To swear or not to swear..Posted: August 18, 2008
..that is the question. For Anwar Ibrahim, at least.
Since Saiful swore on the Quran on Friday, one day before nomination Day in Permatang Pauh, the heat has been on Anwar to do the same.
Perception is as perception goes, swearing on the Quran is such a solemn act that one tends to believe that whoever is swearing on the Quran must be telling the truth.
I think I’m not too far off when I say that there have been people to second-think their loyalties and support for Anwar after Saiful swore on the Quran on Friday.
For others, me included, the timing was just to perfect.
Nevertheless, it was swearing on the Quran. No small matter, even to a non-Muslim like me.
But respected Islamic people like Nik Aziz have come out to say that swearing on the Quran is “non-Islamic”. That because during the Prophet Muhammad’s time, there was simply no Quran to swear upon, and therefore not recognised as an “Islamic” act.
I found this link somewhere in the comments section on Malaysian Insider. Written by a certain Hajj Ahmad Thomson, who is a barrister specialising in Charities, Employment, Discrimination and Islamic Law, in the UK.
8 pages long, and well worth the read.
The gist of it goes like this:
[…] when a Muslim is swearing an oath it is not necessary for him or her to hold a Qur’an, since the oath is “by Allah” and not “on the Qur’an”
“Not necessary”, he said. But still done, especially in today’s world. Why?
Strictly speaking holding a Qur’an or referring to the Qur’an when swearing an oath “by Allah” is not necessary, but it would nevertheless be fair to say that for many Muslims, holding a copy of the Qur’an when swearing an oath by Allah is an outward demonstration to those who are present that they intend by this action to emphasise that their oath is a sincere and solemn oath.
I don’t want to challenge anything here. I think swearing, whether on God’s name, or “by Allah”, or on a holy book, or merely just swearing (NOT of the vulgar type), is a solemn act, and one to be done only in the most serious of events.
What I’m curious of, is the exact same question that Lim Kit Siang asked in his blog post:
Will the criminal charge of Sodomy II against Anwar under Section 377B under the Penal Code for consensual sodomy be withdrawn if Anwar swears on the Quran?
If we were to imagine for a moment, that Anwar does swear on the Quran, say..later this evening. What would happen then?
Because instead of having two sets of allegations, with one by Saiful claiming that Anwar sodomised him, and another by Anwar saying that there is a conspiracy against him, we would now have two sets of “swearings”, if you like, on the Quran.
What difference does it make? We’re back at square one.
This swearing on the Quran, if Anwar were to do it, would produce the same situation that we’re in at the moment. Saiful saying “He did it”. Anwar saying “It’s a lie!”
The only difference, perhaps, would be the perception war. The psywar.
But then again, it comes back to the same predicament. If I were a very VERY religious Muslim, and will only believe those who choose to do everything the Islamic way (so to speak, no disrespect for anyone), I would be believing Saiful at this point. Why? Because Saiful has sworn on the Quran, and no one in their right, spiritual mind would EVER swear on the Quran, and lie.
But if Anwar were to swear on the Quran as well, then what would I believe? Who am I to believe? Because they have both sworn on the Quran, but two totally different stories.
So in the end, I have the choice of believing either one of them. Hence why I said, square one.
I’m fast losing my point here, so what I’m going to end with is this.. I don’t know if Anwar should swear on the Quran. In my believing that he is innocent, I don’t see what he has to lose. Those who argue that swearing on the Quran is not Islamic and advised him not to do so, can equally advise him to just make an oath “by Allah”. To me, it’s the same thing. But if I’m wrong, I stand corrected.
If Anwar were to make an oath “by Allah”, and not “on the Quran”, I’m pretty sure the ulamas, ustaz, and muftis in Malaysia would find it equally valid.
So should he? It would make no difference, except clear some minds who have started to suspect him. Which could very well be an important factor to consider.
But should he? Really?
I don’t know.
Afterthought: No matter whether Anwar swears or not, the matter remains the same. He has been charged, and I think there should be a free and just trial. Evidence should be put forward. And Anwar is, to me, still innocent until proven guilty.