• NAFAQAH - THE RIGHT OF A WIFE, THE DARAR OF ITS NON-CONFERMENT, A GROUND FOR MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION & THE IMPLICATION ON A WORKING WIFE

    NAFAQAH: THE RIGHT OF A WIFE, THE DARAR OF ITS NON-CONFERMENT, A GROUND FOR MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION & THE IMPLICATION ON A WORKING WIFE

    NAFAQAH: As we have discussed in the previous two makalah, a valid marital tie brings about duties and obligations, alongside rights. One of the obligations imposed by our religion upon a husband to confer to his wife is the duty to provide nafaqah or maintenance. The guarantee to provide comfort and luxury, as convincingly promulgated when love was in full bloom, becomes an unfulfilled promise as marriage turns sour and bitter over time. This obligatory duty to provide maintenance to the wife by a husband is prone to be neglected by the latter, especially when cracking signs start to make themselves apparent in one’s marriage.

     

    In the Malaysian Muslim Family Law, the failure or neglect on the part of a husband to provide maintenance for his wife for a period of three months is one of the grounds for a dissolution of marriage via fasakh as explicitly spelled out under section 52(1)(b) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 (hereinafter referred to as “IFLA”). Thus, some husbands who might have thought that they are exclusively honoured with a veto power to pronounce divorce, should take heed that wives are entitled to seek for divorce via fasakh if the husbands have failed to discharge their duty to provide nafaqah. Likewise, wives should have the awareness and consciousness of what they are rightfully and legally entitled and to take prompt action(s) in enforcing their due rights whenever necessary.

     

    In this present makalah, we will soon know that the duty to provide maintenance for the wife by a husband is not merely customarily practised and acknowledged in our country. It is in fact, recognised and spelled out in the Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Prophet s.a.w., and unanimously agreed by the fuqaha’. We will also explore how its non-fulfilment will eventually lead to darar or harm to the wife, which might entitle her to seek for a judicial dissolution of marriage. Lastly, we will discover whether the state of working or getting employed has implication(s) on a wife to receive maintenance from her husband.

     

    DEFINITIONS AND LEGAL BASIS

     

    DEFINITIONS

    Before we delve further into the article, it would be necessary to have a clear understanding on the definition of nafaqah or maintenance in the Islamic context as provided by the Muslim scholars.

     

    In an article entitled “Muslim Wife’s Rights to Maintenance: Husband’s Duty to Maintain a Working Wife in Islamic Law and the Law in Malaysia”, co-authored by Azizah Mohd and Badruddin Hj Ibrahim from International Islamic University Malaysia, the definition of maintenance (nafaqah) is provided. The word nafaqah is derived from the Arabic root word infaq which means “to spend for a good purpose”. And it literally means “what a person spends for his family members”, as stated in Radd al-Mukhtar ‘ala al-Dur al-Mukhtar al-Ma’ruf bi Hashiyat Ibn ‘Abidin, as cited in the aforementioned article.

     

    Various definitions of maintenance are given by the Muslim jurists. According to a book entitled al-Bahr al-Ra’iq Sharh Kanz al-Daqa’iq, the Hanafi jurists regard nafaqah to connote “food, clothing and accommodation”. The Hanbali jurists provide a similar definition by stating that nafaqah is “what is sufficient for maintaining a family with food, clothing and accommodation and their supplements”, as written in Kashshaf al-Qina’, Volume 5, pages 459-460. Meanwhile, the jurists from our madzhab i.e. the Shafi’ie jurists have widen the scope of nafaqah by including “whatever is eaten as food (al-‘adam), clothing, cleaning tools, house appliances like cooking equipment, accommodation and servant in the case where the wife has ever used the service of a servant before her marriage “, as per stated in Mughni al-Muhtaj. All these definitions can be found cited in the above article.

     

    Based on the definitions provided above, we can now understand that maintenance or nafaqah generally constitutes basic necessities in our daily life. What is interesting to note in the article is that, there are contemporary Muslim scholars such as Zaki al-Din Sha’ban (See: Ahkam al-Syar’iyyah li Ahwal al-Syakhsiyyah) and Muhammad Mustafa Shalabi (See: Ahkam al-Usrah fi al-Islam) who include “necessary service” which is recognised by the custom of a particular society to constitute nafaqah or maintenance. Thus, according to the authors of the article, in taking into account the view of the aforementioned contemporary Muslim jurists, applying in the Malaysian context, “medical expenses and other basic needs of a family” would fall under the umbrella of nafaqah.

     

    To provide an exhaustive list of what amounts to maintenance would not be possible and might differ from one household to another. It is for the husband as the breadwinner of the family to take cognizance of the basic necessities of his very own family and to duly provide such maintenance, as commanded by the deen.

     

    LEGAL BASIS

    The authorities on the obligation upon a husband to provide nafaqah or maintenance to his wife are aplenty. In this article, we will explore on the authorities contained in the Qur’an and hadeeth as cited by the co-authors of the above referred article.

     

    Qur’an:

    In Surah At-Talaq, verse 7, Allah says to the effect:

    Let the rich man spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. Allah will grant after hardship, ease.

    (Translation by Muhsin Khan. See: https://quran.com/65/7 )

     

    Meanwhile, in Surah An-Nisaa’ verse 34, Allah says:

    Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means.

    (Translation by Muhsin Khan. See: https://quran.com/4/34 )

     

    According to the writers of the above cited article, the Quranic verses laid down above, signify the duty of a husband to provide maintenance for his wife according to his financial standing. Although a husband is not to be burdened to provide his wife more than what he can bear, providing maintenance remains a husband’s obligation and responsibility.

     

    There are also narrations contained in the hadeeth of the Prophet which highlight the duty of a husband to provide maintenance. One of the oft-quoted hadeeth pertaining to maintenance is the hadeeth pertaining to Hindun binti ‘Utbah, i.e. the wife of Abu Sufyan. In the Sahih Al-Bukhari, as translated by Muhsin Khan, Chapter al-Nafaqah, Vol VII, 6th Edition, page 212, it is narrated by ‘A’isyah that Abu Sufyan’s wife said:

    O Rasulullah, Abu Sufyan is a miser and does not give me what is sufficient for me and my children, can I take his property without his knowledge?” Rasulullah (saw) said, “Take what is sufficient for you and your children, and the amount should be just and reasonable

     

    In interpreting the hadeeth, in al-Zuhayli, Volume 7, page 787, as cited in the above-referred article, it is explained that a husband is obligated to provide maintenance for his wife. Thus, it is permitted for a wife to take what is sufficient for her from his husband’s possessions, but, in a manner that is good (emphasis needed).

     

    Further, we can also find legal support pertaining to a husband’s duty to maintain his wife based on the unanimous stance of fuqaha’ (ijma’). As contained in Islamic Family Law in Malaysia; a book co-authored by Najibah Mohd Zin and 7 other lecturers from IIUM, at page 89, unless his wife is nusyuz or being disobedient to him, a husband is under an obligatory duty to provide maintenance to his wife.

     

    Besides, despite providing a general connotation, the duty of a husband to provide maintenance for his wife is also prescribed under section 59(1) of the IFLA, whereby it states that:

    The Court may, subject to Hukum Syara’, order a man to pay maintenance to his wife or former wife

     

    According to the writers of the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia, this provision entitles a wife to receive maintenance during a valid subsisting marriage. Whereas, the term “former wife” would entitle a former wife to receive her right of maintenance after divorce, during the period of ‘iddah.

     

    THE DARAR OF THE NON-CONFERMENT OF MAINTENANCE

    In an article entitled Darar or Harm for Failure to Maintain the Wife: A Quranic and Juristic Approach on Marriage Dissolution, co-written by Tengku Fatimah Muliana Tengku Muda from UniSZA, as well as Azizah Mohd and Noraini Md. Hashim from IIUM, it discussed on the wider scope of the term darar, as opposed to its literal meaning, to include the physical, psychological, emotional as well as financial contexts. This is propounded by scholars of Tafseer. Thus, according to the above writers, a husband’s failure to provide his wife maintenance is a form of “emotional abuse” and thus constitutes darar.

     

    The various interpretations of the term darar are based on the definitions given by Muslim scholars. For instance, according to Abu Jayb, darar can also be equated to “dayyiq”, which means “a state of narrowness and difficulties”. Meanwhile, At-Tabari regarded darar as “a state of extreme hardship and affliction”. On the other hand, As-Suyuti considered darar to constitute “emotional disturbance or distress”. Thus, based on the foregoing interpretations given by learned Muslim scholars, the writers were emphasising the point that failure to provide maintenance is a form of darar that should not be taken lightly. Further reading can be made, by referring to the aforementioned article.

     

    FAILURE TO MAINTAIN AS A GROUND FOR MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION

    A review on cases decided by the Malaysian Syariah Courts on this matter would make us understand better the nexus between failure to maintain on the part of the husband with the darar thereby suffered by the wife to justify a fasakh divorce application. In a 2013 case cited as Noor Aisyah binti Ali Akbar v Mohd Shahnaz bin Mohd Amin, the wife was diagnosed with “major depression” by a psychiatrist. The husband’s failure to provide maintenance to the wife had affected the latter’s psychologically. The Court had thereby granted her application for divorce via fasakh.

     

    In another case called Masrifawati binti Humala Marpaung v Mohammad Wazir bin Yeop Mat, a 2011 case, the wife was denied from the right of maintenance for about nine (9) years long, despite the fact being that the husband was in existent. As a consequence, the wife had suffered emotionally. The Court had rightfully granted her fasakh application and had also noted that the husband’s failure to provide maintenance for his wife had resulted in darar to the latter.

     

    The above two cases are discussed in the article cited under the previous heading. Based on the above cases and other quoted cases, the co-authors of the article found that failure of a husband to provide maintenance to his wife has caused darar to the latter, which justifies a dissolution of marriage via fasakh.

     

    MAINTENANCE TO A WORKING WIFE

    Lastly, in the Malaysian context, we can see that a husband has a duty to provide maintenance to his wife as well as his former wife (during ‘iddah period) as enshrined under section 59(1) of IFLA. The law does not isolate a working wife from an equal entitlement of maintenance. A wife would only be disentitled from receiving maintenance in the case of nusyuz, or as the law puts: “unreasonably refuses to obey the lawful wishes or commands of her husband”. The decided cases in the Syariah Courts have also painted a similar connotation, whereby the Court have not taken into account the working status of a wife in deciding for her right to maintenance but have only concerned on whether the wife is nusyuz or otherwise.

     

    For instance, in a 2001 case of Salina binti Mohd. Dahlan v. Mohd Salleh bin Haji Haron, despite the plaintiff’s occupation as a teacher, the Court did not disentitle her from receiving maintenance from her husband who had denied her from such right for more than one year. The Court had granted her fasakh application and had quoted from page 113 of al-Firqatu Baina al-Tazwijaini, which reads:

    “There is no doubt that to hold a wife without any maintenance causes her severe harm (darar) and pain. In this case, the husband is supposed to let the wife go in a kind manner. When the husband did not do that, Qadi can pronounce talaq to avoid cruelty and harm”

     

    The above case is found quoted at page 119 of Muslim Wife’s Right to Maintenance: Husband’s Duty to Maintain a Working Wife in Islamic Law and the Law in Malaysia.

     

    CONCLUSION

    To conclude, providing nafaqah or maintenance to a wife is an obligation upon a husband in Islam. If this right is not duly conferred to the wife would not only cause financial harm (darar) and hardship, instead, the wife might suffer psychologically as well, as discussed above. Despite the fact that ending a marriage by way of pronouncing talaq is, so to speak, a man’s “power”, it is nevertheless not absolute. Decided cases have proven that a wife may “equally” dissolve a marriage by way of fasakh or even ta’liq on the ground of the husband’s failure to maintain. Furthermore, a husband must note that employment does not make a wife any less entitled from receiving maintenance from her husband, as long as the wife’s employment is consented by the husband.

     

    The sacred unity of a man and a woman is not aimed to end with divorce nor does Islam tolerate any form of hardship or difficulty to be suffered by either party to the marriage. However, our religion and the law in our country provide an avenue for a wife who has been neglected from receiving her lawful right, i.e. nafaqah to seek for divorce either through ta’liq or fasakh (by fulfilling certain requirements) when the darar persists and cannot be availed due to the ignorance, cruelty or negligence of the husband. At the end of the day, the option lies on the wife whether to step up and enforce her lawful right or to let herself persistently engulfed in hardship and misery. Wallahu a’lam.

  • PENAFIAN NASAB ANAK DALAM ISLAM - BOLEHKAH DNA MENDAHULUI LIAN

    PENAFIAN NASAB ANAK DALAM ISLAM: BOLEHKAH DNA MENDAHULUI LI’AN?

    PERSOALAN/ISU DNA, PENAFIAN NASAB ANAK, LI’AN: Sejajar dengan kecanggihan teknologi, nasab anak boleh ditentukan melalui ujian paterniti DNA. Menurut laman web rasmi Jabatan Kimia Malaysia (JKM), ujian ini biasanya dibuat untuk mengesahkan mahupun menafikan kenasaban seorang anak kepada bapa biologinya. Tambahannya, ketepatan sesuatu ujian paterniti DNA ialah 99.9999%. Persoalan yang timbul ialah, adakah Islam menerima pakai kaedah ujian paterniti DNA ini untuk menafikan nasab anak kepada bapa biologinya, dengan mengambil kira tahap ketepatannya atau terdapat kaedah yang khusus dalam isu penafian nasab anak menurut kaca mata Islam? Makalah kali ini akan mengupas isu-isu yang bersangkut paut dengan penafian nasab anak menurut perspektif Islam dengan merujuk kepada kes-kes berkaitan yang telah diselesaikan di Mahkamah Syariah di Malaysia.

     

    UNDANG-UNDANG/HUKUM:

    Kes Eddyham bin Zainuddin lwn Rahimah bt. Muhamad JH 40 BHG. 2 1436H di peringkat Mahkamah Rayuan Syariah di Negeri Sembilan telah membincangkan isu ini secara teliti, yang mana kes ini menyentuh dua isu utama iaitu penerimaan keterangan pakar dalam keputusan DNA untuk menafikan nasab anak serta isu tempoh penafian nasab anak menurut hukum syara’. Oleh yang demikian, kes ini sedikit sebanyak akan dirujuk dalam makalah kali ini.

     

    ISU 1: KAEDAH PENAFIAN NASAB ANAK

    Menurut Mahkamah Rayuan Syariah dalam kes tersebut, walaupun ujian DNA lebih moden dan bersifat saintifik, ia hanya boleh diguna pakai dalam pensabitan nasab dan bukan untuk menafikan nasab. Pensabitan nasab melalui kaedah DNA dapat diterima pakai dengan menyamakan kaedah tersebut dengan qiyafah iaitu kaedah penentuan nasab secara tradisional. Hadith nabi yang membenarkan kaedah qiyafah yang disertakan dalam kes tersebut ialah hadith nabi yang disebut dalam Subul Al-Salam Syarh Bulugh Al-Maram, terjemahannya:

    Dari ‘A’isyah r.a. berkata: pada suatu hari Nabi s.a.w telah masuk menemuiku dalam keadaan gembira yang jelas terbayang di wajah baginda sambil berkata ((Tidakkah kamu melihat bagaimana Mujazzazi al-Mudliji? Sebentar tadi dia telah memerhatikan Zaid bin Harithah dan Usamah b. Zaid dan menilik kaki mereka, lalu dia berkata: kaki mereka mempunyai persamaan antara satu sama lain (yakni mempunyai pertalian nasab).

