Mufti: Court ruling would only elevate illegitimate child cases

PETALING JAYA: A mufti today said a court ruling allowing children conceived out of wedlock to take on their father's surname, would only increase the number of out-of-wedlock children in the country.

Responding to the landmark decision by the Court of Appeal today, Penang mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor said even with the current fatwa - that a child born less than six months after a marriage is not allowed to carry the father's name - there is already a worrying number of illegitimate children.

He said while he sympathised with children and parents who are caught in this situation, priority should be given to the society as a whole, and not only on specific individuals.

"Just look at the statistics, how many children were born out of wedlock? Over 100,000 perhaps. But even that is under our practice of the fatwa.

"Imagine if we allow (children to take on the father's name regardless of when they are born), there's a worry it will only become worse and beyond control," he told theSun today.

Wan Salim said if the need arises, he would also suggest for the country's muftis to meet up with the National Fatwa Council (NFC) and other Islamic scholars to discuss on the matter.

The court made the ruling in an appeal involving a seven-year-old child, who was born five months and 24 days after his parents marriage, and claimed that the National Registration Department is not obligated to apply, let alone to be bound by a fatwa.

Meanwhile, Selangor Mufti Datuk Seri Mohd Tamyes Abd Wahid said as a Muslim country, it was not proper for decisions made based on Islamic laws, like the fatwa on illegitimate child, to be disputed.

He said the decision made by NFC in 2003 was based on the views of Islamic scholars around the world, and that the National Registration Department had also recognised the fatwa as final.

"When we talk about Islam, this is final. On the civil court's decision, it is conflicting with the Islamic law, so that's their problem. I still hold to the decision by the national fatwa," he said when contacted.