Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Let the children?

Let the children decide what’s best for them

I AM a Muslim mother of three, married to a Chinese man who chose Islam after having gone through two religions.

As a mother, I empathise with Indira Gandhi and I would feel just as devastated if my children are taken away from me.

However, I cannot ignore the pain that a father would feel if he is not given the right to have a hand in raising his children.

Divorce is painful for all; not just to the two parties and their children, but also to the extended family and friends when they are forced to take sides.

Our present legal dual system of civil and Syariah has made it very divisive for the people. The non-Muslims are sceptical of the Syariah court’s objectivity while converted Muslims are suspicious of the civil courts. Why not establish arbitration between the two as enshrined in the Quran 4:35 “If you fear a breach between the two, then appoint a judge from his people and a judge from her people; if they both desire agreement…”

At the moment, I sense that decisions are normally made unilaterally by either the Syariah or civil court.

The twain should meet.

As parents, we can only guide but the final decision still rest with the individual. We may raise our children to be staunch Muslims or Hindus, but they may end up subscribing to Judaism or be an atheist. At the end of the day, they are still our children.

We should also reflect on why we, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, are so antagonistic towards a person’s personal beliefs. Why this need to ensure our children is in our “team”?

Would they love us any less if they are not? We must have enough faith to allow them to exercise their God-given free will to decide what is best for them.

Kuala Lumpur.

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