Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Muslim converts - the true test!

In my earlier posting Ball in civil courts, but balls were missing? I discussed the rather sad case of a husband converting to Islam and consequentially presenting the Hindu ex-wife with a host of legal problems vis-à-vis their children. Abandoned by the civil courts, she has lost her kids to the now-Muslim husband.

Pro-Quality, a malaysiakini reader wrote in to ask Malaysian Muslims whether they really want a man such as Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah, formerly T Saravanan.

Pro-Quality said that this has been a man who married (entered into a contract) under the civil system. OK, sadly somewhere down the marriage path, things went sour and the marriage broke down.

Bloke converted to Islam. But Pro-Quality asked what we all asked – was it a genuine conversion (i.e. without the ulterior motive of pre-empting a struggle with his wife over child custody and property division) or a conversion of convenience.

Only Allah (swt) and Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah, formerly called T Saravanan, know. But Pro-Q said that the manner in which Saravanan tried to convert their two children to Islam without his wife's consent has raised questions as to his motives.

Pro-Q reckoned that while Saravanan has every right to convert to Islam, the only honourable course was for Saravanan to divorce Subshini, settle child custody and property issues under civil law (the original contracting law) before converting into Islam, especially before converting their children into Islam.

Pro-Q said Malaysian Muslims should ask themselves whether they just want quantity at the expense of quality, that is, any converts regardless of their motives, which might well be less than of genuine faith.

He quoted AAB who had pointed out that in Malaysia, we have first-class infrastructure but third-class mentality, meaning that the Islamic authorities should jaga standards* and not simply grant access to those converts who might be exploiting Islam for personal conveniences.

* maintain standards

Pro-Q said: “If we want switch the focus to quality, then Muslims would want this government-created loophole in the legal system closed to potential opportunists who use conversion as a means to their own ends.”

“It is also a reputational issue: The good reputation of Islam, its noble Prophet (pbuh) and its adherents are being called to question, both here and abroad, thanks to its latest convert in Malaysia and the way the case has been handled so far.”

Do you agree with Pro-Quality’s opinion? Should the Islamic authorities in Malaysia insist on wannabe converts sorting out their outstanding issues, especially on broken marriages, children and property, including a will, before they be allowed to embrace Islam?

Maybe that could be the test of true faith?


  1. Future couples entering into a marriage contract under the civil system must insist on having clauses clearly stating that wannabe converts have to first sort out their outstanding issues such as children and property, including a will, before they be allowed to embrace Islam. Hope Saravanan on his deathbed does not regret his actions, as Rayappan had done

  2. I have to state very clearly I am blur with the law stuff here, but one question: can the now-Muslim husband Mr Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah choose to settle his child custody and property issues under civil court or not, even though he is a Muslim? Is he with or without the option to settle all these in civil court or because he is a Muslim, he will have no other choice to go to Islamic court?

  3. I totally disagree based on the fact that there is no way to see whether a guy is converting to any religion sincerely.

    I am a convert and have faced ridiculous situations whereby people doubted my sincerity, eg, fanatics asking me to recite the "Al Fatihah" just a few days after I had converted. I did memorise it eventually.

    The religious department can still judge on Mr Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah's case. Whether he was just to his wife or not.

  4. I would never doubt my husband wants to marry me sincerely, but still he has to show that he is not married at the time of marriage registration.
    bad analogy, but still an analogy :P

  5. Apparently this keling (as still currently defined by the kamus dewan) decided to get married at some point to his wife.

    He made a commitment. It was an important commitment, after all even when you lodge a police report you need to put your father and mothers name.

    Now he has become Muslim and apparently becoming Muslim means you can run away from your commitments.

    Forget about the law for a moment, after all religion is about answering to a higher law than the laws of men. Is this fella claiming that becoming a Muslim absolves one from ones commitments made prior to becoming a Muslim?

    Now let's consider the law. Is the court saying that becoming a Muslim means you can be irresponsible and walk out on your previous commitments? Clearly the Muslim judges though so. Only the non Muslim judge dissented with this view.

    I await the day that someone changes to Islam to run out from paying credit card bills....after all interest is unislamic. The courts today are making a far reaching and unwise decision without thinking and it will come back to bite them.