PETALING JAYA: Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has hinted on Facebook that yesterday’s passing of the Perlis Bill on the unilateral conversion of children clashes with a fatwa decreed in April last year.
He shared a copy of the state fatwa on his Facebook earlier today which states that custody of the child would be awarded to the parent who is able to ensure the child’s moral and emotional development.
“The rights for custody of a non-Muslim couple when one of them converts to Islam is not evaluated based on the parent’s religion,” read the fatwa decided by the State Fatwa Committee in 2015.
By this decree, the fatwa also stated that the mother will automatically have the right of custody if she is still breastfeeding the child.
“If the child is not being breastfed by the mother, the rights of custody is handed over to anyone who can provide syafaqah (moral and emotional development), which can be observed by the background of both parties and the child’s choice.”
Meanwhile, if the child is mumayyiz (the age at which a child can discern between right and wrong, and knows of the differences between a man and a woman), then the child is allowed to make his or her own choice unless it can be proven that the choice would cause them harm.
The fatwa ends with the note that the Muslim parent is obliged and entitled to introduce Islam to the children even though the parent does not have custody.
The Perlis legislative assembly passed the amendments to the Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2016 yesterday.
The enactment frees the state religious authorities from following the National Fatwa Council and only the fatwa issued by the state would be binding.
Mohd Asri is currently in Melbourne, Australia. -FMT