’s wishes.

But faith, to me, is personal. Some people take time to accept things, some people take a little bit longer to realise and repent. We are all human beings, who commit sins every single day. We make mistakes and if God can be forgiving, why can’t the law implementers be too? Are they that prophet-like that they don’t make other types of sins? It’s just really superficial to be caned by a group of people who themselves have committed sins in their lifetimes.


You want to cane a person to make sure she realises her mistakes and not repeat it.

Do you really think by humiliating her in the eyes of the world, by submitting Islam to the ridicule of many, by creating anger in the hearts of people around the world, you will achieve a better image of Islam? Do you really think she will stop drinking because she got caned? To the contrary, perhaps.

Islam isn’t about physical torture, Islam isn’t harsh.

I really don’t want to question Islamic law, and what God has set out for us. If God says cane, then I guess we must cane. But sometimes, it’s healthy for us to debate, exercise our brains and get some answers.

Maybe it can deter people from drinking because they’re scared to be caned, but we don’t want Muslims who follow blindly instructions without understanding the story behind it. If Muslims don’t drink because of fear of getting caned (and not because they really believe that drinking does a lot of harm), is that really something to be proud of in Islam?

Is that really the kind of Muslims we want to create?

Scared Muslims?

In other words, chickens?

I am aware that the drinking situation among young Muslims, especially, is getting out of hand. Some love to flaunt big wine bottles and admit to drinking with pride, with the “I got so wasted last night, maaannnn…” statements. I understand that it is wrong and as Muslims, we should not let this happen.

But I also think that by caning blindly, we won’t get anywhere. There is no point caning someone who just doesn’t see the justification of the rule, and is probably going to do it again. So the only way to soften the blow is by a softer touch; therapy, counseling, education. And also, to pick on one person is just unfair and can raise discriminatory issues. If you want to cane, cane all, not just one isolated female.

This is of course my 2 cents worth; some of you may agree, some might not. Nevertheless, I’d love to know where you stand on this.

SO, POLL 27: Is it right to cane Kartika for drinking, when it’s clearly stated in the Quran that drinking is forbidden in Islam? —-> Happy voting!