Sultan of Brunei bans Christmas celebration in public places, Muslims to attend its celebration

bru chris


SULTAN  of Brunei Darussalam, Hassanal Bolkiah, has declared that anyone found illegally celebrating Christmas could face a five year jail sentence. The conservative Muslim country on the island of Borneo stated the punishment would apply to anyone found sending festive greetings – or wearing Santa hats.

The Telegraph reported, at least 65 per cent of 420,000-strong population of the oil-rich state are Muslims. Non-Muslims are allowed to celebrate Christmas – but they must do so only within their communities and first alert authorities.

“These enforcement measures are intended to control the act of celebrating Christmas excessively and openly, which could damage the aqidah (beliefs) of the Muslim community,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

In a warning to Muslims earlier this month, a group of Imams warned that any celebration -not in any way related to Islam- could lead to “‘tasyabbuh’ (imitation) and unknowingly damage the ‘aqidah’ (faith) of Muslims.

“During Christmas celebrations, Muslims following that religion’s acts – such as using their religious symbols like cross, lighting candles, making Christmas trees and singing religious songs, sending Christmas greetings, using signs praising the religion, putting up decorations or creating sounds and doing anything that amounts to respecting their religion – are against Islamic faith,” the Imams stated, according to the Borneo Bulletin.

They added, some may think that it is a frivolous matter and should not be brought up as an issue. But as Muslims and as a Zikir Nation, Brunei must keep it (following other religions’ celebrations) away as it could affect Islamic faith.

Some Brunei residents rejected the ban, by posting Christmas pictures on social media using the #MyTreedom hashtag.

Brunei, a former British protectorate, is run as an absolutist Muslim monarchy by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 67.

Political discontent is limited thanks to a high standard of living and free education and health care, although members of the royal family have been criticized for their extravagant lifestyles.

Last year, the sultan caused controversy by introducing Sharia criminal law, which allows for punishments including stoning, whipping and amputation


Tue, 22 December 2015

church st andrew

Cath bru


Wives are not domestic servants

cookingKhai Zem Mat Sani

HOUSE chores are not women’s obligations rather it is the duty of the husband to provide domestic help/ assistance to perform the tasks if they can afford to do so, said a speaker during a lecture at the Knowledge Convention held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) yesterday.

Dr Hjh Mas Nooraini Hj Mohiddin, faculty dean of Syaria and Law at the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) in her speech titled ‘Wasatiah Shaping the Excellence of Women’ said that a wife is not intended to be used as a domestic servant, instead she is only responsible for child raising.

“According to Islamic teachings, basic housework such as cooking, washing and tidying up the house are not the obligation of the wife but it is the responsibility of the husband to do the household tasks which include hiring a house maid to perform the house chores,” she said.

“However, if the husband is not in the position to fulfil the obligation then the role of the wife to lend a (helping) hand is very clear,” she said.

Dr Hjh Mas Nooraini Hj Mohiddin

Dr Hjh Mas Nooraini Hj Mohiddin

The faculty dean further said that for a husband who is able to provide all the needs for his family, Islam does not encourage his wife to work.

“This will give more time and space to housewives to perform their duties as mother and ‘educator’ to their children and carry out their responsibilities as wives.

“The balance can be seen from the division of labour in which a husband becomes the breadwinner and a wife is responsible to take care of her husband’s asset and raise children,” she said.

However, women could play their part if their husband cannot afford to hire domestic assistance. “Her job is not merely to raise and take care of the children but also to see that all of the house chores are done in joint effort to bring about a happy family and raise the most excellent children.”

Dr Hjh Mas Nooraini also said that tolerance between spouses is important in order to achieve wasatiah in the family institution.

In her speech, she also said that Islam does not forbid women to involve in the working world. “Working is an act of worship. However, Islam puts the conditions for women who have career to maintain their family welfare,” she said.

“Women have an advantage and ability that are proven through numerous studies. They have a strong emotion which is important in dealing with people.

Women often doing their works thoroughly and could do much work in a short period of time,” said the speaker, adding that women can do multiple tasks and able to settle it short time.

She went on to say that women could work if there is a need, such as to accommodate her family and parents.

Apart from financial purposes, women are also urged to practise menutup aurat (safeguarding their modesty) at the workplace to avoid persecution, obtain the consent of their husband, the ability to juggle between work and family and if the children are not doing well in their education, wives are encouraged to quit from their work.

The Brunei Times
Friday, November 13, 2015

Land ownership through PA not recognised under Syariah law

Ak Md Khairuddin Pg Harun

LAND ownership through power of attorney (PA) is not recognised under Syariah law as there is no exchange of names on the land title between the owner and the buyer, said a Syariah High Court Judge yesterday.