     

    Namun begitu, menurut Mahkamah Syariah Rayuan dalam kes tersebut, kaedah pensabitan nasab menurut hukum syara’ adalah berbeza berbanding dengan kaedah penafian nasab. Ini adalah disebabkan oleh kaedah khusus yang telah ditetapkan oleh hukum syara’ untuk penafian nasab iaitu melalui kaedah li’an. Dalil pensyariatan li’an disebabkan oleh qazaf, iaitu seorang suami telah menuduh isterinya berzina dengan lelaki lain yang mengakibatkan terlahirnya anak yang dinafikan nasab tersebut, telah dirakamkan di dalam kitab suci Al-Qur’an iaitu di dalam Surah An-Nur ayat 6-9. Mafhumnya:

    Dan orang-orang yang menuduh isteri-isterinya (berzina) dan tiada mempunyai saksi lain selain dari dirinya, maka kesaksian seseorang itu (dapat diterima) dengan empat kali bersumpah dengan Nama Allah bahawa ia dari orang-orang yang benar. Dan (sumpah) yang kelima ialah bahawa kutukan Allah akan ditimpa ke atasnya jika ia dari kalangan orang-orang yang berdusta. Dan isteri pula terhindar dari hukuman (had) jika ia bersaksi (bersumpah) sebanyak 4 kali dengan nama Allah bahawa suaminya dari kalangan-kalangan orang-orang yang berdusta. Dan sumpah yang kelima ialah bahawa kemurkaan Allah akan ditimpakan kepadanya jika suaminya termasuk orang-orang yang benar.”

     

    Memandangkan kes ini diputuskan di Negeri Sembilan, maka Enakmen Undang-undang Keluarga Islam (Negeri Sembilan) 2003 telah dirujuk, yang mana seksyen 111 Enakmen tersebut juga telah menetapkan li’an sebagai kaedah khusus dalam kes penafian nasab anak. Sekyen tersebut adalah pari materia dengan seksyen 110 Akta Undang-undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-wilayah Persekutuan) 1984, yang berbunyi:

    Jika seseorang perempuan yang berkahwin dengan seseorang lelaki melahirkan seorang anak lebih daripada enam bulan qamariah dari tarikh perkahwinannya itu atau dalam masa empat tahun qamariah selepas perkahwinannya itu dibubarkan sama ada oleh sebab kematian lelaki itu atau oleh sebab perceraian, dan perempuan itu pula tidak berkahwin semula, maka lelaki itu hendaklah disifatkan sebagai bapa anak itu, tetapi lelaki itu boleh, dengan cara li’an atau kutukan, menafikan anak itu sebagai anaknya di hadapan Mahkamah.

     

    Menurut dalil daripada Al-Qur’an serta provisi undang-undang di atas, ternyata, hanya terdapat satu kaedah khusus dalam penafian nasab anak iaitu melalui kaedah li’an dan bukan dengan cara yang lain, mahupun dengan kaedah yang serba moden seperti DNA. Ini juga adalah selaras dengan keputusan Majma’ Fiqh al-Islami yang telah bersidang pada 5-10 Januari 2002, bahawa kaedah DNA “tidak boleh digunakan untuk menafikan nasab anak apalagi digunakannya untuk mendahului kaedah li’an”, seperti yang tertera di laman web rasmi Jabatan Mufti Kerajaan Negeri Sembilan.

     

    ISU 2: TEMPOH PENAFIAN NASAB ANAK

    Seterusnya, isu yang perlu dibincangkan ialah tempoh penafian nasab anak menurut hukum syara’. Di Malaysia, kes berkaitan dengan li’an  bukanlah sesuatu yang asing mahupun baru, tetapi setakat ini, masih belum ada lagi kes yang berjaya untuk menafikan nasab anak melalui kaedah li’an disebabkan oleh ketidakcaknaan pemohon akan tempoh penafian nasab anak yang mempunyai hadnya. Antara kes-kes berkaitan dengan li’an yang boleh anda rujuk ialah kes Haji Ghazali v. Asmah JH (1980-81) Jil. 2 serta kes Wan Azmi lwn Nik Salwani (1415H) 9 JH(2) 192, yang mana isu mengenai keperluan menyegerakan penafian nasab anak dalam kes li’an telah disentuh. Punca lain yang mengakibatkan permohonan li’an gagal adalah apabila seorang suami hanya mengambil tindakan untuk menafikan nasab anak yang dikandung isterinya setelah isterinya membuat tuntutan nafkah. Perkara ini juga telah dibincangkan dalam kedua-dua kes yang telah disebutkan di atas.

     

    Dalam kes Eddyham bin Zainuddin lwn Rahimah bt. Muhamad (supra), Mahkamah telah merujuk kepada kitab Mughni al-Muhtaj, Jilid 3, hlm. 381, yang menukilkan bahawa:

    “Penafian nasab hendaklah dibuat dengan kadar segera menurut qaul jadeed. Diterima kelewatan sebagai keuzuran bilamana ia menerima khabar isterinya telah melahirkan anak pada malam hari, lalu ia menangguhkan sehingga pagi hari atau ia menerima khabar itu semasa sedang lapar, lalu ditangguhkan sehingga ia selesai makan, atau ketika sedang telanjang sehingga ia berpakaian. Sekiranya ia dipenjara, atau sakit atau kerana takut hartanya binasa, maka ia hendaklah menghantar surat kepada hakim supaya dihantar naibnya untuk membolehkan dia berli’an di hadapan naibnya atau memaklumkan kepada hakim bahawa pendiriannya adalah menafikan nasab anak itu. Jika ia tidak menafikan dengan segera maka terbatal haknya untuk menafikannya.”

     

    Jelaslah menurut kitab di atas, penafian nasab anak perlulah dibuat dengan kadar segera dan kelewatan hanya diterima jika terdapat keuzuran. Dalam kes Eddyham ini, Mahkamah berpendapat tiada keuzuran yang mengharuskan kelewatannya menafikan nasab anak iaitu selepas tiga tahun setelah terdapat qarinahqarinah atau petunjuk-petunjuk yang menunjukkan zan yang kuat bahawa anak tersebut tidak berasal daripada nasabnya. Maka, persoalannya sekarang, seberapa segerakah penafian nasab perlu dilakukan?

     

    Mazhab yang empat telah berselisih pendapat mengenai hal ini. Menurut pendapat mazhab Hanafi, penafian nasab perlulah dilakukan sejurus selepas anak tersebut dilahirkan atau dalam tempoh tujuh (7) hari secara adat atau kebiasaannya diterima ucapan tahniah disebabkan oleh kelahiran bayi tersebut. Kitab Al-Fiqh al-Islam wa Adillatuh, karangan Wahbah al-Zuhaili, Jilid 7, muka surat 567 boleh dirujuk untuk mengetahui pandangan mazhab Hanafi ini. Seterusnya, menurut pendapat mazhab Maliki, penafian perlulah dibuat sebelum kelahiran anak tersebut, jika suami tersebut mengetahui akan status anak tersebut dari mulanya. Pendapat ini ada disebutkan di dalam kitab Wahbah al-Zuhaili tersebut pada halaman 569. Manakala, menurut Mazhab Syafi’ie, penafian hendaklah dilakukan sewaktu bayi tersebut berada dalam kandungan ibunya atau sejurus setelah kelahiran. Ini juga merupakan pendapat mazhab Hanbali, dan penjelasan lanjut boleh anda rujuk kitab Mughni al-Muhtaj, Jilid 5, halaman 76.

     

    Bagaimanakah pula dengan pengaplikasiannya di Malaysia? Merujuk kepada kes Wan Azmi lwn Nik Salwani (supra), yang juga dirujuk oleh Mahkamah yang bijaksana dalam kes Eddyham (supra), tempoh penafian setelah lebih kurang setahun kelahiran anak juga dikira lewat iaitu sewaktu si isteri membuat tuntutan nafkah terhadap suaminya. Manakala, dalam kes Eddyham, terdapat unsur kelewatan menafikan nasab anak, apabila si suami menafikan nasab anak yang dilahirkan isterinya itu selepas tiga tahun setelah terdapat qarinahqarinah yang menimbulkan zan yang kuat untuk menafikan nasab anak tersebut.

     

    APLIKASI & KESIMPULAN

    Merujuk kepada otoriti-otiriti di atas dan diaplikasikan kepada isu-isu yang dibincangkan dalam makalah kali ini, kaedah untuk menafikan nasab anak menurut kaca mata Islam hanyalah satu, iaitu melalui kaedah li’an, manakala ujian DNA hanyalah sebagai penguat, qarinah atau petunjuk untuk meyakinkan suami sebelum beliau membuat li’an terhadap isterinya untuk menafikan nasab anak yang dilahirkan isterinya. Ini adalah demikian kerana, suami tidak seharusnya sewenang-wenangnya menafikan nasab anak yang dikandung isteri, atau dalam erti kata lain, menuduh isteri melakukan zina dengan lelaki lain, kerana kesalahan qazaf atau menuduh isteri melakukan zina membawa kepada hukuman had.        Manakala, menjawab isu tempoh penafian nasab dalam Islam, ia haruslah dibuat seberapa segera, dan had tempoh yang spesifik akan bergantung kepada fakta kes kerana Mahkamah atau hakim yang bijaksana akan mengambil kira jika terdapat sebarang keuzuran yang membolehkan kelewatan penafian nasab dilakukan. Jika penafian nasab dilewatkan tanpa sebarang keuzuran, tuntutan li’an berpotensi untuk ditolak oleh Mahkamah semudahnya. Wallahu a’lam.

  • confession and retraction

    CONFESSION AND ITS RETRACTION: THE MALAYSIAN EXPERIENCE

    Logically speaking, no one would ever admit his guilt, upon which would entail punishment except if it is the truth. Therefore, confession or al-iqrar is considered as the strongest mode of proof to some. It is in fact, labelled as sayyidul hujaj (the king of all sources of proof) as enumerated in a Pakistani case of Khawand Bakhsh alias Khawando v. The State 2004 P Cr. L J 677 [Federal Shariat Court] at 682.[1] In the local case of Pendakwa Syarie lwn. Jalil Embong & Zaliha Endut (2004) 17 JH(I) 93 at 106, the learned Judge, in explaining about iqrar, had this to say:

    Iqrar is one of the strongest methods of proof in Islam. There is no disagreement among the jurists on this issue. Its legality has been established from the Qur’an as well as from the Sunnah.” (Translation from Bahasa Melayu).[2]

     

    In this makalah, we will explore in brief the concept of confession in Islam and the legal definition of it, as provided in the Malaysian statute. Further down this article, we would see the different approaches taken by the Malaysian Syariah Courts in determining the validity of retracted confession and the rationales of coming to such decisions.

     

    Definition

    Al-iqrar which derives from the root words qarra, yuqarru, qiraaran[3] literally means “admission” or “recognition[4]. Legally speaking, the scholars have come up with their own definitions, as follows:

    Shafi’i:

    • A testimony which is made by the maker of the admission, of a proved right of another person against himself.
    • Recognition (I’tiraf)[5]

    Hanafi:

    • An admission by the maker of the admission regarding the right of another person against himself.
    • A testimony of the maker of the admission through the use of particular wordings, pertaining to a right or interest (thabat al-haq) in favour of another person, and disadvantageous to the right or interest of the maker himself. [6]

     

    Our Syariah Court Evidence (Federal Territories) Act 1997 provides the definition of iqrar in its section 17(1) as “an admission made by a person, in writing or orally or by gesture, stating that he is under an obligation or liability to another person in respect of some right”.

    From all the above definitions, it can simply be understood that al-iqrar means establishing the right or interest of another person in the form of admission, against himself.

     

    The Legal Basis:

    The recognition of al-iqrar as a means of proof can be traced in various verses in the Holy Qur’an. One of the ayaat which highlights this point is verse 135 of Surah An-Nisaa’. Whereby Allah says:

    O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do.[7]

     

    Ibn ‘Arabi in interpreting this verse, had stated as follows: “…Thus, in the language of law, bearing testimony against oneself is known as acknowledgement (iqrar).[8] From the above verse, it is clear that iqrar is not a newly man-made invention but has gained recognition and inscribed in the Holy Book since thousands of years ago.

    Moreover, al-iqrar can also be seen practised during the era of the Prophet. And the oft-cited case of Ma’iz illustrated the concept of al-iqrar at its best. Whereby, in the case of Ma’iz, he had confessed to the Prophet that he had committed adultery. Only after the fourth time that he had testified to the Prophet did the Prophet call him to know if he was mad, of which, he answered in the negative and the Prophet ordered for him to be stoned to death. From this narrative, the act of Ma’iz testifying to the Prophet about his commission of adultery signified that he had testified against himself and thus connoted al-iqrar.

    Meanwhile, according to ijma’, the Muslim jurists have also come to a consensus when it comes to accepting al-iqrar as a means of proof. On the other hand, based on qiyas or analogy, Wahbah al-Zuhayli stated that if the syahadah is legally accepted as a means of proof without dispute, by analogy, to accept iqrar is more preferable.[9]

     

    RETRACTED CONFESSION

    In Malaysia, the issue of retracted confession had been decided in a few cases, some of which came to different conclusions pertaining to its validity. Before we delve into the cases, let us first define retraction of confession and closely examine the position of retracted confession according to the Muslim jurists.

    According to the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, to “retract” means to “take back, withdraw”.[10] Simply said, in the present context, a retraction of confession means to withdraw or take back a confession which had been made by the maker/confessor. This discussion can be divided into the rights of Allah, the rights of mankind and ta’zir crimes.

     

    Rights of Allah (hudud offences)

    The Muslim jurists have agreed that retraction of confession in hudud offences would amount to a valid retraction. The effect of such retraction would render the hudud punishment to be substituted with ta’zir punishment if there are other evidences to support it.[11] The authorities to support this view is the case of Ma’iz, whereby when it was reported that Ma’iz attempted to run away during the commencement of stoning, the Prophet said “I wish you should have left him and brought him to me”, and Ibn Qayyim had interpreted the act of Ma’iz, attempting to run away from the scene of the execution of stoning as a connotation of retraction of confession.[12] Further, the retraction of confession creates doubt, and as the saying goes: “udra’ul hudud bil syubuhaat”. Thus, hudud punishment cannot be imposed as the retraction of confession casts doubt and doubt renders a hudud punishment unenforceable.

     

    Rights of Mankind (Qisas)

    According to Al-Qurtubi, a confession involving the rights of mankind cannot be retracted. This finding is based on Surah Al-Qiyaamah, verses 14-15[13], whereby Allah says:

    Nay! Man will be a witness against himself [as his body parts (skin, hands, legs, etc.) will speak about his deeds]. Though he may put forth his excuses (to cover his evil deeds).

