Friday, 23 November 2012


This is a topic not taught at all in medicine nor normal class. This is a taboo topic which we all have to learn either by asking or reading.

What is khalwat? It is being physically close to another person, of the opposite sex, who is unrelated. There are many interpretations and different people will visualise differently. In public, this can be seen as two lovers being together. In the house, this can be two lovers in the living-room or in the bedroom. In the hotel, this can be two people in a hotel room. A lot of things can happen when lovers are together, the ultimate is what everyone knows.

Because khalwat is a misunderstood word and people are not aware of its implications and don't know how it can affect them, they commit khalwat. Khalwat is a crime under Shariah laws in Islam. It is thus punishable. Khalwat cases must first be seen (ie have witness) before it can be charged. Once charge, the khalwtees pay up the fine (max. RM3000) or go to jail (max. 3 months).

There are two related topics, one is khalwat and the other is the actual sexual act, also called tangkap basah. Basah here means wet. What is wet? I think it refers to wetness due to vaginal secretion. Tangkap basah is caught red handed or in the act or having illegal sex. Tangkap basah is worse than khalwat.

It is reported that we have more than 10,000 khalwat cases in 2009. This sounds bad enough. It means our adult population is unhappy sexually and have to find means of being sexually happy. This number is quite small considering Klang Valley is densely packed. Putrajaya is relatively new and public spaces (including hospitality spaces) are plenty. So I would think Putrajaya would report less number of khalwat cases compared to Klang Valley.

Anyway, even if khalwat happens, khalwatees often admit and pay their fines. A bigger worry is how do we make our adult population a happier lot? Malaysians are known to be shy and they don't expressed their unhappiness or grief. They live with it and in pain, creating a depressed mass within our society.

A dude (from the Malay word duda) without a wife will have a difficult time trying to find a Miss Right to fit his lonely hours and make him happy. Malaysia has tough laws and the Pencegah Maksiat teams have eyes and ears too. So where do men who rightfully want to find a Miss Right go to or have to do? They have no choice but to try khalwat. That is the root of all khalwat. We just don't have mechanisms where men who want and need help can get help. The same for women. There is no mechanism or means to help women to find their Mr Right.

Dating services cannot do justice to everyone. Married men and women are often caught with khalwat. Malaysians remain married for unusually very long or till death do they part. As the Malay song goes, "Ku sangka mentari hingga ke petang, tapi hujan di tengah jalan...", people often find their marriages hit the rocks at some point. Some lose their beloved spouse and don't know how to even find a quick replacement. There can never be a rapid and identical replacement when it comes to human beings. So human beings are caught in khalwat.

To help overcome khalwat, there is nothing we can offer except to understand situations of those who commit them, and advise them accordingly. There is no point bursting things out of proportion and bringing more shame to something that has happened and making things worse. Usually khlawatees will repent and become better human beings. We have to accept their promises and let them move on in life. Hudud is there to provide an avenue of repentance and not to punish severely. We have to remember that Allah SWT knows best and it is best left to Him to punish. We can always guide khalwatees to be better people.

Great men admit their sins but weak men hide theirs in order to appear chaste.
Weak women commit sins for the love of supposedly their Mr Right when they are actually Mr Wrong.
Most great men were born from single unwed mothers.

The next time we have a case of khalwat, study the reasons for it first before we decide to make a mess of it. We have not done any research on khalwat in Malaysia. I hope people who have lived through khalwat charges will help us document situations so we can understand khalwat better and know how we can help prevent it.


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