Speaking from the point of view of the Islamic jurisprudence, Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Metussin Hj Baki said that PA – a legal document which gives one person the power to act for another – is not regarded as allowing a buyer to fully own property due to lack of Aqd (an Arabic legal term referring to a binding contract or determination).

“As long as the names on the land title is not changed, the land does not belong to the buyer,” said Dato Ustaz Hj Metussin.

The Syariah High Court Judge was responding to a query by Acting Land Commissioner Datin Hjh Zainon Abang Hj Omarzuki during a briefing on land administration and management in the perspective of Islam to commemorate 55 years of the establishment of the Land Department.

Datin Hjh Zainon asked whether land ownership using PA is considered as property owned by the original owner or property owned by the buyer who used PA.

“From my point of view, we need to understand the process. The government has voided the PA… This is a general problem. However, the buyer who owned the property through PA does not fully own the land. It’s not complete. There should be changes in the names on the land grant (land title),” said the Syariah High Court Judge.

“For example, if I offer you a car and said, ‘Please take my car’, and you responded ‘Yes’. But I haven’t given you the car key. This shows that the transfer of property is not complete,” he added.

The government of Brunei amended the Land Code that effectively voided land ownership purchased through PA in 2012.

According to a previous report, Law Society President Mohamad Rozaiman DSLJ Abdul Rahman expressed concerns over the issues arising on ownership and transfer of land through PA.

He said the amendment of the Land Code has banned non-Bruneians from purchasing or transferring land which caused an uproar among the legal community in 2012 as the retroactive policy ignored any accepted standards of the rule of law.

The president said that all 47,000 deeds issued through PA would be converted to 60-year leases.

Upon expiry, the property must be handed over to the government.

The Brunei Times
Sunday, May 31, 2015

Syariah High Court Judges Pg Hj Md Tashim Pg Hj Hassan (L) and Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Metussin Hj Baki (R) speak during the briefing on Islamic administration and management organised by the Land Department yesterday. BT/ Ak Md Khairuddin Pg Harun

Syariah High Court Judges Pg Hj Md Tashim Pg Hj Hassan (L) and Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Metussin Hj Baki (R) speak during the briefing on Islamic administration and management organised by the Land Department yesterday. BT/ Ak Md Khairuddin Pg Harun

North Aceh bans unmarried couples from motorbike rides



A DISTRICT in Indonesia’s Aceh has passed legislation banning unmarried men and women from riding together on motorbikes, a lawmaker said Monday, the latest new Islamic regulation in the conservative province.

Members of parliament in North Aceh district last week approved the regulation, which will come into effect in a year, said lawmaker Fauzan Hamzah, adding that authorities were making “efforts to implement sharia law fully”.

“Unmarried people sitting closely together on a motorcycle is clearly against Islamic sharia as it could lead to sinful acts,” Hamzah told AFP.

Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra island, is the only province in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country that is allowed to implement Islamic law, and gay sex, gambling and drinking alcohol are already punishable by caning.

The province began implementing sharia law after being granted special autonomy in 2001, an effort by the central government in Jakarta to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.

The latest move to ban shared motorbike rides, which will affect more than 500,000 people on North Aceh, came after one city in Aceh in 2013 prohibited women from straddling male drivers on motorbikes, requiring that they ride sidesaddle instead.

The new regulation was the most eye-catching in a series of Islamic bylaws approved in North Aceh on Thursday, which also included a ban on live music performances and the separation of male and female students in school. The new rules will take effect in May 2016 after a one-year grace period.

Hamzah did not say what punishments would be meted out to unmarried couples caught together on a motorbike.

He did list several punishments that could be implemented for all the new Islamic laws, which ranged from a formal reprimand to fines and people being expelled from their villages.

“We will make efforts so that deeds which can lead to sin are eliminated gradually in North Aceh district,” he added.

The provincial parliament in Aceh, as well as district parliaments, can pass their own Islamic bylaws.

The Jakarta Post/AFP

MUI issues edict on homosexuality

mui homo
C83/Satya Festiani

INDONESIAN Council of Ulama (MUI) issues religious edict or fatwa on gay, lesbian, sodomy and molestation. The Indonesia’s top Islamic body stated that the fatwa was based on recent sexual harassment cases in Indonesia.

“Islamic law is build based on five principles, in which one of them is to protect dignity and offspring,” Secretary of Fatwa Commission of MUI, Asrorun Niam Sholeh, said on Thursday, January 15. MUI, he said, had the responsibility to respond the issue.

Asrorudin Niam

Asrorudin Niam

MUI had a long discuss on the issue, especially on sodomy and homosexual. In Islam, a legal way to channel sexual desire is through marriage of man and woman. “We have seen many cases of molestation, rape, sodomy, and homosexuality. Finally on December 31, we as fatwa commission agreed to issue edict on the matter,” he said.