     

    From the above two verses, it can be understood that whatever that has been done by a human being would be held accountable. This shall include a confession that was previously made. This finding is in line with the view of most of the jurists, including for the cases of qisas[14] and qazaf.[15] Article 1588 of the Mejelle also makes clear on this point, whereby it reads: “it is not lawful to go back from admissions concerning the rights of people”.[16] This maxim is very much related with the maxim in the Mejelle which states “a person is bound by his own admission[17] Hence, a person who has made a confession pertaining to the rights involving mankind  is bound by the confession made and is not allowed to retract it.[18]

     

    Ta’zir Offences

    According to Anwarullah, since the standard of proof in ta’zir offence suffices, if it only reaches the level of zann or beyond reasonable doubt, thus, it is not the same as in cases involving hudud offences, where retraction creates doubt and thus had punishment cannot be imposed due to the existence of doubt (retraction).[19] On the other hand, retraction in ta’zir offence does not affect the enforcement of ta’zir punishment(s).

     

    MALAYSIAN DECIDED CASES ON RETRACTION OF CONFESSION

    In the Malaysian context, we could see the different approaches taken by the Syariah Courts in deciding on the issue of retracted confession. For instance, in the case of Faridah lwn. Pendakwa Jenayah Kelantan JH 1, Bhg. 1, (1981-82), 89, whereby the Plaintiff was arrested for an attempt to commit illicit sexual intercourse with a man. Initially she admitted, later she made an application to retract such confession. The Court of Appeal in allowing her application had referred to several sources such as Kitab al-Mughni and al-Raudhah, as recorded in Sharkawi Tughah, Vol. 9, page 113, whereby it is permitted for those who have made confession pertaining to the offence of zina or of drinking intoxicants, to retract his/her iqrar as though it has never taken place ab initio. The Court had also referred to Kitab Fathul Wahhab, Vol. 5, page 134, whereby a person who had committed zina but had retracted his/her confession, the judgment must be set aside[20].

    A similar approach had been taken in the case of Che Lah lwn. Pendakwa Jenayah Kelantan JH 1, Bhg. 1, (1981-82), 86. In this case, the accused admitted in respect of the commission of zina with a girl. He later retracted his confession and the issue is whether he would still be liable to the said offence that he initially admitted. It was held that the initial admission cannot be taken as a proof of zina but merely of khalwat because of the existence of retraction.[21] The Court had referred to Kitab Fathul Wahhab, Vol. 5, page 134, whereby it is stated that “if a person has made a confession in zina case then retracts it, punishment cannot be imposed”.

    In contrary, in the case of Pendakwa v. Awang Mat Isa (1979) JH Bhg. 1, 80, the case also involved the offence of zina. At first, the Plaintiff pleaded guilty to the said offence but later wished to retract his confession. The Court, in referring to Kitab Sharkawi Tahrir, Vol. 2, page 141, which stated that “a valid confession cannot be retracted except in cases of murtad, drinking liquor, theft and robbery”, held that the retraction was invalid and convicted the accused to three months imprisonment.[22]

     

    CONCLUSION

    In conclusion, despite that al-iqrar or confession is unanimously accepted as a valid means of proof, the effect of its retraction depends very much on the nature of cases that the maker of the confession is convicted with. Even so, from the decided cases cited above, we could see that the Courts in relying to different authorities have come to different conclusions in accepting the maker’s retraction of confession in setting aside the conviction, despite the nature of the crime is the same i.e. ta’zir offence. Be that as it may, it is worth to be reminded that as Muslims, we are bound to state the truth be it against our own selves. Remember, we may escape the punishment in this world, but never will our deeds we be left unjudged in the Hereafter by the Most Just. Wallahu a’lam.

     

     

    [1] Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 197-198.

    [2] Ibid, 198.

    [3] Ibnu Mazur, Lisan al-‘Arab (Beirut, Lebanon: Daru Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabiy, 1992), vol.11, 98- 99, quoted in Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 95.

    [4] Mahmud Saedon A. Othman, An Introduction to Islamic Law of Evidence (Kuala Lumpur: The Open Press, 2000), 30.

    [5] Muhammad Al-Sharbini Al-Khatib, Mughni al-Muhtaj (Egypt: Mustaffa Al-Babi Al-Halabi, 1958), vol. 3, 228, as quoted in Mahmud Saedon A. Othman, An Introduction to Islamic Law of Evidence (Kuala Lumpur: The Open Press, 2000), 30.

    [6] Mahmud Saedon A. Othman, An Introduction to Islamic Law of Evidence (Kuala Lumpur: The Open Press, 2000), 30.

    [7] See translation by Muhsin Khan at https://quran.com/4/135.

    [8] Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 200.

    [9] Wahbah al-Zuhaili, Fiqh al-Islam wa Adillatuh, Vol.6, 611, quoted in Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 200.

    [10] “Retract,” Merriam-Webster, accessed December 8, 2018, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retract.

    [11] Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 367.

    [12] Ibid, 368.

    [13] Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 390-391.

    [14] Wahbah al-Zuhaili, Op. cit., Vol. 6, 388, cited in Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 391.

    [15] Ahmad al-Hasri, ‘Ilmu al-Qada’ (Cairo, 1980), Vol. 2, 383, cited in Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 391.

    [16] The Mejelle, Article 1588, http://legal.pipa.ps/files/server/ENG%20Ottoman%20Majalle%20(Civil%20Law).pdf.

    [17] The Mejelle, Article 79, http://legal.pipa.ps/files/server/ENG%20Ottoman%20Majalle%20(Civil%20Law).pdf.

    [19] Anwarullah, Principles of Evidence in Islam, 100, cited in Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 394.

    [20] See footnote 680 in Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 395-396.

    [21] Hamid Jusoh, Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan (Selangor, 2001), vol. 1, 396.

    [22] Ibid, 395.

  • The Admissibility of Qarinah in Malaysia

    THE ADMISSIBILITY OF QARINAH IN MALAYSIA

    Admissibility of Qarinah in Malaysia – In the oft-cited case of Sunny Ang v Public Prosecutor [1966] 2 MLJ 195, the accused person was charged for committing the murder of his girlfriend; Jenny. Interestingly, the prosecutor had successfully proven its case, wholly based on circumstantial evidence as there was no direct evidence to prove the guilt of the accused. That particular case made history as it was the first case in Malaysia to convict a person for murder by relying solely on circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence or qarinah is also recognised as a means of proof under the Islamic law of evidence. According to Ahmad Fathi Bahansi in his book; Nazariyyah Al-Ithbat, as cited in Mahmud Saedon A. Othman’s An Introduction to Islamic Law of Evidence, qarinah literally means “together, accompany or related”.

     

    An example of the recognition of qarinah in the Qur’an can be traced in Surah Yusuf, verse 18, whereby Allah says:

    They stained his shirt with false blood. He said: “Nay, but your minds have made up a tale (that may pass) with you. (For me) patience is most fitting: Against that which you assert, it is Allah (alone) whose help can be sought…”

     

    In the above-cited verse, the connection of it with the issue of qarinah can be discernible by the fact that despite the shirt being stained with “blood”, it was not torn as it should have been, if Prophet Yusuf was really devoured by wolves as falsely claimed by his brothers to Prophet Ya’qub. The condition of the shirt being intact was a qarinah to signify that Prophet Yusuf was still alive at that time, as stated by ‘Abdul Kareem Zaidan, in his work; Nizam al-Qada Fi Al-Syari’ah Al-Islamiyyah, as per cited in An Introduction to Islamic Law of Evidence.

     

    Meanwhile, the technical definition of qarinah in the Malaysian context can be found in the Syariah Court Evidence (Federal Territories) Act 1997, whereby its section 3 provides that qarinah means:

    fact connected with the other fact in any of the ways referred to in this Act”.

    The whole Chapter 2 of the Act, in fact, is dedicated for qarinah. Thus, facts to be regarded as qarinah according to the Act, can be determined by studying Chapter 2 of the Act. Nevertheless, what are listed under the Chapter are not exhaustive as when there is lacunae in the Act, the Court shall apply hukum syara’ as stated in section 130(2) of the Act.

     

    It is however undeniable, that a better understanding of this topic would be attainable by observing how the Malaysian Syariah Courts apply this concept through the decided cases. Hence, in order to know the admissibility of qarinah in Malaysia, this discussion would be divided into two categories: hudud and non-hudud cases.

     

    HUDUD CASES (with ta’zir punishment)

    Syurb al-Khamar (Consumption of Intoxicants)

    The case of Pendakwa Syarie Kelantan v. Yusundy bin Josan & Anor (1994) JH 206 would be of good reference. In this case, the two accused persons were charged for drinking intoxicants under section 25 of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code. As elaborated in Hamid Jusoh’s Islamic Law of Evidence: Sources and Its Applicability with Special Reference to the Practice in Malaysia and Pakistan, Volume 2, Chapter 2, in this case, the Court had considered the smell/ breath odour of the accused persons as qarinah for drinking liquor. There were other qarinah as well to prove the prosecution’s case which were:

    1. The bottles of liquor that were taken out were in the possession of the accused persons;
    2. The accused persons used glasses containing the liquor from the recovered bottles;
    3. The receipt of purchase of the said bottles were also in the possession of the accused.

     

    This strong circumstantial evidence was regarded as admissible by the Court to convict the accused persons for the commission of the offence. However, it is important to note that despite the actual nature of this offence being that of a hudud offence in Islam, as Malaysia is yet to enforce hudud punishment, the accused were only liable for ta’zir punishment i.e. 6 months imprisonment and 6 strokes of whipping for each accused person.

     

    Zina (Adultery)

    Pregnancy out of wedlock is a kind of qarinah that has been accepted in Malaysia to prove an offence of zina with ta’zir punishment. The legal provision that can be referred to is section 23(3) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territory) Act 1997, whereby:

    the fact that a woman is pregnant out of wedlock as a result of sexual intercourse performed with her consent shall be prima facie evidence of the commission of an offence under subsection (2) by that woman”. Whereas, subsection (4) reads as follows: “For the purpose of subsection (3), any woman who gives birth to a fully developed child within a period of six qamariah months from the date of her marriage shall be deemed to have been pregnant out of wedlock.

    These two provisions portray that pregnancy out of wedlock is generally regarded as qarinah in proving a case of zina which is liable for the accused to be convicted with a ta’zir punishment.

     

    A local case to refer to in respect of this matter is the case of Pendakwa Mahkamah Kadi Perak v. Jaffery & Hasliza JH (1991) 105. Based on Hamid Jusoh (op. cit.), this case is about two accused persons who were charged under section 155(2) & (3) of the Perak Administration of Islamic Law Enactment 1965 due to the commission of zina for several times which subsequently led to the woman being pregnant despite having not married with the man. The Court had convicted the two accused persons for the offence of zina relying on circumstantial evidence, i.e. the pregnancy of the woman out of wedlock. And the accused persons were liable for ta’zir punishment i.e. a fine of RM 1,000 or in default, a year of imprisonment.

     

    NON-HUDUD CASE

    In a reported non-hudud case involving the verification of bequest called Nik Salma Zaidah binti Haji Wan Zaid lwn. Nik Hasnah binti Nik Din & Seorang Lagi (2002) 15 JH(II)  143 at 147, the Applicant claimed that the house that she lives in is a bequest made by her step father before he died. In deciding the case, the Court, inter alia considered the issue of an approval letter to build the house and the act of the Appellant remaining in the house for about 8 years without being disturbed, as qarinah to prove the authenticity of the bequest.

     

    CONCLUSION

    To conclude, generally, qarinah is accepted as a means of proof in both hudud and non-hudud cases in the context of the Malaysian Syariah Courts, thus far. However, its applicability needs to be construed based on the facts of each individual case, as qarinah might not be sustainable in proving a case when for instance, the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case based on qarinah, as in the case of Pendakwa Syarie lwn. Mahadi dan Noridah (1998) 12 JH(I) 55, whereby the qarinah relied upon was in the form of act i.e. “the act of accused who ran away from being arrested as well as the car being used by the accused”, as pointed out by Hamid Jusoh. Plus, as highlighted by Ahmad ‘Abdul Mun’im Al-Bahai, only qarinah that is strong would be acceptable as a basis to prove a case.

  • status agama anak bawah umur

    STATUS AGAMA ANAK BAWAH UMUR & HAK HADHANAH APABILA SALAH SEORANG IBU BAPA MEMELUK ISLAM: ADAKAH ISLAM ATAU KEKAL DENGAN AGAMA IBU BAPA KETIKA BERKAHWIN?

    Status Agama Anak Bawah Umur – Islam sentiasa mementingkan kebajikan anak bagi memastikan anak tersebut dapat membesar dan menjalani kehidupan yang sempurna seperti kanak-kanak lain. Banyak aspek yang perlu diberikan penekanan seperti kesihatan, keselamatan dan pendidikan. Oleh kerana itu, jika ibu bapa bercerai, mereka tetap perlu mengambil berat akan anak mereka kerana ini merupakan tanggungjawab mereka selagi mereka di bawah umur. Bercerai bukan bererti terputus segala hubungan dan tanggungjawab. 

    Terlebih dahulu, lebih baik jika kita melihat pandangan ulama daripada 4 mazhab berkaitan isu di atas. Ulama daripada 4 mazhab tersebut mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza mengenai isu ini. Ada yang mengatakan status agama anak bawah umur sekiranya salah seorang ibu bapa memeluk agama Islam adalah Islam. Akan tetapi, ada juga yang mengatakan sebaliknya. Sudah semestinya pandangan-pandangan yang berbeza daripada ulama ini mempunyai hujah mereka yang tersendiri. 

     

    Pandangan 4 Mazhab Berkaitan Status Agama Anak Bawah Umur Apabila Salah Seorang Ibu Bapa Memeluk Agama Islam.

    Para ulama’ dan fuqaha sudah semestinya mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza mengenai isu status agama anak bawah umur apabila salah seorang pasangan memeluk agama Islam. Hal  ini menunjukkan bahawa isu ini termasuk dalam perkara ijtihadi. Jumhur ulama’ iaitu Mazhab Hanafi, Hanbali dan Syafie berpendapat bahawa di dalam isu ini, anak-anak akan mengikut agama Islam tidak kira yang memeluk agama Islam itu ibu atau bapa. Pendapat ini adalah bersandarkan kepada hadis Nabi SAW yang bermaksud : Daripada ‘A’idz Amr Almuzani, daripada Nabi SAW bersabda : “Islam itu tinggi dan tiada yang lebih tinggi daripadanya”. 

    Berikut pula adalah pandangan ulama-ulama dari setiap mazhab berkaitan penjagaan anak bawah umur apabila salah seorang ibu bapa memeluk agama Islam.

    1. Pandangan Iman al-Imraniyy dari Mazhab Shafie: Imam al-Imraniyy (2000) menjelaskan di dalam kitabnya “al-Bayan Fi Madhhab al-Imam al-Shafie”:
      Maksudnya, “Tidak sabit hak penjagaan anak bagi orang fasik, kerana tidak ada jaminan keselamatan yang kanak-kanak itu akan membesar mengikut caranya. Sekiranya salah seorang daripada ibu bapa itu adalah beragama Islam, maka anak tersebut diberikan kepada yang beragama Islam, dan tidak sabit hak penjagaan kepada orang kafir”.

    2. Pandangan Imam Ibn Abidin dari Mazhab Hanafi:Imam Ibn Abidin menyatakan dalam kitabnya “Radd al-Muhtar ‘Ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar”: Maksudnya, “(Sabit hak penjagaan bagi ibu) iaitu ibu nasab, (walaupun) ibu itu seorang ahli kitab atau majusi atau (selepas perceraian) (kecuali sekiranya ibu itu murtad) sehinggalah dia menjadi muslimah kembali kerana dia akan ditahan (atau si ibu seorang yang jahat) yang mana kejahatannya boleh menyebabkan si anak terbiar seperti berzina, nyanyian, mencuri dan ratapan ketika kematian seperti yang dibahaskan dalam kitab “Bahr al-Ra’iq” dan kitab “Nahr al-Fa’iq”.Ibnu ‘Abidin (1992) berkata lagi: Maksudnya, “Kerana belas kasihan itu tidak berbeza dengan berbezanya agama”.

