Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently undertook a sumpah laknat to apparently clear his name over being implicated in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu.
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Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh Bismillahirrahmanirrahim Pada hari ini 20 Disember 2019 bersamaan 23 Rabiul Akhir 1441H, di dalam rumah Allah SWT yang mulia dan pada hari Jumaat yang berkat ini, saya Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, dengan nama Allah yang Maha Pemurah lagi Maha Penyayang, berikrar dan bersumpah A’uzubillahi minas syaitonirojim Bismillahirrahmanirrahim Wallahi, wabillahi, watallahi Alhamdulillah sejak saya memasuki usia taklif hingga ke saat ini, saya tidak pernah mengarahkan mana-mana individu untuk membunuh seorang wanita warganegara Mongolia yang bernama Altantuya Shaariibuu. Malah saya tidak pernah berjumpa dan mengenali mendiang sama sekali. Jika saya berdusta, maka laknat Allah SWT atas diri saya dan jika saya benar, maka mereka yang memfitnah saya dan tidak bertaubat akan dilaknat oleh Allah SWT di dunia dan akhirat.
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And naturally, this got me a little curious on what exactly a “sumpah laknat” actually is and how it is used.
The cursed oath
A sumpah laknat basically translates to “cursed oath” or “cursed vow”.
It is a sworn declaration that a person (Muslim) makes in the presence of God to invoke a “curse” or divine retribution in the face of adversity.
In Islam, it is referred to as mubahalah and involves two opposing parties – the accuser and the accused – swearing an oath to God to “curse” the other party if they are denying the truth.
Over the years, Islamic scholars have varying opinions and debate extensively on the use of mubahalah, but here in Malaysia the common practice of the ritual involves a Muslim making a sworn statement in the name of Allah while holding the Quran.
No legal power
A sumpah laknat has no legal standing in Malaysia’s court systems, even within the context of the country’s Syariah law.
According to Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, a sumpah laknat does not hold any power within Islamic law and acts merely as a formality to uphold the principles of the legal system.
The mufti explains that the sumpah laknat differs from the oaths made in Syariah court proceedings which limits a “sumpah” to matters relating to domestic disputes, adultery and cases involving inheritance.
The sumpah surplus
Though having no legal power whatsoever, the sumpah laknat has profusely been used in Malaysia, especially in cases involving high-profile individuals and most notably, accusations of sexual scandals.
In June 2019, PKR deputy president, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz, the former private secretary of Deputy Minister of Primary Industries Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar were urged to make a sumpah laknat to prove or deny allegations of sexual misconduct.
In April, businessman Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah made a sworn oath alleging PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim involvement in a viral sex tape.
And most notoriously in 2008, and again in 2013, Anwar Ibrahim’s former aid, Saiful Bukhari Azlan took the sumpah laknat in claiming that he was sodomised by the PKR leader.
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