KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 ― Allowing Muslim children born out of wedlock to take on their father’s name instead of the common name “Abdullah” could among others risk exposing them to the dangers of zina, or illicit sex, several Islamic groups have warned.
Islamic Propagation Society International Malaysia (IPSI) president Kamaruddin Abdullah said the problem of illegitimate children was caused by the parents’ lack of religious knowledge, noting that Islam’s rules are for Muslims to marry before having children.
“Islam has prescribed rules that are perfect for them to go through the process of life like other people. For example, marry and then subsequently have legitimate offspring that can carry ‘bin or binti’ names of the father.
“Don’t take this issue of marriage lightly because once the religious demands are not fulfilled, they are willing to do anything including approaching matters that can descend into the act of illicit sex,” he was quoted saying by local daily Utusan Malaysia.
Engku Ahmad Fadzil Engku Ali, Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia’s (IKSIM) senior fellow, today criticised a Perlis fatwa ― which allows a child born less than six months from the mother’s marriage may take on her husband’s name unless he denies it ― as turning the issue murky.
In a Berita Harian column, he criticised the reasoning behind the Perlis fatwa and the Court of Appeal’s recent decision that said by allowing illegitimate children to use their father’s name could help avoid shame, claiming that what he described as psychological reason was unbacked by experts’ research.
“Will one day come when children of a rapist or robber will be allowed to change the name of the father to someone else’s name based on psychological reasons of being ashamed, just like now where putting the illegitimate father’s name as the father of illegitimate children allegedly to avoid shame is claimed as a reason?” he asked.
Musa Awang, president of Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association (PGSM) cautioned that allowing a child born out of wedlock to take on the father’s name could result in murky lineage for Muslims.
“The long term effects of this problem is from the aspect of guardianship. If let’s say he is not the legitimate father from the aspect of Shariah, and the child is a female and later on the child wants to marry, it is highly likely that the marriage will not be legitimate because the guardian is not the birth father.
“If that child’s marriage is not legitimate, what about the marriage of the grandchildren? Therefore in the future there will be Muslim descendants who are uncertain that have no clear lineage. This is what the enemies of Islam want,” he was also quoted saying by Utusan Malaysia.
On Thursday, Justice Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli reportedly asserted that the National Registration Department (NRD) director-general is a civil officer and that he is bound under civil law, meaning the NRD should have referred to Section 13A (2) of the BDRA for any decisions relating to a child’s surname.
In making the court ruling, Justice Abdul Rahman said the NRD director-general is not obligated to apply, let alone to be bound by a fatwa issued by a religious body such as the National Fatwa Committee.