‘Bin Abdullah’ — a much ado about nothing — Ravinder Singh

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JULY 29 — Are civil servants employed to administer civil laws passed by Parliament, or if they are Muslims, to take it upon themselves to enforce fatwas as well “in defence of religion”?

The Director General of the National Registration Department (NRD) claims that he is but merely following a ruling made by a High Court, but does not give any information about the case. Did the judgment in that case (if it is true) direct the NRD to register such children as “bin Abdullah”?

He must give details of the case or stand as an untruthful person who has a personal agenda.

Before the advent of scientific methods of identifying the parentage of a child, the practice of adding the surname “bin/binti Abdullah” to a Muslim child born out of wedlock or within six months of his/her parent’s marriage, may have been justified.

But today, when parentage can be so easily determined with DNA tests, that practice should be discarded. If there is any doubt, just have the father/child DNA tested. The question is, why so adamant about staying stuck in something that is no longer relevant? Where in the holy scriptures does it say that certain practices cannot change with time?

For ages, the beginning and ending of Ramadan was decided on actual sighting of the moon. This caused a lot of problems and a lot of food used to get wasted when the anticipated date was changed after all preparations had been made to begin fasting or celebrate Raya.

On the other hand, for centuries the Chinese calendar had never been wrong about the first moon based on calculations. Good sense prevailed and scientific calculations began to be used to determine the beginning and end of Ramadan. The practice of physical sighting of the moon still goes on, but scientific calculations prevail if the moon is not sighted (e.g. due to bad weather).

Similarly, what prevents scientific DNA tests being used to determine paternity if the child was born out of wedlock or within six months of his/her parent’s marriage? Every child must have a father.

Why do the ulamas insist on making the child suffer shame and ridicule for no fault of his? How will a child explain to his friends why he is “bin Abdullah” when his siblings are “bin XYZ .”? Would they like to see any of these children committing suicide?

* Ravinder Singh reads the Malay Mail Online

** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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