Open Letter to Prof Tariq Ramadhan

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

Akhukum fillaah

(Fajri M. Muhammadin)

 Interesting Note:
Jeni Wardin wrote:
My main objection on this Bro, is exactly as pointed out in the letter: death penalty don’t seem to deter further violation as the number of drugs abuse did rise in 2015. And I calculated once, if those 5.9 million people consume at least 10 grams of heroin, we have 59 million grams (59 tons) of heroin in circulation. How many have confiscated during that year? 100kg? Not sure if it’s that much. In the end I conclude, the ones bringing destruction on earth are not the dealer, but those who use the product. I may oversimplify things, but that’s how I see things.
Fajri replied:
 Yet, my concern with that lies in the possible repercussions of actually revoking it.

Further, I am not sure whether the problem is that death penalty does not deter enough, or rather it actually does deter but such a deterrence is insignificant compared to the fact that our law enforcement is so corrupt that they do not fear the law. Such seems to be the case of corruption as well.

I do agree with you that the ones who use the product are those who end up using the drugs, but I disagree that the drug dealers are not responsible. It is my position that all from the top producer to the low users should be responsible.

My position is that the users shall be punished proportionate to their crime, i.e. whatever punishment applies to consumers of intoxicants. Excluding, of course, those who may have been trapped or you know the stuff like that. However, while collectively they may be the corruption on the earth, yet they are also part of the earth corrupted. Not to mention, such a corruption is collective but a man bears his own burden, and he cannot be responsible for the collectivity of drug use.

The drug producers and dealers, on the other hand, are. No substance are declared illegal in itself while its producers and distributors can go free. Unlike the individual users, they do take role in perpetuating the abuse of drugs collectively. This makes individual acts of self destruction become widespread. So it is my position that they deserve death penalty..

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