    3. Pandangan Imam al-Zarqaniyy dari Mazhab Malikiyy:Imam al-Zarqaniyy menjelaskan dalam kitabnya “Sharh al-Zarqaniyy ‘Ala Mukhtasar Sayyidi Khalil”: Maksudnya, “(Hak penjagaan bagi kanak-kanak lelaki sehingga mereka telah baligh dan hak penjagaan perempuan seperti memberi nafakah adalah bagi hak ibu) walaupun ibu itu seorang kafir”.
      Imam Malik mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza mengenai isu ini iaitu anak-anak di bawah umur akan mengikut agama Islam sekiranya yang memeluk agama Islam itu ialah bapanya. Akan tetapi, sekiranya ibu yang memeluk Islam, anak-anak tersebut tidak perlu ikut memeluk agama Islam. Hal ini kerana, mengikut Imam Malik, seorang anak dinasabkan kepada bapanya dan bukan ibu. Oleh yang demikian, anak-anak akan ikut memeluk agama Islam hanya apabila bapanya memeluk agama Islam. Jika ibunya yang memeluk agama Islam, anak-anak tidak akan mengikut agama baru ibunya iaitu Islam dan kekal dengan agama asal ketika ibu bapa mereka berkahwin.
    4. Pandangan Imam al-Buhutiyy dari Mazhab Hanbaliyy:
      Imam al-Buhutiyy  berkata dalam kitabnya “Kashshaf al-Qina’ An Matn al-Iqna”: Maksudnya, “(Tidak ada) penjagaan juga (bagi orang kafir ke atas kanak-kanak Islam). Bahkan kemudaratannya lebih besar kerana ia akan memberi fitnah daripada agamanya dan mengeluarkannya daripada agama Islam, dengan cara mengajarnya dan mendidiknya dengan kekufuran. Perkara yang demikian itu kesemuanya merupakan kemudaratan”.

    Di sini dapat kita simpulkan bahawa Mazhab Shafie dan Hanafi lebih lebih cenderung kepada pandangan bahawa di dalam isu status agama anak bawah umur selepas salah seorang ibu bapa memeluk agama Islam, anak-anak adalah mengikut agama Islam tidak kira sama ada yang memeluk agama Islam itu ibu atau bapa. Pandangan tersebut adalah berdasarkan hadis Nabi SAW:

    Daripada A’idz bin Amr Almuzani, daripada Nabi SAW bersabda : “Islam itu tinggi dan tiada yang lebih tinggi daripadanya”.

    Berkaitan dengan isu penjagaan anak atau hadhanah, Mazhab Shafie dan Hanbali juga berpendapat bahawa tiada hak penjagaan bagi orang bukan Islam. Hak penjagaan anak tersebut akan diberikan kepada yang beragama Islam. Hal ini adalah bagi memelihara keselamatan akidah anak tersebut dan menghindarinya daripada sebarang kemudharatan jika sekiranya anak tersebut diletakkan di bawah jagaan orang bukan Islam. Ibu bapa yang bukan beragama Islam tidak layak untuk mempunyai hak penjagaan anak kerana dibimbangi ibu atau bapa yang bukan beragama Islam akan mempengaruhi agama anak tersebut. Dalam erti kata lain, akidah anak yang beragama Islam tersebut mungkin akan terjejas.  

    Pandangan ulama daripada Mazhab Maliki menyatakan bahawa boleh sekiranya penjaga si anak seorang yang bukan beragama Islam. Akan tetapi menurut Wahbah al-Zuhailiy, ulama Mazhab Hanafi dan maliki memberi kebenaran kepada ibu atau bapa yang bukan beragama Islam untuk menjaga anak hanyalah sehingga anak itu mencapai umur mumayyiz. Setelah anak itu mumayyiz ataupun akidah anak itu didapati terjejas ketika di bawah jagaan ibu atau bapanya yang bukan Islam, maka anak itu hendaklah diserahkan kepada penjaganya yang Islam walaupun sebelum anak itu mencapai umur mumayyiz. 

    Selain pandangan daripada 4 mazhab iaitu Mazhab Shafie, Hanafi, Maliki dan Hanbali, terdapat juga fatwa-fatwa lain berkaitan dengan hak hadhanah dan juga status agama anak bawah umur apabila salah seorang ibu bapa memeluk agama Islam dan juga Di dalam Persidangan Penyelarasan Undang-Undang Syarak/Sivil kali Ke-19, semua ahli persidangan tersebut telah bersetuju bahawa:

    “Menasihati Kabinet supaya tidak meminda Perkara 12(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan, Seksyen 51 Akta Membaharui Undang-Undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 dipinda supaya orang yang memeluk Islam diberikan hak untuk membubarkan perkahwinan sivilnya di Mahkamah Sivil, mana-mana pasangan yang memeluk Islam yang mempunyai anak-anak yang di bawah umur 18 tahun hendaklah menjadi orang Islam selaras dengan Hukum Syarak dan hak hadhanah hendaklah diputuskan oleh Mahkamah Sivil dengan mengambil kira kebajikan dan maslahah anak.”

    Terdapat juga fatwa-fatwa kontemporari daripada ulama yang baru dikeluarkan. Antaranya adalah pandangan daripada Dr Abd al-Rahman bin Hasan al-Nafisah yang bermaksud:

    “Mudah-mudahan pandangan yang tepat -Allah lebih Mengetahui adalah apa yang disebut dalam mazhab imam Abu Hanifah dan Malik yang membenarkan hak penjagaan kepada ibu bukan Islam. Hal ini kerana athar yang ada menunjukkan bahawa tabiat seorang ibu (sama ada dia seorang Islam atau tidak) dalam perasaan kasih sayang kepada anak-anaknya dan penjagaan mereka melebihi ayah mereka. Tetapi ini tidak menafikan hak bapa pada anak-anaknya. Si ibu tidaklah melebihi kekuatan si ayah apabila si anak melepasi tahap kanak-kanak. Apabila si anak melepasi tahap kanak-kanak, dia dapat mengetahui banak perkara dan membezakannya. Sekiranya si ibu adalah muslimah, wajib si anak berada bersama si ayah untuk pendidikannya. Sekiranya si ibu bukan muslimah (dan ini asas masalah), dibimbangi selepas baligh si anak akan terbiasa dengan agamanya. Oleh itu, wajib si anak bersama si ayah”.

    Selain itu, Dr Abd al-Latif al-Fatur juga ada berkata di dalm kitabnya iaitu “Fatawa Wa Qadaya Fiqhiyyah Mu’asirah” yang membawa maksud:

    Islamnya penjaga bukanlah syarat dalam hak penjagaan kanak-kanak, kerana belas kasihan ibu biologi tidak terkesan ke atasnya dengan perbezaan agamanya (si ibu) dengan agama kanak-kanak tersebut. Ia menjadikan ibu itu lebih berhak dengan penjagaannya (kanak-kanak tersebut), kecuali jika ditakuti ke atasnya akan memberi kesan dengan penjagaannya atau kanak-kanak itu diberi makan yang haram dalam Islam, maka si ibu umpama orang yang jahat lagi tidak beramanah ke atas penjagaan si anak”.

     

    Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia

    Seterusnya Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia kali ke-87 memutuskan bahawa:

    Setelah meneliti keterangan, hujah-hujah dan pandangan yang dikemukakan, Muzakarah berpandangan bahawa di dalam Islam, Jumhur Ulama telah bersepakat bahawa apabila salah seorang ibu atau bapa memeluk Islam, agama anak di bawah umur juga adalah Islam dan penjagaan anak hendaklah diletakkan di bawah ibu atau bapa yang beragama Islam.

    Oleh yang demikian, Muzakarah bersetuju memutuskan bahawa apabila salah seorang pasangan (ibu atau bapa) memeluk agama Islam, status agama anak bawah umur pasangan tersebut adalah secara langsung beragama Islam.

    Muzakarah juga bersetuju memutuskan supaya Perkara 12(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang memperuntukkan bahawa agama seseorang yang di bawah umur 18 tahun hendaklah ditetapkan oleh ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya tidak perlu dipinda.

    Institut Pengurusan dan Penyelidikan Fatwa Sedunia (INFAD), Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) ada membuat beberapa syor berkaitan isu ini. Seperti yang dapat kita lihat, keempat-empat mazhab fiqh mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza berkaitan isu ini. Oleh itu kita dinasihatkan agar tidak mengeluarkan kenyataan yang menyalahkan dan menyesatkan mana-mana pandangan mazhab fiqh Islam. Menurut pandangan dari segi fiqh, pandangan yang mensyaratkan bahawa penjaga si anak sama ada ibu atau bapa harus islam adalah lebih tepat demi menjaga kemaslahatan dan akidah anak tersebut.

    Perkara 11(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan ada menyatakan peruntukan berkaitan dengan  hak kebebasan beragama bagi setiap individu di Persekutuan Malaysia. Peruntukan ini merangkumi hak untuk mengamalkan dan menganut sesuatu agama tetapi ianya tertakluk kepada 11(4). Perkara 11(4) mengehadkan dan membuat sekatan terhadap penyebaran agama bukan Islam kepada orang Islam. Penulisan ini lebih memfokuskan kepada isu pertukaran agama yang melibatkan salah seorang dari ibu bapa bukan Islam kepada Islam, manakala seorang lagi masih kekal dengan agama bukan Islam, status agama anak bawah umur dan juga isu berkaitan hak penjagaan anak. 

    Berdasarkan peruntukan undang-undang yang sedia ada iaitu Perkara  12(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan, ia ada menyatakan bahawa agama bagi seseorang yang berada di bawah umur hendaklah ditentukan oleh ibunya atau bapanya atau penjaganya. Peruntukan ini sekaligus menyatakan bahawa persetujuan daripada salah satu pihak sahaja sudah mencukupi bagi menentukan agama seorang kanak-kanak yang di bawah umur. Hal ini adalah kerana, di dalam Perkara 12(4), perkataan yang digunakan adalah “parent or guardian” dan bukannya “parents or guardian” yang bermaksud ibu atau bapa atau penjaga. Bukannya ibu dan bapa dan penjaga. 

    Seterusnya berdasarkan Seksyen 95 Akta Pentadbiran Undang-Undang Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) 1993 memperuntukkan bahawa seseorang yang tidak beragama Islam boleh masuk Islam jika dia sempurna akal dan mencapai umur lapan belas tahun; atau jika dia belum mencapai umur lapan belas tahun, ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya mengizinkan kemasukannya. Peruntukan di bawah akta ini juga menyatakan bahawa sudah memadai jika keizinan untuk memasuki agama Islam bagi seseorang yang berada di bawah umur diberi oleh salah seorang daripada tiga individu yang disebutkan di atas. Tidak perlu mendapat keizinan ketiga-tiganya sekali. 

     

    Isu Berbangkit Serta Hak Hadhanah

    Isu status agama anak bawah umur setelah ibu atau bapa memeluk agama islam menjadi perdebatan dalam kalangan masyarakat. Hal ini tidak boleh dipandang remeh kerana ianya merupakan satu isu yang berkaitan dengan akidah dan akidah juga merupakan sesuatu asas penting dalam kehidupan setiap muslim. Agama Islam mengajar kita untuk sentiasa bertolak-ansur. Akan tetapi perlu diingatkan bahawa tiada tolak ansur di dalam sesetengah perkara contohnya perkara yang melibatkan akidah seseorang muslim itu sendiri. 

    Masyarakat kita sendiri juga sering berselisih pendapat mengenai isu status agama anak bawah umur apabila salah seorang ibu bapa mereka memeluk Islam. Isu ini menjadi perhatian masyarakat oleh kerana ianya melibatkan dua kaum dan agama yang berbeza iaitu Islam dan bukan Islam. Sudah semestinya pihak masing-masing ingin mempertahankan hak mereka. Tidak salah sekiranya mereka ingin pertahankan hak akan tetapi perlu diingatkan bahawa kita mempunyai undang-undang yang melindungi hak agama masing- masing. 

    Orang Islam tertakluk di bawah undang-undang syariah manakala orang bukan Islam tertakluk di bawah undang-undang sivil. Adalah tidak wajar sekiranya masyarakat atau sesiapa sahaja pertahankan sesuatu hak tanpa melihat kepada peruntukan undang-undang sedia ada. Di dalam masalah ini, sebolehnya kita mahu kedua-dua belah pihak mendapat keadilan yang sewajarnya. Oleh itu, hendaklah kita berbalik kepada peruntukan undang-undang kedua dua belah pihak bagi mendapatkan pertimbangan yang baik. Dalam kebanyakan kes, biasanya akan ada pertembungan di antara dua bidang kuasa iaitu di antara bidang kuasa mahkamah syariah dengan mahkamah sivil. 

    Terdapat banyak isu yang akan timbul selepas berlakunya perceraian misalnya tuntutan nafkah iddah, nafkah anak, mutaah, harta sepencarian dan yang sering menjadi rebutan pasangan yang sudah bercerai adalah hadhanah. Tuntutan hadhanah atau hak jagaan anak yang akan menjadi lebih sukar sekiranya ia melibatkan pasangan Islam dan bukan Islam. Hal ini terjadi apabila salah seorang pasangan bukan Islam tersebut memeluk agama islam dan menuntut hak jagaan anak.

    Pelbagai persoalan akan timbul iaitu persoalan tentang siapa yang lebih berhak menjaga anak tersebut dan juga bagaimana dengan status anak tersebut. Adakah anak tersebut akan kekal dengan agama asal ibu bapanya ketika berkahwin atau akan ikut menganut agama Islam dan siapa yang berhak terhadap hak penjagaan anak tersebut?

    Antara kes-kes yang berkaitan dengan isu di atas adalah kes Subashini Rajasingam Lawan Saravanan Thangathoray. Suami iaitu Saravanan telah memeluk agama Islam dan dia juga turut mengislamkan anak sulungnya yang pada ketika itu berusia 4 tahun. Isterinya, Subashini, membantah tindakan Saravanan yang telah mengislamkan anak lelakinya kerana tidak mendapatkan persetujuannya terlebih dahulu. 

    Mahkamah Persekutuan memutuskan bahawa ayah kepada kanak-kanak tersebut berkuasa untuk mengislamkan anaknya berdasarkan Perkara 12(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang menyatakan bahawa agama seseorang yang berada di bawah umur lapan belas tahun hendaklah ditentukan oleh ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya. 

    Oleh disebabkan itu,dalam kes ini, secara tidak langsung ayah tersebut berhak untuk mengislamkan anaknya walaupun tanpa persetujuan daripada ibu anak tersebut. 

    Kes seterusnya ini berlainan sedikit daripada kes di atas tetapi turut mendapat perhatian masyarakat iaitu kes Viran a/l Nagapan v Deepa a/p Subramaniam.

    Di dalam kes ini, perayu telah memeluk Islam pada tahun 2012 dan telah mendaftarkan pemelukan Islam kedua-dua anaknya yang merupakan hasil daripada perkahwinan sivilnya dengan responden. Perayu juga telah memohon  pembubaran perkahwinan sivilnya dengan responden di Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah Seremban.

