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    ‘Advent of Islam brought positive changes’

    Rokiah Mahmud

    ‘Preserving Islam in the Malay World in the Contemporary Era’ is the chosen theme for the 10th International Conference on Islam in the Malay World (ICON-IMAD X), which is a significant platform for sharing, discussing and addressing current challenges that seek to undermine the strong Islamic beliefs of the people in the Malay Archipelago.

    This was said by Chief Syar’ie Judge Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Salim bin Haji Besar, at the opening of the ICON-IMAD X at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Berakas yesterday.

    “I am optimistic that the gathering of scholars, specialist, researchers, together with the relevant agencies from associated countries in ICON-IMAD will refresh and enhance the communities’ understanding of the purity of Islamic teachings. Islam not only produces good citizens but also generates intellectual Ummah who are competent,” said the Chief Syar’ie Judge.

    “Islam is not an exclusive religion or isolated from the real world, but a universal faith which brings advantages to the world.

    “In the early 14th Century, people living in the Malay archipelago were already practising Islamic law, as evident from the Inscribed Stone (Batu Bersurat) Terengganu dated 14 Rejab 702 Hijrah, corresponding to February 22, 1303, on which laws related to crime, commerce and administration were engraved.

    Chief Syar’ie Judge Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Salim bin Haji Besar delivers his speech. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

    “The Inscribed Stone was the first legal document produced by the Malay-Muslim community. In fact, it is a significant historical record which illustrates that the Malay population accepted Islam as their religion and the source of their intellectual resources by enacting laws that regulated their daily lives. The use of Malay-Jawi script on the Inscribed Stone bears testimony to this fact.

    “In terms of Islamic law, the Malaccan Sultanate, which accepted Islam as the official religion, had Islamic law written into a legal document known as the Laws of Malacca(HKM).

    “HKM was implemented in areas conquered by the Malaccan Sultanate including Aceh, Brunei, Johor, Riau, Pahang, Kedah, etc with a few changes and additions according to local needs and conditions.

    “Apart from HKM, history also records laws in other administrations such as Pahang, Johor, Perak and other states, which also adopted Islam as the core of the formation of the canon law, although it occurred at different times. The same is true of our country, Brunei Darussalam in the application of the Islamic law known as the Hukum Kanun Brunei (Brunei Code of Laws).

    “The Hukum Kanun Brunei is a Brunei manuscript that refers to a ruling or law. Some scholars believed that it came into existence during the reign of Sultan Sharif Ali. Others claimed that it emerged during the reign of Sultan Saiful Rizal and another source said that it took shape during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Hassan.

    “This indicates that Brunei had already become an Islamic Malay Sultanate, as evident from the testimony of ‘Salasilah Raja-Raja Brunei’ that the said Hukum Kanun Brunei was a legal provision written in the HKB manuscript.

    “Therefore, it can be concluded that the laws formulated then was Islamic law, harmonised with the customs of the indigenous Malays. Islam clearly brought positive changes to the local socio-cultural and community reasoning in the Malay Archipelago. So it is our duty today, to continue to maintain and preserve the identity of Islam in the Malay world.”

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