To swear in the Nation of Woo
MAY 20 — Consider a situation where a man accuses another man of, say, stealing a watch. Let’s assume that the watch is a very expensive, and very rare, watch. An Omega watch, even. Now, the accuser is convinced, without a shadow of a doubt in his own mind, that the accused had stolen that watch.
Next, let’s make the following assumption that the accused man did not steal that watch. There may have been a set of circumstances in which it would seem like he did, but he knew for sure, without a shadow of a doubt in his mind, that he did not steal that watch.
Now, the next logical thing that should happen is that the matter is brought into some kind of dispute resolution, possibly court. The accuser would make a report, the police would investigate, and if there is a case, the accused would be arrested and put to trial.
But what if there wasn’t enough evidence to build a case?
Bear in mind, the accuser is convinced of the accused’s guilt, just as the accused is convinced of his own innocence.
Well, in this nation, if they are both Muslims, they might avail themselves to a different recourse: the sumpah laknat (a direct translation would be “damned swearing”, I suppose).
In the sumpah laknat ritual, someone would swear in the name of God, while holding the Holy Book, that something did, or did not, happen. In our example, the accuser would swear that the accused is a thief, while the accused would swear that he isn’t.
This particular ritual would, more often than not, include mullahs and other state-funded religious individuals as witnesses. Sometimes, if the accuser and/or accused is a public enough figure, the ritual would also include the press, complete with a TV crew or three.
Returning to our example, we reiterate that both parties are convinced of their righteousness.
So, in such a scenario, we can reasonably ask, “What happens next?”
When a sumpah laknat is made, one assumes that it is made with the expectation that justice will be meted out by way of divine retribution. In other words, God will somehow smite the guilty party. However, no mullah has come out to state when the expected retribution would come, or even at all.
And therein lies the biggest shortcoming of this particularly asinine ritual.
Because the only possible answer that anyone with both feet in the land of reason can come up with to the question posed above is, “Nothing.”
Sure, one can argue that in the example given above, nothing would happen since the situation is a deadlock. So, let’s use a real world example, then.
The most current one is the case of one-third of the Datuk T cabal swearing on the Holy Book that the man having sex with a possible prostitute in a video previously shown to select media practitioners is the current Leader of the Opposition. There was also allegedly another man in the video, and the one-third swearer swears that it was himself. That’s right. He swore a sumpah laknat that he was the . . . pimp?
Prior to him swearing the sumpah laknat, the Leader of the Opposition’s former “coffee boy” also made one, in front of an Imam and a TV crew, claiming that he was forcibly penetrated at his anus by the Leader of the Opposition’s penis.
There is, of course, a trial on that currently ongoing, but one could argue that such is the violated former aide’s conviction that he needed to buttress his allegation with God’s favour.
As we all currently know, in spite of both these sumpah laknat, the Leader of the Opposition is still alive and well. He has not been struck by lightning, turned gimpy, fallen by a sudden illness or suffering from any other infliction which could be defined as some kind of divine retribution.
What has happened so far is that he’s continued to refuse to do a sumpah laknat of his own.
Now, we can read his refusal in three ways:
He refuses because to accede to the demands would mean he’d be playing into his opponents’ supposedly nefarious hands.
He is actually guilty of being a ravenous bisexual adulterer, and therefore believes that he will have divine retribution rained down on him upon swearing.
He thinks it’s all a little silly.
Since we do not even pretend to know the mind of the man, all scenarios are equally valid at this point in time.
However, does this real world example actually prove anything?
Apart from the fact that the Leader of the Opposition is still walking this earth on his own motive powers, no it doesn’t.
And that is the whole point. The sumpah laknat polluting our sane collective lives contribute nothing towards finding out the truth nor in meting out any kind of justice.
To add, before I am accused of denigrating or insulting Islam, let me point out that the religion has existed for nearly 1,400 years, and throughout its history, we do not have a single example of Islamic jurisprudence in which sumpah laknat are considered useful.
Nor, for that matter, do we have anything in recorded history where someone was given any kind of divine retribution after swearing a sumpah laknat to the opposite of what he has done.
And if anyone says that the deliverance may not come instantly, or even at any time during the sinner’s life on earth, then I hope they see the fallacy of the argument there. After all, if someone had done something bad – like murder, rape or adultery – he would be punished in the hereafter anyway, with or without swearing.
Therefore, I contend that those who think that these sumpah laknat are in any way efficacious are the ones who are insulting the religion, as well as our intelligence.
But then, what do I know, eh? After all, I’m just some random citizen who occasionally writes for an online comic. I have never made a sumpah laknat in my life, nor do I ever plan to.
On the other hand, the leader of our nation, the prime minister himself has made one. That should count for more, I suppose.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.