    Mahkamah kemudiannya memberikan perintah pembubaran perkahwinan tersebut dan memberikan hak jagaan dua orang anak kepada perayu manakala responden diberikan hak untuk melawat dan akses ke atas anak tersebut. Responden pula memfailkan petisyen untuk perceraian di mahkamah tinggi sivil seremban dan juga perintah hak jagaan anak. Mahkamah Tinggi Sivil Seremban kemudiannya membubarkan perkahwinan tersebut dan responden diberikan hak jagaan penuh ke atas dua orang anaknya itu. Terdapat campur tangan dari pihak IGP dan juga AG di dalam kes ini . pertembungan di antara perintah daripada Mahkamah Syariah dan Sivil telah menimbulkan isu-isu yang melibatkan kepentingan awam. 

    Dalam mengambil kira sama ada perintah hak penjagaan Mahkamah Tinggi sepertimana disahkan oleh Mahkamah Rayuan patut kekalkan ia menjadi perlu untuk mengambil kira kebajikan kanak-kanak itu, yang merupakan pertimbangan paling utama dalam menentukan hak penjagaan kanak-kanak itu. Andaian bahawa seorang kanak-kanak muda lebih elok bersama ibunya dan bukan bapanya merupakan andaian yang boleh dipatahkan dan bahawa andaian itu sendiri tidak semestinya suatu faktor penentu. Ia perlu diimbangi bersama faktor-faktor lain yang relevan dan pertimbangan yang pertama dan penting sepatutnya kebajikan kanak-kanak.

    Bagi tujuan menjadikan kebajikan anak-anak suatu yang paling utama ia adalah perlu untuk mengambil kira perkara-perkara seperti kelakuan pihak-pihak, status kewangan dan sosial mereka, jantina dan umur kanak-kanak itu, hasratnya setakat mana ia boleh ditentukan ber-gantung kepada umut kanak-kanak, laporan sulit pegawai kebajikan sosial dan sama ada dalam jangka panjang ia lebih kepada kepentingan, kebajikan dan kegembiraan kanak-kanak itu untuk bersama ibu atau bapa.

    Apabila anak lelaki dan anak perempuan disoal secara rahsia, ia didapati bahawa anak lelaki itu memilih untuk tinggal dengan bapanya dan tidak berhasrat untuk tinggal dengan ibunya, manakala anak perempuan itu telah menyatakan dia ingin tinggal dengan ibunya. Ia jelas bahawa kedua-dua kanak-kanak itu pasti dengan pilihan mereka, telah selesa dan dijaga dengan baik. Oleh itu, dengan mengambil kira kebajikan kanak-kanak tersebut ia menjadi jelas bahawa ia tidak perlu untuk mengganggu urusan sekarang. Dalam keadaan itu, perintah hak penjagaan yang diberikan oleh Mahkamah Tinggi patut diubah agar hak penjagaan anak perempuan kekal dengan responden manakala hak penjagaan anak lelaki berpindah kepada perayu. 

    Dua kes yang telah disebutkan di atas mempunyai sedikit perbezaan. Di dalam kes Viran a/l Nagapan v Deepa a/p Subramaniam, keputusan mahkamah didapati lebih terbuka dan luas dalam membuat keputusan yang telah memberikan hak jagaan anak lelaki kepada perayu dan juga hak jagaan anak perempuan kepada responden. Ianya bukan sahaja tertumpu kepada isu pengislaman kanak-kanak itu sahaja akan tetapi sudut kebajikan kanak-kanak tersebut perlu di ambil kira sebagai faktor sampingan.

    Pertikaian yang timbul di dalam isu ini berkemungkinan besar disebabkan oleh 2 perkara:

    1. Mahkamah Syariah mempunyai bidang kuasa untuk memutuskan sesuatu hak penjagaan anak.
    2. Mahkamah Syariah tidak mempunyai bidang kuasa ke atas individu yang bukan beragama Islam. 

    Keputusan yang telah dibuat oleh hakim-hakim di dalam kes di atas adalah berdasarkan pentafsiran dan kepentingan anak itu. Sekiranya anak itu selesa tinggal dengan ibunya maka mahkamah akan beri hak penjagaan kepada ibunya, begitu juga sebaliknya.

    Bagi mengatasi isu ini, beberapa pindaan terhadap Akta Membaharui Undang-undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 harus dilakukan bagi mengelakkan timbul pertikaian yang lebih teruk di masa hadapan. Kita sudahpun berhadapan dengan beberapa kes yang menyebabkan pertembungan di antara dua bidang kuasa berbeza yang akhirnya menimbulkan kekecohan dan juga kekeliruan dalam kalangan masyarakat. Pertembungan di antara dua bidang kuasa ini jika tidak diselesaikan akan menimbulkan pelbagai masalah berkenaan isu yang sama.

    Di dalam kedua-dua kes yang disebutkan di atas, masing-masing ingin mempertahankan bidang kuasa mereka iaitu di antara Mahkamah Syariah dan Mahkamah Sivil terhadap isu tersebut. Sekiranya, keputusan Mahkamah Syariah diterima, pihak satu lagi akan menganggap bahawa mereka didiskriminasikan ataupun haknya mereka dinafikan kerana mereka tidak boleh mendengar perbicaraan yang dijalankan di Mahkamah Syariah. Begitu juga sebaliknya jika keputusan mahkamah sivil yang diguna pakai di dalam isu ini.

    Penghakiman di dalam kes Indira Gandhi a/p Mutho iaitu kes yang terbaru berkaitan dengan isu di atas adalah berbeza berbanding kes-kes yang sebelumnya. Ada beberapa isu berbangkit yang mendapat perhatian iaitu berkaitan dengan pendaftaran penukaran agama kepada agama Islam dan juga keizinan untuk memeluk agama islam dari ibu atau bapa atau penjaga. 

    Berkaitan dengan isu pertama, persoalan yang timbul adalah:

    • Adakah Pendaftar Mualaf atau wakilnya boleh mendaftarkan penukaran agama Islam anak-anak pihak tersebut. 

    Mahkamah Persekutuan menyatakan bahawa had kuasa bagi Pendaftar Mualaf telah ditentukan di dalam Enakmen Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Perak) 2004.

    Seksyen 96(1) mensyaratkan kehendak-kehendak bagi pemelukan agama Islam seseorang iaitu:

    • (a) orang itu mestilah mengucapkan dua kalimah Syahadah dalam bahasa Arab secara yang semunasabahnya jelas;
    • pada masa dia mengucap dua kalimah Syahadah itu, orang itu mestilah sedar bahawa kalimah itu bermakna “Aku naik saksi bahawa tiada Tuhan melainkan Allah dan aku naik saksi bahawa Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. ialah Pesuruh Allah”; dan
    • pengucapan itu mestilah dibuat dengan kerelaan hati orang itu sendiri.

    Seksyen 106(b) pula mensyaratkan keupayaan untuk memeluk agama Islam bagi kanak-kanak yang belum mencapai umur lapan belas tahun, ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya mengizinkan secara bertulis pemelukan agama Islam olehnya.

    Di dalam kes ini, dapat dilihat bahawa kedua-dua keperluan seksyen tersebut tidak dipenuhi. Oleh itu, Mahkamah Persekutuan memutuskan bahawa pengeluaran sijil perakuan memeluk agama Islam tersebut adalah tidak sah. Mahkamah Persekutuan menekankan bahawa ia tidak membincangkan mengenai fakta pemelukan agama Islam tetapi kesahan perakuan dan pendaftaran.

    Isu kedua adalah: 

    • Izin memeluk agama Islam dari ibu atau bapa atau penjaga

    Bagi isu kedua ini, Mahkamah hendaklah memutuskan sama ada kedua-dua ibu bapa perlu memberikan izin sebelum anak-anak yang lahir dalam perkahwinan sivil memeluk agama Islam. Perkara 12 (4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan menyatakan bahawa, bagi maksud hak berkenaan pendidikan agama seseorang yang di bawah umur lapan belas tahun hendaklah ditetapkan oleh ibu atau bapanya atau penjaganya.

    Tafsiran terhadap hak-hak asasi dalam Perlembagan Persekutuan tidak boleh di ambil secara literal. Mahkamah berpendapat bahawa isu penukaran agama adalah sebuah isu yang besar yang boleh memberikan impak terhadap kanak-kanak tersebut. Justeru, tindakan membenarkan kanak-kanak menukar agama tanpa kebenaran kedua-dua ibu dan bapa akan menimbulkan isu dan berlawanan dengan kepentingan yang terbaik bagi anak.

    Mahkamah telah mengambil pendekatan secara menyeluruh yang membawa maksud perlunya keizinan dari kedua ibu dan bapa dengan merujuk kepada Seksyen 5 Akta Penjagaan Budak 1961 yang memperuntukkan bahawa ibu hendalaklah mempunyai hak dan autoriti yang sama sebagaimana yang dibenarkan oleh undang-undang kepada bapa. Hak bagi kedua-dua mereka terhadap penjagaan anak hendaklah sama. 

    Mahkamah Persekutuan memutuskan bahawa pasangan yang memeluk Islam dan pasangannya yang bukan Islam mesti memberi persetujuan bagi penukaran agama anak bawah umur kepada Islam.

    Hakim Zulkefli yang mengetuai panel itu berkata keputusan tersebut dicapai sebulat suara walaupun penukaran agama adalah isu yang menimbulkan perbalahan, namun keputusan mahkamah tidak dipengaruhi oleh kepercayaan agama.

    Persetujuan daripada Indira Gandhi dan bekas suaminya Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, (dahulu dikenali sebagi K. Pathmanathan) adalah diperlukan sebelum sijil penukaran agama kepada Islam dapat dikeluarkan kepada ketiga-tiga anak mereka. Pendekatan membenarkan penukaran agama anak atas persetujuan hanya satu pihak akan menimbulkan persoalan yang sukar.

    Pertimbangan utama mahkamah ialah untuk melindungi kebajikan kanak-kanak. Mahkamah tidak membuat penghakiman berdasarkan prinsip kepercayaan mana-mana pasangan.

  • the-validity-of-ruju

    THE VALIDITY OF RUJU’ BY RESUMING SEXUAL INTERCOURSE & THE REFUSAL OF WIFE’S CONSENT TO RECONCILE

    QUESTION REGARDING THE VALIDITY OF RUJU’: I am Harith Shah Aqlan from Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur. I have a question with regards to the validity of ruju’ that I made to my wife. I have pronounced one talaq outside the Court to my wife on January this year and the Court had validated and confirmed the said talaq. After a month from the date of pronouncement of talaq, I have resumed cohabitation with my wife without expressly uttering the word ruju’. I would like to know whether the said ruju’ is valid, and would the consequence remains the same if my wife refuses to consent to the said ruju’? Wassalam, thank you.

     

    ANSWER:

    Wa’alaikumussalam. Thank you for the questions Mr. Harith. We would try our level best to attend to your queries. It is important to bear in mind that the issue of ruju’ or reconciliation in marriage should not be taken lightly as the misconceptions of it might lead to serious consequences. Before we provide the general concepts of ruju’, it is best for us to firstly determine the underlying issue(s) in this case, which are:

    • Whether resuming cohabitation is a valid ruju’ based on hukum syara’
    • Whether the refusal of consent of the wife to ruju’ affects the validity of ruju’?

    There are several verses in the Holy Qur’an pertaining to ruju’. In Surah At-Talaq, Allah says in verse 2 which goes:

    Then when they are about to fulfil their term appointed, either take them back in a good manner

    In another Surah of the Qur’an, Allah says to the effect:

    الطَّلاَقُ مَرَّتَانِ فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ

    Then when they are about to fulfil their term appointed, either take them back in a good manner or part with them in a good manner.”Al-Baqarah: 229

    The wordings in the above two verses which state “when they are about to fulfil their term appointed” signify that ruju’ or reconciliation of marriage is only permitted during the time of ‘iddah.

    According to The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, ‘iddah is defined as “The waiting period a woman must observe after the death of her spouse or a divorce, during which she may not remarry, based on the Quran 2:228 and 2:238 . The waiting period after a divorce is three months, and after the death of a spouse it is four months and ten days. Any pregnancy discovered during this period is assumed to be the responsibility of the former husband.

    And according to Taqiy al-Din Abi Bakr bin Muhammad al-Husayni (2001), ruju’ can only be made upon “a wife who has been consummated, and has been divorced with one or two talaq, without accepting any payment (khulu’) and must be made during the time of ‘iddah”. This is cited in an article entitled Rujuk: Peruntukan Undang-undang dan Pelaksanaannya di Malaysia by Raihanah Abdullah and Zulzaidi Mahmod.

    This means, ruju’ can only be made when a woman is divorced with a talaq raj’i (revocable divorce), whereas, ruju’ cannot be made upon a wife who has been divorced with talaq ba’in (irrevocable divorce) as an irrevocable divorce requires a new ‘aqad (marriage contract). Having understood the general concepts of ruju’, let us proceed with the issues.

     

    WHETHER RESUMING COHABITATION IS A VALID RUJU’ BASED ON HUKUM SYARA’

    In answering this issue, we have to firstly determine the position of the wife when the “ruju’” (resuming cohabitation) was made. Construing the facts of the present case, the “ruju’” was made a month after the wife was divorced with one talaq. This means, the wife was still in her ‘iddah period as an ‘iddah period for a divorced woman is three periods of purity equivalent to approximately three months for a woman with a normal menstrual cycle. A reconciliation is thus can be made as the talaq was a talaq raj’i (revocable divorce) and the wife was still in her ‘iddah period.

    The question is thus, not whether a ruju’ can be made upon the wife, but, whether the so-called “ruju’” which was made by the act of the husband, i.e. resuming cohabitation with the wife, was a valid one. It would be of significance for us to know the rukun (pillars) of ruju’, and whether all the pillars are fulfilled.

    A Kuala Terengganu case of Abdullah Fuad bin Mamat v Maliza bt Awang [2013] 1 SHLR 76 had elucidated about the pillars of ruju’ rather clearly by referring to Kitab Mughni al-Muhtaj, Volume 5, page 2. The three pillars of ruju’ are: “…the husband, the pronouncement used and the wife (former wife in the period of ‘iddah)”.

    The kitab further elaborated on the first pillar of ruju’ by stating: “… the conditions of the husband who wishes to reconcile are the same as the conditions to marry, which are: a person who has attained the age of maturity (baligh), of sound mind, done willfully (not coerced nor under duress), not a murtad…”

    Thus, in order to satisfy the requirements of the first pillar of ruju’, as the husband, you must ensure that all of these conditions are met during the act of reconciliation. 

    Moving on to the second pillar of ruju’ which is the pronouncement used. What is interesting in this present case is that, there is no mention of any form of pronouncement (verbal) of ruju’ being made. Nevertheless, the “ruju’” was made through an act of resuming cohabitation. Therefore, we have to determine whether resuming cohabitation with the divorced wife (talaq raj’i) during her period of ‘iddah, would constitute a valid form of ruju’. 

    The case of Norshinah bte Kamaridun v Baharuddin bin Othman [2005] 4 SHLR 158 would be of good reference as this case also discusses on the validity of ruju’ by way of resuming cohabitation. This case referred to Kitab Mughni Muhtaj, Volume 5, at page 6, which states: “There would be no ruju’ by way of sexual intercourse.” Nevertheless, there are actually differences of opinions of the four madhahib with regards to this matter.

