On May 28, 2009 Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan decided on a petition against Hudood Ordinance’s articles about punishment on drinking.
The way Daily Dawn presented it gave the false notion that the Court had ruled that drinking is not a punishable crime. True that the report did not explicitly say so but while it reproduced the contentions of the petitioner in great detail and highlighted some reservations of a judge which were actually not even nuanced in the original petition it failed to mention the most important fact that the Court had totally dismissed the petition calling it “misconceived and without any substance.”
You find Daily Dawn’s report HERE
But our ever frustrated and allergic-to-anything-Islamic liberals played to the ingenuous catch of the cunning liberal/secular media. A simple google search tells you how the report was taken to imply that the court ruled drinking was not unlawful or not punishable at least. (Now defunct link on some pages suggest it was later reported by Pakistan Observer as well)
The petitioner, Muhammad Aslam Khaki, had contended that punishment of 80 lashes was unIslamic and there was nothing in Qur’an and Sunnah to support it. Federal Shariat Court (FSC) dismissed it out-rightly on May 28th 2009 (a day before the above piece appeared on Dawn)
Complete decision of the Court published in PLD (vol. LXII, pp. 191-214) is available on the FSC’s website
The court after detailed discussion ruled.
The upshot of the above discussion is that since there is no Verse or Hadith that contradicts the impugned provision of law in any way, we find this petition misconceived and without any substance and therefore, dismiss it accordingly.
It is signed by Justice Dr. Fida Muhammad Khan and other judges agreed to it.
Arguments of the petitioner (Dr. Aslam Khaki) and the ulema, namely; Dr. Yousuf Faruqi and Maulana Tafazzul Ali who was deputed by Mufti Rafi Usmani and Sardar Abdul Majeed, Standing Counsel for the Federation, are also (summarily?) given. Allama Talab Jauhari and Javed Ahmed Ghamidi did not respond to/appear in the court.
What was actually exploited by the liberal media is the note of Prof. Haziqul Haq Khairi towards the end of the decision. It only speaks of reservations on defects and ambiguities in the provisio of Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 for it can lead to imprisonment as well whereas there is no such punishment in Islam for this crime. Thereafter he suggests an amendment in section 4 of the Whipping Ordinance 1979 defining whip. (See, para 8 of the note on p.212 of PLD)
- The verdict does not say taking intoxicants is permissible.
- It does not say there is no punishment for intoxication.
- It rather dismisses the petition against the punishment.
- The verdict does not declare whipping for drinking un-Islamic.
- It rather defines whipping.
The twist was about reporting the contention of the petitioner in detail without telling the fact that it was dismissed by FSC. Even while mentioning the ruling, not the decision but the arguments in the dismissed petition are highlighted. The other observation about definition of whip was made on a side note.
It is important for us to double check the reporting of secular media outlets on everything that concerns Islamic law and Muslims who stand for upholding it.