Responding to Prof. Tariq Ramadan’s Open Letter to President Joko Widodo
Dear Mr Tariq Ramadan.
Assalaamu’alaykum warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuh
I have a great deal of respect to you both as a Muslim and as a scholar of Islam. You have done a great deal of work for Islam, and may Allah reward you for it. And it is an honor that a scholar of your caliber paid special attention to my country. There are a few points I wish to say not to question your credentials as a scholar: I myself am not a scholar of Islam, just another Indonesian Muslim. Rather, it is just a product of the curious mind of a worried Muslim wishing to learn more as well as seeking counsel from a scholar of high esteem like you.
1. You may have already observed that we are not an Islamic state, so I am not sure really to what extent would Islamic laws such as hudud would be applicable. Yet it intrigues me to inquire further, what you think of Surah Al Maidah ayat 33, specifically on the following part?
إِنَّمَا جَزَاءُ الَّذِينَ …. وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الأَرْضِ فَسَاداً أَنْ يُقَتَّلُوا ….
(Indeed, the penalty for those who … and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed …)
To be really honest, seeing the problem of drugs and what it causes to the youth which is increasing by the year as you have observed, it does make me think of fasaad fil ardh as the aforementioned ayat mentions.
Not to mention, some scholars do opine that death penalty may be given not just through huduud but also by ta’zir (albeit some differences of opinion). Can you enlighten me on this subject?
2. You have reminded us a very great value of rahmah in Islam. After all, did Allah not Say إِنَّ رَحْمَتِى تَغْلِبُ غَضَبِى (My Rahmah prevails over My Wrath, hadith Qudsi in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)? Yet we are faced with a grave problem.
You have observed that not only the the drug problem has increased yearly, but also this being despite the executions.
You have correctly observed that we do have problems in our judicial system. Yet at least one of the ones executed lived a very lavish and extravagant life, controlled massive rings of drug dealing even from behind bars (although it seems he entered Islam and repented near execution).
What advise do you have for us? If death penalty and violations of fair trial and very tight (or impossible) room for pardon is not enough to scare them, how can we not fear the repercussions that may follow either revoking death penalty or being more generous in giving pardon?
This is because Surah Al Maidah ayat 34 rings in my mind:
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ تَابُواْ مِن قَبۡلِ أَن تَقۡدِرُواْ عَلَيۡہِمۡۖ ….
(Except for those who return [repenting] BEFORE you apprehend them….)
Which I realize is only applicable, of course, if Surah Al Maidah ayat 33 applies first as per my earlier question.
Although I am unsure if you will receive this letter, but I really hope that these matters can be addressed and clarified. This is because I am sure that at least some Indonesians have similar concerns.
Jazakallaahu khayran kathiira
(Fajri M. Muhammadin)