KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin refuted today assertions that the Perlis fatwa allowing children conceived outside marriage to bear the names of their biological father would promote the practice of ‘zina’, or illicit sex.
The Perlis mufti suggested instead that the decree to use the ‘bin Abdullah’ name for the children promotes ‘zina’ and at the same time has failed to curb the rising cases of the Shariah offence.
“There are those who state that Perlis fatwa can be a factor promoting ‘zina’. I would like to ask, all this while the ‘bin Abdullah’ fatwa was implemented over the Perlis fatwa, where did the tens or hundreds of thousands of ‘zina’ cases come from?
“Did the ‘bin Abdullah’ fatwa fail to reduce ‘zina’ cases? Why has the number of cases increase over time?” said a post on his official Facebook page, in reply to a question on the matter from the public.
Asri also asked the benefit of having thousands of Muslims branded of ‘zina’ by their name.
“Isn’t that indirectly a promotion and making the ‘zina’ story public by their name branded with ‘bin Abdullah’?” he asked.
Under fire, he explained that the Perlis fatwa is a reasoning made by choosing the opinions of Islamic jurists by taking in the realities and tendencies of the present.
Asri also suggested that using ‘bin Abdullah’ would destroy the Muslim family institution, since it would turn children disrespectful towards their parents that committed ‘zina’ when the latter should have been their role models.
“The mentality of the current generation is different from the times when the jurisprudent tomes were written,” he said.
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 NRD is seeking to appeal the judgment and has said it will continue with its current practice until the Federal Court — Malaysia’s highest court — rules on the matter.
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.
Yesterday, the Federal Territories mufti Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad said 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.
Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria has also reportedly claimed that Muslims will not avoid ‘zina’ if they are allowed to later legitimise children had out of wedlock.