With all the news of young couples getting busted by the local Islamic Religious Affairs officers, some of us are getting a little worried.
Are we guilty for living with our partners even though we are unmarried? Will we end up in prison or will we have to pay a fine or both just because of our living situation?
First let’s find out what is ‘khalwat’?
Well first and foremost, ‘khalwat’ is more than just and unmarried couple living together.
‘Khalwat’ is actually an offense under Syariah Law, and you could be charged if
+ any man who is found together with one or more women, not being his wife or wives or family member; or
+ any woman who is found with one or more men, not being her husband or family member,
in any secluded place or in a house or room under circumstances which may give rise to suspicion that they are engaged in an immoral act shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding three thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.
So basically, if you are a man and woman couple and you are not married but, living together in a house then yes, you could be guilty.
Although it is stated that “under circumstances which may give rise to suspicion that they are engaged in an immoral”, what exactly is considered as suspicious can vary depending on the case.
So, can a non-muslim be charged for ‘khalwat’?
Well, non-muslims cannot be charged for khalwat.
But what if you are caught living together with a muslim partner?
Good news, you still won’t be charged for ‘khalwat’, but your muslim partner might not be as lucky as you.
The reason for this is ‘khalwat’ fall under the under the jurisdiction of Syariah matters and Syariah matters are dealt with at Syariah Courts AND Syariah courts only only have jurisdiction over Muslims.
So no, you and your partner don’t have to run away and become fugitives. You can go back to Netflix and Chilling with your partner in your beautiful home.