The fatwa says that sexual intercourse can only be done by married couple, which is a man and a woman. Secondly, the fatwa says thaat sexual orientation toward similar gender or homosexual is abnormal which has to be cured.

Thirdly, MUI states that sexual intercourse between similar gender is haram. Those who commit such behavior will be punished.

Fourth, sodomy is haram and the subject will be punished by had. Fifth, homosexual partners who commit sodomy is haram and will be punished using takzir. “Takzir is a kind of punishment based on laws, while had is punishment based on Koran and Hadist,” he said.

The fatwa also rules on molestation toward children with similar gender. The subject will be punished using both had and takzir, as well as sentenced up to death. Meanwhile, a subject who commits rape will be punished using takzir. Lastly, legalizing homosexual and other abnormal sexual orientation is haram.

Thu, 15 Jan 2015

Philippine embassy plans 2nd printing of Syariah Guidebook

Philippine Ambassador Nestor Ochoa (L), French Ambassador Loan Forgeron (C) and French author Cecile Castilla during the launch of the book titled 'Filipinos in Brunei' yesterday.  Photo: BT/Hafiizah Maideen

Philippine Ambassador Nestor Ochoa (L), French Ambassador Loan Forgeron (C) and French author Cecile Castilla during the launch of the book titled ‘Filipinos in Brunei’ yesterday. Photo: BT/Hafiizah Maideen

Hafiizah Maideen

The Philippine Embassy in Brunei is planning a second printing of its guidebook on Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 as part of its plan to familiarise local Filipinos with the law.

Philippine Ambassador Nestor Z Ochoa said the embassy is awaiting approval of funding from the Philippine government to print more copies of the booklet, which was launched on October 10 this year.

Only 1,000 copies are currently in circulation – not enough for the more than 21,000 Filipinos in Brunei, which account for the biggest group of non-Muslim expats in the country.

The ambassador spoke to The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the launch of the ‘Filipinos in Brunei’ book at the embassy yesterday. The book, written by Cecile Castilla and published by AdsAllure, is a collection of 20 stories of Filipinos in Brunei which details their aspirations, challenges and achievements.

Ambassador Ochoa and French ambassador to Brunei Loan Forgeron launched the book.

Following the enforcement of the first phase of Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 in May this year, the Philippine Embassy launched its own unofficial simplified guide to the Syariah Penal Code to help local Filipinos understand the law.

Ambassador Ochoa added that “ideally, everybody should have a copy (of the booklet). We hope that we can get the funding for it so we can produce more for our Filipino nationals.” The booklet lists the provisions implemented in the first phase, the offences and punishments and their applicability to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

“It is important for all Filipinos to understand Syariah Law. There are many terminologies (in the law) which may be difficult for many to understand, especially for the layman. So we’ve simplified the law so all Filipinos can understand it,” he said.

A brief introduction to Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 is also available on the embassy’s website at

The Brunei Times
Sunday, December 7, 2014

syariah not against ham

US sure Islam and human rights compatible

Quratul-Ain Bandial

BRUNEI must maintain its international human rights commitments as it rolls out the Syariah Penal Code, said a senior US official yesterday.

Shaarik Zafar, the US State Department’s Special Representative to Muslim Communities, said his government believes that Islam and human rights are compatible, although Washington has expressed concerns about some of the punishments prescribed under the Code.

Zafar, who is in the Sultanate on a two-day visit, met with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and senior religious officials yesterday, to discuss US engagement with the Muslim world, including counter terrorism and Brunei’s introduction of the Syariah Penal Code.

“Brunei has made commitments to international religious freedom and other human rights. The US government is not in a position to say what Syariah law is and what it isn’t. What we do say is that governments that have made a commitment to uphold fundamental human rights have an obligation to do so regardless of what the particular penal code is,” he told local media yesterday.

“We were told that Islam and Syariah are fully consistent with human rights, and we fully agree with that. What we heard consistently today is there is no contradiction,” Zafar added.

The envoy said during his meetings he raised concerns about punishments prescribed under the Syariah Penal Code, such as amputation for theft, stoning for adultery and the death penalty for murder.

“What we’ve been told is the evidentiary standards that would apply are so high that in reality these penalties would never be carried out. This legislation took some time to be developed it’s still going to be taking time to be implemented,” he said, adding that the US will continue to monitor developments in Brunei. “We look forward to learning more and working with the government of Brunei.

Brunei implemented the first phase of the Syariah Penal Code Order – which incorporates Islamic laws into the existing criminal justice system – on May 1.

The Brunei Times
Thursday, October 23, 2014