    According to Raihanah Abdullah and Zulzaidi Mahmod (2010) in their article entitled Rujuk: Peruntukan Undang-undang dan Pelaksanaannya di Malaysia, the Shafi’i madzhab only acknowledges a reconciliation (ruju’) by way of pronouncement (verbal) and does not ratify reconciliation by way of conduct, and that would include reconciliation by resuming cohabitation.

    On the other hand, the writers continued to write that some of the Hanbali, Maliki and Hanafi sects accede to reconciliation by way of conduct. Meanwhile, Kitab Hashiah I’anat al-Talibun, Volume 4, page 34 states that Imam Abu Hanifah opines that sexual intercourse as an invalid form of reconciliation of marriage. This is quoted in the aforementioned case of Norshinah bte Kamaridun v Baharuddin bin Othman [2005] 4 SHLR 158.

    The question here is therefore, what is the position here in Malaysia, considering that the official madzhab of our country is the Shafi’i madzhab as emphasised by the then Director-General of JAKIM; Dato’ Haji Othman Mustapha in an article on JAKIM’s website in 2014. The definition of hukum syara’ needs to firstly be clarified. Since the inquirer resides in Kuala Lumpur, the interpretation section of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 may be cross –referred. 

    Section 2 of the Act defines hukum syara’ as “Islamic Law according to any recognized Mazhab”. From this definition, it can simply be understood that the opinions of all the four major madzhab would be acceptable. Nevertheless, based on the case of Norshinah bte Kamaridun v Baharuddin bin Othman [2005] 4 SHLR 158 and the case of Norhasnizar bt Yusoff v Sazli bin Yeop [2009] 2 SHLR 185, the approach of the Courts has been to follow the opinion of the Shafi’i sect, first. Only if the opinion of the Shafi’i madzhab runs in contrary with the public policy would the opinions of other sects be referred to.

    Thus, applying the Shafi’i madzhab, reconciliation of marriage by way of resuming cohabitation with the divorced wife would not constitute a valid ruju’, regardless if the conjugal relation is accompanied with intention (niyyah) or not. This is in line with the decision by the then Syariah Subordinate Chief Judge; Tuan Mawardi Che Man in Norhasnizars case mentioned above.

     

    WHETHER THE REFUSAL OF CONSENT OF THE WIFE TO RUJU’ AFFECTS THE VALIDITY OF RUJU’

    As discussed in the foregoing paragraphs, the pillars of ruju’ do not include the consent of the wife i.e. the person with whom the husband wishes to reconcile with. The issue of refusal of consent of the wife in the context of ruju’ has been discussed in the case of Abdullah Fuad bin Mamat v Maliza bt Awang [2013] 1 SHLR 76. 68]. In this case, the Court had referred to Kitab al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu written by Dr Wahbah al-Zuhaili which states that the consent of the wife is not required to reconcile.

    Despite that, in order to provide remedy for a wife who refuses to consent upon the ruju’ with valid reasons according to hukum syara’, the drafters of the legislation have foreseen such an event by providing Section 51(9) in the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 which states: “If after a revocable divorce the husband pronounces a ruju’ but the wife has not consented to the ruju’ for reasons allowed by Hukum Syara’, she shall not be ordered by the Court to resume conjugal relations, but the Court shall appoint a conciliatory committee as provided under section 47 and that section shall apply accordingly.

     

    CONCLUSION:

    In conclusion, with regards to the first issue, despite the “reconciliation” by way of resuming cohabitation was made during the period of ‘iddah, the “ruju’ would not be a valid one. This is in lieu of the Malaysian Syariah Courts’ inclination to follow the Shafi’i madzhab regarding this matter, whereby the Shafi’i madzhab does not accede to ruju’ by way of conduct.

    On the other hand, with regards to the second issue, a wife’s refusal of consent would not affect a reconciliation made by a husband. Nevertheless, in this case, since the ruju’ by way of the husband resuming cohabitation with the wife without any form of pronouncement does not constitute a valid ruju’, whether the wife consents or does not consent to the ruju’ would be of no significance in this present case.

    Even if there is a valid ruju’, a wife’s refusal of consent towards the ruju’ would not affect the validity of the reconciliation of marriage. Nevertheless, if the wife refuses to reconcile to the marriage with valid reasons in accordance with hukum syara’, applying Section 51(9) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, the Court would not order the wife to proceed with ruju’, but the Court shall appoint a conciliatory committee as provided under Section 47 of the Act and that Section would apply accordingly. Wallahu a’lam. Thank you.

  • difference-between-khulu-fasakh-peguam-syarie-faiz-adnan

    DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KHULU’ AND FASAKH

    QUESTION REGARDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KHULU’ AND FASAKH: Assalamu’alaikum. I am Nazira (not my real name) from KL Sentral. I have been married for two (2) years and we do not have any child. The first year of our marriage was filled with love, trust, respect and happiness. Starting from the second year of our marriage, my husband started to show his true colours, the sides I have never seen of. He would easily become fumed with anger over small matters. All along prior to that moment, he had never raised his voice to me what more to lift up his hands or feet.

    Things changed 360° now that he started to scold me every now and then, even when I talked nicely to him and did not do anything wrong. Sometimes he would say mean things to me and would use foul languages that were very downgrading, negative and had definitely broke my heart to pieces. At first I felt very strange towards his drastic changes. One day, as I was about to put his trousers into the washing machine, I found a crumpled loose sticky note written on it, the words; “Sayang, breakfast I dah hidangkan atas meja ni. Sorry, I kena pergi kerja dulu, ada urgent matter”. I knew it for sure that it was not my handwriting and I started to get fishy over it.

    To cut things short, I later found out that he had eloped and got married with another lady in Thailand for five months already without my knowledge, a fact he didn’t deny of. In fact, he expressly confessed that to me when I pressured him to tell me the truth. I felt dejected and cheated by the news. That explained why he rarely returned home especially during weekends, though all this while he said to me that he had to go for outstations. He had also failed to provide maintenance for myself for three months in a row already. When I asked him for money, he would say that I am now earning almost as much as him, why would he provide maintenance for me. Furthermore, he did not even divide the night turns fairly between his two wives. Moreover, he had been negligent in his five daily prayers and had started to play lottery. At times, he had hit me on the back and had slapped my face whenever he got angry for instance, due to his loss at a lottery.

    I could not stand anymore his hot-temperedness, his ill conducts, his failure to provide maintenance and his unfair treatments. When I asked him to divorce me, he would laugh off and say that why would he divorce me when he could take advantage over me by ordering me to do house chores, free of charge for himself and his second wife? I have had enough and would like to seek for divorce by myself since he refused to let me go. Should I proceed with khulu’ or fasakh, as I am confused between the two terms and concepts. Hopefully to get my inquiry answered. Thank you. Wassalam.

     

    ANSWER:

    Wa’alaikumussalam Puan Nazira. Thank you for posting a question, in sha Allah we would try our utmost level best to assist you in answering your query and to bring you out from the problems that are shackling you. First and foremost, we would like to express our deepest sympathy and concern towards the predicament and atrocities that have been tested upon you. What we need to bear in mind is that, a marriage life is not at all times a bed of roses. Similar to the ocean tides, sometimes there are ups and downs in sailing through a marriage voyage. Islam regards divorce as abominable as what is reported in a hadeeth by Abu Dawud, “Among lawful things, divorce is most hated by Allah.

    Nevertheless, if every available and reasonable recourse to reconcile fails, divorce is permitted as the last resort if it is indeed the best interest of both concerned parties, since Islam never desires a marriage to continue in a suffering way. Yet, a divorce must only take place in a peaceful and amicable manner as Islam urges divorcing parties to separate with kindness as Allah says in the Qur’an, “A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness.  The Holy Quran 2:229.

    Pertaining to your question, a few issues can be summarised as follows:

    • What are khulu’ and fasakh?
    • Whether there are grounds to apply for divorce under khulu’ or fasakh?

     

    WHAT ARE KHULU’ AND FASAKH/DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KHULU’ AND FASAKH

    Based on text book entitled The Islamic Family Law in Malaysia written by Najibah Mohd Zin et al., 2016, just as the Islamic law allows a husband to release his wife by way of pronouncement of talaq, a wife is also given the right to release herself from the marriage by way of ta’liq, khulu’ and fasakh, though judicial sanction is required. The right to exercise khulu’ is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an, whereby Allah says:

    It is not lawful for you to take from women whatever that has been given to them (as dower) except in the case where both fear that they may not be able to keep within the limits imposed by God. And if you fear that they may not be able to keep the limits of God, it is no sin for either of them if the woman ransoms herself (Al-Baqarah: 229).

    From the above cited verse, a marriage can be dissolved if the woman wilfully would like to pay compensation for her release. A wife is permitted to pay a sum of money to release herself, the amount of which is mutually agreed by both parties or fixed by the court, and this is known as khulu’. Based on the legal traditions, the applicant wife does not need to prove the breakdown of marriage to apply for khulu’. This can be seen in a prominent hadeeth of the Prophet which reads:

    Ibn Abbas reported that Jamilah, the wife of Thabit b Qais came to the Prophet and said ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not blame Thabit about his character and piety, but I dislike being ingratitude in Islam. The Messenger of Allah asked if she was prepared to return the garden given to her by Thabit. “Yes” she said. The Prophet said to Thabit “accept the garden and give her a single divorce.

    Based on the above hadeeth, there need not be a proof of a breakdown of marriage, as the applicant wife did not even find any fault on the part of the husband. It would suffice if she is able to prove that she dislikes her husband and because of that, she is afraid that the continuance of marriage in such a state would cause her not to perform her marital obligations as a wife, which thereafter could lead her to become nusyuz.

    Whereas, fasakh is an option that can be exercised by a husband or a wife to end the marriage through judicial process by invoking ground(s) that is/are acceptable under the Islamic law. Based on The Islamic Family Law in Malaysia written by Najibah Mohd Zin et al., 2016, initially, the law was meant to safeguard the rights of women who are exposed to marital abuse and neglect. However, after the amendment, the law gives equal opportunity for both men and women alike to invoke fasakh, though a wife tends to benefit more from the provision, as a man is conferred with the right to dissolve a marriage by pronouncing talaq. The basis of invoking fasakh is harm or dharar. In Malaysia, section 52 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 specifically governs the provision relating to fasakh.

     

    WHETHER THERE ARE GROUNDS TO APPLY FOR DIVORCE UNDER KHULU’ OR FASAKH

    As discussed above, section 52 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 specifically provides for the dissolution of marriage or fasakh. The provision lays down grounds that are not exhaustive.

    Referring to the facts that you have presented, there are a few grounds under section 52 of the Act which can be invoked, namely, section 52(1)(b), section 52(1)(h)(i),(vi) and (l).

    Section 52(1)(b) provides for failure to maintain for a period of three months as one of the grounds of fasakh. A decided case to refer to is the case of Cik Pah v Abdul Aziz b Ahmad, whereby the wife claimed that the husband was insolvent and failed to provide maintenance. The Court ordered the wife to take an oath (yamin istizhar) and to swear that she remained faithful to the husband. The judge was satisfied that the husband was impoverished but adjourned the case for nine days with three days grace period for the husband to prove that he could pay the maintenance. The wife repeated her claim and she was ordered to take an oath with the consent of the husband and subsequently the court granted a fasakh divorce. This case shows that a failure to maintain is one of the acceptable grounds to dissolve marriage through fasakh.

    For your information, yamin istizhar is a form of oath which is aimed to strengthen and clarify the claims and to deny any allegation that is put forward against the applicant, after the applicant has successfully proven his/her claim.

    Next, section 52(1)(h)(i) provides “that the husband treats her with cruelty, that is to say, inter alia, habitually assaults her or makes her life miserable by cruelty of conduct”. This section does not merely cover for physical assault. In fact, any form of mental/psychological assault is also governed by this provision. A case to refer to is the case of Hasnah v. Zaaba (1995) 10 JH 59, whereby the wife claimed that the husband had habitually assaulted her and made her life miserable by cruelty of conduct. The Syariah High Court judge decided that cruelty has taken place whereby the husband had habitually assaulted the wife by beating and cursing her, which made the wife’s life miserable. The Court permitted the application of the wife to dissolve the marriage through fasakh. From the facts of the case that you have presented, we could see that the conducts of your husband such as beating and slapping your face whenever he got fumed with anger could constitute “cruelty” under section 52(1)(h)(i).

    On the other hand, a case to refer to with regards to mental assault is the case of Zarina bt Syaari v. Mohd Yusof b. Omar (2005) ShLR, Vol. 4, 173, whereby the learned judge of the Syariah Lower Court (Federal Territories) had decided that the refusal to communicate on the part of the husband, cheating the wife by marrying another without her knowledge, and refusal to sleep with the wife amounted to mental cruelty which were habitual. The court held that the term ‘habitual assault’ was relevant in cases of mental and emotional assault. Thus, the wife has to prove that the actions took place habitually, continuously and repeatedly. 

    Referring to the facts that you have presented, your husband had on several occasions mentally assaulted you by swearing to you using foul languages which were very degrading and cruel. Based on the above decided case, for a case involving the mental and psychological aspects of the applicant, since the term used in the provision is “habitual”, you must prove to the Court that the cursing and swearing were done continuously and on a frequent basis.

    Based on Section 52(1)(h)(vi) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, a wife can apply for fasakh if her husband marries more than one wife and does not treat her equitably in accordance with the requirements of Hukum Syara’. In this case, your husband had admitted that he had married a second wife. It is undeniable that polygamy is allowed in Islam. This point can be elucidated by a verse from the Qur’an which reads, “then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you – [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one – or [from among] those whom you rightfully possess. This will make it more likely that you will not deviate from the right course.(Surah An Nisaa – Women, 4:3).

    Nevertheless, as expressly mentioned in the aforementioned verse, if the husband fears that he might not act justly between all his wives, then he is allowed to marry only one wife. Based on the facts that you have textually conveyed, your husband had not been fair in the night turns and had spent most of his time with his second wife. That is a clear form of unlawful neglect. Thus, section 52(1)(h)(vi) can be invoked as a ground to annul your marriage via fasakh.

    Lastly, section 52(1)(l) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 regards “any other ground that is recognized as valid for dissolution of marriages or fasakh under Hukum Syara’” to be a ground to dissolve the marriage through fasakh. This provision widens the scope of fasakh, so as not to restrict it to only the specified grounds which are listed expressly in the provisions. This is because; to list down expressly the exact and specific grounds for fasakh would be numerous and therefore impractical. Thus, any other ground to dissolve the marriage through fasakh that is recognised by Hukum Syara’ would suffice.

    In this case, your husband had not lived in accordance with the Islamic tenets by neglecting the performance of prayers when in fact, the establishment of prayers is compulsory for a person who has attained puberty. Allah says in the Qur’an, “…Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” (Quran 4: 103). Whereas, the prohibition of gambling is recorded in the Qur’an, in Surah Al-Maa’idah, whereby Allah says, “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols, etc.), and Al Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Shaytaan (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As Salaah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain? (Al-Maa’idah 5:90-91).

