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REFERRING to the Bar Council’s statement regarding the S. Deepa-Izwan Abdullah case at the Federal Court, and the judgment passed by the apex court, it is evident that the council, and others who support its views, have failed to give thought to the core aspect of a most important matter.

They are only concerned about the mother’s rights and her feelings for her children.

They have failed to take into consideration the biological aspect of parenthood. Were the children born like Jesus, without the involvement of a male partner, the father? If so, the right to have the children by the mother is undeniably unquestionable.

But nature has designed otherwise, except in the case of Prophet Adam and Jesus. For children to be born, it takes two parties: husband and wife.

Thus, logically and naturally, the mother and father have equal rights to their children.

It is said in Islam that “heaven for children lies at the feet of the mother; and the gateway to that Heaven is the father”, implying that the father and mother have equal responsibility in bringing up the children, and therefore, have equal rights to them.

In a case of separation, if the children are given to only one party, where is the justice? Just because the apex court, after having taken into consideration the rights of both parties and the love and feelings of both parties towards their children, and over a justifiable, unbiased judgment of “give the child to whom it likes to live with”, the council and others cry foul.

Would it be fair if both children were handed over to Deepa, leaving Izwan in anguish and despair? If only Deepa’s feelings and rights were to be considered, what about the feelings, love and rights of Izwan, who was equally responsible for the birth and upbringing of the children? Do we discard that? What sort of justice would it be then? Would it be fair?

Come on, Bar Council. Set aside your prejudiced views, and think straight and fairly. Would any of you agree to part with your children over a misunderstanding with your spouse?

The judgment by the civil court, of giving custody of both children to Deepa, not taking into consideration the role of the father in the birth and upbringing of the two children for quite a number of years, is certainly against the law of nature, and is not justifiable in the view of any right-thinking person.

Evidently, it is because of this that the apex court has set aside the verdict of the High Court and granted a fair judgment.

The Federal Constitution was drawn up by man. Man is fallible. So, the constitution drawn then would be perfect, and suitable to that time. In fact, the constitution has undergone many changes to suit the times and needs.

Syariah laws are not so. They were formulated by God, the Supreme Being, the All-Knowing.

It is suitable for all times, as acknowledged by great scholars and thinkers of all religions. So, Syariah laws would supersede constitutional laws. If there are doubts, it is Syariah laws that have got to be considered foremost, since the Federal Constitution itself says that “the religion of the Federation is Islam”.

Instead of showing bellicosity and criticising the most plausible and just verdict by the wise men of the Federal Court, it would have been wise if the council had suggested an amicable solution by which both parties would be pleased and satisfied, by consulting the Muslim Lawyers Association and the Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association.

It could be suggested that the person intending to convert must inform his or her spouse, and if the spouse wants to follow suit, then there would be no problem. If not, the spouse cannot be forced, because Islam says: “There is no compulsion in religion.”

Then, an amicable and satisfying agreement must be sought by consulting the three relevant bodies: Bar Council, Muslim Lawyers Association and Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association.

There is nothing wrong in Izwan’s snatching of his son, and leaving. It is his son, his own flesh and blood. He is not snatching anybody else’s child. He is merely taking his right. This is not in any way a crime.

If at all, laws have to be changed, as Deepa has pleaded. The changes must be in conformity with Syariah laws, because “Islam is the religion of the Federation”, as the Federal Constitution says.

DR Mohamed Amir
Meera Hussain,
Perak Islamic Information Centre,
Ipoh

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