Islamic Law and Human Rights in Malaysia

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Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil Nisar Mohammad Ahmad

Abstract

This article deals with the Islamic law and human rights principles which constitute the two important elements of the Malaysian legal system. Human rights, despite being a basic tenet of Islam, have frequently and widely been misunderstood by many Muslims. Indeed, the protection of human rights is consistent with the very objective of the coming of Islam i.e. as a mercy to the whole universe and for safeguarding the sacred values of humanity. As such, it is not an exaggeration to consider that Islam is a strong proponent of human rights and violations of human rights may be tantamount to disregarding Islamic principles. Nevertheless, due to constitutional constraints, the protection of human rights in Malaysian law may not necessarily be based on Islamic law. This is because the Federal Constitution of Malaysia limits the jurisdictions of Islamic law to selected matters such as matrimonial issues and other limited criminal jurisdictions. Despite Article 3 of the Constitution that clearly names Islam as the religion of the Federation, this provision, does not provide for the full application of Islamic law in Malaysia. Thus, the protection of human rights in Malaysia is selectively covered based on Islamic law, whereas the major scope of protections is covered by Federal-based civil law, in accordance with the specification of jurisdiction vested by the Constitution.

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