KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 ― Sparing illegitimate Muslim children from name-shame is a short-sighted measure when rooting out “zina” is the long-term answer to ending the stigma for children conceived outside marriage, Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad suggested today.
In a statement, the Federal Territories mufti said the humiliation faced by illegitimate children is merely minor, and does not justify the move to allow them to bear the names of their biological fathers.
“If the one humiliated is the child, then the harm in hiding it is bigger,” Zulkifli said, referring to a child’s birth out of wedlock.
“This is because it is linked to the issue of inheritance distribution and the permission to marry for women. Actually, the real problem is the out of control spread of ‘zina’ culture.”
The mufti also said the move to allow illegitimate children bearing the name would just be a short-term reaction to the problem of “zina” or illicit sex.
“The issue of naming children is just a symptom for the zina problem that is rooted as the cause in society. How weak the sexual education based on Islam is, and how easy the access to pornography and free mingling between men and women are.
“If we take a short-team move like this, it will only sweep the real problem below the carpet, which will still spill over,” he said.
Zulkifli insisted that to solve the stigma, couples who commit “zina” must get married as soon as possible and take the Shariah punishment of 100 lashes before an illegitimate child can be allowed to be inheritors.
“With this, the ‘zina’ that becomes the cause of the problem can be curbed, or minimised, subsequently erasing the problem for a child of ‘zina’, and the issue of humiliation that is mentioned,” he suggested.
The Court of Appeal on July 25 released the written judgment of their landmark decision that the NRD director-general is not obliged to apply and is not bound by fatwa or religious edicts when deciding on whether a Muslim child born out of wedlock could take on his father’s name.
It previously ruled that such a Muslim child has the right to bear his father’s name.
The naming of Muslim children conceived out of wedlock using “Abdullah” in place of their father’s name in official documents from birth certificates to identity cards risks exposing them to the stigma of being illegitimate.