KANGAR: The amendments passed by the Perlis state assembly go against a fatwa issued by the Perlis Mufti Department which states that a child of a convert need not embrace Islam but may receive teachings on Islam from the Muslim parent.
In the April 2015 fatwa, which is still valid, the converted parent is responsible for introducing Islam to the child but custodial right is not decided by religion.
“The state fatwa on custody rights of children was decided long ago by the Perlis Mufti’s Department,” said the state’s Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (pic) who posted a picture of this fatwa on his Facebook page.
“The passing of the amendments seems to be at odds with this fatwa, on top of clashing with the Parliamentary Bill to prevent the unilateral conversion of a child.
According to the fatwa, custody stays firmly with the mother if the child is being breast-fed. If the child is not breast-fed, the custody shall be granted to the parent who can better ensure the child’s “moral, emotional and development” benefits.
If the child is “mumayyiz” (age at which a child can discern between right and wrong and knows the differences between men and women, and which is usually construed as seven years old), he is entitled to make his own selection unless it can be proven that the selection would harm his life.
The fatwa also decrees that the converted parent is obliged and entitled to introduce Islam to the child even if he or she did not have custody.
The mufti, who is abroad, said: “I don’t have the details and might contact the state government for clarification later.