    A husband has a duty to lead the marriage and his family by observing the commandments ordered by Allah and the Prophet and to refrain from committing acts that are prohibited by the religion of Islam. By neglecting his prayers and playing lottery, your husband had brought himself towards destruction. Allah says in the Qur’an, “…and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.He had also failed to be a good example as the leader of the family. His conduct of playing lottery had also proven to cause harm to your physical body as you have said that he would physically assault you whenever he suffered a loss after playing the lottery.

    Thus, his acts could fall under subsection (l) as your husband had acted cruelly by breaching the commandments and prohibitions of hukum syara’. 

     

    CONCLUSION:

    In conclusion, having studied the facts that you have presented, we believe that the more suitable action for you to take is to apply for an annulment of marriage through fasakh instead of to apply for khulu’, as your case matches several grounds for an application of fasakh under section 52(1)(b),(h)(i),(vi) and (l) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984. It is however important to note that, a fasakh application must be supported with satisfactory evidence to be adduced to the Court, otherwise the Court might simply strike off the application due to want of proof. It is advisable for Puan Nazira to consult and seek the aid and expertise of a Syarie lawyer (Peguam Syarie) as this issue involves complicated matters which are best dealt by the expert in this respective field. Wallahu a’lam. Thank you.

  • HAKAM: ANOTHER WAY OUT FOR MUSLIM WOMEN TO GET A DIVORCE

    HAKAM: ANOTHER WAY OUT FOR MUSLIM WOMEN TO GET A DIVORCE

    HAKAM INTRODUCTION: Talaq is a right which is only conferred upon a husband to divorce his wife. Nevertheless, this right is not absolute and is in fact a restricted one as it is only permitted to be pronounced twice. As Allah says in the Qur’an,

    A divorce is only permissible twice; after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms or separate with kindness” (Al-Baqarah: 229).

    However, a wife is granted the privilege to seek divorce by way of khulu’ (redemption), ta’liq, and fasakh. These rights require sanctions from the Court as stated in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin, et al. (2016). The brief definitions of the above three types of divorce by a wife are laid down below:

    • Khulu’: A divorce pronounced by the husband by way of redemption after the amount of the payment of tebus talaq (the wife compensates for her release) is made {See s 49 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 (hereinafter referred to as IFLA 1984) and Surah Al-Baqarah: 229}. 
    • Ta’liq: A divorce due to breach of any stipulation by the husband which is pronounced during the marriage solemnisation, as required by statutes. The breach could be the basis for the wife to lodge a complaint in the Syari’ah Court and it is for the Court to grant the divorce if the breach is satisfactorily proven {See page 175 of the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin, et al. (2016)}.
    • Fasakh: A dissolution of marriage through a Court order due to certain acceptable grounds which are recognised under the Islamic law {See page 193 of the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin, et al. (2016) and s 52 of the IFLA 1984}. 

    Most Muslim women in Malaysia are only aware of these three types of divorce that they could seek in Court. Little did they know the existence of divorce by means of hakam which is less time-consuming and could be a way out for marriages that are hanging on by a thread. 

     

    THE DEFINITION OF HAKAM

    Linguistically speaking, tahkim connotes “conferring power to impose punishment upon someone”, as cited in an article entitled; “Hakam dalam Mahkamah Syariah: Analisis Pelaksanaannya di sisi Prinsip Syariah di Malaysia” written by Hammad Mohamad Dahalan and Mohamad Azhan Yahya. Whereas, the Article provides the technical definition of hakam as “a process where the disputing parties appoint a person each as a hakam (arbitrator) to solve the issue of contention arising between them, in accordance with hukum syara’”. 

    The concept of hakam is not something foreign nor is it a new invention, as it is not only judicially recognised in the context of the Malaysian Islamic Family Law but in fact, it has been encouraged by the Qur’an to be practiced in solving disputes between two parties. The verse related to this is enshrined in Surah An-Nisaa’, verse 35. Allah says:

    And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things]

    Reflecting on the above verse, the uniqueness of appointing hakam as an alternative dispute resolution can be seen, whereby the disputing parties are given the right to appoint the arbitrators of their choice. The qualifications required for a hakam before he is appointed would be explained later as we discuss this matter further.

    Through a divorce by way of tahkim, a wife who desires to get a divorce is able to get what she wishes for by following the procedures, as spelled out under Section 48 of the IFLA 1984. 

     

    PROCEDURES OF HAKAM

    A divorce by way of hakam commences the moment a wife files a claim of divorce under Section 47 of the IFLA 1984. Under Section 47(2) of the Act, upon receiving an application for divorce, the Court will issue a summons upon the other party (in this case would be the husband) including a copy of the application and the statutory declaration made by the wife. The summons requires the husband to appear before the Court, in order to inquire whether the husband consents to the divorce or otherwise. 

    If the husband refuses to consent to the divorce, the Court will as soon as possible appoint a conciliatory committee (jawatankuasa pendamai – JKP). The persons appointed under the conciliatory committee, consist of a Religious Officer as Chairman and two other persons, one for the husband and the other for the wife as stated under Section 47(5) of the Act.

    Section 47(14) of the Act states that “where the committee submits to the Court a certificate that it is unable to effect reconciliation and to persuade the parties to resume the conjugal relationship, the Court shall advise the husband to pronounce one talaq before the Court”. Nevertheless, if the husband does not wish to be present in Court to pronounce the talaq or if the husband refuses to pronounce the said talaq, the Court will then refer the case to the attention of hakam and thereby, Section 48 of the Act will apply.

    The State of Selangor has taken the first leap in gazetting the Hakam (State of Selangor) Rules 2014 (hereinafter referred to as the Hakam Rules 2014), which provides detailed guidelines on the implementation of hakam in the Malaysian Syariah Court practice. Rule 3(3) of the Hakam Rules 2014 provides that the Court is required to ensure that syiqaq (constant quarrels between husband and wife which affect the marital harmony – Rule 2 of the Hakam Rules 2014) exists between the husband and wife before the parties are brought before the hakam. This shows that the provision on the appointment of hakam cannot be simply invoked as to avoid from the occurrence of arbitrary or even unnecessary divorce. 

    As stated in a book entitled “Managing Marital Disputes in Malaysia: Islamic Mediators and Conflict Resolution in the Syariah Courtswritten by Sven Cederoth Cederroth and Sharifa Zaleha Syed Hassan, normally a marriage situation is said to be in a state of syiqaq when the husband refuses to let go off the wife (divorce) or when the wife is unable to seek for divorce by means of ta’liq or fasakh due to unavailable grounds. Other instances of syiqaq are listed under Rule 4 of the Hakam Rules 2014. 

     

    THE APPOINTMENT OF HAKAM

    Referring to Rule 4 of the Hakam Rules 2014, hakam can only be appointed from among the close relatives (saudara karib) of the husband and wife who fulfils the qualifications as listed out under sub-rule 8(1) and (2). As interpreted under Rule 4(2) of the Hakam Rules 2014, “close relatives” are referring to “any man who is related by consanguinity, affinity or fosterage and having knowledge on the circumstances of the case”. 

    The qualifications of a hakam as listed out under sub-rule 8(1) are: 

    (a) Professing the religion of Islam;

    (b) Male;

    (c) Possessing a sound mind and reached the age of maturity (mukalaf);

    (d) Just and trustworthy (amanah); and

    (e) Acquiring basic knowledge on family affairs and Hukum Syara’

    Meanwhile, based on Rule 11 of the Hakam Rules 2014, this complies with the directions given by the Court as well as Hukum Syara’ in conducting the Majlis Tahkim (proceeding). Nevertheless, the hakam who is conferred with full authority from the Principal (the husband/wife), has wider power which is to:

    (i) pronounce one talaq or khulu’ before the Court (hakam for the husband)

    (ii) accept the pronouncement of khulu’ before the Court (hakam for the wife) 

    Thus, from here we could see that through hakam, a wife’s wish to dissolve a marriage (even when her husband refuses to consent) can be realised as a hakam with full power is conferred with the authority to pronounce the talaq or khulu’ in order to release the wife from the marriage.

     

    DETERMINATION ON THE TYPES OF DIVORCE

    In order to determine which type of divorce would be pronounced, under Rule 12 of the Hakam Rules 2014, the hakam needs to identify which party causes the syiqaq. Referring to Rule 12(2), if the syiqaq 

    (a) appears to be caused by the husband or both husband and wife, both Hakam shall propose divorce by talak;

    (b) appears to be caused by the wife, both Hakam shall propose divorce by khuluk and the rate of ‘iwadh shall be determined by Hakam;

    (c) cannot be determined in terms of its cause and the husband claims divorce, both Hakam shall propose divorce by talak; or

    (d) cannot be determined in terms of its cause and the wife claims divorce, both Hakam shall propose divorce by khuluk and the rate of ‘iwadh shall be determined by Hakam.

    Whereas, based on Rule 15, either the divorce is made by way of talaq or it is made by way of khulu’, a divorce by way of tahkim has the effect of talaq ba’in. This means, a new ‘aqad is needed if the parties wish to reconcile after the talaq or khulu’ is made. 

     

    CONCLUSION

    In conclusion, the option that is available for a wife who wishes to dissolve her marriage but whose husband refuses to consent is to resort to hakam. This type of divorce acts as a tool to end the “torture that a wife “is compelled” to go through, for having to sail the voyage of marriage which has irretrievably broken down and has lost the essences of mawaddah, sakeenah wa rahmah. In addition, a divorce by way of hakam is also time-efficient as Rule 16(1) of the Hakam Rules 2014 states that (subject to sub-rule (2)) the duration of the proceeding shall not exceed thirty days from the date of the appointment and declaration issued by the Court. Moreover, the application for a divorce by appointing hakam is also budget-friendly as the parties who are planning to apply for hakam are only required to pay the filing cost which is affordable.

    By raising awareness on hakam (especially to Muslim women), they will know that there exists another right of divorce that Muslim women can resort to, apart from khulu’, fasakh and ta’liq. When other means are to no avail, this type of divorce is hoped to be a saviour for Muslim women who are left “gantung tak bertali” by their inhumane and egoistic husbands. Divorce by way of tahkim can be a form of warning to all husbands out there, that the right to pronounce talaq upon their wives is not absolute. Last but not least, this post aims to urge all of the Muslim women out there, to increase their level of legal literacy as many are still clueless about this right that is statutorily conferred to them, which in turn would detriment their very own lives and interests. Furthermore, All Muslim women and men alike should know their obligations as well as their rights as husbands and wives, in order to ensure that they will discharge their duties responsibly and will not allow others to infringe their rights, naively and ignorantly.  Wallahu a’lam.

    Article published for Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan.

  • CHILD MARRIAGE FROM THE LEGAL AND SYARIAH POINTS OF VIEW

    CHILD MARRIAGE: FROM THE LEGAL AND SYARIAH POINTS OF VIEW

    INTRODUCTION: The marriage solemnisation of a 41 year old Kelantanese man to an 11 year old Thai girl (child marriage) sometime in June this year, has sparked outrage among the locals as well as human rights activists abroad, detesting a young child to become someone else’s bride. This much publicised news still remains a spotlight and attracted debates, whether to ban it altogether or to keep it within strict bounds. The question here is what is the position of child marriage in the Islamic context? Does Islam really permit a child to tie the knot?

     

    THE CONCEPT OF MARRIAGE IN ISLAM

    1. Before we delve further into the matter and explore the opinions of the Islamic scholars pertaining to it, it is best for us to firstly understand the concept of marriage in Islam. Marriage in Islam is considered as a sacred contract and is in fact encouraged by our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. if all the marriage requirements are duly met. A hadeeth reported by ‘Abdullah Bin Mas’ud in the Translation of Sahih Muslim, Book: 8 reads:

      0 young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford it should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire.

    2. But what most of us fail to notice is that, with marriage comes responsibility. This issue of responsibility is what we need to concern most about when it comes to child marriage, as to whether a young child is capable to shoulder the responsibility of being a wife and a future mother. What we need to bear in mind is that marital commitments are not a one-man responsibility but a joint responsibility of both parties to the marriage contract.
    3. Looking at the requirements of marriage in Islam, we could see that there is no mention of a specific age for a bride or a groom to validly enter into a marriage solemnisation. Despite of the silence on the minimum age requirement for marriage in the Islamic faith, both parties to a marriage need to reach “comprehensive maturity” before an akad can be contracted. This is quoted in an article entitled; “An Islamic Human Rights Perspective on Early and Forced Marriages: Protecting the Sanctity of Marriage” published by Islamic Relief. A profound sense of maturity is therefore a necessity in marriage in order for the parties to fully understand the rights and responsibilities aroused out of marriage.

     

    THE DEFINITION OF CHILD IN ISLAM

    1. Next, the definition of “child” in Islam also requires contemplation. It is worth to be highlighted that, unlike the Western perspective on the definition of “child”, a “child” according to the shari’ah is not ultimately be defined according to a specified age. This is based on an article entitled “Child Marriage and Minimum Age of Marriage under Islamic Family Law” by Zanariah Noor. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter referred to as “CRC) in its Article 1 defines a child to be a person under the age of eighteen (18) years unless if the laws of certain countries fixed a lower age. Malaysian laws also adopt the minimum age set by CRC, except for the Adoption Act 1952 which sets the age of under 21 years old for a person to be defined as a child.
    2. On the other hand, in Islam, the determinant is the state of puberty (bulugh). Based on the article entitled; “Child Marriage and Minimum Age of Marriage under Islamic Family Law” by Zanariah Noor, a state of puberty can be determined based on two ways:
      1. Physical change
      2. Age
    3. Referring to the above article, a female is said to have reached the age of puberty when she starts to discharge blood from the womb (haidh), whereas, a male attains the age of bulugh when there is an emission of seminal liquid (maniy). On the other hand, when there is no apparent physical change, the state of bulugh is determined by looking at the age of the person. If a person has attained the age of 15 years (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi’i madhahib) or the age of 17 years (Maliki madhab), he/she is said to have attained the age of puberty.

     

    JURISTIC OPINIONS ON CHILD MARRIAGE

    1. On the issue of releasing a child for her to be wedded with someone, there are differences of opinions among the Islamic scholars. Based on an article entitled; “Bayan Linnas Siri ke-141: Perkahwinan Kanak-kanak Mengikut Perspektif Syariah”, which can easily be accessible via the official website of the Federal Territory Mufti, the scholars which totally prohibit child marriage are Ibn Syubrumah and Abu Bakr al-Asam. The justification of the prohibition is based on the verse from the Qur’an which reads:

      وَابْتَلُوا الْيَتَامَى حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغُوا النِّكَاحَ فَإِنْ آَنَسْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ رُشْدًا فَادْفَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ

      And try orphans (as regards their intelligence) until they reach the age of marriage; if then you find sound judgement in them, release their property to them” (Surah An-Nisaa’: Verse)

    2. According to the above article, the wajh al-dilalah of the above verse is that the age of minority ends at the age of marriage. Thus, there would be no such thing as child marriage based on this interpretation.
    3. On the other hand, the views which assent to child marriage can be further divided into two. The first view opines that child marriage is permissible, depending on the age of bulugh. Thus, no matter how “young” a person is, if she has already attained the age of puberty, it would be valid for her to get married. In contrast, the second view allows child marriage, even though the child has not attained the age of puberty. Nevertheless, the marriage can only be solemnised by “a person who is closest to the child, takes responsibility upon the child the most, loves her the most, knows best the maslahah (interest) of the child”. The person refers to the wali of the girl, i.e. the girl’s father. This opinion is held based on various authentic authorities from the Qur’an and hadeeth. 
    4. The verse of the Qur’an to support this contention is from Surah At-Talaq, Verse 4 which states to the effect:

    وَاللَّائِي يَئِسْنَ مِنَ الْمَحِيضِ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمْ إِنِ ارْتَبْتُمْ فَعِدَّتُهُنَّ ثَلَاثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ وَاللَّائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ

    And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death].

