PETALING JAYA, July 2 — Islamic scholars have criticised PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man for citing a purported hadith, or sayings of Prophet Muhammad, to justify Opposition lawmakers’ refusal to declare their assets.
When contacted to verify whether such a hadith exists, Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin explained that the Prophet never expressed the sentiment that one must not declare their wealth to the public if granted so by God.
“This was an abuse of the Prophet’s name. During the rule of Umar, the caliph even made it mandatory for his governors to report their assets to prevent abuse of public funds.
“PAS misunderstood the hadith. The Prophet never said ‘don’t declare your assets’. PAS misused religion for their political purposes,” he told Malay Mail.
Umar al-Khattab was one of Muhammad’s companions, and succeeded the Prophet as the second leader of the Caliphate following the latter’s death.
Tuan Ibrahim claimed in Parliament yesterday that Islam forbade a declaration of wealth, but did not specify the hadith to which he was referring.
He further argued Opposition lawmakers also do not have the power to award contracts like their counterparts in the ruling coalition, which he said negated the need for them to declare their assets.
Popular preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin went as far as suggesting that Tuan Ibrahim had cited a false hadith that was not recognised by many scholars of the scriptures.
“It is clear that the ‘decree’ of the PAS deputy president was based on false argument,” the PKR preacher said in a Facebook post.
“What more, by leaning onto Islam it could invite negative perception from the non-Muslim society towards Islam — as if that Islam is a religion that is not keen on integrity.”
“Islam is a faith that upholds integrity. In this matter, PAS’ attitude does not reflect the religion whatsoever,” he added.
Another Islamic scholar, Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, also slammed Tuan Ibrahim for using hadith to propagate a political agenda.
“To use a hadith to propagate a hidden agenda rather than being honest and transparent was an unethical attitude what more when it came from a religious person,” said the founder of progressive group Islamic Renaissance Front.
In Dr Farouk’s view, although hadiths should and must be verified in matters of worship since the Prophet Muhammad was sent to teach humankind how to worship God, this did not apply to non-religious fields including medicine, architecture, or engineering.
Dr Farouk noted declaring one’s assets serves as a tool to detect and prevent illicit enrichment and conflicts of interest among public officials, including MPs.
“Studies have shown that asset declaration regimes do not pose a significant risk to the independence and security of even judges, what more public officials or parliamentarians.
“On the contrary, anti-corruption benefits provide strong reasons to require public officials to file asset declarations in order to prevent corruption,” he said.
The Dewan Rakyat yesterday unanimously approved the motion compelling MPs from both sides of the political divide, as well as their wives and children, to declare their assets — despite the heavy resistance from the Opposition during the debate.