KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Allowing a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock to take his or her father's name is akin to permitting adultery, said a senior cleric in Malaysia on Monday (July 31).
The mufti of Perak Harussani Zakaria said Muslim scholars had decided on the issue of illegitimate children thousands of years ago and that Malaysian Muslims should not go against these teachings.
He was commenting on a statement by Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin last week, urging the state National Registration Department (NRD), to abide by the Court of Appeal's landmark ruling on July 27 that allows illegitimate Muslim children to use their biological father's name as their surname.
The department's practice is to for these children to carry the surname "bin or binti Abdullah" meaning son or daughter of a servant of God, regardless of their father's name.
"This is a new opinion that is veering towards permitting adultery," said Tan Sri Harussani. "The opinion by the Perlis mufti is akin to permitting adultery."
Despite the court decision, the NRD said that it will continue its current practice, which follows a fatwa, or Islamic edict, issued in 2003 forbidding children conceived out of wedlock to take the name of the father.
Mr Harussani said the Federal Constitution "clearly states that Islam is the religion of the Federation, so why deny the decision of the Fatwa committee".
"The fatwa in every state has been gazetted according to Islamic laws.
"The decision of the Court of Appeal is insulting to Islam, the Federal Constitution and fatwa.
"This is a religious matter, not political," he said, adding that if the matter was not handled properly, it would affect Islam and the Federal Constitution.