    Based on the interpretation of this verse by al-Jassas as cited in the above-mentioned article, the part of the verse which goes وَاللَّائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ means a child who has not attained the age of maturity (bulugh). This means, if a child has to observe a period of ‘iddah, impliedly, a child can get married.

     

    THE STATEMENT OF MUFTI ON CHILD MARRIAGE

    1. The question now is: what is the stance of the Federal Territory Mufti with regards to the validity of child marriage? Construing the official written statement of the Federal Territory Mufti on this issue, the Mufti stated that the hukm of a child marriage depends on the laws in Malaysia. In Malaysia, the shari’ah law only permits a marriage to be contracted the earliest at the age of 18 (male) and 16 (female), and any marriage contracted below the specified minimum age, requires a prior written consent from the Hakim Syar’ie. This is laid out under Section 8 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984.
    2. Nevertheless, he further stated that although the hukm of a child marriage is valid (sah) (provided that all the arkan of nikah are fulfilled), a child can only get married if he/she has attained the age where he/she is capable to discharge well the responsibilities that are tied together with a marriage contract and must understand the consequences of marriage such as pregnancy, the duty to provide maintenance, duty to provide conjugal relations, among others.
    3. Interestingly, the Official Website of the Federal Territory Mufti had just published a new article dated 7th August 2018, which refined the discussions on child marriage in the shari’ah perspective by narrowing down the discussion in the context of siyasah shar’iyyah. The article entitled; Bayan Linnas #145: Isu Perkahwinan Kanak-Kanak Menurut Perspektif Siyasah Syar’iyyah defined siyasah shar’iyyah as “a branch of study which studies about administerial affairs of an Islamic State in the context of the laws, policy and system, in accordance with the usul of Islam, despite the non-existence of a specific dalil (proof) in the nas syara’”.
    4. Thus, based on the concept of siyasah shar’iyyah, the Article stated that the Malaysian government has a right to curb child marriage through the implementation of laws and policies in order to ensure the interests of the children are protected, due to the fact that the nature of marriage entails marital responsibilities and obligations which might not be able to be carried out well by young children.
    5. Meanwhile, based on the Islamic principle of maslahah mursalah (simply translated as the consideration of public interest), the Article further stated that the Government has the right to enforce laws which limit the age of marriage involving children, if the laws are ordained in order to protect the interests and welfare of the children. This is as long as the laws are not in contradiction with nas qat’ie. 
    6. Next, based on the principle of sadd az-zari’ah (blocking the means of evil), the Article continued that the Government can hinder/disallow child marriage as a means to prevent from any occurrence of unwanted child exploitation, child abuse, and other detrimental effects arousing from a child marriage (if solemnised arbitrarily).  
    7. Lastly, based on the principle of istihsan (juristic preference), the Article indicated that, despite the existence of legal authorities (dalil) which permit child marriage (as pointed out above), by applying istihsan on the basis of maslahah (protecting the interests of the children), the interests of the children are prioritised and preferred over the contentions which authorise or legalise child marriage. 

     

    CONCLUSION

    1. In conclusion, the issue of child marriage should not be downplayed by any party, irrespective of race and creed. The interests and welfare of the children should be the paramount consideration before a Shari’ah Court Judge gives his written consent to permit the marriage solemnisation. Besides, the standard operating procedure (SOP) which has been outlined by the Syariah Judicial Department in cases of approving underage marriage applications should be supported, so as to avoid from any occurrence of marital abuse among innocent and vulnerable children.
    2. Despite the existence of juristic opinions which permit child marriage as discussed in the foregoing discussions, based on the principle of siyasah syar’iyyah that has been elaborated above and as what has been pointed out in the official written statement of the Federal Territory Mufti, the Government has the power/authority to limit the minimum age of marriage in order to uphold justice (protecting the interests of vulnerable children and preventing from any incidence of child exploitation or abuse). Following the call to raise the minimum age of marriage for Muslims, as what have been reported in several local news portals, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) had took the first leap before the other Islamic Religious Councils of the rest of the States in Malaysia, by proposing to amend the minimum age of marriage (by increasing the minimum age limit of marriage).
    3. Nevertheless, the proposal to increase the minimum age of marriage for Muslims in Malaysia should not be misunderstood as a means to illegalise what Allah permits (permitting child marriage in certain strict conditions and circumstances, in line with the Shari’ah, which would certainly not jeopardise children’s lives). Instead, as summed up by the Honourable Mufti of the Federal Territory, looking at the ‘urf in Malaysia, child marriage is best disallowed in accordance with law by following the Islamic principles of maslahah mursalah, sad al-zari’ah and istihsan. Whereas, exceptions would only be applicable in certain remote cases, after adhering to very strict conditions set by the Court. Wallahu a’lam.

    Article published for Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan

  • CUSTODY RIGHTS (HADHANAH) & VISITATION UPON MUMAYYIZ CHILDREN

    CUSTODY RIGHTS (HADHANAH) & VISITATION UPON MUMAYYIZ CHILDREN

    QUESTION REGARDING CUSTODY RIGHTS: Assalamu’alaikum. I am Natasha Fellina from Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. I have already divorced with my husband for five (5) years already and out of the marriage, we are blessed with two kids, a son aged 16 named Aman (not his real name) and a daughter aged 14 years old named Arina (not her real name). Ever since we got divorced, Aman stays with my husband at Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, and he is enrolled in a private school in Bangsar. On the other hand, Arina resides with me at Ampang and also attends school at the same place where I work at as a Chemistry teacher. I was told by my former husband’s sister that my former husband is planning to get married to her office secretary, Belinda. That news infuriated me as I have a feeling that my husband’s attention towards Aman might diminish and his welfare might be neglected due to the extra commitment that he will have once he got married to Belinda. I am not trying in the least to separate my son from his own father, but as his mother, who gave birth to him, and carried him in the womb for nine whole months, all I want is for my son to get the best for his life and his future. I am willing to have full custody over both of the children and would prefer Aman to stay with me rather than having to stay with someone that he barely knew of. I doubt Belinda could be a good mother to a young adult like Aman, as she is only 25, a very young lady herself and she has zero knowledge and experience about motherhood. Therefore, my question here is, with regards to the children’s custody (hadhanah), between my former husband and I, who amongst us would be best entitled with the custody over both of the children? This is because, I remain single ever since the divorce took place 5 years ago, and the children have already reached the age of mumayyiz. How about the visitation rights if one of us is granted with full custody over the children? Thank you.

     

    ANSWER:

    1. Wa’alaikumussalam. Thank you Puan Natasha for the questions. I truly understand and would like to express my deepest concern towards the worries that you have regarding your children’s future and welfare. Before we delve further into the matter, we firstly have to determine the underlying issues, in order to be able to reach a viable solution. The issues which can be drawn are:
    • Whether the biological mother can be granted with the custody rights over the children?
    • Whether the visitation rights can be conferred to the other party, should the custody is granted to one of the parties.

     

    WHETHER THE BIOLOGICAL MOTHER CAN BE GRANTED WITH THE CUSTODY RIGHTS OVER THE CHILDREN

     

    1. After determining the issues in this present question, it is advisable for us to have the correct and clear understanding about custody rights or hadhanah in Islam. According to a book entitled “Islamic Family Law in Malaysia” by Najibah Mohd Zin et al. (2016), hadhanah is literally defined as “to clasp in one’s arm or to embrace someone”. The book continues to provide the technical definition of hadhanah as defined by Al-Sayyid Sabiq, which carries the meaning of “the care or protection granted to a child or a lunatic who has yet to be independent, by way of providing for their needs, protecting them from danger and nurturing their body, soul and mind.

     

    1. From the above definitions, we could understand that the concept of hadhanah transcends beyond the physical care of a child, as it also includes the nourishment of the inner aspects of the child, such as nurturing the correct ‘aqeedah in the child’s life. Interestingly, our present case involves children who have attained the age of mumayyiz, which means the age of discernment between right and wrong.

     

    1. Referring to Section 81 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, subject to Section 82 of the Act, “the mother shall be of all persons the best entitled to the custody of her infant children during the connubial relationship as well as after its dissolution.” However, since this case involves children who have attained the age of mumayyiz, and not infant children, this provision could not automatically be applied in this case.

     

    1. We have to bear in mind that in determining the person who is best entitled to claim the right of being a hadhinah in a case where the children have attained the age of discernment, based on the case of Bashirah bt Ishak v Zawawi bin Zakaria [2015] 3 SHLR 7, the learned Judge had referred to kitab al Um, written by Imam al-Shafi’e, Volume 3, which states that when a child has attained the age of seven or eight years old, i.e. a sense of maturity, the child has the liberty to choose either to be with the father or the mother.

     

    1. The above finding is in line with Section 84(2) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 which states:

    … and if the child has reached the age of discernment (mumaiyiz), he or she shall have the choice of living with either of the parents, unless the Court otherwise orders.

     

    1. The right to choose which is conferred upon the children is also underpinned in a hadeeth which is cited in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin et al. (2016), whereby the hadeeth reads:

    Narrated by Abu Hurairah that a woman came to the Prophet p.b.u.h. and asked: O Messenger of Allah, my (former) husband wants to take my son away when he (my son) is capable of bringing water from the well of Abu ‘Inabah and it is very useful for me. The Messenger said to the child: This is your father and this is your mother, choose either one of them. The child chose his mother and then both of them left.

     

    1. The rationale of granting the mumayyiz child with the right to choose his or her own custodian is due to the fact that the interest of the child overrides the interests of the parents. The presumption is that the person that is chosen by the child is more loving and caring towards the child and thus the interests of the child would thereby be more protected and guaranteed, as expounded in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin et al. (2016).

     

    1. The principle of the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration in child custody application is reflected in the provision of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, Section 86(2) which reads:

    (2) In deciding in whose custody a child should be placed, the paramount consideration shall be the welfare of the child and, subject to that consideration, the Court shall have regard to –

    (b) the wishes of the child, where he or she is of an age to express an independent opinion. 

     

    1. Nonetheless, the right conferred upon the child to choose his custodian is not an absolute right as the right must not jeopardise the child’s upbringing or even welfare. There are three conditions which need to be satisfied before a child can exercise his/her right to choose the guardian. The conditions have been outlined in the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia by Najibah Mohd Zin et al. (2016). They are as follows:
    • The persons elected must be from ahl al-hadanah as stated in page 144, volume 9 of Al Mughni by Ibn Qudamah.
    • The requirements of hadhinah must be duly satisfied by both of the persons chosen by the child as stated in Minhaj, page 392 by Al-Nawawi and at page 92, Volume 5 of Al-Umm written by Al-Shafi’e.
    • In exercising this right, the child must possess the ability to make a decision, as quoted in Al-Mughni, page 144, Volume 9 by Ibn Qudamah and at page 92, Volume 5, Al-Umm by Al-Shafi’e.

     

    1. A child’s participation in a judicial proceeding involving the right of child custody is in fact recognised by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in its Article 12(1), as cited in an article entitled; Children’s Participation in Custody and Access Proceeding, written by Roslina Che Soh.

     

    1. Based on case laws such as the case of Bashirah bt Ishak v Zawawi bin Zakaria [2015] 3 SHLR 7, the Court would conduct an interview with the children to know the guardian(s) of their choice that they would want to stay with, before the Court makes its wise decision. With regards to the power of the Court in granting the right of child custody, Section 86(4) of the Act deserves to be highlighted. It says, “Where there are two or more children of a marriage, the Court shall not be bound to place both or all in the custody of the same person but shall consider the welfare of each independently.

     

    1. Thus, based on the above provision and the Court’s ruling in the case of Bashirah bt Ishak v Zawawi bin Zakaria [2015] 3 SHLR 7, provided that the children agreed to remain with their respective parents and should the Court be satisfied that the children’s welfare are guaranteed by preserving the status quo of the children; i.e. the son to be remained with the husband and the daughter to stay with the wife, the decision pertaining to the right of custody would likely be as such.

     

    1. Nevertheless, if both children decide to be with the biological mother, then it is likely that the status quo would be changed, provided that the welfare of the children are best protected, and the wife has fulfilled all the qualifications of a hadhinah and has not committed any act which could disqualify her from being a hadhinah. Thus, in such a case, the answer to this issue would be in the affirmative.

     

    WHETHER THE VISITATION RIGHTS CAN BE CONFERRED TO THE OTHER PARTY, SHOULD THE CUSTODY IS GRANTED TO ONE OF THE PARTIES

     

    1. With regards to the above issue, the Law makers have foreseen the interest of the parent who is not granted with full custody, by granting him/her the right of visitation and access to the child. This can be seen under Section 87 of the Act which says:

    (c) provide for the child to visit a parent deprived of custody or any member of the family of a parent who is dead or has been deprived of custody at such times and for such periods as the Court considers reasonable;

    (d) give a parent deprived of custody or any member of the family of a parent who is dead or has been deprived of custody the right of access to the child at such times and with such frequency as the Court considers reasonable;

     

    1. Hence, in line with the decision made in a 2014 case of Faizuddin bin Tasaruddin against Zairawati binti Mohd Fauzi, which can be accessed on Jabatan Kehakiman Syariah Selangor’s (JAKESS) website, the parent who is being denied from the custody has the right of visitation and access to the children. And based on the case of Bashirah bt Ishak v Zawawi bin Zakaria [2015] 3 SHLR 7, if the children are to be placed separately, one with the wife and the other with the husband, the segregation should not break the ties and relationship between the children as siblings, and between the children and both parents as a divorce in Islam is bound by three magical words which are “separate with kindness” – Qur’an:229.

     

    CONCLUSION

     

    1. In conclusion, as this case involves mumayyiz children, a right to choose the guardian of their choice is conferred due to their maturity of thinking to make a sound decision. This right is enshrined under Section 84(2) of the Islamic Family Law Federal Territory Act (1984) which states: … and if the child has reached the age of discernment (mumaiyiz), he or she shall have the choice of living with either of the parents, unless the Court otherwise orders.

     

    1. If one of the parties (the husband/wife) disagrees / is not satisfied with the choice made by the children, the Court will commence a full trial, whereby the Court would conduct an interview with the children to know the guardian(s) of their choice that they would want to stay with, before the Court makes its wise decision.

     

    1. However, as has been discussed above, the right to choose which is granted to the children is not absolute. The discretion lies with the Court to decide otherwise if it deems that the welfare of the child is better guaranteed and protected in deciding as such. If both children choose to be with the biological mother, the welfare of the children are protected by placing them under the custodian of the mother, the mother has fulfilled all the qualifications of a hadhinah and has not committed acts which could make her lose her right of hadhanah, then, it is most likely that both of the children would be placed under the care and custody of the biological mother.

     

    1. On the other hand, the parent who has been denied from the right of child custody would be granted with visitation right. As the issue of hadhanah involves several matters, it is advisable for you to consult a Syari’e lawyer whose area of expertise also covers the area of hadhanah, with the hope that you would be better enlightened pertaining to this case. Wallahu a’lam.

    Article published for Peguam Syarie Faiz Adnan

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