Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Comment on IKIM's "What makes a syarie lawyer?"

09th June, 2010

To: IKIM -
c.c Editor, The Star -

Dear Dr. Wan Azhar,

I read with interest your article titled "What makes a syarie lawyer?". I have but 2 observations.

  1. You wrote, "the duty of a syarie lawyer is not only to present and argue a case for the interest of his client but, more importantly, to assist the court to arrive at a just and fair decision even if the decision of the court may not be in favour of his client quoting Farid Sufian Shuaib, Administration of Islamic Law in Malaysia, 2001

    Non-syarie/civil practitioners have a rule with a similar reasoning. It is Rule 20(a) of the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978, which reads, "An advocate and solicitor shall put before the Court any relevant binding decision of which he is aware which is immediately in point, whether it be for or against his contention."

  2. I do not follow your logic when you made the following analogy: "How best can a non-Muslim “syarie lawyer” fight for the interests of his Muslim client if he himself actually does not sincerely believe in Islam and practise the religion? Understanding Islam based on unguided readings or attending sporadic short courses is far from enough for one to claim so. A 150-hour course in Islamic law, for example, does not guarantee that one understands syariah to the extent that he is qualified enough to talk confidently in the area. By analogy, can a non-Christian like me, after claiming some knowledge in the religion, apply to become a priest without changing my religion? By the same token, can I apply to be a Hindu or Buddhist monk just by having a certain diploma in certain respects of these religions without abandoning my original faith? No religious authorities would allow that “encroachment” to take place as that would only create suspicions, problems and confusion in their respective groups in particular and in the masses in general. It does more harm than good."

    For me, the following is the correct analogy:
    Buddhist - monk
    Christian - priest / pastor
    Hindu - monk
    and Islam - Imam, and not syarie lawyer which you seem to imply (I welcome correction on this)
Jason Kay