Sect founder's widow pleads guilty

KUALA LUMPUR: The widow of the late Ashaari Muhammad, founder of the outlawed Al-Arqam movement, used her position in a company here to revive teachings that go against Islamic laws, a syariah court here charged.

Hatijah Aam, 59, a director of Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd, was accused of using her position to revive the Al-Arqam teachings which go against a fatwa gazetted on Aug 11, 1994 and Dec 21, 2006.

She pleaded guilty to the charge, under Section 12(c) of the Selangor Syariah Criminal Enactment 1995 at the Lower Syariah Court in Gombak, near here, yesterday.

Syarie judge Kamarulzaman Ali instructed Hatijah, to be bound over on a good behaviour bond for one year in one surety.

He earlier fined her RM1,000 for publishing a book entitled 45 Tahun 1968-2013 Perjuangan Abuya Sheikh Umam Ashaari Muhammad At-Tamimi, that went against the hukum syarak (Islamic law) this year by the company.

The offensive content against Islam was detected on pages 54 and 159 of the book, the court ruled.

Hatijah was charged under Section 16(1)(a) of the Selangor Syariah Criminal Enactment 1995 for this offence.

Judge Kamarulzaman meted out the sentences after Hatijah pleaded guilty to committing the offences at the company's office in Jalan Desa 9/6, Bandar Country Homes, Rawang, between Jan 1, 2008 and 2013.

Also in the same court, the judge instructed 17 others - aged 18 to 58 - to be bound over on a good behaviour bond for one year in one surety each for being involved in Rufaqa' CorĀ­poration Sdn Bhd, which also has elements similar to the Al-Arqam teachings and ideology.

They pleaded guilty to the charge, under Section 12 (c) of the same syariah enactment.

Judge Kamarulzaman warned Hatijah and the 17 others not to get involved in any activities connected to the banned Al-Arqam or any teachings that go against fatwa rulings and ordered them to undergo a 500-hour dakwah course.

Muhammad Rafizan Ahmad Supian and Aiman Ruslan were the Syarie prosecutors while Hatijah and her followers were unrepresented.

Summing up, judge Kamarulzaman said he hoped that they would not repeat the offences, adding that the guilty plea had saved the court's time.

"The guilty plea should be accompanied by contrition and regret. Remorse is just like an icing on the cake and thus, we should take things moderately," he said.

Ashaari, who died in 2010, was also known as Abuya to his followers.

The movement was declared deviant and banned by the Government in 1994 and displaced members allegedly went on to form Global Ikhwan, which is involved in several businesses.