Perak mufti accuses Perlis counterpart of ‘permitting adultery’

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Source: The Malaysian Insight 

PERLIS Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin seems to be permitting (menghalalkan) adultery though his support of the Court of Appeal ruling allowing children conceived out of wedlock to carry their father’s name.

Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria said Malaysia did not need to “go against the flow”  when it came to children conceived out of wedlock, as Muslim scholars had decided on the issue a long time ago.

“This is a new opinion that is veering towards permitting adultery (menghalalkan zina). The opinion by the Perlis mufti is akin to permitting adultery,” Harussani said in Kuala Lumpur today.

“I hope these ulama are careful. We have to adhere to long-established opinions.”

Last week, Asri was reported to have supported a unanimous ruling by three-judge Court of Appeal bench that allowed children conceived out of wedlock to carry their father’s name. The ruling has polarised opinion among religious scholars, lawyers and activists.Asri had said that the ruling was in line with the state’s fatwa (edict) gazetted on January 17, 2013, which allowed these children to be “bin” or “binti” to their biological father.

Harussani said today that long-held opinion on children conceived out of wedlock were based on the Quran, hadith (sayings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad) and established scholarship.

“Use (opinions) that have been decided. Imam Shafie (noted 1st century Muslim jurist) was not an ordinary person. He was a mufti at 15 years old.

“Imam Shafie’s opinion is also the most moderate. Why go against the flow? Are we looking for publicity?”

Responding to accusations that opposing the appeals court ruling was disrespecting the judiciary, Harussani said it had to be done because Islam was paramount in the constitution.

“Why is the court disregarding fatwa’s? Fatwas in each state become law after being gazetted.

“How can the court say it is not bound by fatwas? I am not disparaging the court, but the court’s action is not right.”

The National Registration Department had said it would continue with its current procedures when registering children conceived out of wedlock until the Federal Court rules on the appeal against the ruling, which the Attorney-General’s Chambers has filed.

Justice Abdul Rahman Sebli, who wrote the unanimous ruling, said the jurisdiction of the NRD director-general was a civil one, and he was bound by civil law.

This means the department has to refer to Section 13A(2) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act (BDRA) when making decisions relating to a child’s surname.

The Court of Appeal ruling, which covers Muslim and non-Muslim children conceived out of wedlock, was made in an appeal involving a 7-year-old child born five months and 24 days (or five months and 27 days according to the Islamic Qamariah calendar) after his parents married.

The child was registered with NRD two years after birth and the parents jointly applied to have “MEMK” named as the father, but the department registered the child as “bin Abdullah” instead.